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Monthly Archives: September 2012

#30in30 Day 26: End Of One Chapter, The Start Of Another

It’s been an interesting journey attempting to write 30 blog post in 30 days.  This being number 26 out of 30, I could say that I failed.  In terms of meeting my goal, I shot for the moon, but ended up amongst the stars. I managed to learn somethings about myself during these 30 days.

It’s a cliche, but I really can do what I set my mind to. My goal was to be disciplined enough to write a variety of blog posts. Somedays, I woke up having nothing on my mind. But I’d read something, or see something and instantly, I knew I had it. I can dedicate myself to something and see it through.

Another thing I learned about me: I need to get out of my comfort zone more. When I stretched myself on new topics, I found that I could be just as good, if not better, at writing about the new stuff, versus what I knew. It’s this reason I know that reading is as important to a writer as the tools of the trade. If knowledge isn’t expanding, then a persons’ ability to form coherent arguments suffers. A lack of clear thought in writing can confuse the reader, thus leaving a chance for assumptions.

Something else that hit me that I mentioned before is that I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I have no idea if it will lead to a career for me or not. If it doesn’t, I’m okay with that. What I won’t be okay with is if I stop writing. It fulfills me in a way not many other things can. The passion for something that I’ve been looking for, I found it in writing.

I want people to be able to see a difference in what I “sounded” like in my first post and this one. I know there are rules to English and grammar; for the most part I follow them. However, the more I do something, the better at it I should get. If not, then there’s a problem. Luckily people outside the family (God bless ’em) have praised my work. For a person who doesn’t really share his work with strangers, this is big. I guess it’s related to the getting out of my comfort zone.

To say this process was more about writing than self-discovery, in hindsight, would be a lie. I learned more about me, and what I believe God’s purpose for me is, than proper formatting of a blog. It’s important yes. But, if I hadn’t learned about me, then all the extra lessons and knowledge I gained would’ve been for naught. Nothing is worse than experiencing something positive and not changing ones’ perspective to accommodate the new knowledge. Had I disregarded me, I’d be right back where I was the day before my first post.

Yet another truth that revealed itself was that I expect things to fall into my lap. If I wanted the answer to why was I not getting noticed, all I had to do was look in the mirror. There is a picture that stipulates
image

the mentality that I had to develop. I had to make myself known. The verse that says “faith without works is dead” fits here. I wanted something to happen, but I wasn’t investing time in it, nor myself, to ensure my success. Once I started doing that, my fortunes began to change.

Lastly, I say that I thought this was going to be the end of something. Really, it’s only the end of this chapter of my life. As a new month dawns, I will not be posting everyday. But it will be twice a week on average. I’m not going to hold what’s pent up inside to myself. Instead I am going to find places where I can share this calling of mine. I’ll have to be proactive about doing so, but I must.

Let the next chapter begin.

 
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Posted by on 09/30/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

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#30in30 Day 25: Self Sufficiency

A couple of days ago on Twitter, @Ladidahdi tweeted a couple of thoughts on asking others for help.

Today in La is ridiculous: I have 2 significant issues with asking for help, both of which I’m self aware enough to realize hav everything+
to do with my control issues and NOTHING to do with actually being helped. 1. I’m uninterested in doing things on anyone else’s schedule.
2. Asking people to do something for you is giving them permission to do it their way. I am uninterested in your way.

This struck a chord with me because after some thought, I think I have felt like this as well.

For starters, being on someone else’s schedule sucks. You have to wait on them to get around to doing what you need done. Secondly, if they do it their way, and not how you want it, then the something could be messed up. And being a control freak like me, this situation just isn’t acceptable. But there is another reason Ladidahdi’s point resonated with me.

I’ve always had a problem with asking anyone for anything, including help. I used to feel like asking anybody for anything was a sign of weakness. To me, it was like admitting that I couldn’t handle situations on my own. I felt like asking for help was giving up control, and power. Feeling like that has caused me to miss out on opportunities, and take chances I normally wouldn’t. All because I didn’t seek guidance, or assistance.

It was pointed out to me that not asking for, or accepting help, was a sign of pride too. I couldn’t understand the connection. Not only did I not want to give up control of situations, but I didn’t want to “put anybody out” either. I had the whole asking for help thing all mixed up.

Accepting or asking for help is not a sign of weakness at all. In fact, it takes a strong person to even acknowledge that help is needed. On her blog, fromraewithlove.com, Rae has stated on many occasions that it takes strength to say when help is needed. If the strong know they can’t do it alone, then why do people still try to be self-sufficient?

Honestly, there’s no such thing as self-sufficiency. Jesus was the ONLY man who ever was, and that’s because he was God-incarnate. It’s a mindset that has permeated humanity since the dawn of time. Think about all the great leaders throughout history. Not one of the greats did anything on their own; they all had help. King David had the Mighty Men. Hannibal had generals almost as smart as he was. Even the human body needs all it’s parts so it can function properly.

In the book of Proverbs, there are numerous verses about a king having many advisors. The king who seeks counsel from wise men will become wise. If even kings, who are the ultimate authority in a kingdom seek help, we should too.

 
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Posted by on 09/29/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

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#30in30 Day 24: Helpless Daddies

Four months old.

That’s about how old my baby daughter is. When she was born, I was the one to hold her first. I got the first picture of her. Even though we had an older daughter, by me, this was my first time with the delivery room experience. The baby’s first days at the hospital were filled with the requisite cooing and fawning over mother and child. Already, Daddy was being gently pushed to the background.

When we brought the baby home, it kinda eased up. Hints of it were still present though. The newness of the baby, parenthood, and life adjustments added to it. Whenever I held the baby somebody seemingly always had something to say. “She’s fragile, support her neck, watch how you cradle her, blah blah blah”. That mess got old quickly.

I had been around, and even taken care of babies in the past. If I was careful with my somebody elses’ child, I would definitely be with my own. It felt like I was only there to fill a need, whatever that need was. The more condescending I felt someone was being, the more irritated I became. Finally, I had had enough and kindly informed the misses that it needed to stop. She wasn’t the only one giving it to me, but she was the most important one.

I made allowances for the change in hormones, and emotions, but it was too much. Folks who I talked to told me to be patient, and it would blow over. Not fast enough as far as I was concerned. I really had to pray to God to ask Him to increase my patience. Well, He did. He told me I had to shift my attitude and be more loving to my wife. I really didn’t want to hear that, but I was going to be obedient to Him. And things have gotten better.

I’m not sure how many men have felt like this. Maybe I’m the only one, though I highly doubt it. When a baby is born, the dynamcis of a relationship change. At first, it’s about him and her. The baby arrives and it becomes about the little one’s needs, then her, then him. The attention paid to the baby and new mother can cause resentment in the man.

He tends to focus on the needs of who he’s to provide for. Meanwhile, the mans’ needs may suffer. On one hand, it should be expected. On the other hand, it sucks to be “that guy”. What guy? The guy left out in the cold of what’s supposed to be a happy time. Some marriages and relationships break up because of this. The new life that’s arrived killed the old one; not just replaced it.

It happens all the time though. Many men won’t, or don’t know how to acknowledge these feelings. They feel like it’s wrong to have such feelings in the first place. The feelings aren’t wrong or misplaced; they come with new baby and new mother territory.

What needs to happen is a frank discussion about the emotional and mental changes that men will experience. There need to be outlets for new fathers the same way there are for mothers. Support groups and counseling may help. Whatever it is though has to cater to men so the frustrations can be channeled positively. Doing this won’t only help the man, but his family too.

Do you, or do you know any men who have experienced this? Are there any programs available that you can share?

 
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Posted by on 09/28/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

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#30in30 Day 23: 6 Years In…Part 2

In Part 1, I gave a bit of the back story that led to my wife and I getting married.  I also tried to explain why if it wasn’t for God, we probably wouldn’t be at this point.  This is where we pick up.

The last point I made was that some people feel like when it comes to certain marriages, not even God himself can keep it together.  Well again, that’s bull.  Outside of adultery, abuse, and abandonment, there’s nothing that is allowable by God for divorce.  Folks feel like, “if I’m not happy, then that is grounds for divorce”.  No, it’s not.

God ain’t the slightest bit concerned about how we feel about something, if we’re out of his will.  We make allotments for our emotions.  There is a saying that basically states “don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.”  Well if this statement is true, why do people do it?  I gotta say again, I believe in the God of the Bible, and that includes what He says about marriage.  If God is eternal, and He says marriage is too, then men really shouldn’t tear asunder what He blessed.  All of this is to frame the context of the feelings my wife and I were having.

A few years ago, we were sitting on the cusp of letting go.  Aside from my oldest daughter, we had no kids, no community property, and aside from a tax bill, nothing together.  It would’ve been easy to “toss up the deuces” and roll out.  Except, it wouldn’t have been.  I know I contradicted myself, but here me out.

There was already four years of us “doing life” together.  Four years of birthdays, family functions, memories, sleeping together, laughing, taking care of each other when we were sick, and much more. To basically be giving that up, on top of the financial implications, and disobeying God? Nah, it was not worth it. Yes God could still bless us even if we had divorced, but why even go through it? The reasons sound flimsy to some, and I’ll grant them that.

But, the people who aren’t married may feel they’re valid. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road though. I’ve said once and I’ll say again, being married and being in a monogamous relationship are two very different things. It’s like growing up poor versus growing up wealthy; one can imagine the other, but it has to be experienced to truly understand the difference. My wife and I knew the difference.

Our turning point was the bane of many marriages: communication. We had stopped communicating effectively. Besides small talk, I wasn’t hearing her, and she wasn’t hearing me, so there was much that wasn’t being said. Not having, or choosing to not have anything to say will kill any relationship. It will kill a marriage at its roots. When the roots start to die, everything they feed will as well. Only a skilled gardener can bring a dying plant back to life. First what is killing the plant has to be identified, then the proper measures have to be taken to start the healing process. In our case, God showed us what was killing us, and guided us to a place where the healing could begin.

It wasn’t like we just arbitrarily jumped right back into being a blissful married couple.  The same way it took time for our bond to crumble, it took time for us to fill in the cracks and begin to rebuild what was damaged.  The more we worked at it, the easier it became.  We both had to make adjustments, not just for our marriage to survive, but also as people.  I think we had to grow up more and realize that it’s not always about what I wanted or what she wanted, but what was going to be good for the both of us and our bond.  When we began to understand that is when the “change we can believe in” really occurred.

Even a little over a year and a half later, we still have challenges in our marriage.  However, these issues are nothing like what we used to have to deal with.  Somedays we still don’t speak much, but not because we don’t want to; it’s the cares of life.  We now have another daughter to look after, and that is a job in itself.  If disagreements come up, we try to talk things out, and not let them fester.  I know I make it a point to ask my wife how her day went, even when I’m tired, I know she needs that.  She knows I need at least 20-30 minutes of time to wind down from my work day before my 2nd shift of husband and daddy starts.  It’s these changes that make a world of difference in our marriage, and I’m sure others as well.

Each day has its own issues that need tending to.  But I know if home isn’t taken care of, the rest of life can feel out of whack.  So I committed myself to doing what is necessary (within reason) in making sure my home life is stable, and comfortable for my wife and my girls.  When a man ensures that his wife is secure, in all facets of life: mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially, he really is winning.  I may not be there yet, but I think I’m further along than I used to be, and that is what matters.

What say you?

 
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Posted by on 09/27/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

#30in30 Day 22: Good Job, Good Effort

By now, most basketball fans, and even the general viewing public have heard, or seen the video of the “good job, good effort” kid.  In it, a little boy is congratulating the Miami Heat for playing hard in a playoff game last season. 

It’s really a travesty to see.  The reason I say travesty is because its a minute example of the way society is nowadays.  I can’t speak for other countries, but America has gotten soft.  Anybody who attempts to do something grande, yet doesn’t succeed is patted on the back and told good job, good effort.  Their effort may be good, but they don’t deserve a trophy for basically failing.  I don’t know exactly when this ideology became part of society’s consciousness.  But, it has done a disservice to adults and children alike.

Thinking like this has produced a generation that feels entitled to things it truly didn’t earn. It’s fueled by individualism and a need to be coddled. Adults are handicapping the children coming up now. When I was growing up, my mother told me one piece of advice that has always stayed with me. She said, “you’re a special person, to me and the rest of your family. Outside this house thou, nobody cares.” It sounded harsh then, but I understand now.

People who feel like they should receive just because they are who they are, are not ready for the world, period. Acting as if they’re entitled to anything will cause the world to “eat ’em up and spit ’em out”. It’s both mothers and fathers doing it. It’s like the parents who go overboard in doting on their daughter, and as she gets older, she’s not ready for working or relationships. Same thing with sons who turn into super mama’s boys because they weren’t prepared to deal with disappointments and rejection in life.

A parent’s natural inclination is to protect and dote. Nobody is saying to stop, but we have to be realistic in raising kids. They’re going to be things we can’t protect them from. Rejection at a job interview, their first heartbreak, even being turned down by the college of their choice come to mind. What we can do, and have to do is prepare them for the inevitable setbacks and disappointments that life will assuredly bring their way.

Then, the good job and good effort they receive won’t ring hollow. Then, we’ll have people who are ready to be proactive and not reactive. Then, the expectation of getting anything just because, will be replaced by the expectation of receiving because of effort. Nothing is going to change unless we adults are leading the charge to make it happen.

The point of all of this is to say, lets stop setting our kids up to not be prepared for this world. And, let’s readjust our way of thinking to the reality of life as it is. When we have accomplished this, then we’ll see the shift that is so desperately needed.

So, do you feel like kids today are too soft? What ways can be used to toughen them up?

 
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Posted by on 09/26/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

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#30in30 Day 21: …On President Obama & Competition

In no way do I endorse all of Mitt Romney’s fluid policies, nor am I a Republican or Democratic apologist.  I support Pres. Obama in generally all of his policies.  The ones I don’t are because they’re contrary to Biblical precepts.  That being said, President Obama’s campaign should be in trouble.  Why do I believe this?  Mitt Romney in particular and Republican strategists in general are turning what should be a serious election into childs play.

I’ve never seen any person running for political office have more gaffes than Mr. Romney, in such a short time.  What makes it worse is that the majority of the goof ups have been self imposed.  And to further the point, most of them have happened since the Democratic National Convention. 

Romney’s attempt to politicize the attacks in Libya, during the 9/11 memoriams was a rookie mistake.  It seemed that before the Democratic Party could offer a rebuke, his own party was taking him to task.  Then to compound the issue, a video was leaked a week later that shows Romney catering to a group of wealthy lobbyists and businessmen.  The most damaging statement in the video was about “the 47 percent”.  Suffice it to say these words didn’t go over too well with anyone but his initial audience.  When anyone, especially those running for national office, make statements like this, they seemingly don’t account for their supporters being part of the 47.  It’s unwise to make such generalizations at best, and it’s a flatout lie at worst.  And this is the guy the GOP picked to run for president?

If a stronger contender had emerged, I’d venture to say two things would have happened.  One, the President would conceivably be in for a much tougher reelection campaign.  If Senator McCain was running now, as opposed to back in 2008, President Obama would probably be more proactive in touting his accomplishments during the last four years.  Pres. Obama has done so, but Romney has fumbled opportunities to accurately attack the record, be it good or bad.  The other thing that could have happened is that a stronger opponent could siphon the votes the President would need to win.  The registered Independent voters are the proverbial golden goose in national elections.  Whoever wins them over typically wins the election.  I just believe it would be harder to win them over, again, if a better choice had emerged.

Which sort of brings up the crux of the argument.  It seems like President Obama is playing to the level of his competition, to use a sports analogy. In ’04, he was the smooth, fresh faced, Chi-town cat all the kids wanted to be like, and some of the girls wanted.  In ’08, his smooveness grew exponentially, mostly because he was new, exciting, and a change from the norm.  Because he faced stronger odds, his message was sharp, crisp, and a departure from the usual talking points.  His debates with Sen. McCain strengthened him and caused the whole nation to think “maybe we can believe in the changes he wants to make.” 

Now, that luster has worn off.  There is a malaise that engulfs much of the nation.  Not all of it is his fault, yet some of it is.  His battles with Congress have worn him down, as the graying around his temples can attest.  Perhaps if (when) he gets reelected, he’ll find renewed vigor.  But, he needs to set the new standard, not be the bearer of one that is four years past its expiration date. 

Maybe, instead of running against Romney, President Obama ultimately is running against himself.

 
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Posted by on 09/25/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 

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#30in30 Day whatever # : More Random Musings

I’ve been on this blogging mission for 20 out of a possible 24 days.  I have yet to upload a new post between midnite and 1am either because of family time, or sleep.  If I could just get to that point, I’ll feel like I hit another milestone.  I’d like to say that my writing has improved over the time I’ve been doing it, but that remains to be.  In a previous random thoughts post, I mentioned that I think writing is my purpose here on earth.  This feeling has only strengthened. 

I’ve happened upon an opportunity to write on a semi-consistent basis for a widely read blog.  I’m pursuing a few other opprtunities as well.  This whole process has made me reexamine the whole “God opens doors” thinking.  I’m starting to think that the doors are in front of people, but we don’t recognize them because they’re not what we expect.  Instead, we are looking for the doors WE want, and not what God has prepped for us.  Our vision may need to change.  When the vision changes, so do where we look for opportunities.

For lack of a better term, I plan on going “balls to the wall”, with this chance at a life change.  If it means writing for just the experience until a chance to get paid arrives, so be it.  I’d initially rather have my name known and not be getting paid for it, but when the chance comes to get paid, there’ll already be an audience for me.  I guess you can tell there’s plenty of longterm thinking going on.  When and where a writing career initiates, I plan on being ready.

 
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Posted by on 09/24/2012 in 30in30, Uncategorized

 
 
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