Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Matters of El Corazon

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all the conflicting medical studies:

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausage and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

*CONCLUSION:*
Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Mad props to J. Kirkpatrick for supplying this useful information.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Top Five Friday Challenge

The Reverend of the Cubicles posted a blog today that I'd like to match. My top five songs that I like, but might not admit it (until today) are:

1) Dean Martin, Ain't That a Kick in the Head. A classic.
2) Gino Vanelli, I Just Wanna Stop. A grossly overlooked talent from the 80s.
3) Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet Overture. Gives me chills every time.
4) Barry White, My First, Last, Everything. The old fox show, Ally McBeal, paid the master of soul his due. If you can't seduce a woman with Barry White, you may as well give it up, pal!
5) Foghat, Slow Ride. Musically speaking, my 7 year old could have written it, but man, it rocks. The live version is amazing. Ok, I am showing my age. 70s rock was raw and needed no spandex, grunge, or big hair. Just talented musicians, on drugs, layin' it down.

Cube Rev, love the new blog look, by the by.

Good Friday

Today is a new day. For the last month I have been faced with a huge financial mountain of my own creation. There is a saying that you find out who your true friends are when the (blank) hits the fan. I have discovered a lot about myself, and the people around me. I have rediscovered family and what it is (and is not) about.

The mountain has been moved. The situation is more manageable now. I see the sunshine. Fresh air never smelled so fresh. I have such a beautiful wife and family. I have the best friends in the world.

Today is a good day. A day for new beginnings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Indestructible Joy!

An article worth reading, that agrees with my post below. God is so cool!

Expecting the unexpectable

Yes, the title phrase is altered on purpose. I am struggling with expectations lately. Specifically, what I think others expect from me, and what I should expect of myself. I tend to beat myself up when I do not meet certain expectations.

This past month, I have had a "mountain" in my path. A financial mistake I made caught up with me and has caused me and my wife a lot of stress. I have been beating myself to oblivion over this. "How could I have been so careless?" "Why I am I so stupid?" "I am just no darn good." My side of the family has all but abandoned me, but before that, they made sure and confirmed what I had already been saying about myself.

So yesterday I bottomed out. I broke. I went to the Lord while driving to Tracy's work to take her lunch. I said, "What am I gonna do?" The Lord just said, "Play some praise music." Read my post called, "Things I Love" to get my feelings about praise music to see the irony of this request. But I obeyed. First, I put in of my actual favorites, "In the Presence of Jehovah." That song used to move me to tears within 4 notes. Not yesterday. Frankly, it was the only song on that CD that I had ever really listened to. So I said, "What now, Lord?" He said, "Let it play." So I did. Then I heard what He wanted me to hear.

Come into the Holy of Holies
Enter by the Blood of the Lamb
Come into His presence with singing
Worship at the throne of God

Lifting holy hands, to the King of Kings
Worship Jesus

While I and my kin have been beating me down, the Lord, who has the only opinion that really matters, invited me into His presence. Where no one else really wanted me, nor I myself, Father says, "Come on in, Todd. I want you."

Expectations. What does the Lord expect of me? He says, "Abide in me." Live with me, and let my words and my Spirit live in you. So uncomplicated, and yet so meaningful. We place so much pressure on ourselves that God does not place on us. We are tired and weary, when in fact can be refreshed in the Lord's presence. That is not to say we should just sit and listen to praise music all day long; we will do that in Heaven. The Lord expects so little of us, and yet it is in those expectations of His that we find strength to continue and where we find the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.

My mountain has already been moved, and I was so focused on that mountain I didn't even see it move. The bitter truth is, I didn't believe it would move at all. While driving back from taking Tracy her lunch, I said, beating me up again, "Lord, I have so little faith." He reminded me, "If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains." He doesn't expect me to have big faith. He takes the little bit that I do have and increases it day by day as I abide in Him. Wow!

I sure didn't expect all that yesterday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Adding to my repertoire

I have procured a side job that I am very excited about. I am a weekend DJ/Entertainer now, and I am thrilled. This is something I have always wanted to do, and I am thankful for the chance to do it. Give the website a glance, and if you ever need a Pastor/Wrestler/DJ/Entertainer for anything, let me know! But first, consider my track record:
  • As a pastor, my ministry went well, but my first marriage failed.
  • As a wrestler, I botched a simple move and broke my arm.
  • So far, the DJ thing is going well. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nostalgia


Chuck and Todd, circa 1986. Woe to those on the AHS yearbook staff who allowed this photo to be published. Sorry Chuck, but it's better this way! Good heavens, the hair!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tagged - Guilty Pleasures

Three days ago, I was tagged by Mr. Coffee, himself, my pal Rickwell. In all the excitement of seeing Chuck in blogville, I missed my tag. Personally, I am still miffed about Pacino being passed over for the Oscar in Godfather III. I should let it go, but I can't.

Anyhoo, the Top 5 Guilty Pleasures of yours truly are:

1) Pecan Pie topped with Cool Whip, or Butter Pecan Ice Cream from Mayfields.
2) Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas.
3) White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks.
4) The Three Stooges on DVD, enjoyed with my son, the only other person in my home who gets the stooges.
5) TV Land. I believe some of the best TV shows were made in the 70s and 80s. Now I can enjoy them with my family. Sanford and Son still makes me howl.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Say hello to my good friend

One of my best pals ever is in the blogosphere. Say hello to Chuck, and tell him who sent ya.

Chuck and I go back to high school days, where a friendship began that we really should write a book about. People used to think we were twin brothers. In a way, I guess we kinda are, eh Carlos?

Show my pal some love!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stop the Pendulum Before I Throw Up!

My most dreadful amusement park ride experience came at the hands of "The Pirate." The Pirate is a big boat that swings back and forth like a pendulum. I have only ridden on it once. On that one day I lost about $.87 in change, my Polish Sausage Dog (post digestion), and my wits. I can hang with any roller coaster, but the Pirate got the best of me.

My spiritual life can be likened to a pendulum. It swings back and forth, from one extreme to the other. I have been way Baptist or not at all; way charismatic or not at all; I am not sure why I have to be all one way or all the other. I have not yet achieved balance, and I think I know why.

I have what I will call, "Spiritual ADHD." Let me explain what I mean.

I have a stepchild with ADHD. I used to believe that there was no such thing. I believed that ADHD kids just lacked discipline, boundaries, and consequences. After living with Matt, I am coming around in my beliefs. Discipline, etc. can help, but even still, simple commands such as, "Be quiet,""Sit down," or "Eat your dinner" seem to not register at times. The ADHD child's brain activity is so busy that they are unable tro process instructions as quickly. Without his medication, Matt is nearly impossible to handle. One time we forgot to give him his medicine before school, and within 45 minutes his teacher was calling for us to bring him his medicine. I am happy to say that with Matt, there are more good days than bad.

However, I must confess that for awhile I thought he was put on this earth to give me grief, or that I was being punished for something I had done in my life by having to deal with a stepson with ADHD. What I have since realized is that Matt was not put in my life and family to challenge me, but to mirror me. God has used Matt to show me a picture of my walk with God. I have Spiritual ADHD.

Even the simplest instructions like, "Pray," "Give," "Read the Bible," or, "Be still and know" are having a hard time registering, and they have for many years. It is why I swing back and forth on the spiritual pendulum. I have a hard time paying attention to the little things God is doing in my life, so I run after the big things. When I fall flat on my back, I get up and run in the other direction. Back and forth...

I don't know of any medication per se that will help my little problem, save for a renewed determination to yield to Him every minute of every day. Better study practices with the Bible may help, too. What has really helped me is the realization that God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He accepts me as I am. It has taken me awhile, but I have accepted Matt as my child. He is not all ADHD. He makes excellent grades in school, and has natural athletic ability unlike anything I've ever seen. He looks with pure wonder and awe at things in his world that I do not give a second glance to. He sees amazing in the mundane. When did I stop doing that? Did I ever start?

It is amazing how God uses the things we least expect or fear the most to give us spiritual wake up calls. For me, 2006 will be the year that I achieve balance in all the areas of my life: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial. Only I am in no hurry, and I am going to acheive this one day at a time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Perfect Day

Today's post almost sounds like the title to a children's story, and maybe it is. Yesterday was in many ways, a "perfect" day for me, Tracy, and the bunch.

I preached at a church in Walterboro, SC yesterday. It was my third time there, and I have really come to love these folks. Some of my cousins and my aunt Salli visited and it was a great service. I would love to go back there again.

After church we spent the day at my cousin Jody's horse ranch. Here in Suburbia, my kids have a nice fenced in backyard, but this is nothing compared to the 40-plus acres they were able to roam yesterday. After a nice Sunday dinner, I watched my kids play. I watched them chase chickens, feed horses, climb hay bales, and get really, really dirty. I watched my wife run barefoot in what is most certainly her element. I listened to the peace and quiet, save for the sounds of my laughing offspring.

The weather was sunny and mild. Absolutely gorgeous. The air was fresh and crisp. Breathing was never so pleasant.

By late afternoon, the kids were winding down, and I had spent the day catching up with my extended family. I also made a new friend.

We will certainly go back, and hopefully have another perfect day.