Saturday, November 07, 2009
My life is going ok I guess, I could complain but I'm not sure it would do any good.
The kids are all doing ok in school, Calvin is reading and sounding out almost everything he sees, hears or says.
It's really cool to watch kids grow up, even though I have a certain amount of anxiety about that.
That's mostly due to some bad choices by my oldest 2 kids. My 17 year old is in jail, again; I can't believe it.
But I love him and he didn't hurt anyone. So I hope he just doesn't end up going to prison or something. I can't believe how stupid people can be ( especially when they are my kids).
So once again, things could be better, but they are what they are and I will live and hopefully we will all learn to be productive members of society. Hmm, maybe I would settle for well adjusted and content.
I think that the 3 younger boys are pretty well adjusted, hard to say really what they will choose though. We try to do our best for our kids, I think sometimes that really pays off and sometimes they will go on to wreck every life that touches theirs with complete disregard for every one around them.
I was pretty selfish & stupid when I was young and I understand that it's harder than ever for kids to make the right choices. Things that were little mistakes for me can be huge setbacks for my kids, life changing even.
I wish I could change so much of my life, I have a load of regrets for the life that I have lived
I have caused a lot of pain for people who loved me, some of them still do (shocking I know) and my life is nothing like what I though t it should end up like.
But, there is still joy; there is still passion. There are still moments that I wouldn't trade for any thing, so I guess it was worth it, sort of.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I am really slow with the posting, but I have been doing other things lately and I really have to be in the mood to write a new post.
I guess I am in the mood now :D
I have been following Grace's posts lately and she has me thinking about my own story after I read her post tonight.
She is talking about being more secure in Father's love these days and about honest issues she is still having.
I can completely relate to that. My image of God has changed so much from year to year and I have lived in a space of utter uncertainty for about 4-5 years now.
The thing that made me doubt in the first place ( I was so sure about what I believed a few years ago) was the fact that things were still going wrong, very wrong in my life and in the lives of people I love.
I was assured that when I got my act together things would be better. No one overtly said exactly that to me in the Charismatic church where I used to attend, but the implications were everywhere.
Seems like every testimony I heard was about fasting, praying, getting into the word, living a more Holy life or praying in just the right way and it would all fall in to place.
After hearing about how God had healed diabetics in the congregation probably 200 times it started really getting under my skin. It started making me angry when this was the focus of our message or even a part of it. I have two sons who are both type1 diabetics and they have gone through a hell that you wouldn't wish on you worst enemy. After a while it started sounding like they did something wrong that God wasn't healing them. Lets face it, they were 18 months and 2 years when they were each diagnosed and there was no way they did anything to deserve that.
Those word of Faith people can be so inspiring sometimes. They can really encourage you that everything will be alright. But then you go home, or your teenager decides to cause a scene in the sanctuary after a service where you were an usher.
Suddenly it seems like a bunch of B.S. frankly.
I have come to a realization: my expectations mean nothing. All my expectations do is drive a wedge between God and me. Trusting some one isn't about putting expectations on them, it's about believing that they have your best interest at heart. I can look back and see that God has indeed had my best interest at heart, but I could never see it when it was happening.
Sometimes it seemed( and still does) that He had left me to fend for myself.
Something I am not really that great at, as it turns out.
The really hard thing for me, and I think for a lot of people who are believers is finding a way to start removing those expectations we place on Father God.
I think I am still trying to get rid of some of that old way of thinking, at least in my knee jerk reactions to the daily situations I find myself in.
The one thing that has helped me to begin ( and I mean begin) to remove those is, letting the reality of His great love for me; remove some of the self- imposed expectations of God on me.
How does that song go?Just as I am... There is no hope of self justification, I realize that now. I have always believed that in my head, but I didn't trust that. Surely there were things I needed to do.. a huge pile of shoulds. My family and I walked away from church, pretty much. It was actually for selfish reasons like: I had to work on Sundays this wasn't an option at the job I had.
I also like to sleep in on Sunday because it's one of two days that we could.
So us walking away from a church service on Sunday morning was a source of guilt and shame, briefly.
I still miss going sometimes and every once in a while we do go to a service. But it has very little to do with my walk with God on a daily basis. In fact I would say it really has nothing to do with the daily walk.
I miss corporate worship, I always liked that part of any service I ever attended.
I love to sing praise to God, I think we should; I still do.
what I no longer do is pledge allegiance to a local church or denomination.
I have found that everywhere you go , depending on who you talk to; you will get a different set of black and white answers to a life that is filled with gray area.
I am not as sure of my theology these days and much much more sure of Father's love for me.
I really think it has been a natural progression that I needed to go through( and still need to) to come to this place. I can't pin God down to a set of rules or a mold of my own creation.
As Lewis said about Aslan , He is wild.
I love that, I hate not controlling my spiritual growth( as if) and trying to trust that Father God does really care about me.
There have been things in my life that I know when they happened it was Him. I know. Details that only someone who knows my heart would fulfill out of fondness for me. Little things that seem inconsequential but to me meant so much, like a letter from home or someone making your favorite meal just because they want you to know that they care. He has done those things in my life and I can't deny that it was Him. It wasn't coincidence.
As I think about those things it makes me wonder why He would care so much.I may never fully get it, but I believe it. Trusting my current problems to Him, not so easy.
I guess I still have a long way to go, But that's ok I think..
Any way, I am getting tired and not sure where this post is going anymore.
If you are reading this I hope you will realize today that Father God does care for you , exactly where you are. Like think about someone who has been really kind to you, He cares way more than that and judges you way less than that.
That's what I believe now. We look at the exterior stuff but God looks at the heart. I have heard that in so many churches, but then they will turn it around on you with conditions. Or they will tell you ways to curry favor. I say that's a load of crap. Not the part about God looking at the heart, but the fact that people will tell you ways to improve your life with God when all you can really do is sit at his feet and thank Him.
I think it's a lot less complicated than we make it.
Peace be With You
Thursday, August 06, 2009
My wife is working and loves her new job, there are challenges for her but I think she really likes the company that she works for and feels they do an excellent job caring for people.
I have had way too much time on my hands to think. I have had time to question my own abilities
and the decisions I have made in the last 2 years.
We are barely making ends meet here and I am shouldering most of that blame. I start thinking I should have stayed at a management job or at least tried to find another management job instead of taking a pay cut.
I question my ability as a parent, I get the boys out on a fairly regular basis to go have some mandatory fun, but I lose patience with them and then the old familiar guilt cycle begins again. Seems like I've been on this wheel for my whole life, trying to do the right thing then failing, then becoming paralyzed and being unable to fix the situation.
I am very different than I once was , I know that God has changed me a lot; my life is completely different than it used to be. But, inside my mind is still a treacherous place to be.
I am still damaged and I'm not so sure that will ever get better.
I mean, after all I am 40 years old (at least for a few more days ) and I still feel like a kid.
At least I'm not angry any more. That was a lot of work. I don't use drugs any more, also a lot of work. I do have a beer now & then but I don't think that's really too bad.
I fail at taking control of my own life. I tend to allow things to happen until I can no longer take it then I take action but it seems like it's never enough.
So here it is. I guess this is the reason I haven't been posting.. I just don't have much good to say.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
A.J.:can it be my own creation?
C: A.J.! Amerigo isn’t in any of the movies!
A.J.:AHHH! Well, then I don’t have my second answer, I only have one.
C:What is it?
C:What about Mace Windu?
A.J.: Hate Him , purple light saber.
I think we can all learn a valuable lesson here.
If you figure it out will you let me know?
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
My brother took me out to the woods where we acted like kids and rode 4 wheelers for a few hours.
It seems my body doesn't like this kind of activity the way it used to, but I had a blast.
I came home looking like I work in a coal mine and sore from head to toe.
So, for me today was a little selfish but I don't think anyone suffered for me taking a few hours for myself.
Fathers day has been kind of bittersweet for me for most of my life. My father and I had a pretty bad relationship and he died when I was young so we didn't resolve any issues that we had with each other. I was very relieved when my dad passed away and I decided that no one would tell me what to do from that time forward.
In some ways it was good in others it was a self destructive path that I stayed on for many years.
I was angry at my dad for the way he treated me and I was angry for him not being there for me. I was angry at the whole world sometimes.
I tried to live my life the best way I knew how(or did what ever I felt like ). I got married , had a child ( I was only 18 when Tim was born) and tried to take care of them the best I could.
It took me until 1997 to forgive my father and let go of the anger that I harbored towards him.
When I did, it was like a 2000 lb. weight was lifted off of me. I found that it really is a lot of work to stay angry.
Sometimes now I even miss him, I didn't miss him for 16 years and then suddenly I was able to give myself permission to wish he was here.
And today I wish he was here to see my sons. To meet my wife and be as taken by her as I am.
I know now that just like me, he was doing the best he could. Sometimes that's not good enough.
I am sorry for imparting some of that legacy on to my children, I hope that they can see a better way sooner than I did. I don't think that we have to make the same mistakes our parents made. Not that all mistakes are even bad, but I don't want my boys to think that violence is the answer to anything. I don't want them to live inside a little box that they are afraid to move outside.
I now have hope, I didn't used to have that.
And I wish my dad could see that. I wish he was here so I could tell him Happy Father's Day Dad.
I miss you dad, sometimes.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Things are better than they were. I had a pretty good lesson in swallowing my pride and we didn’t have to move. I want to apologize to anyone who may be reading this who we seemingly imposed ourselves on during the last month. I will try to never do anything like that again.
Two really great things happened in that past couple of weeks: 1) Johanna got a job at a group home/day program for people with Cerebral Palsy 2) I worked a full week @ the University and I am really confident that they do want me back and went out of their way to offer me work for fear of losing me.
So we are on semi-solid ground with finances for now and I am less emotionally tapped than I was a few short weeks ago.
I think Johanna is too and even though our new schedules are going to be tough to work out, we will figure something out and start to get back into the black again.
Life is just a little too complicated for me some days. I have never been out of work before and I really don’t like that feeling, but I think I can learn from it and I can’t help but think that God is going to use this to grow something a little in me.
Meanwhile, I am trying to make plans (ha!) and relax and love my wife and kids.
It sounds uncomplicated but really for me it’s not.
I find that I am still a very self centered and selfish person, but I am a work in progress.
All in all, life is really good. The pool is almost clean and it is really hot here now, but life is good.
I hope yours is too.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I have been out of work for 2 weeks now and I am worried, But I'm not freaking out yet.
I will get unemployment, but it isn't enough and I am putting out plenty of resumes and filling out applications in 3 towns. I have an interview tomorrow at what I believe is an ALF and I just hope they don't need a clean background check. Apparently this is one of my main obstacles in finding work. Even for cooking jobs lately a lot of people want you to pass a background check, for low pay and a crappy job. It's like a bad dream to me. I have seen more than one dish washing job where they wanted a clean record.
Johanna is also looking and filling out apps but so far we have nothing. Day labor really sucks too. I did it before (for one day) and I told myself ,"never again!" now I am considering it.
I do have this interview and a really good prospect with this steakhouse not far from here.
I may not be able to do a lot of things, but I can throw down in the kitchen. All I need is a chance to prove it and I am in, these days the chances are just a little more scarce.
The job I will go for tomorrow is for an assistant dining services director. I have never done that exactly, but I think my experience at the abbey and my management experience will give me a little leverage. I hope anyway. I am more hoping to get the steakhouse job. If it pays well that is.
I have been looking on Craig's List for jobs a lot and people are starting to upset me with what they are willing to pay for skilled labor. It's kind of sick. I actually got aggravated enough to send a guy an email about what he was expecting for $9 Per hour.
It was for like 25 hours a week too. I mean I think an owner or GM should at least be realistic.
In this business you definitely get what you pay for, sometimes you can get a deal; but not for that long.
Anyway I guess my situation is making me extra sensitive about what I perceive to be predatory hiring practices in such hard economic times.
because there are more people than jobs many are trying to take advantage of people who are in a tough spot.
makes me a little angry.
enough of that,
in other news;
we went to church today. It was cool, I guess. But being there today kind of solidifies my opinion about attending a weekly gathering.
I thought it was nice, but it bothered me that my youngest was off in another room so he didn't cause any problems. I also have a problem with the continually attractional tactics of institutions.
The sermon was really ok, about love being an action word and not being too internally focused as a church. I thought that was all pretty good the the pastor said something about sharing Christ's love with others so we could ge them to come to the church. That was where he lost me.
I mean really, is that the bottom line? Is the gathering place so important?
I don't think that should be our motive at all.
I don't see how learning to sit still for a service is such an important lesson.
I don't see how listening to someone speak for 30 minutes is going to change my life.
I also like things just a little more chaotic than the follow the program, shush, sit down, stand up, read this and do that model.
What is so strange to me is that I used to be that person that was dedicated to a place, a gathering, a pastor or a certain style of worship, so much so that I allienated people I really cared about.
Sometimes it seems like being a Christian is more about "Christianity" than it is about Christ.
Friday, May 08, 2009
So far so good, she seems pretty good but we haven't been back to the doctor since her surgery.
We should know more next Wed. because they are supposed to have results from the tissue they took during the procedure.
We definitely need any one who can to pray about her health because I need her & her children need her a lot. She does really seem pretty good, there is more of an emotional thing going on than any physical ailment.
We are also both looking for jobs right now because I was laid off from the college for the summer and I haven't found anything yet. I did apply for unemployment, but that will take weeks to kick in, if they give it to me. I am really new at the unemployment thing so it is pretty scary to me.
if things get bad enough I will get a job doing anything at all before I let us go completely broke.
Johanna did take a class for her CNA test prep. But her test isn't till the end of this month and she hasn't found anywhere that will hire her without having the certification already.
All of that said, kids are all doing well. They are a bunch of wieners and they know it.
There has been a lot of playing in the pool and WII competition in our house.
I am actually amazingly calm about life right now, even though I have never been out of work before, except for when I was in prison.
I also know that I will find something soon or she will and maybe we both will.
I don't believe that God has brought us this far to leave us or let us fail out here. But who am I? It seems like a great place for us to raise these kids, But we do have to be able to pull it off or it won't happen.
At least we still could move back to NPR if we needed to. But neither of us wants that.
Well, I need to make some calls and I have an application that I need to fill out.
I hope you all are doing well. I think we are going to be ok.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I am mostly writing this because I was talking with a family member on IM & I said that I was going to post this chicken video. Only, it's not chickens, it's eggs; being candled. So it is chickens, they just aren't finished yet. ok so here it is:
SO I hope those are entertaining. I was really amazed to see them moving around like that in the egg. We still have not successfully hatched any chickens, but we are getting closer & in the next few days we should get a few at least. We shall see.
if our incubation fails we do have one hen who is setting now and hopefully she will be a good mom. we may just take the chicks from the beginning anyway. or cage them all together.
Out here we have more problems with losing babies than we did in the neighborhood.
On the job front, things are pretty good right now. I really like working at the university and I think they like having me there. We are getting lots of complements on the food and it seems like I will be able to stay here for a while ( as long as we can figure out what we are doing over the summer).
Not much farm action going on here except that we have a bunch of seedlings that will be ready to go in the ground soon. We also have a hive of bees but not a hive I set up, they just showed up. I try to keep the kids away from them(which isn't really hard, all you have to say is,"there's bees over there" and they pretty much avoid that area) but I love just going up and watching them. I have always been fascinated with bees and I really want to start keeping them. Right now it's just money holding me back, but I do already have some bees! I should post some pictures of them, they're really cool. At least I think they are, they are such amazing little animals.
I have been working every Sunday and we have pretty much stopped attending a church. The boys will go on Easter with grandma, and I guess that's cool. I think we sort of agree that "attending" a service is not the most important thing we can do. We pray together as a family and we teach our kids about God and we talk about Jesus, but we don't make them go to church every week because frankly, I for one think the effort involved in making it to a church meeting was not really worth the strain that it puts on us as a family. We all believe in God, We love Jesus, we just don't go to a "church" building all the time. I'm not saying it's the way to be or anything, but I think it's the right thing for us right now.
Any way, I hope you are all doing well.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I don't want to get into a negative state of mind so I am just going along, doing the best that I can.
I have changed jobs, I really like the new gig and I think there is some growth potential there. But, I work for a college. We get laid off in the summer and I'm not sure what to do about that. Times have been tough here until recently but we are pretty much caught up with all of our bills and we are considering getting a pony. Mike and AJ have started taking riding lessons and it seems like it would be a really great thing to do. I'm not completely sure, but I know where I can get a really great pony, for pretty cheap and it's close by. Besides, we are living on 5 acres now and that is enough room to have at least one horse, maybe even a few that are the size of this one.
I am worried though, Johanna is planning on taking a CNA course and I am quite sure she can get through that with no problem. But it's the actual working that I am concerned with. I hope she will be able to get a job that can fill the gaps. I think this new job could really pay off for me in the future, but I don't know if we will be able to pull of the summer thing unless Johanna can land a pretty good job in the time that I am off.
I don't take time off, I am not used to just working 40 hours anymore either. I am so tempted to try and get back into a management job, but that will ruin my family life and Johanna will be extrememly frustrated because it's like you are married to the job and you have to always be there.
There is the chance I could get into school during my time off too. It would be great to learn something else that can make me money over the summer.
It all seems like a pipe dream to me right now. I was talking to a guy that is opening a place that I used to work (that I really loved) and I could maybe try and work something out with him, but I have a few people telling me what a bad idea it is to even consider working at this place.
I just wish something was simple in my life, nothing ever is.
Other than that I am doing great.
Monday, February 02, 2009
it has been a while again since I posted, sorry if I let anyone down but I doubt that I really have.
I have had a pretty interesting time since my last post. I have confirmed that the person who was sabotaging my job ( or trying to) is pretty confident that I can be easily replaced, and in a way I hope I can. Because even though I have been told that I have nothing to worry about as far as my job is concerned, I am leaving .
I have put in at least a dozen applications and emailed probably a hundred resumes, with no response. Then, a job that I didn't apply for came to me.
I was worried about taking it & had to think & pray for a couple of days. I also had two conversations with key people in this situation that made up my mind for me.
So I am changing jobs again and I am a little afraid of what could happen.
I still wish there was a way that I could relax and stay at the abbey. I love it there and most of the monks do like me and they think I do a good job. But the fact is they put out an add for my job. I only found it because I was looking for a second job & it was a pretty anonymous add. I looked up the address to find out if it was a company or what it was and it turned out that it was my new boss. They had put an add out for my job after talking with me and I felt the conversation went very well and I could possibly work with this person.
Now I feel like I just can't risk this situation with 3 small kids at home while I am the only steady income.
It is amazing the way this job just surfaced though. I was thinking of going to the university to apply, but I hadn't yet and I'm not sure I would have. Then they came and offered me a job, while I was at work. Yeah that was pretty cool.
So I gave my notice last Wednesday, and I will work my first shift at the university next Sunday. I am pretty excited about the new environment and I feel like it will be far less likely that I will be randomly fired because some one thinks I have disrespected them.
Honestly, this is feeling a lot like a test of my faith and I don't mind admitting that , I FREAKIN HATE IT!!!!!!!!
But, as a very wise woman told me tonight,"I don't believe that God brought us this far just to bring us to ruin".
So I am try9ing to remember that He has been there, when there was no hope; He was there. When I was far from home and alone in prison with not even a letter from home for comfort, He was there teaching me, molding me and making me go through things that would help me after they were over even though they really sucked when I was going through them.
You know that the most important thing I learned was?
He loves me. Even when I am afraid, even when I doubt, even when I have the wrong answers or the wrong responses, when I am completely self centered and being as un-Christlike as I can possibly be, He loves me still.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I haven't posted in a while, mostly because of the stuff I am trying to sort out in my life.
Still things are kind of a mess and I feel like I am on the brink of total destruction.
I mean I found an add today, for a dishwasher( at a steakhouse) that was for $7.50 an hour and specified that you have NO CRIMINAL BACKGROUND.
Seriously folks, this is a crappy job. What the hell?
Are things really as bleak as this? Just because someone has made a few mistakes (or even one) they can't get a crappy dish washing job at a steakhouse?
I am really hopeful about the future of our country. But speaking as an ex-felon I really hope that all employers don't get this fearful and never hire anyone who has a conviction.
I mean let's just consider the natural consequences of this type of thinking.
If we all say that people who have committed a crime in the past are too risky or not worthy of employment, what will happen?
You take people who have crossed the line in the past and you stigmatize them to the point that they can't support themselves and what, don't we realize that eventually it will be too much for that person to bare?
Isn't that a form of discrimination? Sure, I can see when laws are in place that make it illegal for a violent convicted felon to do certain jobs. I can understand that. But if they can't get a job even doing dishes, what will they do? What is to keep them from turning to crime to try to survive?
I guess I take it personally when people shut me down before they even really talk to me. Hey I will be the first to admit that I made some mistakes, but I'm no threat to anyone and I have a family to support.
What if I lose my job, I am glad I haven't but I have evidence that points to the fact that at least one person wants me to lose my job, and I really don't know why.
I don't know what I have done wrong to this person and the way they are trying to get rid of me seems very underhanded.
Today I put in about 10 applications to various jobs. I have not one good lead on a new job or even a part time second job. Well, maybe one but that's about it and I don't know what it will pay yet.
I had been very fortunate, I worked hard and was promoted shortly out of prison and I was able to get a really good job, then leave that one and go right into another. I really thought that this was the best choice for me, this last job I took. I am home every night, it's a very peaceful environment and the pay isn't bad. Now it's all about politics (something I have never been good at). I hate games, this is my life not a game. I am so worried about getting laid off or fired for no good reason and not being able to find something else. I also worry about losing this place, My wife & kids love it here and I like it. We got out of the neighborhood that made my wife nervous because of the drug and gang activity, this is such a better place for the boys. If I lose the job, it's pretty likely I won't be able to stay here and that sucks. But I am trying really hard to trust that what is best will happen and if that means we have to leave then I will try to make the best of it. But I won't like it, and I will try really hard not to hate the people who are making it their personal business to sabotage my life and my families well being.
Because I feel like I have put much love into my work and I have grown into a relationship with several of the monks that I work for. I know that most of them are happy with the job I am doing. But what ever happens happens.
I hope you all have a great night.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I know I haven't posted anything in a while.. Mostly, because; I AM SPENDING EVERY FREE SECOND OF MY LIFE TRYING TO FIND A SECOND PART TIME JOB OR A BETTER PAYING FULL TIME JOB.
So, maybe that was a bit uncalled for, sorry for that.
But, it's true.
I have sent out more resumes in the past few days than collectively in my entire life.
of course I didn't used to send out anything, I just went to the place that looked like I might be able to get a job and viola I got a job. Things have changed. Now, everyone wants you to apply online, and send a resume, and submit to a background check. Oh I also forgot the part about not wanting to pay crap.
Well, slight exaggeration on my part; they actually do want to pay crap(sorry about that too)
I should feel very blessed to still have a job, actually I do. I just really was hoping that I would be doing a little better than I am now and things are really tight. We do have this great house and live out in the country now (adding another challenge to my "part time " job hunt)
And our lifestyle changes have been pretty wonderful (except for the fact that I can't get high speed internet in any form other than satellite) and I am really grateful for the way things have worked out so far. Even my somewhat estranged son is doing pretty well living apart from us for now. I am happy about that and sad that he couldn't do better living here, or at the other house. But he is doing better and may be out of trouble soon and (Hopefully) on his way to being a productive , well adjusted member of society.
But I am still stressed over money and the fact that it has recently come to my attention that my job could disappear without much warning.. Or at least that is how it feels, maybe this is about trusting God..
I still feel the need to look for other options while trying really hard not to worry and trust that we will be ok and God has not brought us this far to abandon us.
But many people have lost jobs and homes and money.
The whole world is worried about what will happen next. So what should I do?
I wish I had some deep spiritual truth to talk about but what is on my mind is money & the lack there of. We are fed, we have enough and I guess I should be really thankful for that..
I hope you are all doing well and not worried in the least about your job security or money.