New Year…New Book

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Another  year has set. Like the setting sun above {so wonderfully captured setting over the James River by my Beloved Wife MemoriaArts} the old year closes and a new one begins. We celebrate these times with new years resolutions, parties and new outlooks. I used to make new years resolutions like everyone else…and like most I failed miserably in my resolve.

Last year a trend started to pick a word or phrase for the year.I didn’t pick a word at all just submitted the year to God’s will and let what would be be. The last year was one of change…I moved away from the home area that I knew so well to a city I had never been to…I left a good fulfilling job for the uncertainty of a better paying new one…my children left the homeschool and entered into the public school 2 blocks from our new home. It was a year full of changes and trials good and bad.

This year I am picking a phrase…a Latin phrase….vivere consulto….Live deliberately. For so long I have hung back and let life happen. In part because that is what was easy in the slow country life. Partly because I had an absent father who when he was home was over bearing and controlling and was raised primary by my mother who rolled with the orders and directives. I learned from a young age to just go along with the world and adapt and move as needed. I never really planned for my life…never really watched my finances or planned my time and mainly existed. I realize now after a time of reflection that I never really knew who I was or what I liked.

That changed in college when I met my Beloved wife and had a reason to live and exist in this world. Problem was I wasn’t really sure how to do that and over the past 13 years have failed time and time again. Over those years I have learned a lot…grown in a lot of ways. This year I am making a concerted effort to live deliberately..to plan and set goals. To grow more and be the best Husband and Father I can be. Here is to a new year…a new book with many blank pages to fill.

Peace on Earth

My boys love looking at the stars and dreaming. They love all things space, as most boys their age do, and they love to watch NASA videos. Like them I too was enamored with all things space and wanted to become an astronaut…or at least an astronomer. Of course the closest I ever got was an astronomy 101 class in college to know that I was not cut out for that. It has always struck me though the view of the Earth from space. From up high all is beautiful and peaceful. It is truly the closest to “Peace on Earth” we will most likely ever see. From space you can’t see the fighting in the Middle East, or the torture and martyrdom of Christians in Syria and elsewhere, or the gang violence in the urban streets of America. From that lofty view you see the World from a different perspective. Even the hurricanes and thunderstorms look beautiful. You look at an image of the Earth and you realize just how small you are compared to everything…and you see how great God truly is.

The sad thing is the Earth is not as it appears from space. There is anger and violence, natural and man made disasters, and many more sinful and evil things going on down there. However up high in space looking back on the Earth you see it as intended…a beautiful place of peace. This Christmas season many of us are going to be going out into this world traveling and meeting people. We will be standing in long lines after long lines… fighting traffic and crowded parking lots… we will be getting frustrated with the insanity of the Christmas season that has turned from love to consumerism. During this time lets make the conscious choice to take a deep breath and stay calm. Remember the world as it is from space and do what we can to bring peace to our little corner of the world. It isn’t easy I sure struggle with anger and frustration I know… but for the sake of other and to the glory of God lets be the icon of Christ to the world.

 

Time

I hate cliches but the old saying time flies is true. I realized today that it has almost been 9 months since making the move away from home. It doesn’t seem like it has been that long and then it feels like it was a lifetime ago. It got me to thinking 9 months….that is the time a baby is formed in. From conception to birth it takes 9 months to grow a beautiful child. That is is mystical time that we only begin to understand what happens but for sure God forms a child inside the womb of his or her mother (I hate the term its… IT is a baby…a child of God **funny story on that at the end of the post). During that 9 months there is a lot of internal and external stresses that form that child into being. So many things internal and external influence that child’s development. Did the mother eat healthy…did she drink alcohol…dis she take vitamins…etc. These factors affect that child’s development for the better of for the worse. The thing is it is up to the mother to take care of that child…the child has no control over anything going on to them. As they are born and grow that changes and they begin to have more control and input into their life.

Not too dissimilar to the past 9 months here. There have been many internal and external forces and stresses that have begun to shape me and cause me to reflect on who I am and who I want to be. Some I had control over…some I did not…and some in the middle ground. I have to admit this has not always been an enjoyable time of growth. I have spent a lot of time looking back over my life and there is a lot to be happy about and a bit to morn and reflect. I guess the good thing is that I am still “young”…though I feel 95 most days….and can change for the better. Change is coming rather I want it to or not…I choose to make that change a good one to the best of my ability and leave to God that which I can’t change. I have to take that initial leap of faith the drop into the dark unknown may only be a few inches or it way be tens of thousands of miles…who knows. Allons y

 

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Ok so the funny I promised after a serious post. When my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child I had someone ask me when they found out she what pregnant “What is it?”….To which I replied (in my smart a$$ way) a Velociraptor…needless to say she didn’t know how to respond so I said IT is a baby…a baby girl.

 

**Post image provided by http://www.freeimages.co.uk

***Youtube video by Billy Reeder. I have found his Cabin People videos inspiring

Missing

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August 8th has rolled around another year. For our friends a joyous and happy time…an Anniversary of their marriage… the day they began their life as one. We were there that day…my wife a bridesmaid just as the groom had been a groomsman in our wedding. Fitting for their friendship…a bond like family more than friend. On this very day…at the very same time…in the very same spot a child we never knew was there was lost. The days following were wrought with first confusion…for we knew not the source of the extreme pain my Beloved was going through…then fear…for there were almost 2 more angels in heaven had it not been for the skillful hands of an amazing surgeon…then sorrow…sorrow for the loss. That sorrow still lingers… for it never really leaves us. There are times when we are all out and I am counting heads… even though I count to 6 [and sometimes 8 if we are watching the cousins]… there still feels like there is one missing…there is. I have subconsciously laughed at that and ignored the real meaning… I suppose not wanting to admit the pain. We go on…day by day…and year by year. Never really forgetting. I know that God had a reason for this…a reason I do not know. Admittedly I have been angry at Him for it in the past…now I rest in the fact that there was a reason and one day…God willing…we will be made whole again.

 

 

How Once, You Were You

© Cassi
Would you wear pink or would you wear blue?
I’ll never know
or hear your sweet coo
or see those tiny little fingers,
how the thoughts of you just linger

Does the pain ever end?
Where do I begin to mend..
this broken heart..
from the all pain that it has felt?

All I can ask is why
Why were you given wings to fly
When you had feet to walk,
And a sweet little mouth to one day talk.

How I still fell you,
knowing there is nothing else I can do.
But just remember,
How once, you were you!

Source:  http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/how-once-you-were-you#ixzz2bOrOQRAM

Searching for Meaning

A few years ago our world went topsy turvy. Things went crazy…lost a child…lost a job…etc. During that time something happened. Among the survival of putting one foot in front of another something inside was lost…slowly and unnoticed at first. I lost who I was.

I am to this day wondering who I am really. I mean I am James…I am an Orthodox Christian…I am a husband and father…I am a geek…but what lites me on fire…What drives me…What interest me? I am having to figure all that out. I feel like I’m going on a first date with myself some days but the problem is I’m too shy to tell myself anything I suppose.
Here I am 30 almost 31 grown up adult and I’m not sure about myself. Kind of embarrassing. I lived in the same area for 30 years and now I have moved far away from that place. Intentionally I might add. I am in a new place…a place to reinvent myself. I have no idea where to start or where it will lead. I feel most sorry for my wonderful beloved who has been at my side for all these years and now in some ways lives with a stranger. I’m sorry my beloved as soon as I know who I am I will introduce you…I’m sure you will love him…he is sure to be a good guy…if I say so myself. 🙂

New Horizons

Today is my last day in the hills of Tennessee. Tonight we will pack a moving truck with all out stuff and head to the coast. To bigger cities and bigger opportunities. Moving home for my Beloved…and oh how nice it is to see her excited about it too. I always visioned myself living in these mountains my whole life. They were always home for me…always felt a longing to be in the woods. As I have grown up things have changed. As much as I love the mountains my home is not there. My home is where my wife and kids are. My home is where God places me. And now God is placing me near the coast, near family and friends. I look forward to what God has in store for us..

 

Courageous Chivalry

chivalry

Everyone wants that Disney storybook life. That life with one real trial that ends in finding ” prince charming” and living ” happily ever after” with the world right and easy…. but anyone in our near adulthood knows this never happens. Life is full of trials and pains… full of good times and bad. The luckiest of us find that ” price charming” (or in my case lovely princess) to spend our days with. Those not so lucky either brave life by themselves or share it with someone who is not an equal “partner” in life.

The thing is it is in us all to be a Prince Charming or  a Lovely Princess. Everyone has the capacity to be the great husband/wife they are called to be. The fact is we are all princes or princess…we are all children of the King and made in His image. The unfortunate thing is we let the stress and clutter of life cloud our lives. As a society we are so busy and so stressed…constantly running around and living a complex and stress filled life.

Science has proven that when a person is in a state of constant stress they have a tendency to revert to their most quirkiest behaviors. This means is you are an introvert and tend to avoid conversing in social situations under constant stress you have a tendency to basically shut down and not talk. You will basically shut down and simply go through the motions of life. If you have a tendency to be outspoken and opinionated under constant stress you have a tendency to become overbearing, bossy, and hateful. We all have this tendency and at times these bad traits come out in all of us but when this behavior becomes constant and continuous there starts to become problems (been there,done that,got the T-shirt…trust me not a good place).

We must guard ourselves and our families against the threat of constant stress, clutter, and busyness. These constant pulls to be constantly connected, to always strive and work for better stuff and “keep up” with the best leaves us tired and spent. There is some stress we can’t control or have at least little control over…these are situations to give to God and trust in Him (still working on that myself)…but creating stress by busyness and excessiveness (if that is even a word) is dangerous to our lives.

The science is there to show how stress affects our health and relationships…but this has been know for centuries. It is not a new problem…it has been there since the beginning and warnings are even in the Bible. There are warnings to not stress about the future (Luke 12:22-29)…we are told to take all cares to the Lord (Philippians 4:6)…we are even advised to lead quiet simple lives (1 Thessalonians 4:11).  It has always been know that constant stress can affect our physical and mental health negatively yet we do it anyways… believing the lies of the demons that if we only did more things would be better…happier…more fulfilling; and sadly some people believe this their whole life and wake up near the end of their days and see what was missed.

And now a specific word to the men out there (myself included because I struggle with this as well)

It is time as men of faith to stand up for our families…time for us to make our wife and children our priority. It is time for us to be an Ephesians 5 husband (Ephesians 5 25-29)…to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Sacrificially putting aside our own selfish (and childish at times) wants and desires for what is best for our family (1 Corinthians 13:11).It is time to not take the easy out and escape to work when our wife and kids are sick…it is time to stay and hold the puke buckets and nurture our love ones as best we can.

The hardest thing of course is knowing what to do…what is really best for everyone…that is where we must pray and seek wise council. It is imperative that we have that wise council. It took me years to find that wise biblical council and was not till I began attending the Orthodox church and met Fr. Steve and Sdn. Ephriam that I found this (but that is a whole other post). As husbands and fathers we must do right by God and our wife and children. Trust in the Lord and he will lead…It is scary I know…I have days I get scared of the future too. As I said earlier this is something I struggle with to this day…I am in no ways have it all figured out…If I said or thought I did I would be lying to myself and you. It is only by God’s grace and guidance and the  forgiveness and steadfast love of my wife that I even come close to doing what is right.

If you are married strive to be that husband you are called to be…if you  have yet to meet that special woman study and learn…learn what you need to become…stay pure and whole for that soul mate God has made for you…prepare yourself for the time you become married. Be the man you are called to be no matter what situation you are in. Those times where you are uncertain of the future…when you are scared of what is going to happen…pray to the Lord with the confidence that He will guide and deliver you from any evil. Pray to Him knowing his truth and know that nothing can really keep you from His love and truth. Here is a prayer I use during those times; I did not write it (not sure who did) but here is where I got it. There are many prayers there that I have found helpful. Maybe you will find them as helpful.

O Lord, You who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if you are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Your will. The future I put into Your hands, O Lord, and I follow You to a life in Christ. Amen

 

Casting off (not a knitting tutorial)

As today is the first and everyone is putting up the things they are going to take up this year I am not… I have decided this year I need to cast off more than take on. I am going to cast off many things about myself that I either don’t like or is completely unhealthy. Here are a few that I am willing to share.

– Fear: I am going to cast my fears aside. The fear of the future…where I will live next…where am I going to get the things my family needs…what is going to happen to me. I am not going to harbor that fear anymore. My life is the Lords and he will guide and take care of us. It is not my place to be concerned with the future only to trust in the Lord.

– Anger: I am going to put aside the anger inside of me. Not even really sure why this anger is here but it is. Anger is not healthy to anyone and it is time it packed its bags.

– Pride: I was raised in a home where pride was king. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much unhealthy pride I had. How it was so normal that i never saw it for what it was. Pride is the root sin and is thus the most dangerous.

– Evil Thoughts: Everyone has them…they are those nagging thoughts in your mind saying you are a failure…you are ugly…you are fat…you are never going to do anything right. Those evil thoughts that the demons use to bring you down. They use them to try and separate you from God. They have always been there in my head telling me how much of a loser I am and how I will never amount to anything really worthwhile. They are lies…they are dangerous evil lies. God loves me and has a purpose for my life. And I have a loving wife and 6 loving kids that believe in me and encourage me.

These are a few things that I know I need to change. Casting off of the old and forming anew. Scarry proposition for me to be honest but then again I am casting fear away. 🙂 

All Wibley Wobley Timey Wimey

***Geek Alert Ahead~Dr. Who References in this post. If you have never seen Dr. Who…I’m sorry you have missed a lot of good TV.***

Doctor-Who-Rose

This last day of 2012 I find myself looking back on the past year. Some good things… some bad… happy times… sad times. Turning 30 and joining the Orthodox Church has meant this has been a big year for reflection on the past. There has been a good bit of growing up this year and that will continue onto the next year and year after year. This has been a year to shed the past…to shed the regrets…to shed the pain…to shed the lies of Satan. It has been a year of embracing…embracing myself and who I am …embracing my Beloved…embracing my kids…embracing God…embracing His will.

This next year looks like it may be a big one with some big changes…good changes. Whatever God wills this next year I know it will be good. I choose to move forward…to not let the weeping angels zap me back into the past. To keep the faith and hope in the future…to not let the Dalek’s exterminate who I am. No matter where God takes us on this wibley wobley timey wimey adventure I know all will be well and good. It won’t be easy at times…it will be an adventure after all…but in the end all things will work out for the glory of God.

I am grateful to God that I have such a wonderful companion to go on this adventure with. My compassionate and loving Beloved encourages me and makes me want to be a better man. I am thankful for the grace of God…for without that there would be not real future. I am grateful for my kids who encourage me to do better for their sakes. I am grateful for the past because it has made me who I am today. Here is to the future…whatever it may hold. May God bless it and us as we move forward…and may God bless you and your families this new year. May our futures be bright and full of grace. Allons-y

Park

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