I’m tired of all these people talking about “hustling” and “starting” and how they just “followed their dreams” and everything got better. I don’t know about you, but my life isn’t that easy. Waking up earlier or setting aside time to work on side projects and things I’m passionate about hasn’t gotten me any closer to getting to the next place in my life or reaching the next goal. The truth is, it’s hard, and it takes a lot of hard work to even attempt to get something great going for yourself. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m trying my best and anytime I seem to be getting somewhere something comes up and I have to focus on it. Whether it’s my car dying and having to add a new monthly bill in the form of a new used vehicle or getting sick or whatever else, life throws curveballs at us all the time. I’m at a point where I almost gave up recently, but I know my wife still believes in me and God has some plan for me (even if I don’t understand or know what it is). I guess the short of it can be summed up by a ditty a friend of mine, Wendell Kimbrough, used to share with me when we worked at a summer camp and were having a super bad week: “Keep on truckin’, keep on truckin’, you gotta pull on through. Keep on truckin’, keep on truckin’, cause that’s what truckers do.” You just have to keep pushing and chasing your hopes and dreams, and maybe you’ll be/get good/talented/lucky enough to succeed in what you’re reaching for.

Question: How do you keep motivated to follow your dreams?

Seriously, if you haven’t downloaded Wendell’s free album from noistraide, go to his website and follow the link. You’ll thank me.

Poetry Monday! 2/26/13

February 25, 2013

Man, the weekend just goes by too fast! I could certainly use more rest and down time.

We go to church on Sunday
To hear the missionaries speak
But when it come to Monday
Do we let our joy leak
Out for others to see it
In our actions and our words?

We don’t have to change hearts
And it’s not our job to save.
We just have to share parts
Of Christ’s story, not draw them out of the cave
Of sin and desperation
They don’t know they’re in.

Cast out the net, Jesus brings them in.
Share the joy, the Spirit convicts of sin.
Our job isn’t saving a soul
But rejoicing in a soul God saves!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Keep safe and cast out the net to those around you. You never know who God will put in your sphere of influence.

Love is … Understanding

February 21, 2013

My wife was keeping our nephew and niece for her brother and sister-in-law last Thursday so we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day later, which we did this Thursday. I planned a special meal and lit candles for the table, the only bad thing was we both had crummy days. I was supposed to be off from work around 10:00 but I was there until after 11:00 then I had to go back twice for various reasons. My wife had a rough day with a hectic schedule as well. Also, it was super stormy so I had to grill in our screened in porch. We both had doubts about the night turning out ok, but we understood we both had a rough day, we listened to each other, and we reassured each other, and we turned the night around. It’s so important to listen and be understanding in a relationship. If either of us had just been huffy about having a bad day and let our funky moods pull the other down, our late Valentine’s would have been ruined. Instead, we understood the day was bad, but we also knew it was over and the evening could be whatever we made of it. If the other person in a relationship with you doesn’t take the time to listen and offer an understanding ear, shoulder, hug, etc. then maybe it’s time to call them out on it or cut them loose (hopefully you’re just dating for that option). If we are going to love our significant other, we’ve got to be understanding.

For those who are interested here’s a picture of my Weber Q 220 grill setup with our steaks and veggies:

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We also had rolls. I didn’t get a picture of them because I cooked them in the convection oven, not the grill.

Why so busy all the time?

February 20, 2013

I’ve noticed something in recent years. When I was a kid, we had free time. I mean, sure, we had school and had homework to do, and sometimes little league, but we didn’t have every moment of our lives planned out. Every weekend I hung out with my friends at someone’s house and we just hung. We talked and had fun. Maybe we played basketball or watched a movie or played a board/card game, but we just did what we felt like. It wasn’t scripted, it was spontaneous, wholesome, supervised in some way, fun. Now kids aren’t allowed to just hang out and have fun. They have to have a specific plan at all times for everything they’re doing, usually decided by the parents. I’m all for getting your kids involved in something and being involved in your kids’ lives, but you don’t need to script them. My Sunday School kids have busier schedules then I do, and I sometimes work almost 50 hours a week! That’s crazy! Maybe someone can help me understand why parents have started scripting every waking moment of their kids’ lives. Is it out of a fear that they will do something wrong or stupid? Are they so afraid their kids are going to go out and do something bad, illegal, dangerous, etc that they going into Planmaster General mode? Let me tell you something; if your kid wants to do something you don’t want them to do, they’ll find a way to do it. The real question to think about is if you’re the kind of parent they can talk to after they’ve messed up, because they will mess up. Do you trust your kid enough to let them be a kid? I don’t want you to get me wrong here, because I believe in rules and consequences. You lay out the rules and consequences for keeping them and breaking them. Keeping them earns privileges and trust, breaking them earns punishment. I just feel so bad for this generation of kids. They have so many advantages, but in return for those advantages, they’ve lost the freedom of being young and having few commitments.

Questions: What do you think? Are kids too busy? What can be done about it?why do you think parents are so controlling of their kids’ schedules?

Poetry Monday!

February 18, 2013

Boy, the weekend just went by too fast. It seems they all tend to do that here recently and before you know it, it’s back to work. Many people don’t have to work today. Good for you if you don’t. I do have to work, but that’s ok, at least I have a job.

I met a guy who told me a tale
For a cheap box of wine
Though, he said his story wasn’t for sale.

I bought the fib, hook, sinker, line,
Was riveted to his lies
And now I must pay the fine.

He told a tale of foreign spies
And far off exotic places
And all his royal ties.

His unbelievable recounting of federal cases
All bought for that box of cheap wine.

Happy President’s Day/Washington’s Birthday! I hope everyone has a great day and a stupendous week!

Question: Do you have any fun plans for the holiday?

Looking Out for #1

February 16, 2013

Whatever happened to looking out for each other? Everyone just seems too busy or self-involved these day to bother with looking out for their fellow man/woman. I was reminded of this today when my wife shared how sweet our nephew was with taking care of his sister. My wife was picking them up from school and daycare and our nephew told her he would take care of getting his sister settled in the car. He let her pick where she wanted to sit, got the seatbelt hooked, and got it adjusted. I think there’s a great deal we can learn from his example. We need to take time to take care of others. Christians especially should be seeking to look out for other people. This is an area I’m convicted in. It’s so easy to just worry about “#1” but it’s so vital for us to remember who “#1” really is; God. If we are looking out for God as “#1” then we will be looking after his church and people, and his mission for us. I hope this helps you remember who really is “#1” in the Christian life. I know our nephew helped me remember.

Question: Do you have any stories about someone looking after their fellow man/woman? Please share them if you do.

Ukulele!

February 13, 2013

I recently got my first ukulele and I’m loving it! It’s so much fun to play. Many people think of ukuleles as toys for kids, but they are re-emerging as serious instruments thanks to guys like Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill.

I got a Luna Uke TC MAH, which is a mahogany wood laminate, concert size ukulele. The concert is the second size after the soprano (smallest), and before the tenor and baritone (which is tuned differently).

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It’s got a fun look and a really good sound thanks to the fact it came with what I’ve found to be the most liked strings by ukulele players, Aquila nylaguts. It’s not a super ukulele, but it’s a great starter. The intonation isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close. For the price ($90 range), I’m extremely pleased. It stays in tune really well, and is a joy to play with a wonderful tone. My wife is even enjoying learning a few chords…when she can pry it out of my hands.

Is this a pro level ukulele? No, but it’s a great entry level in my book. You don’t have to fight with it the way you do with some really low end ukuleles. Will I get a higher end ukulele at some point? I’d love to get a nice tenor at some point, but I’ve got to earn it by becoming a good enough ukulele player. I recommend this uke for beginners. I also recommend you check out Ukulele Hunt for plenty of useful info on ukuleles and lessons.

Question: Do you play a fun/unusual instrument? What is it?

Sorry I’m running a bit behind today, I’m still feeling pretty bad. I have an appointment at the doctor’s office this afternoon. I think I might have a sinus infection. Whatever it is, I hope they can figure it out and get me on something to make it better. Since I’m feeling so rough I thought I’d pull one of my poems out of the vault. I wrote this one in February of 2001, my senior year in high school. It was a rough year for me and this was written right before it got really hard with losing loved ones and friends and my girlfriend breaking up with me. Anyway, I hope you like it.

“A Psalm of Longing”

I’m in darkness
With no light.
Who can guide me?
Who will give me sight?

Oh Lord, will you hear my cries?
The calling out of your child?
This pit is dark and deep.
I can’t escape this darkness so wild.

Comfort me, oh God!
Rescue me, oh Lord!
Losing you is something
That I just can’t afford.

Reach out your hand,
Pull me from the world of evil.
You are my God and King,
The one who doth my spirit fill.

I need you, oh God,
To guide me.
I praise you, oh God,
For you open my eyes to see.

I hope everyone’s week goes well. Hopefully the doctor will get me straightened out and on the mend. Be safe and have fun out there. Live life!

When I’m sick it becomes very easy for me to start feeling down, depressed, and/or self-pity. I have to be very careful or I’ll spiral in pretty deep. Over the years I’ve found some things to help me not get down and deal with my self-pity. These things work for me and maybe they will work for you too.

1. CREATE SOMETHING
– I personally play guitar. It’s crazy, but even playing sad songs can help me not feel sad. Find a creative output and use it. While some of my stuff might not work for everyone, this one I know works for a lot of people.

2. PLAY WITH/PET YOUR PET
– It’s been proven in several studies that petting a dog or cat is therapeutic. It really does work. I don’t know why, but stroking my dog or playing with him actually helps me feel better.

3. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
– I know this is cliched, but there’s a song from “White Christmas” in which Bing Crosby sings that even when things are looking bad, “count your blessings instead of sheep.” I love the song and it works for me. I see what I’ve overcome in life and see how far I’ve made it, and that helps give me the push I need to keep going through the hard times.

4. READ A BOOK
– This may not work for everyone, but for me, this takes me out of wherever I am and into another place where I’m not sick and down and hurting. Let yourself get caught up in the story and things will usually seem a bit brighter when you come back from book-land.

5. SET AND DEFEAT SOME SMALL GOALS
– For me, setting some little goals that I can handle, even when feeling bad or sick, like doing a load of clothes or washing some dishes, and then doing them makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. It may not be much, but every little thing counts when I feel like I’m slipping towards despair.

I hope some of the ways I keep from getting down can help you stay positive. You can do it, I know you can!

Question: How do you keep from getting disheartened when you’re sick?

FREE E-Books!

February 6, 2013

Happy hump-day. The fever I had Monday broke Tuesday morning, so I’m feeling a little better, however my throat is still hurting me. This morning I want to share a really cool website for kindle users with you. It’s called kindle buffet and every day the owner goes through the special deals amazon is having that day to find the best rated kindle books for free! The only real problem is how many books I now have that I need to read. I’ve found some really awesome books I never would have found before from cookbooks to mysteries. It’s been awesome! You can get to the website by googling kindle buffet, or you can just click here, or you can type in kindlebuffet.com. It’s worth the time it takes to browse through the pages.

I hope your week has been going better than mine. Sorry this one is kind of short, but, like I said, I’m still feeling rough. If you haven’t yet, please check out the Goteefreak’s Corner Facebook page and like it. I’d really appreciate it.

On another note...

This is about my struggle to confront my fears of changing my direction all for a better life.

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