Christmas Time is all about Reconciliation

"Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled"

     Of all lyrics of the many christmas carols from Frosty to Rudolph to Grown up Christmas list this song really stood out to me this year. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing". The lyrics above are a pretty key line of what Christmas is truly about. Reconciliation. To re-do, to bring together what was seperate, to coexist in harmony. Restart, restore, unite, make compatable. Its what Christmas really is for.

Heres the short story.
     From the beginning of time when all was created  we as individuals were designed to be in unity and as one with out creator. Over the years that all changed as we have strayed far from that original plan and broke our unity with God. Every one of us at some time, somehow.  God saw this happening and didnt want the seperation between Himself and us so he came up with a plan to reconcile himself with his creation. To bring everything back into order. Even if we didnt deserve it, want it or know how much we needed it. Even if we continued to run away from Him. His plan was a gift. A baby. His son. God made into flesh. Sent to build a relationship with us first hand. Co-exist and be in harmony with us.

     The baby would grow up on earth and be the perfect being, being of God that would ultimately be the only living person who could be the perfect sacrafice to bridge the gap. A sacrafice that redeems mankind through His mercy and brings ultimate peace.  And we sing....."Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled."

Ever thought about how reconciliation fits in to your life? or even what it means to you?

Thats my focus right now everyday. Reconciliation not only with God but in relationships in my life. I believe in reconciliation no matter how big the gap is. Its already been proven its possible. I want it. I need it. I pursue it daily and will continue to. I pray for it in my life. It can be done. We just have to  be open to it.

Reconcile.....restart, unite, co exist, to bring together again. God and us. You and Me.


Cure for Anxiety

So I keep hearing this verse again and again everywhere and its good because its a reminder I need to hear right now. Ive read it many times but still need to get it through my head.  We all do. We all have a lot of anxiety that happens in our lives daily whether we want to admint or not.  I wrote about this verse in my book "Sinking Deeper" and so just took the thought I wrote about and copied it into hear to share. This is the literal cure for anxiety. When everything is out of your control and all you can do is let it all go and let God do his thing. 
 ( If you havent yet... grab a copy of my book on Amazon today!)

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything? I only have two words in response to that phrase. “Yeah right.” Reality check. How in the world are we expected to ignore all anxiety and stress that comes our way? It doesn’t seem normal or even human to think anyone can just sit back relax believing that everything is just going to work out on its own. It’s just not right. It’s not how were wired. You would have to pretty abnormal to have a personality like that.

“What did you say? The checking account is way overdrawn again? Ah no worries. It will all balance out sometime.”

“Did you say you’re having some major heart problems again? Oh well nothing last forever, ya know?”

“I just got a phone call from the in-laws and they have to move in with us for the next couple years. This is going to be awesome!”

Anxiety happens to all of us. Ignoring it sounds practically impossible. However if we could only see the whole picture in advance then maybe it would be a little easier. You know like a private advanced screening of your own life story on the big screen with large buttered popcorn, a 32 ounce soda and a big box of Dots to go along with it. The bottom line is no matter what we think, we can’t make it through life without a little stress or anxiety. We also can’t deal with problems that come our way on our own. It’s not how we were created. It’s not the way we were designed. From my limited perspective I remain confused and overwhelmed about this even though my whole life I have been taught and told that God will work it all out, don’t worry. Just have a little faith. But every ounce of humanness is yelling out

“But I want to know how and I want to know now!”

“This is my life and I want to be in charge!”

You might be able to relate to this when reading this verse at first or if you have ever had to wait on God. Let’s break it down and think this through and I promise after we look at this closer you will understand how this verse can change your life. First of all, even though at first it doesn’t seem right, you have to realize that in these words there is a ton of wisdom, power and answers that you can only find once you really study it. Take a closer look at what it says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving present your requests to God". Ok I like that part. I have a lot of worry and stress and now at least I can present these concerns to God. That takes off some pressure. I don’t have to ignore the issues but I can know that I don’t have to deal with it all by myself. I can present them to God and I don’t have to freak out about it. In God I can find a peace as I bring these things before Him. But the phrase "with thanksgiving" is tricky. What does that mean? I have to be thankful for the situation I am presenting? Or is it maybe just being thankful for the ability to come before God and present it to Him? Here after considering the options I would have to vote for option number two. Once you really read the words written in this text it all starts to make complete sense. So "in prayer and petition" (meaning to ask or even beg) I come before God offering these things in thanksgiving to Him. So if you really think about it, no matter how bad the situation is, there is always something to be thankful for as you don’t have to deal with it yourself and can bring it before God Almighty. Even if it’s embarrassing or painful. It’s also good to have someone to spill your guts to. Someone safe where you can spill out your junk and re-fill back up with encouragement.

Then comes the best part to me that just blew me away. Check this out, it says, "The peace of God that transcends all understanding". Wow! The peace of God. I can’t even begin to imagine what that’s like but it says if I bring these requests before Him, He will in return give me a glimpse of it. Think about that. A peace of God. A total satisfaction or resolve that is so great it transcends anything we can imagine. It is un-comprehendable. It’s unfathomable. Not only that but he also says it will "guard your heart and mind". Two major guarantees for just the asking! So what is being said here is just GIVE IT UP! Drop it at His feet. Offer it to him and He will provide complete peace and rest. Let it go and let God do what He is truly good at. Being God! God is always faithful to His word. God always is faithful to provide for His people who find rest in Him.

I tell you that after I read this verse again and again it started to make more sense and just what I needed to hear. Just like any other person on this planet I can only go so long without feeling like I’m going to snap when I’m under a lot of pressure. However, even if I don't know what is going to happen next or what tomorrow holds I at least can be at rest about it and not go crazy in the meantime. That’s my biggest concern. My sanity. Sanity is a good thing, Insanity, not so cool. We have enough of that in the world already. Sure I might be able to muddle through on my own somehow but if I find myself on the other end drooling profusely, twitching violently and shouting out random animal names at everyone who passes by I think it would be pretty obvious that something is definitely wrong. Trust in God brings peace. That in itself makes the world seem a little simpler. Replacing our anxiety with trust is difficult since we hold on to it so closely. That first step of faith can be a dozy but before you know it your jumping and dancing on it and it only becomes stronger.

These words were the perfect cure for my severe case of anxiety and I’m pretty sure it can bring peace to anyone who understands it and follows through. I took it and copied it and posted it in different places in my house. Now I can be reminded daily that I can find total peace in God if I just pray and not worry about what is in store. It’s walking by faith. No vision necessary. Just know for a fact that God is going to take care of you no matter what tomorrow holds or where you end up. I re-read this verse whenever I can to know that I still need to trust God and I know sooner or later He's going to pull through for me. When will that be? I don’t know. What does God have in store for me next? I have no clue. When will I understand his exact will and timing? Hopefully someday soon. Maybe never. How in the world can I find peace in a time of extreme pressure? Well it’s simple. Convert your worries and fears into a prayer. Give Him praise and all your anxiety will evaporate into thin air. Offer up your prayer request and let God take care of the rest. It beats having to go to the Doctor, it’s easier than taking medication, it’s less time consuming than going to therapist, it doesn’t leave you bloated or with a severe case of diarrhea, you get to keep your sanity and best of all its free.

I don’t have all the answers but I don’t have to be anxious for them. In this verse we are simply told how to find peace when we’re ready to break and if I follow through by bringing my concerns and worries before God I can find instant relief. In the meantime now that I better understand what this verse is saying I honestly keep finding more peace everyday. More peace everyday with faith leading the way. On top of that it takes your worship of Him to a whole new level that will be more powerful than ever.


Thankful.....in all circumstances

I started off my day on the treadmill again yesterday and spent that time thanking God for all I could think of. Again I was reminded that theres a lot to be thankful for even if Ive ever felt like there wasn't anything to be thankful for at all. My thankful prayer time started off by reading a daily verse from PrayFit.com with a thought that says it all. I Thessalonians 5:18

" in all circumstances...... give thanks".

In all circumstances. Meaning the good and bad, the fun and the challenging, the awesome and the ugly. Give thanks. Its what God wants of us, to focus on the positive. Theres always alot more of it than you imagine.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all we have in this country and all you have in your life.  No matter what is going on. I can speak to that personally as I have a lot of personal challenges in my life now that could overwhelm me and could lead to being ungrateful. But on the other side Im reminded by focusing on this verse that there is much to Be Thankful for and that is what I am. Thankful. Even for challenges in life. (Im also thankful for pumpkin pie and plan to get my fix of it today.)

Be thankful today as we celebrate it. Be thankful everyday even as you might not feel like it.

Thankfulness can change your perspective on everything.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!
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Fall hike in Flag 2011

Hiking with the boys around the Peaks: Fall 2011

This by far was an awesome day seeing the Aspens and the sunset at the Peaks. Check out these pics and click the link below. They turned out amazing!

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Courageous- The Movie

Sunday I had the privelege of taking my boys to see "Courageous"  which was really awesome. Its another film made by The Sherwood Baptist Church (also known for "Facing the Giants"). This movie as I had already read about and knew, is about 4 men in different life situations trying to be better fathers. Like the rest of the movies put out by the Kendricks it has a message that is very clear and a call out to share the need of men stepping up to be more courageous in their families lives. Its definitely the best of all the films they have made up to this point.
     I took my boys to see it because I knew they'd like it but also because of the message that was through it in every scene. It's the same message Ive always tried to convey in my life to them. No dad is perfect but the importance of a fathers role in th lives of any children is important and this movie helps to illustrate that point.
I ironically not only have the opportunity to live this out in my life with my boys but also as a job as I focus on being a male role model and coach to many fatherless teens and children everyday in my position at Arizonas Children Association. I've been into over 30 homes while working there for the past two years now and over 90% have been homes that have no father figure or male role model whatsoever. Its a huge epidemic. Ive also been reading a book called "Fatherless Generation"  by John Sowers, director of the Mentoring project set up by my favorite author Donald Miller. It shares the same facts and info in the movie. I see this issue of fathers without courage everyday not only at my job but in the world around me as Im sure you may have noticed too.
     The movie is an encouragement for me,  reminder for some and a declration to all men to step it up and I highly agree with all the facts and information shared in this movie.
*Men should never be absent in the lives of their children.
*We as adults should not be willing to walk away from marriage due to problems but to fight for saving it at all costs.
*Fathers are how children find a lot of identity and security
The list goes on and on.
     The story line is great. Full of twists and surpises. The message is clear and one that we all need to hear.
Im not writing this as a review of the movie itself but to encourage anyone to watch it and take to heart the message that it portrays. One of my personal daily goals as anyone who knows me knows is to be a great father and its not an easy road. I will never quit that key role in my life or have it taken away for any reason.  Check this movie out. Take your kids if you think they are old enough to watch it. Me and the boys had  a great discussion for hours after we saw it. It definitely will change your way of looking at dad.


San Diego Vacation

So Im sitting out on the patio at Shades Bistro, one of my favorite beach restaraunts in the San Diego area (pictured in the middle above) and I'm on vacation. I've done alot of travelling to tons of places this year but have not been on a vacation for me in forever. (most people reading this probably know the feeling) I decided it was something I had to do for myself. You know when your supervisor at work suggests using vacation time its time to go. On top of that Im blessed with a job where more vacation days actually acru each pay period. So I drove out of Flag and arrived in San Diego late Wednesday night. If you know me , you'll know I love the beach so my grand idea was to actually camp out at the beach and catch a cool sunrise (and yes I know the sun comes up in the east) Whatever the case Ive always wanted to do that so I ended up in the Mission Bay area and camped out checking out the surroundings when I woke up every hour or so. 5 am came, 6 am..... a little light, no sun. 7, 7:30 by now I'm thinking maybe Im just havingin a weird dream and try rewaking myself. No luck. No sun. its just gloomy. The weird weather previously coming through SoCal has obviously continued and its just another overcast day at the beach. So no worries. Im on vacation afterall. The fun is just beginning ya know?

If you know me you'll also know Im on this health kick this year since Ive crossed over into "middle age" so when I arose from my slumber in the "land of the missing sun", I went for a 3 mile walk around the bay area. Yes excersize on vacation. The pudge doesnt stop a shakin just because your on vacation. The first part of this walk was spent really trying to wake out of my stupor while imagining a giant nice hot cup of coffee. It was an adventure as the view of the bay and ocean was amazing not to mention that I seemed to be the only young male out there. I passed and got stuck behind my share of mothers with strollers, older couples, a lady with a walker, random dogs that kept appearingand eager bikers speeding by. And then again, theres me, the guy stumbling along with a dazed look in his eyes only wanting the sun to come out. Quite a different experience from the treadmill but it was good to be out. I'm on and adventure because I am on vacation. (Later I went to the beach at Point Loma just across from this restarant, set up camp and drifted off into a coma listening to the waves. Got a sweet nap in but was awakened by an angry seagull a few feet away when I sat up, who appeared to be screamin at the surfers. And now I have a new deep appreciation for the sound the alarm on my phone.)

No Im not just in San Diego chillin by myself. Im here to visit an old college buddy. Dale is a one of a kind and we have had our share of crazy and bizzare stories over the years in places from coast to coast... literally. He lives here and I visit often as I can to relax and make new bizzare memories to share with anyone who's interested enough to listen and be amazed. After my day and after he got off work we caught up back at his place. I had arrived a half a day earlier than I originally told him so I shared my unique story of the overnite stay at the beach, the sun that never came up and my beach induced coma and he told me about the overcast, cold and abonormal weather they had been having. I informed him I was aware of that and asked if he had any other things we could talk about.

Evidently, I found out not just me, but both of us are on health kicks and counting calories and as we decided on a new place to eat and I somehow agreed to join him in walking there (as a way to actually burn off the amount of calories we were about to comsume) We left, we talked we walked through beautiful wooded areas, along businesses, by the highway on a trail and around a large parking lot which ended up being the Qualcomm Stadium. Better known as the San Diego Chargers Football field. As we were caught up in conversation and walking we suddenly realized the lot is literally fenced in. There is no way out. We were actually trapped in this massive lot and standing almost in the middle with no view of an exit. We made our way to where we were hoping to get out where we were greeted by 3 security guards who then questioned us on how we had actually gotten in. I pointed to the small opening in the fence way off in the distancewhere the trail had led us through and said just over there in that corner, uh..... (the opening nowhere in sight) and then just replied "Im with him" pointing at Dale. Dale then explained what happened. We apologized and then recognized why they were all concerned. After all its just a parking lot.... but just in front of us were dozens and dozens of cannisters (glancing at them possibly over a hundred) of explosives for a firework show that were being set up. Cannisters about three feet high and a foot thick full of of fireworks. The lady said ok this is what we'll have you do. (after recognizing we were just a couple of goofballs on a walk that got lost, given away by the dumb looks on our faces and water bottles in our hands). You see the guard on the other side of the gate? Come on through here and walk to him, tell him you're trying to get out of the lot and he'll show you how to get around. We agreed. Pointed out the opening we came through that she was worried about and passed through the cannisters through the gate to venture out. ( To me it was a bit odd and maybe more security breaching that we were literally asked to come through the cannisters while getting out rather than the fact that we had been walking through this supposedly secured area in the first place. At this point however I was only interested in getting the heck out of this maze and finally make it to dinner. We walked past the other security guard who after getting off his walkie, laughed, looked at us and said "busted" and pointed where to get out.

The walk continued..... and then some. What he had originally said was about two miles.... It was about 5. He clocked it on his phone. The steps taken, the calories burned the amount of time. We got to the place "Smash Burger" I had a plate of greasy fries and a barbequed chicken sandwich.

Arrived in San Diego, total of 8 miles walked, experienced a very cloudy morning on the beach, traumatized by a mad seagull, ate barbeque chicken and ended the day with soaking in a hot tub.

Day complete.

the great thing is........I loved every minute of it .

I'm on vacation.

Day 2 (Friday)
Today I slept in. Good stuff right there. Then went to Shades which is where this whole blog writing began.  Got to take a stroll down the strip off the beach there and crash some of the stores and shops, take alot of pics along the cliffs in Point Loma and walk the pier over the ocean. The pier there is the longest one on the western sea board. Great view and experience but still gloomy out. ITs also a great place to watch the surfers since I am presently not one myself. So I learn by watching and then imagine in my mind myself out there riding the waves. Some day this daydream will come true. I dont get here enough to try it and its really hard to practice in Flagstaff.

Im always amazed when I come here at all the intriging people you can find hanging out near the beach. Its like a big USA Network party, Characters welcome.(very similar to Flagstaff but here no little aliens , Martians that is). While on my walk and exploration of the coast I was entertained by everyone I ran into, tourists, hippies, homeless people,a few who seemed competely stoned, buff, tanned and then me. It just wouldnt be the same without the variety of characters and adds to the as I soaked up some ocean air and check out some new places here on the coast. 

Caught Dale again about 5 and he insisted on showing me his mini grass farm. Yes grass. Green grass. Legal. Just grass. Grown for the sake of a juice he enjoys making that is good for your health. Supposedly the best juice in the world for the human body. Thats the claim anyway. He walked me through the process on his deck and as I was watching out of the blue a humming bird came down and flew fluttering its tiny wings and hung there about two feet in front of my face. I stood there staring at him and he just stared at me. My first thought was it was radio controlled as this isnt something that has normally happened to me before. Kind of glanced around and quietly mentioned to Dale to check this out. He brought to my attention that I was just standing in front of his feeder. Im a dork. I slowly backed up and he came in. Im still amazed at hummingbirds and watched him flutter and drink while Dale continued farming the grass. Legal grass. I think he just still has a lot of Indiana left in him and needs a hobby.

We finished off the night with dinner and a movie. HIt up a new place called Pei Wei. Yes, Chinese. Awesome place where I was introduced to digital soda dispensors. 100 drink combinations with the push of a large touch screen menu. Im very much out of the high tech loop. Just stood there and pushed buttons and read the combinations. Caused a traffic jam in the line. Pretty amazed I guess. I felt like a little kid. Dale came to get me and pull me slowly away from the machine. I refilled my glass several times. Im now looking for an app for it on my phone. That would be really sweet.

Day 3 (Saturday)
Just when I thought the excersize was over we started off Saturday by heading to the gymn. We attempted to do a Yoga class Dale is a part of but came in late so we just did the cardiovascular rounds. I havent been in a gymn for years. I do all my excersize at home. However I did my rounds and felt it working, walked across the street for a brunch at a bakery and then came back to do my 3 miles on the treadmill. Again the fat doesnt just stop just because you're on vacation. Neither does the eating. I've been to a new place each day and feel I've grown a few pounds even tho Ive been working out non stop since I got into town.

After the gymn we cleaned up and headed over to church. Dale's part of the small groups ministry team there and the afternoon and early evening was spent there at Shadow Mountain. I love the services there. Been in and out of the place several times. Helped him set up booths in the info tent and then crashed the worship team's practice time. Shadow Mountain is the only place it seems in the world that actually has free complimentary Starbucks Coffee. Yes no kidding. I always make sure to get my fix. Sat there enjoying the practice with my Starbucks. Definitely the best part of the day. and if it wasnt for the caffeine I would have drifted off under the seats as the early morning workout was slowly taking its toll on me.
Services started at 5 and after worship heard a good message on unity and community by Dr. David Jeremiah. I often listen to his radio program turning point throughout the week after work in the evenings and always love hearing what he has to say. Its amazing how this 70 year old guy still has a passion and a vision not only for his church but for helping to direct people. Saw him pass by after service as I was helping man the booths in the small groups ministry fair tent. Just wanted to say thanks for all he does. Great evening at Shadow Mountain. Left to head back to Dales before dinner and on the way saw an amazing firework show that was at least 45 minutes long. Saw it all the way back. Had to keep my eyes on the road even tho it was a pretty amazing show. Its something they supposedly do every year evidently right from the parking lot of the place we got stuck in just a night before. THe Chargers Stadium. All of the cannisters we walked through to get out of the trap at the Qualcomm Stadium was now an amazing light show hanging over the highway. Breathtaking.
Tonights dinner was the Burger Lounge in a totally new part of town for me. Good burgers. the best chocolate shakes in the world and then back home for another round in the hot tub. We always have good man chat time in the hot tub. Life, relationships, future, past, our adventures in college, our misery in college, personal goals, ambitions and of course our twisted views on the world at large.   Dale and I have been friends for 22 years now and its obvious thats not going to change. Theres alot to talk about with 22 years of stuff to think through. and when it comes down to it were just as young at heart and insane as we were 22 years ago.
So Im realizing as Im writing this that tomorrow will most likely be the last day as I have to head back. Just trying to blog everything as its always an adventure worth sharing. Bed time. Thinking of the great yet odd time its been and just was called to come watch as one of their cats here is literally sharpening his teeth on the plastic blades of the fan blowing in their room.


Wholeness: One Day at a Time

Wholeness: One Day At A Time
So I wrote a blog the other day about how bad my day was and how everything was completely crazy and out of the ordinary. I actually read it through a day later and got a few good laughs. Actually I'll admit that even in the moment however it was pretty hilarious and I often laugh in awkward moments or make a joke as that is just how I deal with things. The point is however that again it reminded me that each day is literally another chance to learn something new, experience something that will stretch us and take us to new places. Thats how I see it anyway. For me the past couple years have been that way everyday and its amazing how when I look back I can see how much Ive learned with this perspective. Its really not always that easy tho. Just a personal self evaluation.

At the beginning of the year I made it a goal again to work improve and work on myself to continue to be the man God wants me to be. These areas included my social life, spiritual life, physical and mental health and so on. Kind of a holistic approach to making life happen. Included in that goal was to build a solid support group of people and resources to have in all I do. Good solid friendships, accountability support, a loving healthy church family and positive outlets for myself. I have to say its not always easy to keep that going but its been great to have and I greatly appreciate all of the people Ive found to be good supportive , insightful friends in my everyday life, workplace and church. Pretty amazing. Its good to know when you have people in your life that are their to truly be a friend and help you make life better with only you in mind and no other agenda. That whole concept often times seems extinct.

Today after I spent an hour of my day today excersizing and stepping up my routine to burn off whats left of my spare tire gut, I got to talk to a great friend Ive had in my life for many years and I was reminded of all the good things included in this blog but also of the one part of my life that is pretty key and that is my relationships. Another area of my life that I am working on as I am pursuing improving relationships that God has put in my life.

So my point is in this particular blog: Whatever your day may bring if you make it your intention you can find each day entangled with new chances to see God and life situations take you to a new and whole you. (and no Im not now just figuring this out for the first time. Just sharing to encourage any of my readers to give it a try too.)

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My Bad Day

I thought Id share this very bad day of mine just for anyone's entertainment. I posted it in my facebook status and it was too long. So here's what happened...I got off to a late start today, dumped water all over my laptop, had 3 hours of meetings, went to a court hearing I wish I didn't have to be at, my yogurt mysteriously exploded all over my cell phone, I dumped coffee all down the front of my shirt, ended up breaking up a family fight at a team meeting where the F bomb was dropped at least 3 dozen times, attended another meeting where I learned some new bad news about my clients father I can't post on here, walked into a messy arguement between a teen and a mother I've been working with and to top it all off when I came home I found my sandal and toes on my left foot covered in crap that I evidently must have stepped in somewhere. No joke. All true. So I took my self out to dinner and had ribs at Buffalo Wild Wings and I'm going to bed. Not a typical day of mine. Thinking positive. Anyone every have days like this? It happens. Luckily it always gets better. Tomorrow it'll all just be a bad dream. Or maybe a good laugh. Whatever the case............Adios evil Thursday.


God's Back Yard

Last night I was on my way back from a clients house in northwestern arizona and came across an experience like never before. If you have ever been in that area you know how amazingly beautiful it is and scenic. Mountains, the north rim of the canyon, miles and miles of Joshua trees and open skies. I took a new route back this time off of 93 just north of Kingman on Stockton Hill Road that let me into one of the most powerfully amazing places Ive ever been. Maybe it was just me or the moment but I think I literally for a little while stumbled into God's back yard. The sun was going down and leaving more colors on the mountains and landscape than I could remember. There was open road both ways and I was the only one there. Peaceful, serene, panaramic and breathtaking. I got out of the car to take some pics and then took off again. Only minutes later to end up getting out again and taking more. Needless to say this route thats about a 30 miles long ended up being a long trip as I couldnt get enough of the place. Simply amazing. Perfect place to experience God like none other. Not really that explainable by words and these pics only really give a small taste of the place.....

One big thing for me lately that has been cool is getting simple reminders in my daily life that provide some kind of comfort or peace or even direction. As I came across this I was sure this was one of those places to again remind me of the need to stop and take a breath. Im pretty sure nowhere else did anyone have an experience like this at the time and place I did as I was alone in the middle of one of the most incredible and majestic views completely surrounding the road I was on. To me it was like God giving me a moment to take one on one with Him as he said "Im here". I actaully had nothing to say and in my amazement of it all just stood there, took pics (even in the middle of the road) and soaked up the unique silence in a place very massive, serene and relaxing.

The pics are below. Nothing more to say. The pics should say it all. If not you need to go and experience it for yourself.


Off Pitch Reminder

I had another awesome worship time at Northpoint again today. My friend Bryan led and every song was perfect. As I was singing however I noticed something was really off. It didnt take long to figure out that it was the guy in front of me, singing out as loud as he could but I think he was singing in a different key. Or maybe his own key. Whatever the case he was definitely off pitch. I can't say I regularly hear alot of people in Church singing that far off but he had it going on. That might have been why the lady next to him moved over a bit. The best part was he was really singing and you could tell he was meaning every word and singing from the heart. All he wanted to do was worship from his heart.

This reminded me of something I again needed to be reminded of. God through his grace looks past our imperfections. No matter how many times you have messed up in your life or even today, no matter what is going on or if you can't sing anywhere near the note. God only wants us to worship Him in all we do with all our hearts so we can grow closer to Him. Its hard to remember and definitely hard to do. I willingly admit that and confess I am not and have not always beenthe perfect "Worshipper" or even close. But I do know as I was reminded through this guys feeble attempt at singing this morning that when we do worship God, He restores, heals, redirects and has promised us hope. Everyone needs to know that. This is something I've been holding on to in my life for quite some time now and I will not ever give up on my personal worship during the week or corporate worship on the weekend. Im grateful for a God who saves and purifies as Pastor Paul has been sharing and glad He makes me new through my worship everyday.

This is one of the songs we did today by Tenth Avenue North called "Hallelujah"
I love this band and love these lyrics.
Click this link here to listen to the song

I'm falling to my knees, I feel the earth beneath
With the weight of my sin and this crushing unbelief
How could You really love me with all that I've done? O lord

I hide my face in the shadow of Your wings oh Lord
Hide my sin from the beauty here before Your throne, Your throne

Hallelujah for the blood of the lamb that was slain
Hallelujah for the blood of the Lamb that was slain
And so we enter in to see Your Face, We enter in to see Your face Oh God

Good stuff. Amazing how simple and weird things can be awesome reminders we really need to hear huh?


Reaching 40

Reaching 40.So I finally made it to 40. Not too excited about the number but I am very excited about how Im celebrating it. I set a goal just two months ago to reach my perfect weight and reached it. Now Im on vacation celebrating and I think gained it all back. Whatever the case I'm glad to be hanging for over a week with family and doing alot of things Ive been wanting to do for a long time. Camping, swimming in lake Michigan, fireworks, visiting missed relatives and of course catching up on my blogging. To top it off the trip down to Phoenix to fly out was one of the most adventurous days Ive had ever. Long story but maybe sometime I'll share more. Anyway. Its been a strange different kind of year and there's alot to write about. In case you are following along stay tuned for some more stories and insight from the new 40 year old blogger.


Working In lake Havasu City

My new part time job in Lake Havasu City

For years since Ive been in AZ I have wanted to go check out the London Bridge. Ironically this year as part of work Ive been in and out of Lake Havasu city where we have an office. So I get to see it all the time. Its like a little tropical paradise in the middle of nowhere Arizona. Who would have ever thought the London Bridge is in Arizona, let alone a large body of water that is officially a lake and an island that the bridge connects. ITs all hard to wrap your mind around I know. Whatever the case I love that town and Im glad I get to check it out so often. Im getting to know people around the town and have my favorite places (including the Hawaiin shaved ice stand along the channel.) Sure its a bit hot there but it beats 40's and snow in the middle of May here in Flag. ITs a pretty sweet gig and its been great working with the staff there at AZCA. I have tons of pics as I work around the town and am just amazed by the view. Its a great vacation spot if you're looking for a get away. (Know anyone with a jet ski they would be ok with me borrowing?)


Snowboarding Season

Snowboarding Season!

So I just completed the second year of our Snowbaording Group at Snowbowl with SOS, Club 412 and some of my fellow employees at AZCA. This year I co-led our group with Maggie from the Club as we both helped out last year. This year we doubled our total to 18 youth. It was an awesome year!!

Everyone did awesome (and I actually only fell a couple times believe it or not).

On the last day Corey B and I went up to the top and did the black diamond through which turned out to be a complete white out snow storm at the top of the mountain. We came all the way down without being able to see more than a few feet in front of us. Definitely one of the most crazy things I have ever experienced.

Hoping our team of youth next year will continue to grow. It was great to see how well this years program went.


Physically Fit in 2011 ( My big 40th birthday goal)

So one of my big goals this year is to again be physically fit. About four years ago I stepped on to a scale after Christmas while I as on vacation and was greatly offended by the numbers. Somehow I had gained a ton of weight and so I decided I needed to do something about it. I set a goal for myself, a new years resloution and went out an bought a treadmill. I was determined that I was going to lose weight that year. I walked everyday whether I wanted to or not and kept a log. Holidays, busy work days. Read on the tread mill, listened to music on my Ipod while on the treadmill, made phone calls on the treadmill, watched TV on the treadmill. Several months went by and even tho I didnt notice anything I felt a difference. To make a long story short by that fall and that winter I lost about 38 pounds. Good story huh?

Sad to say but my focus has not been very much on fitness over the past couple years until just recently. Last December I decided to make a goal in 2011 to focus again on health. After all believe it or not this year I turn the big 40. So my goal is to get back down to my desired weight. (Im not going to give the number but its about 10-12 pounds less ) and Im working on building muscle. My sons and I joke alot about our six packs. Or one packs. But I decided to work it all off and go for the abs. So I workout as many days a week as I can doing several miles on the treadmill, and my reps of crunches, push ups, curls and keep increasing weekly. I set a goal to be at by this month and presently am only a couple pounds off. Corey has been trying to do the same and keeps me going. My goal is by my birthday... July 4th, to be exactly at my expected weight, have developed abs and upper body tone, muscle. Im determined to do it. If you read this and want to follow up and make sure Im still trying to work on my big 40th birthday goal ask me. I still have a little over 4 months! Im excited and have to step it up!

Ive found, as any fitness guru or PE teacher would probably tell you, that excersize is definitely one of the keys to your mental health. Its been for me anyway. When your stressed or overwhelmed or maybe even having a rough week you would be suprised how much taking about 45 minutes will do to positively help your health. It doesnt mean even walking on a treadmill. It could be just by getting outside and being physically active for a change. It can boost your mood, help you find that energy you need to make it through a busy day and actually help prevent and fight off some of those bugs that come this time of year. So I am going to keep working at this and see how it works out. The clock is tickin. Time for some more crunches.......


Spelling Bee Spell

Spelling Bee Spell
So Ethan got selected from his class to be in the spelling bee this year and was pretty excited about it. There were about 29 kids from the whole school that got up in front of the school and parents and spelled each word. Pretty intense. To make it even more challenging they had several pages of words to study and each were words that originated from different cultures/countries.

In the first round it took the total down to less than ten. Ethan didnt make it through as he got hung up on preferrable. (Is that how you spell it? I dont even know.) Two more rounds went by. Then the last two were up and it became more of a Mispelling Bee. The last one mispelled a word so the next to last had to come back and it went back and forth for the next 30 minutes. A spelling bee rule I didnt know of) They had a gong that one of the officials would hit each time someone mispelled. There were a couple hundred kids and parents sitting there hearing how to not spell each word and then the gong, mispell, gong, mispell, gong.

It was getting to be a boxing match or maybe a part of a the story in one of the "Wimpy Kid Diaries". Kids were oooing and ahhing. Teachers were trying to keep them still as they were getting all antsy in their seats waiting to hear someone make it through a corretly spelled word. It was pretty entertaining... for a while. Then old... then ridiculous. I was afraid we all were stuck in a Spelling Bee Twilight Zone with no way out. E, his teacher, other parents and I in the back row started joking around to pass the time as the curse continued. Mispell, gong, mispell gong. About this time I was thinking ok, Re-do! Lets just start this thing all over again. It definitely would be quicker than hearing how many different cultures and countries SHOULDnt be spelled. Then they kept asking.... "please use that in a sentence" or could you "please give me the definition?" My idea to E was maybe modernize it and just ask "could you please use that in a text" and then the student could get it, spell it out loud and all this could be over. (Corey dared E the night before if he didnt know how to spell a word just to use his favorite saying....I.D.K ( meaning:I dont know) "Contraption.... I....D..... K.... contraption").

So E didnt make it and was pretty bummed but he got a few good laughs out of the next almost 40 minutes back and forth between the two girls who evidently didnt know many spelling words either. He suddenly had forgotten all about mispelling his word.

Then it happened. One of them got a word right and the room exploded. Everyone jumped up, cheered and gave them a standing ovation. Kids were excited. The winner was amazed. Parents were headed for the exits. We had all suddenly been released from the spelling bee spell. After dozens of words had been mispelled... the officials were just waiting for someone to get one right so they could have a winner. And a miracle had just happened.

Just when we thought the long battle was over and people were leaving the official said..... "If you could please be quiet now as we continue. We have a 1st and 2nd place winner and now we have to have a 3rd and 4th for the final competition." ( another spelling bee rule I wasnt aware of)
and that is when I quickly left....
(Congrats Ethan on making it to this competition! How awesome. P.S. I apologize for any mispelled words in this blog, It's not my fault.)


Relationship Resolution

Relationship ResolutionAs you know alot of people try making a new years resolution in January and try working at it right off the bat. Some make it work and reach their goal . Others get stuck and quit.
I am not a big New Years resolution kind of person but do like the chance to "start again" fresh and new every year. On my train ride to MI for break I wrote down things Id like to accomplish in 2011. I always have some pretty big ideas and often suprise myself. Im looking to write more songs, promote my cd, excersize daily (which I am doing!) etc etc. However a big goal of mine this year that takes time is to focus on relationships. To develop a better, positive, healthy, relationship with God, family and other people in my "personal community". I also want to improve the ones I have and make new ones that are life long, edifying and real. Think about this :

How many real friends and solid healthy relationships do you have in your life?
Or do you even have a good set of friends and relationships with others?
Are they people you can talk to, depend on, learn from, hold you accountable and have fun with?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am driven by relationships. Thats one of the reasons why I like things like Facebook where I can keep in touch and try to develop and build relationships that are a key part of my life. Anyone I include on Facebook I know and have had some kind of relationship with somewhere in my life. (I sometimes go through my friends on FB and reminesce the adventures, drop someone a line to check in or even use it as a prayer list. )

One things I've noticed about me tho is that over the years I have let many good relationships slide as time, life and my own personal agenda have gotten in the way. Anyone know the feeling? We're all probably very guilty of that. Ive also noticed more recently actually who my good, close and real friends are from those who are more really just "aquaintances" that I had at one time thought were a bigger part of my life. And sadly enough yes sometimes they are even Christians. Don't get me wrong I'll be the first to admit I've messed up in that department too. Even as a Christian. But I at least know I can do my part and know what it takes. That's my personal goal this year, to improve my relationships and build up a group of people I can have healthy friendships with and surround myself with them. At church, at work and every part of my life. Thats what we all need.

Remember the old saying.... "No Man is An Island"? Even if you may think you are or prefer it that way..... you cant live like that forever. Good luck with that. It just doenst work. Its not the way we were created. I have been that way but have noticed more and more that I need people in my life that are also relational driven and dependable but also that can help me be a better me. My goal in return, to do the same.

So there it is. A Relationship Resolution. I think its a good thing to share as we all need to make this a goal. Try it. Focus on a better relationship with God, those in your family and others in your own personal world. Im sure it will bless your life more than you know. After all, it's really one of the main reasons we are even here in the first place!


Christmas Vacation VIa Train

Christmas Vacation Trip via Train!

The boys and I went to Michigan to visit the family for a week between Christmas and New Years. We rode the train across the country both ways and got to see alot and spend alot of time together on the way. Here are some of the pics on the trip and at my parents home in MI (where the snow melted the day we got there!)
Click here to view the online pics


Kutelss "What Faith Can Do" fav

I dont normally post clips from youtube on here but this is a great song. No this isnt me playing and singing. sorry. I have heard this song over and over and its like my theme song right now. I love some of the lines of this song. Especially the chorus.
Check out the words. This song has been number one for them for at least a year now.