God & Chocolate

I love chocolate.

This is no mystery if you know me. I have a major sweet tooth, and it is always set to Dark Chocolate. Hersey’s, Dove, that one Aldi’s brand that is way to good to be sold at Aldi for that price; what ever it is, if its chocolate, I want it.

I must admit, when I pack my lunch I sometimes find myself wondering how I can score some chocolate for a after lunch desert. We usually don’t buy any for the apartment, mostly because I’ll tear through it; so I’m lucky that there are many candy dishes at my coworkers cubes.

But sometimes, random coworker will just drop off chocolate at my desk. To be kind, to say thank you, to bribe me into looking into a issue they have. What ever the reason, sometimes chocolate just finds its way to me.

The other morning was another example of chocolate just coming to me. A coworker of mine gave me some chocolate for helping her with a problem. As she left me this little prize, it dawned on me, that even though this is a small gift, God was blessing me with it. He knows my heart and he knows that I love and look forward to chocolate, and here he is taking care of that. It wasn’t a need, it wasn’t something super spiritual,  just a desire to have some chocolate. And here he is, a good good father, giving me some.

This isn’t one of those huge testimony type blessings, but for me, this is something that makes me happy. It was something that made my Monday more enjoyable, and if we think about, we all need something to make Mondays as enjoyable as possible.

God doesn’t just go after the big stuff, but the little things in life as well. Those small gestures, that probably don’t mean a lot to others, but puts a big smile on your face, like a piece of chocolate for lunch. God cares about our whole life, a 360 view of it. There is no area off limit to God, there is no area in our life that he doesn’t want to transform and bless.

I am so thankful for a God that cares of all me needs, even if it is as small as wanting a piece of chocolate.

Syrian Refugees, Selfless Compassion and Pro Life

My heart breaks, for a lot of reasons.

For teens on drugs, for babies that are killed in the womb. Recently my heart breaks for Paris and Beirut. For all the families that have to move forward without loved ones. My heart breaks for all those who are being displaced by war and senseless acts of violence. My heart breaks for ISIS members, and I struggle between wanting them all dead so their hate can not harm anyone else and wanting them all to come to know Jesus and renounce their acts of hate.

There are a lot of feelings involved in wars and terrorist acts. Fear, hate, sadness, compassion, longing for hope, seeking peace.

These feelings can drive our decisions, like the decisions to set up camps for Japanese citizens during WWII.

There is a group of people in need, and are we just going to shut our doors to them from fear? We are just going to leave them stranded and in need outside, while we are inside where it is safe and warm?

I completely understand the risks involved. I understand that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but there are a lot of genuine sheep and very very little wolves. When did compassion become a pick and choose event? When did compassion equate to having to stay safe?

I believe as Christians we are called to selfless compassion, selfless service; not safety. The Savior of the World (Jesus) did not save the world by putting his safety first, but the other way around. So shall our compassion reflect the selfless acts of our savior. Our compassion should not be a reflection of our political party lines, nor should it be used to garner political support.

Our compassion should be rooted in God’s love and given freely out to those in genuine need. And there is genuine need.

And one last thing:

If we are pro-life in the womb, we should be pro-life out of the womb. If we only support fetuses living, but do not support people, what is the point. We will only grow the baby to hate them later. Lets value all life, at all stages of life.

 

 

Good Food, Bad Food, I just want the Food (“Fed Up” Documentary Response)

So I knew about bad eating, I also knew about good eating. I knew pop is bad and the more ingredients there is (with longer names, that you don’t understand) the more likely that its bad for you.

But something about this documentary, scared the sugar out of me. After watching this, I wanted to purge myself of everything I’ve ever eaten, EVER.

It was like something finally clicked in my brain, and I realized I have to not only change the way I eat, but the way I view food. I can’t only focus on the taste of the food but what the effects putting it in my body might be.

If you are not aware, Fed Up is a documentary (which is now available on Netflix) about the obesity epidemic in America. It focuses on the food industry’s (negative) connection to the issue and how food companies are only making things worse for the consumer. You always have to be careful with documentaries to not absorb it without a filter, because they are naturally want to sell or promote a specific idea. While the documentary keeps berating the food industry, it does throw in some education along the way.

The documentary has caused me to change how I view the food I eat, and has made me start checking the labels way more. It also made me rethink my weight loss approach:

  1. Casual exercise won’t give results. Have to go hard
  2. Eating better, life giving, foods is a must
  3. Eating less will go along way
  4. I am the owner of my food choices.

Eating out isn’t completely off the table, but I need to order way smarter and portion control myself. Discipline with food is a key. You don’t really think about disciplining the way you eat because eating isn’t inherently bad. But with food so readily available, and so heavily processed, using discipline is a must (definitely if you went to Taco Bell every other day in college).

In the end this is a lifestyle and not just a temporary fix. I don’t want to live my life in a hospital or nursing home waiting for diabetes to kill me. I know Jesus heals and that he can take away any disease, but there is a responsibility that one should have and not just carelessly lean on God to fix their messes. I don’t want to be like that, I want to prevent the problem so I don’t have to worry about fixing it later.

So here is to good eating!

Wicked Dogs!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wicked Witch.”

Since I don’t feel like talking about evil today I will totally ignore this post and post a few pictures of dogs dressed up as the wicked witch/Halloween costume. All pictures came from a simple Google search, I have no legal ownership of them.

This one just for fun:

Where did that cat come from??? Have to take that one out, this post is about dogs!…..but it so cuuutttteeeeeeeeeee.

Dad’s Vinyls

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Papa Loves Mambo.”

image

I have always been the black sheep of my family in the music department. While I grew up listening and liking country my heart grew to love rock and metal. I loved the heavy riffs, the soaring guitar solos, the brutal breakdowns; I love rock! Even though rock and metal are my go to jams, I also listen to worship, classical, pop, folk, rap, and what ever else comes up. I love music in all it’s styles and forms.

While I don’t listen to the same music as my family, my dad has been my biggest musical influence. He did listen to classic rock, which introduced me to genre. We would often listen to it in the car; usually when it was him and I, and we would just drive. It was a great and fun time with my dad.

To go with it, my dad owned a record player (before the hipsters made it mainstream), and my favorite vinyls that he owned were John Croce’s Don’t Mess Around with JimLife and Times, and I Got a Name and the soundtrack Eddie and the Curisers (but when I was growing up, I never knew it was a soundtrack….even though it said Soundtrack on the record).

See it says Soundtrack *facepalm*

So while these records weren’t heavy rock these records really gave me a taste for the rock genre and all it could offer.

So thanks dad!

Rock On!

Guns, Individual Rights, and the Questions We Should Really Be Asking

The shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon brought the 2015 mass shooting total to 294, and at the time that I’m writing this post Shooting Tracker has the total mass shootings at 296. 296 mass shooting this year alone! This includes colleges, schools, theaters, pretty much anywhere. Looking at the raw data, there have been 379 deaths from these shootings, 1094 injuries. An interesting metric of these shootings is that out of 296 total incidents, 192 shootings have resulted in deaths.

These statistics will only grow in the last three months of the year, and more families will be torn with grief and mourning.

Faced with the data, I began to wonder why my position on the Second Amendment is what it is. Why should we have guns? Is there ever a good reason to own a gun? And as I began to ponder these questions (and more) I reassured my stance, that yes Americans should still own guns.

In the rush of emotions that follow these shootings, its easy to blame guns and say they are evil, and no one should use them. But we forget why the Second Amendment is important and why our forefathers added it.

Early Colonials saw the right to bear arms as important for a number of reasons (source found here):

  • enabling the people to organize a militia system.
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • deterring tyrannical government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection,
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense.

This list of six can still be applied today in some form or another, though I think the last entry in the list is the most important today.

There has always been murder in the world; it dates back to the second generation of the human race (Cain & Able). With or without guns, people will kill others; that is a sad sad fact. I think the question we should be asking, instead of debating gun rights, is why are Americans killing each other so much? Why in 2015, are individual people wanting to unleash so much hate on others? Why are people wanting to kill and hate so much? Pondering these questions doesn’t lead me to gun control (we have had guns since the beginning of the country, so that hasn’t really changed), but it does lead me to ponder more on culture; and how we, as Americans and humans, are handling internal and external pressure and feelings. Are the killings a reflection of the hate that is so prevalent in our culture? And is our hate-filled culture a reflection of the individual or some crowd mentality?

I don’t think we as a society want to answer those questions, its just easier to slap some gun control on and feel like we are making a difference. We don’t like thinking about these questions because once we start talking about why we killing each other, we will be forced to look at the ugliness that hides behind the glittery surface of America. We will be forced to face our struggles, our addictions, our sin. We would rather be entertained, and looking out our phones for hours on end.

In a song that I’ve been listening to lately, the rapper says “How could I miss it?” In response to racism in this country. I believe many people are asking these hard questions, but also many others are not.

This country is great, and I love being an American; but this country is also sick. It is in need of a doctor, a healer of both mind, body and soul. We are in desperate need of an awakening. We need Jesus. Only he can give us hope, refresh our minds, give us an anchor to hold on too. Only he can comfort the hurt in our hearts. Only he can restore us. Only he can forgive us and truly shape a future that isn’t plagued by the past.

We don’t need politicians and debates and discussions. We don’t need more gun restrictions, or medications. We don’t need more social media awareness. We don’t need “love” for love’s sake. We don’t need individual truths, we need one universal, powerful truth.

We need Jesus.

We. Need. Jesus

Life to Scale

I was reading Star Wars: Aftermath when my mind began to wonder off the page and started to think about what is going on in the universe at that very moment. Not like a fantasy imagination, but I thought about scenes that no one is seeing. Asteroids flowing through space, colliding with one another. A sun rise on a plant unknown. A sun going cold, or exploding. Solar Systems that we do not know of. Vast gaps where there is nothing but space.

It was cool to see the Super-moon lunar eclipse, and even then I was thinking about space and how massive its is. And even though it is massive, here is this cool little event happening, which is cool to us but not important to the universe.

Thinking about what could be going on in this huge universe made me ponder (once again) on how statistically insignificant we are. The unknown universe is about 13.8 billion light years; that is roughly 81,124,680,000,000,000,000,000 miles!!!! We fill a planet that is 7,195 miles in diameter. That means our existence takes up 0.0000000000000000008869% of the universe. We aren’t even a thousandth of a percent!

We do not matter to the universe. If we exploded the universe wouldn’t bat an eye.

But the ironic this is we do matter. We are massively important. We are important because God values us. He created us, and he loves us. Even if we seek war instead of love, even if we hate our brothers and sisters. God loves us and as revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ so we can know him.

This will never stop amazing me, the fact how we are so small but yet hold so much value.

But in reflection that is God’s MO, to take some one or something that seems small and insignificant and use it for his glory, to show who powerful and how loving he is.

What a great God we have!

If I was 6 again…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Life’s a Candy Store.”

If I could be 6 again and had 24 hours to do anything I would totally eat anything I want, and play out side the whole time. I couldn’t drive, or more accurately, it would be illegal for me to drive. So really all I could do was release responsibility and do what children do; eat and play. I would play with my sister, probably kick the soccer ball around. Play with our old dog, Magic.

I would be care-free and just do whatever came up. I have no schedule, no responsibilities. No where to be, no one depending on me, no job to go to.

I could take a nap, but I could do that now. I could watch old tv shows, but thanks to Youtube I could do that now too. The one thing I can’t do is replace the time with family, when we are all young(er).

I also picture it being autumn time. The fall is so much better, its a little bit cooler, the leavers are coming off. I can totally play in a big pile of leaves!!!!

And I could eat whatever I wanted. I’m six, I’ll burn it all off the next day. Weight sticks less when your younger, not like it does even in your twenties (why do I feel so old). I could even walk down to the ol’ penny candy store and buy a bunch of candy. I would talk to the sweet old lady who owned the place, and say thank you.

But yeah, if I had a day when I was 6 again I would only do two things, Eat and Play.

Soulmate vs Chosen

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

I think the idea of a soulmate is very romantic but also very idealistic. Soulmate is a plot point for dramas and teenage TV shows. It makes me think of Dawson’s Creek when Joey tells Dawson “You’ll always be my Soulmate…” but I’m totally not going to date you right now, more like save you for later in case this other thing works out. I always thought Joey was leading both of them on and never really being true with either of them.

End of Dawson’s Creek Series End Rant. Side note: this is the only part of Dawson’s Creek I remember, everything else from that show is a totally blur.

Back to regular scheduled blog….

When I think of a soulmate, I think it is the end all be all person. The person that is just right for you; the person that your heart has been longing to be with, and you are not complete without. The person to whom your soul needs to be complete.

Taking that definition, I think the idea of a soulmate being applied to an earthly person misses the mark. It is a very romantic notion, but the idea of one person completing YOUR VERY SOUL is a very high mark. Its a lofty task with a lot of expectations and assumptions. So much so that no one can truly fit that mold; mostly because everyone fails at some point. No one is perfect, and we as human beings have a hard enough time managing our own lives let-alone being a significant other to some one else. The only being our soul really longs for, and the only being who can successfully take that mantle is Jesus.

Only he can completely satisfy and complete our very soul. When we die and go to heaven we won’t be trying to find a date or figure out a relationship, we will be the bride of Christ. We will be his! We will only be focusing on him. In Jesus our soul will find rest and completeness. Jesus is the end all be all.

That isn’t to say an earthy relationship is important or impactful to the heart. I love my wife. I LOVE my wife. I am so happy with her, and I can’t picture my life without her or with anyone else. She is amazing and I love her very much, and with her my life is better. She is my bride, for whom I will love for the rest of my life, and for whom I have chosen to be my only romantic love the rest of my life.

She is my Chosen, only her and no one else. So while no one on this earth can fulfill the mantle of a Soulmate, one person can take the mantle of being our life long chosen companion. And in that area I know I’ve found the best one, but I’m completely biased 🙂 🙂 🙂

My New(ish) Friday Jams (9/25/2015)

There are a few jams for this fine Friday (the goal is newer albums or singles), but really only one stands superior to all:

Andy Mineo – Uncomfortable

Uncomfortable

Okays, so this album dropped last weekend; but I’m still cranking it in my Batman earbuds. It has a mix of catchy hooks and bars that are fire and convicting. It boasts his most personal tracks yet, and the emotion translates very well across the flow of the album. Definitaly one of the best albums of the year so far.

Tracks to rock to: “Uncomfortable”, “Now I Know”, “Hear My Heart”, “Vendetta”, “Love”

Marty- Marty for President

Marty for President

So Marty from Social Club, released a solo 6 track EP. Like Marty, its fun, relevant, and reflective. It feels like a different style (more laid back, slower, groove oriented tracks) then Social Club but its still as good.

Tracks to rock out to:  “The One Where She Stayed,”, “The One with My Friends”

Ryan Adams- 1989

1989

Found this little gem while perusing Spotify. This CD makes Taylor Swift songs easier to listen to. I don’t know if I actually like this or just think its funny. He isn’t making fun of Taylor, but yet his voice makes it fun. It brings more of a rock/blues/folk feel to the pop heavy songs, so more my style; some songs do remind me of Gaslight Anthem, which has a style of love! Overall a fun album for all, Swift lovers and haters.

Tracks to rock out to: “Style”, “All You Had to Do Was Stay”, “I Know Places”

What are you listening to today? Have you listened to any of these albums? Let me know in the comments below!