Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day Fifty 9

Yesterday was a good workday. So much fun hanging out with my co-workers, as always. We had an all-day task meeting, so we were trapped together in a small conference room. A sure recipe for hilarity.

Class was decent, too. Nothing outstanding, but a solid day. After that was a decently productive study session and bed.

I woke up this morning at friggin' five forty-five. A nightmare about my brothers and me being chased by a convenience store robbing serial killer. It was pretty intense, but not intense enough to justify waking up that early. I was annoyed, as always, that I couldn't go back to sleep. It was good prayer time though.

I'm really hungry, as I am most of the day. I'm gaining weight. It could be muscle weight, at least some of it is, I'm pretty certain. But I'm not a body builder. Weight gain is weight gain. It's all equally triggering.

Anyway, I pray that I can "quit." I was reading yesterday about a woman who was a workaholic. That's clearly not my testimony, but she also had my problem with the constantly running mind. One day she just said "I quit." Along with scaling back her commitments, she decided that she was going to stop working and thinking so many steps ahead and behind. She was just going to be present and focus on doing the next thing that she had to do. I want that.

God answered my prayer for my friend's situation. He also took care of my heel spur just after I prayed the prayer, which was pretty cool. And, this weekend, he orchestrated a ridiculously smooth conversation about the investment I was considering. I need another one of those blessings to make it through the next step.

I'm grateful for the laughter and joy that fills my life through my friends. I'm also grateful that he reminded me of my passion for people and relationship.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day Fifty 8

Yesterday was a bad work day. It wasn't bad, bad. It was sort of productive, although not it a tangible way. The main problem was that I was tired and doing a lot of reading and thinking. Today will be better. Back at the ranch, I was quite productive. Laundry, changing linens, cooking (well, frozen pizza), grocery shopping (well, asking Matt to grab a couple of things), talking to my roommates (I actually did that one), talking to my friend Nic, some designing, lots of photo processing.Today will be less productive at home, because I have class.

My shopping prayer was answered. Let's hope I can stick to it, I guess. I'm grateful for my job. I need to start acting like it, and I need to be a better steward over it, but I am very grateful. I pray that that is evidenced today. I also pray that my heel stops hurting.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day Fifty 7

This was a weekend, busy and sleepless and fun, like so many others. It was also a weekend of visits. Both Rob and Adrienne had their respective mother in town. Rob's youngest brother was also here. It was great to see all of them.

Rob's mom is the consummate friend's mom. Fun, funny and generous and mothering. All-around cute. I get excited every time I hear she's coming to visit. Adrienne's mom is very much like Adrienne - reserved, intelligent, honest, solid and warm. You could easily match both to their kids in a twenty mom line-up. Blind-folded.

Andy's also a very good guy. Similar to Rob in a lot of ways. It would have been interesting to see the three boys as kids. My mother probably wouldn't have let me play with them, mind you, but it would have been fun.

My friend, Catherine, also had an out of town guest. Her college friend, Caroline. Who I always remember as the cute, curly-red-head. She's always fun and interesting. I had dinner with them and Catherine's husband last night. Catherine's a restaurant quality cook, so the food was delicious as always. The conversation was also great. I also saw a little of Catherine's son. He's kind of a fireball, so he was in constant motion for my entire visit.

There was also a breakfast with Brandt and Matt's small group at the house and lunch with Rob on Saturday. I don't remember what happened Friday. Oh, yeah, I was working all night. Good time and great food, there, too.

Busy, busy busy. But good. I am grateful for peace. My life and my mind aren't perfect and they're not calm, but they could be a hell of a lot worse. Literally. I'm never without God, and his presence is never without some measure of peace. Might be some challenge and gobbledygook, but God's peace is always there in the background somewhere.

I pray that today is good for my friends, who have a lot going on, and an impetus for me. I don't care into what. I also need a shopping blessing.

God answered my prayer yesterday and calmed me, even though I didn't pray for it. I had a very rough shopping experience. And wanted to, as Rob says, "start breaking stuff." But it all worked out in the end.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day Fifty 3

Yesterday continued on in it's goodness. It was a productive work day and it ended with one of the best nights of class I've had all semester. After class I met some friends for hanging out at a local bar that I've been wanting to check out. Got some very good news from one of my friends, and I'm exceedingly happy for her. Got to say goodbye to Dave, which was my goal in going out.

On my way to the bar, I got some good news from God. My worship mojo is back and I got my answer about the investment venture I'm considering and my peace about my motives. So, all of my prayers from yesterday were answered! Well, technically my motives were wrong, but God helped me to get them in line or at least be honest about them.

I'm grateful for my life just as it is right now and I accept that all things - the good, the bad, and the ugly - come to pass. I pray that God will continue to help me enjoy the present and trust him for the future and past, and I pray that he'll keep talking sense into my head when I get off track.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Day Fifty 2

Today started off really well. I had an awesome morning meeting. I had a Mickey D's breakfast. During my walk to work, I was a little tuned out. I stopped in the middle of the crowd and prayed. The thought that came to mind after I prayed was that I should stop looking around and start seeing. I went with it, and it completely transformed my outlook and my interaction with the people around me. The people I passed went from being scenery to being people. It was very cool.

Anyway, that was my morning. Yesterday was long, but a good long. Relatively productive workday, although not much to show for it. Great long lunch and conversation with Dave, Rob's friend and actual mentor. I had fun cooking and hanging out with the roommates. I finally finished my AA visit paper and turned it in with an exorbitant seven minutes to spare.

This no music thing is still kicking my butt and I'm not being as focused as I should on filling the void. I'm talking, I'm praying, but I don't know... I'm getting better and God is challenging me, so that's good.

Anyway, yesterday was a good day and I'm looking forward to good today. I don't know if any prayers were answered yesterday. But today I pray for vision for my future, and the words and wisdom as I consider some investment ventures. I just want to be well, Lord. I just want to live well, and love well. Have your way. Do your thing.

I'm grateful for my life. I sat at my computer last night thinking, "I love my life." And, I do. It's pretty darn cool. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day Fifty 1

Yesterday was long and introspective. For most of the morning, I was stuck in my head replaying the day before, as I often do. It took some prayer and some effort, but God answered my prayer and I finally escaped. I finished out my AA meetings in grand fashion. I also started my paper, which I had every intention of finishing but didn’t. When all was said and done, I went to bed tired and satisfied with the day.

What I was most grateful for in this day is probably the same as the day before. The visiting the AA meetings has been an awesome experience. I’m tempted to attend more, but I’ll resist. That’s enough voyeurism for a while.

Prayer…? The bike. And soon. Please.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Day Fifty!

This was a tiring but good weekend. A good combo of fun and fellowship and work and stress. And food, another big food weekend.

I really can't focus right now.

Anyway, I may or may not have bombed my midterm, depending on how bad my memory was and how good the curve is. To be fair, it was probably among the most ambiguous tests I've ever taken, and it will be a corporate failure. I prefer to think of that as confirmation of the ambiguity of the test items rather than misery loving company, but I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between. I pray that all works out for my best in that. I pray to end up somewhere in the upper B/lower A range, so that I can secure my A for the class. I also pray for my classmates, one in particular, to not just see the light at the end of the tunnel but to bask in it.

I also need successful shopping & fast.

I saw my prayers answered in God working everything out for my meeting visits. That's been an amazing experience, and a total miracle of grace, undeserved favor. I am incredibly grateful for the work God has done in the lives of the people that I met at those meetings and I praise him for the implications their testimonies hold for his ability to free and change everyone and anyone from everything and anything.

"I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Matthew 26:13.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Day Forty-Six

Last night during my break for class I went to Subway to buy something to go along with my usual dinner of yogurt and granola. Really I just needed a spoon to eat my yogurt, but felt compelled to buy something rather than just asking for a spoon. I went in prepared and excited to buy three of their cookies, of which I am immensely fond, yet lamenting the fact that my sweet tooth is taking over my life.

God challenged me to choose something healthier. Like what? It's Subway. Turns out their kids meal comes with a pack of apples. I said, "Whatever," and bought the apples. Mind you, I hate apples.

That is, until now. Those were the best apples I've ever tasted, and literally some of the best fruit I've ever tasted. It was a combination of sweet red apples and very tart and sweet green apples. That's all the pack said, it didn't say what kind of red or green apples.

To me the apples and their tastiness represented the fruit (so to speak) of obedience. I spent the rest of the evening on a high.

In that rather trite anecdote is wrapped yesterday's answered prayer and thing-I'm-grateful-for. My prayer for today is that I remember the apples - I kept the wrapper, by the way - and what they represent.

God has proven to me over and over again that His way is always the best way, even when it doesn't look like look or feel like it at first. Still trust is hard to come by. It's good to know He hasn't given up on me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Day Forty-Five

Still with the wierd sleeping thing. I was up this morning at 3am. Luckily, I was able to sleep most of the time between 3 and 6 when I woke up for good. Thanks to Papillon for the international shout out, and the reply which reminded me of the scripture I posted on the sidebar of the blog then ceremoniously forgot. Sleep and rest are gifts granted by God, not something I'm entitled to or dictated by the hour of the day. As she said, it is a thing - like all gifts - to be thought of reverently and requiring some degree of stewardship.

Interesting thoughts.

Yesterday was a great day. The amazing weather helped immensely. I was a little tired, so after a short lunch with one of my favorite coworkers, I went for a bike ride to get some fresh air. I worked for a bit then took a power nap and knocked out the rest of the day. Class was good, interesting.

Still no answered prayers, although now I'm convinced I'm not looking hard enough. Actually, I my commuting prayers were answered. On the way home from school, as I approached the station, I prayed that my train would come in four minutes to give me time to get up to the platform. Right after I prayed, I looked up at the monitor (which you can see from the ground) to see how long the train would be. It said 2 minutes. So, I ran. Two minutes later, when I reached the platform, it still said 2 minutes. Because of a minor delay it showed up in exactly four minutes. That was cool.

I really need God's help getting my paper done. I don't deserve it. The paper could/should have been finished by now, but it's not. So, I'm praying that I can get it out of the way. It will require some major acrobatics on my part, but also a lot of other factors falling into place exactly the way I need them to. So, I really need God's help to make that happen. Oh, Frailty, thy name is Procrastination.

Gratitude? Yesterday, I really enjoyed being in class discussing/debating/learning about God's Word and Truth. It's cool to be able to reason together just like God invited us to. It's great that we serve a God that's big and complex enough to keep us guessing, but simple and real enough to make perfect sense...when he wants to.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Day Forty-Four

For some reason, I'm up really early this morning. I'm dying to know. So much for my prayer for sleep. I didn't even get a nap in yesterday. Maybe today. My prayer for the day, I guess, would be that my waking up early had a purpose and I want to find out what that was. I also have a lot to get done for school in the next week or so, so any help I can get on that would be great, too. And bless my relationships. My friendships, any dating you have coming my way, my wife and kids, my family ties, and especially our relationship. Thank you for the fast and what it's done for us. Don't let me lose the good of this change in our conversations. Keep Jonathan safe in his last week and prepare DC for his return. I think that's about it.

I didn't really see any prayers answered, but thank you for listening to me when I whine out loud. I was dead tired yesterday and I was slipping into a bad mood. All of a sudden this very peculiar cloud formation shows up, and all was right with the world again. For the record, I'm a cloud person. They are one of my favorite of God's creations and they remind me of him. Some more than others. The one that I saw was very "Him," so it made me happy. I had energy, I was smiling and bopping down the street. Like I said, my moods are fragile. The bad ones, at least.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Day Forty-Three

I want to sing! Just wanted to put that out there.

Anyway, this has been a good and full weekend: partying, snow tubing, biking, soccer (or something like it), and lots and lots and lots and lots of good eating. Most of that was yesterday.

DST? Early, late, extended, whatever. It all sucks. I'm already tired. Now even with a full night's or more sleep, I'm still tired. So, my prayer today is for sleep and rest. Both good.

Answered prayers. I support them, obviously. I can't think of any, off-hand, though.

I'm grateful for exercise. Riding my bike, running around, shopping. For the record, the way I shop makes it qualify as exercise. Not because I'm so good at it, just the opposite actually. It's very stressful and easily elevates my heart rate beyond that of aerobic exercise.

As I read back over this entry, I'm reminded of how little I involved God in this weekend. That explains a lot.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Day Forty

So, God answered my prayer about the LW talk. It went really well. Some things I planned happened, some didn't. The Lord added to my numbers (or words, as the case may be) as he saw fit. It felt good, and I didn't do a whole lot of second guessing, which always feels good.

Work was productive and kind of flew by. A midday meeting followed by a long lunch with my "little brother" helped. It was good to feel like a mentor, again. I'm so proud of the man he's becoming. Today's prayer is that the Lord continues building his heart as a shepherd.

The thing I'm most grateful for is probably the different roles that the Lord allowed me to play in the day: brother, friend, coworker, leader, follower, speaker, listener, example, prophet. I lament my jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none status sometimes, but I do always feel that it's part of God's plan.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Day Thirty-Nine

Yesterday was...long. Work was good, but...long. The staff meeting did not disappoint. I backslid in my assertiveness training during the lunch ordering process, and paid for it in money and spring rolls and frustration. All and all it was a productive enjoyable day. It was long, but I ended up staying over because I was busy AND time flew toward the end. I came home and puttered around for a bit. Then some surrogate family dropped by for movies and pizza. It was a few kids I used to mentor in the youth ministry at my old church and the mother of a couple of them. Of course, they're not kids anymore. The "kids" are ready to graduate college. And all, including the mom, are like brothers and sisters. We watched Little Miss Sunshine and The Prestige. They left at around 2am. We're a loud and rowdy bunch, so it was a late night for my roommates, too, which I feel horrible about. Oh, and I fell while riding my bike in the snow yesterday morning. We're both alright, although my bike may need a few small repairs. It was potentially dangerous, since I fell flat into oncoming traffic, but in actuality it was just funny. It drew the attention of drivers, walkers, construction workers, and other passersby.

I am grateful that I fell and that I'm still alive. It really could have gone a number of different and less humorous ways. But, I enjoy falls. As I mentioned to Rob I was a very clumsy child and had years to get used to falling. I also think God trips me, every so often, just to keep me from taking myself too seriously.

I don't recall seeing any prayers answered yesterday.

For today, I pray that my sharing at Living Waters will go well tonight. I'm talking about my experience with the true and false masculine. Should be interesting. My prayer is that I can step back and look at my life objectively. And, stay stepped back enough to share honestly - without trying to paint myself the martyr, the sinner or the saint - and enough to not get in the way of the Holy Spirit. Tall order, when I'm pouring out my guts on such as sensitive topic to a room full of 60 or 70 of my closest acquaintences.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Day Thirty-Eight

Yesterday was another uneventful day. There's an episode of Family Guy where Brian is volunteering as a seeing eye dog. He's taking a blind person to a movie, The Blair Witch Project, and narrating what happens: "Some kids are in the woods with a video camera. Now they're running. Nothing's happening. More running. Nothing's happening. Nothing's happening. Nothing's happening. It's over. People look pissed."

That's what comes to mind, when I think of my days, lately. I've got to get some sleep. Anyway, work is still tough. Today we have a staff meeting, which will make everything better. Our staff meetings are so much fun. I usually come away with a lot of miscellany to deal with, but it's worth it. My co-workers are the funniest, craziest, zaniest, most critical and sarcastic people on the planet. So, locking them in a room together is a reality show waiting to happen. So, I'm looking forward to that.

I pray for myself and my friends to catch afire with the Holy Spirit. I pray that God will ignite/reignite a passion in us. That He will give us a hope and a future. It's a little amorphous, but that's the best I can do right now.

I'm grateful for my bike, still. I'm enjoying riding it to work. Even though it's butt-cold. With my helmet (or Matt's helmet) and my other accoutremént, I feel like a different person. A biker person. It's almost like the first time I wore a baseball cap.

My prayers for two friends' jobs were answered yesterday. That was cool. One friend got a new job. The other had a tough day at work that turned out well. He said he saw the experience as an answered prayer. His recognizing the answered prayer is another answered prayer. Also, the frozen crab I cooked for my roommates didn't kill them. My first stab a crab cakes turned out pretty well. We had a good meal and a great fellowship together. Sharing more of ourselves. I love my roommates. It's hard not to see God at work when I think about them.

Not a great day, but a good day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Day Thirty-Seven

Monday, March 05, 2007

Day Thirty-Six

Yesterday. What to say? I learned a lot about myself and my friends.

I bought a bike this weekend and yesterday was my first ride. It's been a while since I've ridden and my first attempt was a somewhat hilly, eight-mile the freezing cold...with no gloves...and a malfunctioning seat...with a Nazi for a riding coach. It turned out to be a good challenge. I was especially grateful for the Nazi. I quit a few times on some of the later hills. My legs just would not do it. So I just stopped. The Nazi yelled and pushed and pulled and got me through it. And, in the end, I did it.

This experience reminded me that I can't do it alone. It was the life-application portion of a sermon God had just preached to me a few days earlier. In my quest for self-sufficience, I wanted to believe that when things got tough or when I needed a push, I could find the coaching and the mentoring within myself. I wanted to believe that I could be my own accountability partner, but I can't. Apparently, it is not good for man to be alone. I think it was Shakespeare who said that.

But I could be wrong.

I am grateful for the strength and frailty of my friends, even when it puts me in awkward positions. It makes them human. Just like me, sometimes.

A prayer I saw answered was for my bike. I bought it off Craig's List. It was originally promised to someone else, but I really wanted that particular bike and was in a Joel Olsteen sort of mood, so I prayed that it would be mine anyway. On Thursday, I prayed that I would get an e-mail at work about the bike. I waited all day at work and the e-mail never came. But, as I was packing up to go to Living Waters, the phone rang. It was the seller calling to say that the other buyer hadn't shown up so if I wanted the bike it was mine. Bless my Father, the Living God, who cares about even the frivolity in my life.

I pray today I can find a good suit at the sale at Filene's. What can I say? I need a suit. I also want world peace. That is, peace within the internal worlds of my friends. Peace in their minds, peace in their bodies, peace in their spirits, and peace in their relationships. It's a selfish prayer. Frankly, I'm tired of all of the whining. And, I'm tired of my heart breaking every time I see the pain in their eyes and hear it in their voices.

I want so badly to play God. I want his power and control. But I can't imagine how much that intensity of love must cost him. Well, I guess I do have an idea.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Day Thirty-Two

Tuesday was weird. As I was walking toward my building on the way to work, I saw a lot of smoke coming out of the top. It turned out that it was just the smoke stack and normal exhaust. Then as I got closer, I started to smell burning and there was a little bit of smoke coming from the bottom of the back side of the building. Just in the time it took me to walk along the back side of the building, the burning smell and the smoke got much thicker. I resolved to report it when I got to the building just in case. I stopped by and got my morning papers on my way, just as I always do. By the time I got around to the front of the building, the alarm had been pulled and people were slowly trickling out. Turns out there was a small fire in a trash can in the loading dock. That explained the smell and the area where I saw the smoke. The fire was out before the fire department arrived, en masse.

Mind you, it was already a bad morning, because I woke up with all of the (too) many things I had to do that day on my mind. A meeting that morning that I wasn't prepared for, a class presentation that evening I wasn't prepared for, a homework assignment for that evening that I wasn't prepared for, and test the next day that I wasn't prepared for. The day got worse. When we finally got into the building, it turned out that my coworker wasn't coming and I would have to prepare for her portion of the meeting to, then help our director to manage the meeting. The other bad thing is that I hadn't brought my camera, so I missed taking pictures of the smoke and the fire fighters, and the window washer who didn't realize the building was on fire until the fire trucks arrived and he realized the people were rushing out of the building for a reason. I also had some rather inconvenient gastrointestinal problems that I won't go into.

The day slowly got better and ended up being a pretty good day. The meeting was postponed (after I prepared and arrived, but whatever), my presentation went well, and my homework assignment wasn't due that night (it's a floating assingment that will be due at random, but you always have to be prepared for it). My test, which was last night, went phenomenally. I prayed for that test, but had no idea it could go that well. I maybe doubted three of my answers out of 50. I sailed through with a confidence that was clearly not accounted for by my level of preparation.

ASIDE: In case you're wondering, it's not just you. You are actually noticing a theme - a motif, if you will - of unpreparedness.

God answered my prayer for Tuesday and for my test. The jury is still out on my prayer for my friend's test, but I feel some guilt in that. Not real guilt, some neurotic guilt. Well, maybe real. grateful that that test went so well. I really can't explain it. It was pretty cool. Even if I failed it, that feeling was good enough for me to call it a success.

For today, I pray for tonight. It's a small group night at LW and I want that to go well. I want to feel reconnected. I'm there, I'm present, but there's something else going on. I don't know what it is. Having it identified is optional. Having it gone is mandatory.