Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pictures from the break

Due to lack of words and time, the best way to make use of this weeks post is to tell you how great the Thanksgiving holiday was through pictures. We travelled from Phoenix to Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back. With many stops and talking and laughter, it was great time off and away with family. Enjoy! 

Stay humble and laugh a lot. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

A new friend

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the fields exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes, 
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness, 
and the peoples in his faithfulness. 
-Psalm 96: 11-13

I have met someone incredible recently. His name is David. The son of a couple in the church we are a part of, David is one of a kind. He is the guy who makes the naturally pure, unforced type of smile come over anyone. Even now just thinking about him, I can't help but grin. 

David is a blessing in human form, a rarity in mankind today. Being challenged with Downs syndrome, some would say this is true, with thought only towards what they can physically take note of David. Allow them to spend just moments more with him, and they will see what I am talking about. 

Hopefully when you get to know him, you will see what I mean, or really hear it. David has a way with words. His speech is simple, yet deep. His voice is soft and gentle, but travels great distances. And the always following smile is contagious and warming. Since getting to know and be around him more, my ears are starting to automatically perk up every time I hear him speak. 

This past Saturday, our church family took part in a Homeless Banquet with a few other churches, and David was there. During the serving of food and drinks, and the passing out of sweatshirts, socks and Bibles, I brushed past David.

"Will," said David followed by a real long pause. "Looking good." He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. I had to give him a hug, and we kept serving. 

On Sunday, after a class discussing depression, David saw me and walked over. We made small talk about the Cardinals and what we were gonna eat while watching football that day. He then went on to the topic of class, and how one of his family members had battled depression for a real long time. The last thing he said stuck. 

"Giving thanks, Will...," there was a pause while he took a deep breath, "is the most important thing we can do, in the whole world." 

He caught me off guard and I almost broke down. I gathered myself and just barely teared up. I smiled and grabbed his shoulder. David smiled back. "You're so right," I said back. 

"One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations." -Saint John of Avila

"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world." -Ann Voskamp

Monday, November 17, 2014

Complaining to God

Last week, I wrote on abstaining from complaining to each other, and instead focusing on the beauty of our Lord around us, in turn encouraging all other Christians. It was full of words pointed directly back towards me, about something I have been working on in my life. 

While editing and talking to a few people about the topic, something arose that I could not fit into last week, but have thought of further and want to write more about. 

You see, I still complain. I'm a sorry husband sometimes and heap all my complaints on my wife when I get home from work, or at times call my brother and grieve about this or that. And thinking more about the subject and looking inwardly, I believe I have come upon something. 

When I bemoan something to my wife, or brother or parents or friends, I don't feel any better afterwards. Nothing really changes for the better. If anything, I feel downright pitiful, and kind of embarrased for playing the "woe is me" card in that conversation. I end up hoping that our next talk can be a normal one without dancing around subjects I whined about previously or awkward pauses. 

Thinking further, I see when I do this, I am casting upon them something that they are not really capable of taking care of. I am putting these people in a role they are not able to fill. The shoes I am putting them into are too big, so to speak. 

It is because they are His, the role is God's only. He is the only one we should go to with our complaints. He is the only one that can handle them for us. 

In the Psalms, I feel like David went to God with many complaints, or at least with the intention of complaining. He talked to God of people trying to kill him, the bad situations he was in, how he wanted, even thirsted for more of God. Reading these in the past, I did not think of these words as complaints. But now, it makes me think when we come to God with our troubles, it does something to us.   

It turns them into a conversation.
And at times becomes thanksgiving. 
It provides scope to our situation. 
Brings everything around us into focus. 

That is why it does not seem as if David is complaining, because in the Psalms they have been turned into conversation, thanking, glorification, and requests for tools to stay the course. 

"Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hid not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they beat a grudge against me...
But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice." Ps. 55:1-2, 16-17

Stay humble and laugh a lot,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Through the Days

Is there ever a time for complaint as a Christian?

I really wish there was sometimes. I wish that if my cat died, it was acceptable for me to complain. That if a co-worker is being rather a nag or today's humidity is not to my liking, I could grumble to whoever I please.

The answer is obviously simple, complaints are not a mark of a true Christian. And in just thinking about this, I know that they leave my mouth all too often. 

So here me out in this. 
This is not a complaint. 
This is not me whining. 

These words are for the Christian out there, in any circumstance. I do not care if you are in the perfect environment or in a horrible one. If you have your dream job or hate your current profession. If you just aced your exam or barely scraped a passing score. No matter who you are or what you do, the bad day will come in some form. 

And when the bad days come upon you, please be strong. Don't allow these to defeat you.

When we put loads of effort into our work and it goes by unnoticed or unappreciated, do not waiver. When you are the minority and you alone believe in Him, stand tall and stay the course. If people ridicule Jesus in our faces, say communion is practicing cannibalism, or the Bible is just another piece of fiction alongside The Odyssey, smile and keep loving them. When no one else is interested in knowing who Jesus is, persevere and pray. When the darkness feels tangible, boldly speak truth.

You do not have to read in between the lines to see I have had a few of these long days. I needed some encouragement. I needed to do some seeking. The result was my wife and I taking our new camera and going on a quick morning hike Saturday. We had fun and meaningful conversation, and the beauty around us was the perfect medicine.

Because every day from here on will not be perfect, let us encourage each other further by keeping firm in the faith. Seek the the beauty of our Lord. Glorify Him with me in both the tough and incredible days. Do not waiver, so that in days of trials we can look to each other, see Jesus more easily, and keep going on. Help me by living out our hope, shining like stars in our universes.

Showing all who our God is.

And everyone else their potential God. 

Stay humble and laugh a lot.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lakes and Ponds

Growing up, I spent very little time at the lake. I had friends who had lake houses, fast boats and were exceptional wake boarders, but still did not find myself at the lake often. Actually, I can count the times I've been to waveless waters on one hand. It's not that spending time at the lake is something I don't enjoy, I just enjoy the ocean more.

But on Saturday, I got one finger closer to two hands of trips to the lake. 

That afternoon, we packed up with some friends and drove up to Lake Pleasant, a body of water that can sneak up on you if you're not looking for it. Thanks to a dam on the Phoenix side, the lake seems to be cradled between the forming peaks of mountains, spreading through their various valleys. 

We unloaded, backed the truck up, and got on the water smoothly. And the rest of the day was just that, smooth. 

As we picked up and began to glide, I took a backseat, sat in the corner of the boat by myself, and looked down at the water as it passed by. I closed my eyes, thanked God for the peace I was feeling at that moment. Something I had been needing, but didn't know till right then. 

My mind wandered to memories. I started reminiscing about times. Began counting memories. Started to count them as blessings. The ones that surfaced were perfect flashbacks, of times where I would not change a single thing. My memories have become blessings. 

The most perfect memories that I thought of were in Millican, Texas, on a pond my grandpa would take the men in the family to fish. Some days in the middle of the week during college, I would get a text from him, and as soon as class was out, I'd grab a pole and hit the water with my grandpa. The best times were when he, my dad, my brother and I would all climb into the same truck and head out. We had two small boats. My dad and I typically went together, while my grandpa and brother took the other. There was the Texas heat, the smell of fish fresh on our hands, and lots of laughter going on between the boats. I can still remember the conversations I had with my dad, contemplating greatness while we cast hundreds of times. This pond would never disappoint, and there was never a day we did not each catch atleast ten fish. When the sun would set, we'd clamber out of the boats, and all be talking about how many we had caught and how humongous they were. 

These times were plentiful, and are blessings. They make tough times now easier, and help me to smile. I am more thankful now after our trip to the lake on Saturday. It was a good time, with good people. Reminded me of past times with beloved others. 

This is for sure, I need to get back soon for a trip to a certain pond in Millican. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Gift of Life Long Learning

Over the weekend, my wife and I attended a trial run of an up and coming business that will put forth a type of training and certification for many. All that I can say right now, about this business is that what they will be doing with people is incredible. They will be presenting qualities and teaching traits that are our generation has lacked for a long time. It is going to be big. 

During the trial conference, a shocking statistic was presented. We were told that the average citizen of the United States only reads 0.4 books a year. That's not even half a book! As I sat there, thinking smugly I was glad to not be one of those people, our presenter went on to say that our lives change every time we meet someone new, and when we finish a book. He then pointed to the wall over my left shoulder, and my balloon of pride quickly deflated. 

Hung up on this wall of the conference room was a large poster, and on the top was the title Periodic Table of Books. Below those words was a diagram of pictures of the front covers of every book he had read as of September of 2014. He had almost broken the 400 mark. Life long learning was discussed afterward for the majority of our remaining time.

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.”
- Christopher Morley

I'm learning since this, that reading is a tool, and along with being very enjoyable, it is extremely useful.

And now I am thinking, what if I stopped? What if I did not pick up another book until my dying day. Well, I would most definitey be a lot dumber compared to those who do continue to read, even the ones that read minimally. I would be missing out on so much depth, insight, and knowledge of life. It would, without doubt, be an utter shame. 

Even more, it would be a waste. God gave me the ability to decipher what letters mean, separately and in differing orders, to comprehend thought around those ordered letters. It's a gift, a blessing. 

If I didn't use this tool God has given me to learn and grow, much less enjoy, I would be a horrible steward. And if I only used this gift from God to read close to half a book a year, how am I using it properly, in an edifying way? 

It reminds me of the parable of the Ten Minas, where a nobleman gives servants each the same amount of money to use in business while he was away. On his return he found two of his servants to have used the money they were given well, creating a profit and pleasing their master. The third servant then presents the original amount he was given, explaining that he simply kept it safe in a handkerchief. The parable ends with this last servant being reprimanded harshly and the first two being rewarded handsomly for being trustworthy. 

Now you may say, it's only reading, take a sip of coffee and chill a little. Well, I will take a sip of coffee, but will defer the other suggestion. We must believe that even the smallest things are blessings, are gifts from God. 

I believe that if we take notice of these small gifts and utilize them, it will shed light on the other gifts and bigger talents that He has entrusted to each of us to enjoy and use. 

Doing this, we will be able to see just how much He has given us. 
How much he has blessed each of us. 
How much he loves all of us. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bring me home, Fall

I think Jesus will come back in the fall.

Me, a human, of course has no place to say when the best moment will occur. Several through the times have attempted this prediction, trying to pin-point the date and time of that day, and got no better off than looking similar to a donkey. I'm not saying something profound. I don't feel like making a point, or closely examining things right now. I feel like enjoying something. I'm just dreaming with this one. 

This is turning into my favorite time of the year, the fall. 

Fall is the season of change, and I love change. Growing up as a child, we moved several times, which I hated. Those feelings shifted though, and I quickly learned to enjoy and even love it. New faces, new places. A new house with a different sized yard. Each new move became another adventure, and it was thrilling. 

Fall gives me that thrill, because there's so much change. 

It seems like everything is shifting, as if it is the norm of today. People are changing locations, travelling and moving. We switch jobs and decide to live in different places. Many leave their current homes, and go back to old ones for holidays. Everyone's appearance changes to an extent. Some of our loved ones die, which can cause drastic change. Others willfully switch everything, finding Him and something more to live for.  

There's still more shifts, big and small. Animals migrate before winter. Candles are lit, the air becomes crisp, and windows stay open longer. More coffee is enjoyed with friends in sweaters. The sky gets painted earlier, followed by the best sunsets. And of course my favorite, the changing colors of the leaves of the trees, their great reckoning. 

If leaves had feelings, I wonder what they felt in the summer, before the great changing and reaping? What thoughts go through their minds as their colors change? If they knew it was almost over, this time as part of the tree. 

And then after all the changing is complete, and all the work to stay attached is exhausted. Each one peacefully and quietly lets go. 

Gently floating home.  

I get the feeling of going home. 

This is my dream this time of year. Like the leaves, everything will change, we will be taken, and finally go home. 


So this is my dream today, that maybe I'll end up at home, seeing the face of the Keeper. But if today ends differently, let it make no difference how fully this one is to be lived. I will see His face soon enough, and be there with Him and the whole lot, forever after. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just Tonight

So much can happen in a week. 

Work was the usual and Phoenix is just beginning to cool down to the fifties and sixties at night. Time to sleep with the windows open.

We spent the weekend in College Station, had some good time with the family, and fun watching football, excluding watching A&M get spanked by Ole Miss of course. The experience was great, the game was rough. But it did not ruin the weekend. The time with the family was priceless, and worshipping at our church we attended in college was just what Candace and I needed. 

All this to catch you up to where I am now, sitting at my kitchen table, candle glowing to my right, steam rising from my coffee on my left, window open in front of me. The perfect setting.

I can have great difficulty living in the present. Thinking too often about how certain things will be in the future, reminiscing and wishing more than I ought that the present situation was more similar to past one. Like still wishing we were in Texas in my parents comfortable house, drinking coffee and laughing loudly. Now I can sit around and think long and hard about how to kick this, come up with challenges and goals for myself in this way, which are always very good. 

But tonight I have only tonight, and I will take grasp of the time that is called tonight, and fully be in it. I'm off to have an adventurish evening with a beautiful girl, celebrating six months. Fall is in the air, and so is love. I hope your evening is just as pleasant. 

Stay humble and laugh a lot, 


God does not fill space as a body fills it, in the sense that parts of Him are in different parts of space, excluding other objects from them. Yet He is everywhere-totally present at every point of space...

--C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory 

Monday, October 6, 2014

warehouse working

I work with some interesting people. Now, I bet anyone who works can say the same thing of one of their own co-workers. Humorous thing though, at the same time we are thinking this, the exact same is being thought of us by someone else in the office. Besides this though, it needs to just be put out there, I have never met guys like my interesting co-workers. 

I'm not looking for sympathy when I say that my workplace can be worldly. I know that for many and most of yours, the story is the same. In the world, not of it. Knowing this then, in the day to day at work, in conversation and such, I feel like my words are strong. Hold importance. 

Even as if they are a portal for light, which falls upon the ears around me. 

I also enjoy the asking of specific questions. I am learning that with the right ones, the smoke seems to clear out slightly, making it easier to see where they are standing on many matters. With this always comes the nerves. I am trying to head towards Christ with my words. I am working on my sometimes shaky confidence when I talk about Him. The nerves though, seem to evaporate after conversation is initiated and we head on.  

It usually begins with asking one of my co-workers what their beliefs are in, or what they think happens after death, or even bluntly if they are a Christian. 

Last week I wanted to ask Archie what he believed in, and if he wanted to study the Bible with me in the mornings before work began. I wanted to because I do want him to know more about Jesus, and I just want more time in the Word. Any time in it is good time. So I did. I asked the first question and it led to the second like I thought it would.

Initially the talking went well. Soon though it turned and he was talking about his experience of seeing aliens spaceships in his friends front yard, and how he wanted to be reincarnated into a giant sequoia tree because of their extrememly long life.

I became confused how we got to this point in the conversation. As he continued to talk of his spiritual experiences and wishes to another co-worker, I slowly walked off, thinking I'll have to have a different question next time.  

That's just one story out a few I've accrued thus far. 

But sometimes...I seem to not care. There are moments that I keep my nose down, not wanting to even put out one redemptive word. Not believing fully that God can do in their lives what He promised He could, and what He has done in mine. 

"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have conclded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
     - 2 Corinthians 5: 14-17

Died for all. Meaning everyone. Meaning me, meaning them, meaning all. 

I've hopped on planes, travelled to distant countries for purposes of showing and telling others about Christ with the full intention and expectation of those people accepting Him, falling in love with Him. 

And I get in my car every morning, drive to work, and do not believe my co-workers will believe in Him. These people who I am around for weeks and months, talk to every day, share lunch with. 

Do I doubt the power of Christ? Do I have full confidence in His salvation? Am I lazy? Why do I not have the same purpose as on one of those trips? Why isn't my office my mission destination every morning? Why can't I always see the potential relationships they could have with Him?
Questions to fill pages. 

I hope these questions are impossible to get out of my head tomorrow. That I slide in the seat, coffee in hand, and as I turn the key, starting the car, questions such as these plague my mind till the day's end. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gimme those details!

I bet some activity, something very specific to you, sounded incredible to you today. My something was writing this piece while it rained outside my window. It sounded pleasant because there is quite a lack of rain here. So since the rare opportunity presented itself, it had to be taken.

Here's my view, leave envious comments below.

I have a bitter dislike for the phrase "the devil is in the details". Now don't judge me, I try very hard to be a positive person and do not enjoy starting a piece with such a harsh negative. I never want to be considered a cynic. Cynics are rather annoying, no one wants to be around a critic of everything. And who wants be called a cynic anyway, the sound is even unpleasant.

You see, I want and try to be a detail-oriented person, something I am terrible at. I am not numerically, not a numbers guy at all, or in a scientific way, world geography was my most difficult science course in college. If you want to put me in a category then go ahead and put me with the dreamers. Details, to me, become flippant and casual when they are being laid out in front of me. I know, it's something I'm working on. But what I'm saying is that I want to be detail-oriented when it comes to seeing God. Noticing Him all around me.

For example, I want to be very visually aware. Taking pictures has become more of a hobby and pleasure than I ever thought it would be. Through this, details stand out stronger and longer for me. I stay positive, and focus on Him. I enjoy this so much. I'm giving Him more credit than I usually do.

More credit for how incredible He is. Proximity feels closer. I know Him more fully, and reap the blessings.

As a reader finds the underlying heart of the author in his words, and in part gets to know the author more personally, I like to take pictures, getting to know better the Author of life.

I want to notice the even the small things of God. Because despite the size, they still are monumental.

And so now to get back on the original point. Here is my beef with the phrase claiming the devil resides in the details. Being first that it is totally inaccurate, because he is not the Author, and that it is a horrid way to look at life. He is only in these details when we allow him to be.

My thoughts go back to a specific moment last summer:

Children were running in front of the three of us. The buckets we and several of the little ones carried would bring clean water to the families and households they ended up in. The kids smiled and laughed, grabbed a free hand when possible, said they loved us in their tongue. We said it back and kept walking.

Most of the houses we went to that day were nearer to the small square, but this one was down the road a bit. That was no problem though. We crossed the canal with the dozen or so little ones at the bridge leading to the home. We found the residents and talked to them about how this system was going to work, what the clean water could then be used for, and set the buckets up properly in the kitchen. Smiles broke and many thanks were said. We all hugged and chatted before heading out.

I turned out the doorway of the house, and saw something small on the outer wall. I stopped, smiled.

And read His name etched into the paint.

Do not expect the devil to be hiding in the details, because that is exactly who you will find. And he is a nasty fellow to continually discover.

Let yourself be surprised, seek the Lord and you will find Him. He is woven throughout everything small and big that sits in front of you, waiting patiently for you to dive in.

"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world."  -Ann Voskamp

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another reason for the writing

For my friend Nick, a quote from one of his friends to encourage you in the second week of this challenge. 

- So I can't say I'm surprised when I read the words of Martin Luther, author of those ninety-five theses nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, but he did say, "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." ...He says it too, John Piper- the things I am discovering with a hunt pen in hand-that moving the ink across the page opens up the eyes, that he may not understand  how it sheds light, focuses its lens, but he knows "that there are eyes in pencils and in pens."
      -Ann Voskamp, one thousand gifts

Lots of thoughts went up this past week about what was going to fill my next post. I struggled with a few topics, tried to write others, and will continue to wrestle with some throughout the weeks. Some thoughts worked, I just didn't know how to put them into writing. I wasn't happy with others once they were on paper. And with some I just stared at the first line on the page for thirty minutes, listening to the words of that sentence vibrate off walls in my brain into nothing. 

I don't want to mislead you though. I love writing, love doing this blog alongside my friend Nick. If I had the chance and the material to write a book someday, then I would do it. Now if that ever happens, we will see. But what I'm saying is, I love this process called writing. It's thrilling having something to share, and exciting to see it all form in front of you as fingers fly across keys. I know that I am an amateur at it compared to some, but I don't care. 

Last summer was the time that I first got really into this. Sure I wrote lots of papers in college, over many irrelevant topics, and was okay at it, even got a smidgen of enjoyment from it, but writing never really clicked till that summer. 

In that time, myself, my cousin Case, and a classmate Alex, spent eleven weeks in Peru working in mango fields. We spent our time swinging machetes alongside locals, traveling and helping out those communities of the farmers by giving them means to having clean water. All of our endeavors fueled blogs we wrote over the summer. And we all grew in the process. I can still now look at Case and see the change in him, that his faith climbed mountains through that time, through that writing. We are different people now because of it, I know this. Those moments and those words were life changing. They still are. 

And that may not touch anyone like it touches me, or I hope it makes Case smile. But seeing that picture and others, knowing the story we lived that summer, how we changed personally in the Lord and in ourselves is why I see writing the way I do. 

Because we did live an incredible story that summer. 
Because I now have a restored relationship with, and a near-brother in Case.
Because God did change us through that time. 

And He will continue to change me, as I continue to examine and write. 

I want you to have something like this pushing you, experiences to look back and reflect upon. If you have the want and the time, find someone to do this with. Write with each other, read and encourage each other. If you don't have anyone interested, allow our blogs to push you. Location is not a thing when it comes to this, you do not have to be in the mountains of Peru for this type of experience. He does not care where you are. 

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
- C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dueling Blogs

Last Thursday, I found myself on a plane Chicago bound for the first time. I was travelling there to meet a dear friend, spending two days with him taking in all the "windy city" has to offer. It had already been a long day, with an early start at work to make up time for the flight that afternoon, but being in the air with a good book and seeing painted clouds pass by were perfect therapy. As the skies grew darker, the glue that keeps your eyes stuck to the pages became more dense. The great distraction of the clouds diminished, and my nose pointed to my book. 

I enjoyed several hours of turning pages, while the darkness swirled outside. All until a glimmer of orange and gold in the foremost corner of my window emerged. My book dropped. The light grew, and continued to grow till there was no more darkness. My sight was full of the radiance. All clouds were illuminated, and soon it was as if the plane was swimming through glorious heavenly colored clouds. The city was upon me.

My friend that I met in Chicago was Nick, a near-brother, that I would do anything for. He loves Jesus, is full of the Spirit and allows himself to be lead by Him. Let's say that if I had a group of people in my mind that I especially love and cherish and keep up with, he would be in that group. Of course, only hypothetically speaking...

The man, the legend:

Over the two days we walked miles upon miles all over downtown Chicago. We gained a few pounds from the incredible food, saw historic buildings and architecture, took all the touristic photos possible, and even got a chance to squeeze in time for a Garth Brooks concert. Cloud Gate, Navy Pier, Portillo's, Giordano's. We saw it all, and ate it all.

Most meaningful to me though, were the conversations we held during these endeavors. Our words were full. Meaningful. Centered on the things that count. We saw Jesus in the small things, took pictures of them, and talked about them. 

Over pizza on our first day, we were going through dreams and aspirations, what we wanted to do and enjoyed doing, all while taking glances at the Cubs game. Mentioning that I wanted to do more writing, and then looking at the game, Nick then had a brilliant idea which made my head quickly turn back. 

A blog challenge. With both of us having kept a blog in the past, he suggested for a year, that we each post a blog a week. 

I smiled quickly. 
We both nodded. 
Our arms stretched across the table, above our pizza. We shook firmly. 

We quickly finished our pizza due to monstrous clouds growing outside our restaurant window, paid and left. We had much to see and do with our time left in Chicago, all while excitedly talking about rules of the challenge and what our first few posts would be about. 

And it was done. The challenge was made and accepted, and this is the result, the first of a minimum of fifty two blog posts to be made this year. Nick, thanks for being the kind of friend that'll think of and do something like this with me. Thanks for being a friend that many dream of having. 

This is going to be fun, and challenging, which makes it all even better. The best of luck to you my good friend. I can not wait to read your words through this journey of creating. 

**if you find yourself reading my blog at times during this year, please read Nick's as well, it will leave you nothing but encouraged and inspired in all ways: theramblingsofaragamuffin.wordpress.com 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Something New

It has been a while, over half a year at least. Not that there has been any demand for any writing of mine, or that anyone is going to read this, I just kind of need to, personally. This is therapeutic. At least it feels that way. When I write, I feel like I am praying, journaling, and reflecting, along with other things.  It makes my prayers more solid to me, more concrete and thorough. In turn, I feel more put together and most thoughts in my mind are set in place. And the peace that comes with it is pretty cool. So, I have felt the want/need to write for a while. Funny how this urge happens when I have so little time to do so.

So many changes have taken place in these months. I graduated in December from university and got married just a few months after in April. Shortly after marriage an opportunity presented itself in the form of a job in Phoenix, Arizona. So close to a month ago, my bride, myself and my parents packed up our vehicles and made the haul from the middle of Texas to the middle of the desert, Phoenix.

Presently, Candace is looking for schools to become a Dental Hygienist, and I am getting work experience with an environmental chemical company. Even though I was interviewing with this company for several months before anything happened, making living in Phoenix a big possibility the entire time, my wife and I really didn't see us being here.

We thought that a job would come up in Texas where we could pay off loans and get more comfortable being married. Eventually then we would find a point when we could get on a plane and experience more international serving experiences, which we love.

Those long term plans of ours have not changed at all really, and I have to keep telling myself that. I have to be reminded that being in Phoenix does not change goals or dreams for us. It does not change our faith, our hope, why we do what we do. Even though I am working in a warehouse and typing on a computer, earning a salary, my "work" is not mine but the Lord's. This place needs light and life just as much as anywhere else. While we are here, we want to be channels of just that.

So to finish off on this slow afternoon at work, I leave you pictures that are going through my head of one place I miss, our family ranch, where we lived before the move.