XXXI: My Declaration


I’m sitting in my basement. The sun is shining through two windows and the blinds are currently drawn on the patio doors adjacent to this entertainment room. Above I can hear our two cats wrestling with each other in the living room. The laundry is caught up, washed, dried, and put away. We’re working on a way to correct our frame for our new bed so that our cats will not destroy our box springs (again). The kitchen is calm, dishes are washed, and I’m thinking of cooking ribs tonight for dinner. I washed my truck for the first time in six year. Darco’s tomato plant is growing, and our new landscaping in the front yard looks great thanks to my wife’s hard work. Her dress is currently drying in the summer breeze out on our porch looking over our backyard. We just learned that my wife will be receiving another ‘promotion’ within her company in the next six months. Granted, if I gave details she would be all bitter towards me for sure.

Later today, time permitting, Darco and I will drive six miles down the road and explore the trails that surround the lake that we live next to. Tonight Darco and I will attend Bible study with a group of people that are relatively close to our age. We’ll laugh, study, and talk about our positions in life and what we think God is directing us towards. In a few days MC and Jim will come to our house and we’ll watch the fireworks display that is being set off only two miles away from our neighborhood. Tomorrow morning I’ll run from our house, across the dam of our local lake, into the small downtown of our town. I’ll grab a cup of coffee, eat a cinnamon roll, and then run back to our house. Afterwards I’ll meet MC and Jim and we’ll depart to the city 15 miles south of our neighborhood. We’ll ride the streetcar, shop through the open air river market, and explore antique stores through the city’s old industrial sector referred to as the West Bottoms.

***

Between the founding concept of this website and the world currently outside my front door, negativity is something that plagues the world around me. Someone is upset, offended, hurt, or dead it seems every minute (maybe even more). Social media tends to be toxic with people arguing over what is right and what is wrong.

This world is a shockingly hard place to live in.

If I get wrapped up in what is so wrong with the reality around me I’ll miss the blessings that have already seen set before me. The truth is God is good and has blessed me tenfold in the past five years. I have a loving wife, a pretty entertaining job, and I live somewhere that I would have only imagined living in, in my own wandering dreams. I have central air conditioning…and tile floors…and a garage! God has given me more than I should ever deserve. Biblically speaking I only deserve death, so there’s that. I’m only curious, and this is solely directed towards the ‘Christians’ of the world. Whatever happened to us giving praise for the life we have? The enjoyment that we should never have had in the beginning? It is so easy to rely on God when the chips are down, but what about the other moments.

One of my objectives since 2011 was to experience life to its fullest. That included a crazy marriage, moving, and many different jobs. However, guess what, God has stayed faithful through every single moment of my life. He never left me, never forsake me, never gave up on me. He ‘s still right here, and I can’t express how comforting that is.

Let’s be real; I’m a divorced Christian that remarried to a woman who wasn’t even a Christian when we first met. I watch anime from Japan, teach middle school students, enjoy tattoos, running, and electronic dance music. Sometime during the year my beard is dyed different colors, and sometimes I even wear headbands when my hair is getting long. There is nothing, I pray, nothing about my life that fits the criteria of being a ‘Christian’ in today’s society.

Even thinking back to the days of youth church camps, mission trips, etc…there always seemed this unspoken urge to be sad, broken, or devastated about this, that, or the other. Don’t get me wrong, Paul, David, John, Job, and many others all tore their clothes for the sorrows of their own life’s and that of others. However, they also danced, rejoiced, and praised the high points of life.

I don’t think God expects us to be stoic.

I think God expects us to live a life worth living, and to reflect back knowing that we gave it our all and we had a blast along the way.

I will declare my happiness, my joy, and my peace at this moment in my own life. Darco and I are blessed, and I firmly believe that as a Christian couple it is our responsibility to not only seek God throughout our days, but also to give Him praise when life turns out in ways we could never dream of happening.

We’re praising. We’re blessed. God is good.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Raccoon Trials


It’s 12:30 AM. Neko and Oliver (cats) are hissing, spitting, and swatting at our patio window.

Why?

I turned on the patio light to see a large grey puff ball staring at me. Behold! The American raccoon.

Two unique reasons to observe this creature:
1. There is no stairs to our second story patio. That boy pulled a straight-up Spidey move.
2. Due to finding a tick after my afternoon run, my running shoes were left on the patio. Within reach of the raccoon. 30 minutes away from a severe thunderstorm.

I’m grateful to report that our cats are trustworthy (I almost typed that with a straight face), I won the battle of the shoes, and MC’s suggestion for ridding ourselves of these creatures?

Just throw some cheap dog food out in the yard.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: No Shutdown


Gears are spinning, laying here, searching for rest to find me. It is another silent night with chaos in my head. Pondering futures, ignoring pasts, and attempting to forge ahead.

I’ve learned that I march to my own drum because stepping in rhythm to anyone else’s deprives myself of unique opportunities; constructing my own destiny.

I cannot focus on what was; the temptations to overflow the heart of petty history blocks out my potential, inherent responsibilities.

-D-

XXXI: No Apologies


Frequently I’m reminding of the adage that if you’ve been gone from your blog for a while, don’t come back as a writer…apologizing for being gone. The reality is that unless you’re a reality star, the world didn’t even realize that you were gone.

The earth keeps moving.

The earth is moving.

The earth moves.

Caught between a funeral and a deductible for a smartphone (this is a thing now); life just keeps moving in our weird, strange, and sometimes stressful household. My grandmother finally passed away, resulting in myself spending quality time with my family for four days in a town of 1000 people. My dream is to one day properly write down this event in text so that all can understand why life is sometimes as humorous as it is scary. The third quarter at school has ended and spring break begins on Friday. Overall, tranquility is a word that would be appropriate with the current trends of my own life.

At one point I was fearful of tranquility; equating it with compromising and settling. Things I feared, but sleeping with windows open, enjoying green grass, and running through our local community really has hit in stride with me the openness of seeing tranquility not as potentially just a sin, but perhaps also a blessing.

When the internal struggles of life calm down, that’s when we find our opportunity to critique, adjust, and learn about ourselves. With the quieter time that I’ve found in recent weeks I’ve started to take a closer look at the social aspect of myself…or…to be realistic; the struggle of it.

From school to church my social skills are in need of adjustment. In my head so many things make sense; I completely understand standing in the corner of a room listening to conversations without saying anything. That seems normal in my own mind, but that is a failure of understanding how it lacks of social drive of interaction with people around me. Last weekend, and this bothered Darco to no end, I found myself standing in the corner of our local running store. I had just finished my first race of the season, I was enjoying some snacks, and watching other people conversate within the building.

Turns out, as Darco stated sternly, I looked incredibly awkward acting as a grown version of a middle school wallflower. Internally, I understood that my choice was to observe not to interact. I didn’t want to interact because I wasn’t sure how, and just watching and analyzing topics of conversation was much easier. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be determined, but the potential body language that was shown toward my own teammates could have been rather poor. Even if the tendency was not meant to be negative.

School is a similar situation. I take sole responsibility for this; some instances throughout the year have shown that I struggle interacting with my peers. No worries dear reader; I interact with 12 and 13 year olds just fine. However, inside a middle schools it’s crucial that teachers work together. There is no greater sense of teamwork in elementary or high school; middle truly is where adults have to interact in order to lay the framework of success for our students.

Turns out that this is something that is a struggle for me. It doesn’t feel natural to listen, to accept, and not to work alone (I sound like some of my students in this sentence). I can say that it’s something that I’ve worked on throughout the school year; there’s some evidence of growth. However, it is still something that needs work.

Our church group is similar. Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll interact. However, most meetings are rather manic. I’m either overly bubbly, conversation driven or…like last week…I had no desire or need to communicate with the people around me. As you could imagine it always raises questions of if there’s something on my mind, if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m not feeling well, etc…

The overall point between these three recent examples is that I’ve been informed, shown, and demonstrated of an error that I have in my conduct between myself and people relative to my own age. At first that was a very hard pill to swallow. As time passed and meditation took place, I began to see that this has been a social issue that I’ve dealt with since I was a very young child. Sure, we could state that it was due to being raised as an only child, but Darco is actually really good at this social thing. I don’t know what the reason for the action, but I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.

Here is why:

If something like this had been shown to me five, ten years ago (it probably was); I would have brushed it off as something that was obviously wrong with everyone else. The arrogance of refusal in accepting that I’m at fault, I’m in error, or that I’m just plain wrong is something that I would have never admitted to. It pains me to type those words. With that said, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people at school, at home, and at church that have zero issues informing me that I’m ‘off’ in how I’m presenting myself to other people. To several, if not all of you, this may seem as such a small issue to have. For me, it’s almost a relief that I can internally accept the truth that I have issues to work on just like everyone else. Additionally, I like the fact that this is an example of an area to develop that doesn’t just affect life in one’s social setting, but also in their work environment.

How’s that for a random topic to type about?

This topic has been in my head and my heart for quite a while. I wanted to type about it so that I could feel secure about ensuring the ‘public’ knows that I have problems. It’s relieving for me because I’m willing to share a social development issue that I’m at fault for, and to state to the general public that it’s something I’m working on.

Consider the typing of this to be liberating if you will.

-D-

XXXI: Welcome Home


I can see the stars!!!

Around 8:30 PM last night I wound up yelling this exclamation to Darco in the driveway.

image

Real. Driveway.

Over the three day weekend we’ve been doing nothing but moving our possessions from our apartment to our house. Praise God for friends and family. So many people have helped us with cleaning, moving, and even cooking for us. It’s truly a memorable experience that’ll forever last in my heart.

…but about those stars…

Like any other soul, I too have my silent prayers. One of them was to see the stars again. Growing up, the stars were in my backyard. Moving to college, then moving to the city, I lost the stars. City lights, parking lot nights, I lost track of my childhood home.

Our home is now in the rural escape around the city. The stars come out each night, shining past the occasional flight preparing for landing. My prayer is answered. I find myself clamoring to the sky, my wife lost as to why this was such a big deal. Answered personal prayers are a big deal.

image

Backyard.

I can see the stars.
Welcome home.

-D-

XXXI: Old Friend


Hello old friend.

Life slows down for no one; this is the concept that I’ve learned to embrace over the past week, month, and year. Interestingly enough, this time a year ago I was asked by an administrator if I’d stay, as a sub, for a teacher-in-service day at the school that I had been a substitute teacher in for a few weeks. Continue reading