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As I think about the question of loving others, I have to wonder if there are any days that I see anyone other than Leah where upon reviewing the day I would dare pray that God treats me tomorrow the way that I have treated others today. I think that I might perhaps be somewhat safe on the days when I spend the day alone with her. But, sometimes even then I fail to keep from saying or doing something that hurts or upsets her because I speak or act without thinking. Thank God for grace and His perfect love.
I spent the day so focused on ministry that I closed the tap on the creative flow. Now I'm struggling to come up with something to write my 100 words on. I thought about sharing a quote that's special to me, but then I thought that wouldn't be my words. Of course the problem thinking that is it led me to realize I don't really have any words. OK, that's not true. I came up with waketitude. As in coffee is my magic elixir of waketitude. I know it wouldn't be very creative to write waketitude repeatedly 100 times though.
Mother nature teased me out of a motorcycle ride today. I can ride in the rain if I have to or if I happen to run into rain while riding, but I prefer to leave the bike parked on rainy days. Rain hurts. It's like being hit with tiny needles at 70 MPH. Then there is the additional danger factor, and I don't bounce like I used to. My back is still messed up from the last time I went down. It looked like it was going to rain all day, so I didn't ride. It didn't rain.
Few things in this world give me more joy and I find more beautiful than Leah's smile. I love seeing it. Actually, I should say them, because she has different smiles. There's one that's just mine; my favorite. Then her kids and grandson each get one. Those three are similar, but unique. They kind of meld into a big combo smile when two or all three of them are there. But she has this other smile, the cutest smile that I could never express in words. It's the spontaneous, innocent ,joy, and I saw it today at Hobby Lobby..
I made a good choice, and a poor one. They were one and the same. After Leah's second visual movie, an excellent and beautifully shot film that we had never seen before, my time had come to pick my second film of the month. I picked one she introduced me to a few years ago that I remembered as great and visual,a Tim Burton film. Of course it's visual; it's Burton. But The Big Fish is not really a visual movie as much as a literary novel written in film. It didn't really fit the theme. But great movie.
We love the Valentine's image of a heart <3 , but of course that looks nothing like a real heart. The human heart looks like a fist covered in blood. Perhaps there's a reason why God designed it that way. We can admit that what is in the heart drives us. It is our very core, and yet the physical representation of life is a bloody fist. That's who we are, at the core, without God. We are bloody muscle that strives to survive, is weak and needs protection from its vulnerability but is seen by others as a fist.
There are some films that are powerful and beautiful enough to truly effect me. One such is The Passion of the Christ. The movie came out while I was in prison, but the word of how vivid and powerful a production it was reached beyond the bars and inmates spoke of seeing it when we got out. I didn't have to wait though. The unit chaplain gave a few showings once it came out on DVD. I sat in a prison gym with a handful of Wiccans and assorted pagans. We were all in tears before the final scene.
It probably won't make my list today, but I guess I should be grateful I didn't make anyone unlike Unshackled Life Ministries' page today. I guess everyone either ignored me or gave me the benefit of the doubt, but it would seem that titling today's Unshackled Moment God Is Not Faithful wasn't a good idea. For the record, since few read it, God is faithful to His word, He is just not faithful to our messed up, selfish, non-eternal ideas on what His word is or should be. Wow. Over two hours of writing summed up in one sentence,
Christian bookstores are full of books on how to find and maintain joy. There are a lot of miserable Christians making themselves and the world even more miserable trying to increase their own joy by making everyone live up to some moral standard that no one, not even a Christian can achieve without the grace of God. It's churchianity, religion, rather than the simplicity of obeying Jesus. This is My commandment, that you love one another, that your joy may be full. It's past time for Christians to present the love of Christ to the world, not a moral standard.
I am really enjoying Gotham, but sometimes I seriously have to think of it as a parallel universe to the comics. It's good. And Leah, who never read the comics thinks the stories are well developed. I agree. It may be better the way that they are doing it, but it is definitely different. Some criminals that were created years into Batman are now being introduced before Bruce is out of high school. Still, I am mostly happy with it, but I don't like what they did with the Mad Hatter backstory. Alice was a kidnapped girl, not his sister.
I know it's almost over, but today is Veteran's Day here in the United States.One of my biggest regrets is not being able to serve. I couldn't pass the physical due to knee problems. I tried when Desert Storm kicked off. but my stepson is a vet, and my brother is still serving. He's an officer now, in the Calvary, and he worked his way up from enlisted. I am very proud of them both. Many of my friends and family have served their country, but whether I am related or don't know you. If you served, thank you.
It's an old joke to act like husbands and mothers-in-law don't get along, dread seeing one another and practically can't stand the other. But the truth is that I love my mother-in-law. We get along great, and she is either truly happy that I married her daughter or the Emmy goes to... She's contributed a lot to my life, but one of the top 5 things has to be introducing Leah and I to The Big Bang Theory. We love it. If laughter is the best medicine, we've been well dosed tonight. Binge watched eight episodes.
Every person has the right, perhaps a fundamental imperative of being to pursue happiness. I believe what trips us up and causes so many of the problems in the world is that we make serious mistakes as to what it is that can and will make us truly happy. I think that we make the mistake that joy and happiness are the same and that we should always have happiness. Part of what makes happiness worth pursuing is that it is not a constant state of being. It is a rare and precious thing that's tied to love and peace.
For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know. When I wrote today's Unshackled Moment about climbing the mountain, instead of moving it because there is joy in the struggle I didn't consider that I would be hearing a confirmation of that message. The movie Leah and I watched tonight stole this quote from Theodore Roosevelt; a character said it without attribution. Still it made me wonder if there is more to the message that I need to be living. First I get it to give this morning, and then hear it again tonight.
I tend to binge on games. I don't play any for a while, and then I'll play a few for a while, on again, off again. But lately I'e become obsessed with a stupid game, and it's all Leah's fault. I watched her play Blossom Blast Saga for months without being the least bit tempted to play it. Then one night when I was tired and not thinking straight I watched her play a few rounds and downloaded the app on my tablet. Since I have been playing it like it's important or something. It's crazy. I guess I'mm hooked.
I hate it when I know I have a book and can't find it. It's even worse when I tell someone how great the book is, they ask if I have it, I say yes, they ask to borrow it, I'm all "sure, no problem," and I can't find it. Now I have to dig through boxes in storage to try to find the book that I thought I knew right where it was. I don't have to, but I will feel guilty if he buys the book, or, worse, doesn't read it just because my memory stinks these days.
Well, that was a pretty disgusting game. The Saints didn't come marching in. They spent about half the game just letting Carolina march all over them. They did pull together and try for a come back, but it was too little too late. At least they covered the spread. Barely. But it's easy to say that it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you cover the spread when it's not you team losing a game that they could have, if not should have, won. I regret choosing the football game over the hockey now, since the Stars won.
Leah and I watched the first episode of Chance on Hulu this evening. I guess Hugh Laurie has been type cast, since he's playing a doctor again. The character is nothing like House, M.D. though, and he's a shrink. But still, can this guy get a job without the character being some kind of Dr.? It's a little early to tell, but it looks like it's going to be good. Interesting, anyway. It has a good cast.Ethan Suplee, a highly underrated actor is amazing and a little scary, and Gretchen Mol is as good as she ever was.
It breaks my heart to see how many in this country act like puppets for the propaganda machines, and I am talking about all political parties and many issues. I heard a great line, "You're young. You suffer from the arrogance of the ignorant." But it's not just the young. There are too many who pick a side that sounds right to them and then ceases to do any research or even think for themselves. They simple parrot, or more accurately, re-post, whatever anyone who claims to be on their side says is fact. Sweet sounding falsehood runs unchecked.
René Descartes was the philosopher who, I think therefore I am." I can't help but wonder if he were philosophizing in this era how much different his thoughts would have to be. There are so many who definitely "are," but also rarely if ever use their brains to think. Of course, Descartes also said, "It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well." That is a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with. I am afraid that if we keep making it easier not to think, the consequences could be dire indeed.
I just saw a commercial that reminded me of Christmas a few years ago. Mom kept asking us, her sons and the wives, what we wanted for Christmas. We weren't getting our wish lists to her quickly enough, so she said something on Facebook, asking us what we wanted. I said, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas!" Kristen, my sister-in-law said she wanted one too. Christmas came, and we all opened our presents. Sure enough, Mom had gotten both of us cute stuffed hippos. I want a Harley Davidson for Christmas! Kidding, unless Mom hit the lottery.
Yesterday I received one of those chain messages from my mom. National I care about you day, forward to 20 friends and send it back to the person who sent it you. Of course I sent it back to her, because I do care about her, and I know she cares about me. Still I couldn't help it. When I read it, I nearly laughed. All I could think was that I remembered all those occasions when she was being responsible to care for me and guide me right that she would say, "I'm not your friend. I'm your mother.."
I thought I would use my 100 words tonight to say two things. First, I am extremely grateful for everyone who has made Unshackled Life Ministries a part of their life. I feel blessed to have all the daily readers and listeners. That said, there will be no sermon this week, nor will there be any more Unshackled Moments for the rest of the week. I am going to take the next three days to spend with Leah and family, and the Unshackled Moment will be back online Sunday. I pray that you have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for so much today, but here is my top five. I am grateful and thankful God loves me, that I am clean and sober, that Leah said yes and doesn't regret it, that I didn't have to spend this thanksgiving incarcerated, and for my family. Of course there's more. I could go on. I hit all 2 games I picked today. I got to see quite a few of those family people I'm thankful for. But none could bump anything from my top five. Oh, and grateful is the feeling. Thankful is the expression of that feeling.
Pretty good day yesterday, but this morning I feel rough. I am hungover. No, not booze or drugs. Dream hangover. It is a real thing. I hate it. It sucks. I did OK and got a little rest last night. I guess I should have gone on and gotten up when the power started flickering on and off this morning (it's done that two days in a row now), anyway, I should have gone on and gotten up. Because I went back to sleep and fell into prison dreams. The were unlike any I remember having though still terrible.
I enjoyed today very much. I got to do something with Leah that she's been wanting to do for several years. We went to Texas Renaissance Festival. It was pretty cool, but a bit of a let down as they had advertised this weekend to be A Celtic Christmas, which, not so much. Still it was a nice time, and we managed to be leaving as Leah's body registered it had done about all the standing and walking it intended to do. I'm afraid that she'll be hurting tomorrow. We'll go back, I'm sure, but not on Celtic Christams.
Today I lit the Candle of Hope for the first week of Advent. I love celebrating Advent and Christmas and being able to devote five weeks to remembering and celebrating the reason I have hope. I know, I know, only the first week is Hope. But it's not like you're supposed to forget hope when you move to love, or forget either of them when you go to the week of joy, etc. The are all tied together, and the music and the lights and decorations and gifts and everything else is there to remind us the Lord has come.
Leah and I managed to get one of our Christmas trees up. It's not completely decorated yet, but the lights are on, the angel is on top, and some of the decorations are hung. It looks pretty good, and hopefully we'll have time to finish decorating it soon. That'll be one done, six to go. We love Christmas. I can probably get my Star Wars/Star Trek tree and my Texas Tech tree up tomorrow. Those are the only ones I would dare decorate without Leah's presence. The rest must meet her specifications, and no tinsel allowed on hers.
I almost forgot to write an entry today. That would really suck considering the fact that there is only one day left in the month. It's not like much of what I've written each day is worth much or some deep thought or beautifully crafted literary wordsmithing. I understand that. It's been random, trivial and shallow for the most part. Perhaps I will try to do something deeper and or more creative next time. For now though I will simply be happy to have met a goal to write 100 words every day, not one more and no less.
The Hallmark Christmas movies are all cheesy. I get that. I expect that. They are Christmas cotton candy - overly sweet and unsubstantial. But that's not necessarily a bad thing if that's what you're in the mood for. Cotton candy at the fair and Hallmark movies for the countdown to Christmas. Some of them are actually pretty good. But some of them are cheesy in a not so good way. Some of them are so bad, and not in a fun and campy so bad it's funny and good kind of way. Reminds me I need to watch Mystery Science 3000.
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