Monday, December 20, 2010

Amazing Grace

Well, here we go again...It's midnight, I'm wide awake, so I thought I would write you. I've noticed over the past week or so that I just haven't been able to fall asleep...I know..It is the child like anticipation of Christmas!!!!!!  No, not quite.. ha ha!  It's ironic....I was just talking to you about being a part of the "solution" and not the "problem" when you look around in life and you wonder why you're not happy.In the bible, it says things like "he who is without sin, cast the first stone", and "judge not, less thou be judged".  What that says to me is it is not our place to cast judgement on others...Yes, we might not agree with their decisions, or their behaviors, but I really don't think that getting in someone's face and telling them what they're doing wrong is the correct way to do something. Have you ever been in a situation in where your emotions got the best of you? You just blurted all of this stuff out that maybe you meant part of what you said, but you were so overwhelmed that you just kind of blew up and let the person have it with both barrels having no regard for the location you were in, and the people that were around you. That's the thing....Confronting them..You see, if there is a thing as righteous judgement, How does that work?? There is a song that we used to sing in Sunday School that goes "and they'll know we are christians by our love by our love, yes they'll know we are christians by our love".. Think about that....That's what god wants from us..To show other people his love. Just because you don't agree with someone, that doesn't give you the right to basically point your finger at them, say terrible things, and basically act the exact OPPOSITE way christians are supposed to act. To me, christianity is all about having a personal relationship with god. with that being said, if I find myself in moments like this, I ask myself "Okay...what do I think Jesus would do, or how do I think he would act in this situation". I think that when we act out in anger, all we're trying to do is make OUR point..Well, what about GOD'S point?? Many times if we judge someone else, that is us being selfish..It's us not taking into consideration anything else but our own agenda, and our own feelings. I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if in the past people have acted out and verbally judged someone, telling them this that and the other thing...That person didn't go before the lord right before they did this and asked god "what is the best way to communicate with this person"? You know, it's so easy to pass judgement when we think we're in the right. I've found that sometimes it's not about right or wrong. Yes, the person could be doing wrong, but do you actually think making them feel worse about their situation is going to do any better? In my opinion, it is just going to make things worse, and/or drive a wedge between you and that person. If you ever find yourself in situations like this, maybe try saying to god "okay...I don't agree with what's going on here..However, how can I be used by you in this situation? What am I really trying to say? why am I truly upset about this? Do I have all of my facts straight? How can I act that will be beneficial, and make a difference?
I'm not at all saying we should just roll over and be like "I'm not going to take a stand....It doesn't matter"  well, obviously it does matter because you care about the situation. However, Christians have had this reputation for standing on soapboxes, pointing the finger at people and telling them they are sinners and they're going to hell...  That's the problem...Some christians will sit through a sermon that talks about forgiveness, and acting god like, and praying for others.. Then, they'll march out of the auditorium and pass judgement, as if what they just listened to for the past half hour went in one ear and out the other. I think that judgement sometimes comes from anger. The person doing the judging is angry inside, so they lash out at someone else. Does that make sense?  You see, in light of all of this, there is one word that can change all of this.....GRACE.. "By the grace of god go I", it says... I think that gets lost somewhere when we deal with feelings of abandonment, anger, fear, know, all of those joyous holiday feelings.. :)   Sure, people do things that hurt us. We see things happening in our own lives that can break us down...That is why God gave us this incredible gift of GRACE... So, this christmas week, if you see an opportunity to show god's grace, I want to encourage you to go for it. If you're in a friend/family/workplace quarrel, try to think about grace, and how grace could help you be the solution to this particular problem.This is one of the many reasons why we all are a work in progress..Isn't it nice to know that God isn't finished with us yet??
Now on to happier things... :) haha! You know, being in my mid-thirties I've come to realize that the little things in life are just so cool. Well..yeah, the big things are cool too, but here's what I getting at.....  In the awesome world of Radio, WMBI especially, things really slow down over the next 2 weeks, so this is the time when many of us take vacation. From the middle of January all the way through May, it is really really busy, so I decided to use up this year's vacation time by taking time off now through the first monday of January. This afternoon, I got a call from Lauren (my 9 year old niece) and she wanted to come over and walk Daisy. So, she gets dropped off, we take daisy outside, and it was almost like we were transported into like a Lifetime movie or something like that...We live on a golfcourse, so we were walking right next to the golfcourse, kind of under the trees, the snow was falling, and as we were walking side by side, we were just talking about the past year, about christmas this week, and about how excited Lauren is about having 2 weeks off...We were telling each other jokes, kicking snow at each other, playing tag..That kind of stuff. Little things like this mean so much to me now.  Tonight, after the Bears won (YEAY!!!) I was just sitting on the couch with the dog (cari has to open tomorrow morning so she went to bed) and I was listening to the plow trucks come and go...Maybe it's just me, but there is a certain sound of the silence this time of year...Does that make any sense? For example, it's almost 1 A.M. and as I sit here and not type, there is this silence that is different... I probably lost you there..I confuse myself all the time..  :)
So, I would love your feedback on this...I am thinking to use this blog thing to write somewhat of an autobiography of the past 5 years of my life. What do you think? Do it? Don't Do it?  I'm a moron?  :)    either way, thanks for reading this.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This year, it's a little different

Okay...First things first, I need to just put something out there..I am still going back and fourth regarding this whole blog thing...Here's why..I kind of thnk that if I write a blog, I am going to seem self absorbed...I know...You're probably saying to yourself "then, why are you writing it??" Well, that's the thing. I don't want to sound self absorbed, or that I think my life is just so special that I just have to share it with everyone. I guess the reason why I am continuing on with this thing is it's a great way of practicing if I would ever decide to write any kind of book...So, there it goes again...The thought that you are going to think I just think sooo highly of myself, and my life is so great, that I just have to write about it. no...That's not it at all.. To be completely honest, I am very humbled by the fact that I get to do what I do every day.. The fact that everything that I have is truly a gift from God, and I don't deserve any of it....However, I have had a very interesting life over the past several years, and I feel that maybe by writing about it, it might help someone else...However, people would actually have to read this thing in order for that to work...ha!! Actually, I am wiring a lot of this stuff in honor of my sister...Does that make any sense?? You see, when Ang got sick, and things started to go downhill, I had this ongoing feeling that I wanted to write in honor of her. To maybe talk about our lives, and tell people from my perspective how sometimes you have to go through many trials in order for you to look back and see how God has worked in your life.. There are so many things that I don't know..There are so many things that I just have to go by faith...However, If there is one thing that I've learned over the past few years is no matter what happens to you in this life, nothing ever surprises god, and he knows exactly what's going on..It's all under his control...In this life, you reaslly have to be thankful of what you have, instead of thinking about what you don't have.. It's about perspective... It's really interesting how God orchestrates all of these little things, and these huge things in your life to bring you to where you are now. This Christmas, it's a little different for me..Here's what I'm saying..For the past several years, around October, I would always think about how this coming christmas, it's going to be a great holiday..I can't wait to take some time off, spend time with friends and family, etc...Then, when christmas would finally arrive, it was like...Okay...Now What?? It just didn't feel the way I thought it would feel..It wasn't the way I'd wanted it to be. Over the past few years, there was always a problem..Always an issue that was changing the experience of christmas.Guess what?  I was focusing on the wrong things.. You know...Stuff like there's not enough doesn't feel like christmas..what about this? what about that? blah blah blah.. It's like I want to go back in time and say to myself "Just shut up!!!!" Look around you!!! Pay attention!! Paying attention....In alot of ways in my life, I've paid attention, but I really haven't paid we go with a couple more annoying quotes...ha! There is a line from a movie that goes "I know that you hear what I'm saying, but do you truly hear what I'm saying??"  Well, this year, I made this realization...Maybe the "problem" was me? Maybe I was focusing on what is "wrong", that I didn't focus enough on what is "right"? In some ways, that is it..I was looking at it wrong..Instead of being the problem, maybe I should become a part of the solution? Sure, things aren't perfect...Trust me...Nothing on this earth can be "perfect". However, this year, I see things differently..I have a Career that I absolutely love. I have a relationship with Ryan, Lauren and Luke that could only be the way it is because certain events unfolded in a certain way over the past 2 years..Sure, those events were painful...It seems unfair..However, I would not trade my relationships with them for anything...Steve (my brother in law) and I have gotten much closer over the past couple of years. Even though it's still hard for her, my Mom is in a much better place in her life with where she lives, her relationship with her family, and that includes me.
I've become so much closer to Cari's side of the family as well. Hannah and Alex are just awesome (Hannah is NOT going to date until she's 30) and I have really come to appreciate my relationships with Jenny and Brian.. They add so much to my life. Cari and I have gotten closer as well..Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you find yourself saying to God "God, show me a sign.....Just show me a sign....I need a miracle...."   Well, I have come to learn that sometimes in those situations, God wants us to be a part of the miracle, or he wants us to be a part of the "sign" that we're looking for. I remember back when I was saying that to God about a certain situation (this was several years ago).. I was praying for a miracle..Praying that God does something...Well, it hit me all of a sudden that instead of looking around at what's wrong and what needs to be fixed, I should look up, and find ways in which I can be a part of the solution...That I could be a part of the "Miracle" that I was praying for. When you think about others first, and you think about how God would want you to act in certain situations, it can really change things. Okay....I've bored you long enough...I've gotta go... Cari's going to be home from work in like 45 minutes, and I told her that I would take care of the laundry before she gets home....I say that to you as I'm typing this, drinking Coffee, hanging out with my dog, and watching the christmas episode of Bevery Hills 90210 from like 1994...Yeah...I'm being really productive.... Thanks for reading this...  :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's either really late, or really early

Well, here I am...It's 12:30 A.M. on thursday morning...I can't sleep... Have you ever had one of those nights? You want to sleep..You try to sleep...But you end up just laying there, thinking about stuff..Now, my wife Cari and my Dog Daisy...Those 2 lovely ladies have no trouble falling asleep. Cari was awesome enough to lay up talking in bed for a while before she made the "I will be sooo tired tomorrow" comment, so off to sleep she went. I like that sometimes..Lying on your back, in your bed, in the dark, next to your best friend talking not like "husband and wife" talk, but you're talking more like "best friend" talk...You know what I mean? Of course, I also love the Husband and Wife Talk as well, but tonight, it was kind of a mix of both..The main topic these days is Steve and the Kids. Right now, this very second as I'm talking to you, I feel......sad...sad because I have all of these feelings about Angela that I am still processing. When you lose someone that close to you, it never gets better..It just gets different..Sure, you are no where near the place you were with your grief a year and a half ago..I take that back...I think dealing with losing someone is this ongoing journey..It's the journey that nobody wants to take. Some days you're fine..Some days, you have moments...Other days, you feel terrible and it's frustrating because you wish everything could just be normal again..Well, that's the thing..This is the new normal, I guess... This is the intimidading thing about blogging. When you write down your feelings, they're your feelings, and then they're not your feelings...Does that make sense? It's kind of like off the top of your head explaining how you feel and why. It's off the top of your head...It hasn't really been broken down and defined..It might not be the correct explanation of what you feel at all...Did I lose you just now? Well, I just lost myself.... ha!
.....It's quiet...Have you ever just sat up in the middle of the night in one of the rooms (my home office/studio to be exact) of where you live and just....listen? I know...I'm probably too deep for 1:00 in the morning. I don't know...This evening, Steve took Lauren to see Wicked in Chicago. Luke is down at Steve's parents for the week, so it was just me and Ryan tonite..Oh, by the way...Cari and I don't live at their house, but we do live about 10 minutes away. Anyway, the original plan was for me and my mom to take Ryan to this restaraunt called Hackney's. Cari doesn't really like it due to the fact that they have like 5 things on their menu, but hey.....Those 5 things are awesome...
The whole Hackney's experience is a bittersweet thing. it's been a tradition that at least Angela and I Go with my Mom every christmas time because my mom loves the fireplace, the food...everything. This has been a tradition since the 80's but over the past couple of years, it's been difficult. Christmas of 08 My mom and I went but Ang didn't because she was so sick. Last year, My Mom, Cari and I went and we took Lauren but it was sad..We all really missed Ang. So, this year, I was kind of looking forward to honoring tradition and getting some great food, but Ryan wasn't feeling well so we stayed home, ate Subway and Lou Malnaghtis Pizza and watched Transformers 2. It's hard, when you talk to your nephew about all the transformers you had when you were his age, and how you and your sister (ryan's mom) used to love transformers. Even though we were having a great time bonding over transformers, and having a blast having uncle nephew hangout time, I find myself getting sad..I think back to when Angela and I were the ages of Ryan and Lauren..How we loved transformers...How Ang loved playing nintendo with me....I think about how much Ryan misses his Mom...It hurts. It hurts because when they feel bad, I feel bad. I'll tell you that I still can't believe this happened to our family. Angela was the last person you would ever think that would be beaten by cancer. Amazing mom, Professor of English, Devoted wife, Woman of God, Amazing Daughter, The Best sister in the world...And a best friend who I think about daily...and miss greatly.
Did you ever watch Doogie Howser, MD?   I feel like Doogie Howser right now. I remember my cousin Stephanie having this HUGE crush on him... Anyway, there was always that scene at the end of each show when he is typing in some sort of journal...He would write something, then pauses..thinks about it, then finishes his entry with some kind of compelling, original thought.. Well, if you are looking to get the same thing from me,  sorry to disappoint.. :)
Families....Families...When I hear that word, I think of wrestling with my 3 year old nephew Luke....I think about when I can't wait to walk through the front door to see Cari's smiling face, give her a hug, and do the "karate thing" (it would be too hard to explain it...however, it does have something to do with the 90s version of 90210, The Office, and Hawaii 5 0).. When I think about the word Families I think of making Lauren laugh, driving around having our "special movie hangout nights"  I also think of Ryan.....the way we love to watch Star Wars and listen to great music. When I think of Family I think of my Wife, My Mom, My Brother in Law, and those 3 kids...those 3 kids who I would do absolutely anything for. Those kids that I believe helped me become the person that I am today. Family doesn't stop there. I have a sister and brother in law that I just love. I have another niece and nephew and even though alex wants to do the solo video game stuff, and hannah goes with her friends but she still wants her cool aunt and uncle to tag along I will always be  there for them whenever they would need me. wow...could it be? after a mere hour and a half of trying to put together coherent sentences for you, it feels like sleep is finally calling my name...I think I'll answer.  But before I do, I am going to leave you with this thought..Maybe I should call it my Doogie Houser Thought..What do you think??? um..probably not... :)  Okay, here it goes:
Family is one of the most important things in this life. If we're blessed enough, we may have a few friends that we can call true friends. But Family is more precious than anything. Appreciate your family..Love your family..Don't put off to next week what you can do today or tomorrow.Tell your family you love them. Don't waste your life by doing stupid bickering. Pay attention to your family...Because you never know... OK..I'm going to bed...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So, should I call this chapter one??

You know what's weird? As I was setting up this blog thing, I realized that I had attempted to start writing a blog back in June of 2008. I never got around to writing or posting anything. At the time, life was so incredibly different..I mean that in so many different ways.. Since then, I went into cardiac arrest, died, went into a coma, had a conversation with god, he brought me back, then, I was battling some major issues with my heart that lasted about a year. During that year, I  lost my sister to breast cancer. We were 2 and a half years apart. She left behind my brother in law, my now 3 year old nephew, my 11 year old nephew and my 9 year old niece. Over the past few years, I've wanted to tell people about the things I've gone through..How it felt, and how it feels today.. The thing is, I don't want it to sound like it's all about me me me..I don't know..I just kind of think that maybe writing things down might mean something, and it might help minister to someone else. Yes..I am a Christian..I have this personal relationship with Jesus that is a work in progress every single day (sometimes it feels like every single minute..)
In spite of all the things that have happened to me and my family, I am very very blessed. I have a career that I absolutely love and thank God for all the time. I work for 90.1 WMBI Moody Radio in Chicago..What do I do there? :)  Let's see..I am the Production Director, I am the host of "Ministry of the Month", I do a majority of the Imaging for the station, and I also am ther afternoon host for our HD and online Praise and Worship Channel.. I love every aspect of Moody..I love the work, I love the fellowship, I love the fact that the Lord uses people like me to reach others for him.. That is such a priviledge that I think about alot. We have the best staff that anyone could ask for. We really are a family.. However, let's go back to what I was just telling you about how the Lord, for some reason, has allowed me to do this kind of work for his kingdom.. It is a very humbling thing. You know, I think of the lines to this particular song that goes "You know my name, you know my story, but still you've taken on the world just for me..And I am amazed that you hear me speaking, listening close to every word I say...Who am I to be loved this way?"   I think about that often.... "Who am I to be loved this way?" You'll find that I quote lyrics from songs often.. To me, there is something so amazing about music..It can say things that nothing else can.....Okay...I've probably bored you long enough...Now, here's the thing...I am going to really try to keep this thing up to date....Notice that I said the word "try". I will leave you with these words ( I know...More song lyrics..) "I waited patiently for the lord, he inclined and heard my cry..He lifted me up out of the pit, among the miry clay and I will sing..Sing a new song."   Thanks for reading this...God bless!!