Friday, September 3, 2010

At a loss for words

Man, time is flying by at warp speed. I guess that's to be expected when you try to live one day at a time. Ryder is almost 2 months old. Benjamin is speaking real words that grown ups can understand. It is almost fall. Kim is about to celebrate a birthday. Dove season is here and I have not shot at one since I got sober 1,521 days ago. That has got to be rectified this season. I may even go deer hunting, since I've been invited to a couple of places. There are so many things to do, people to see, and places to go. Living one day at a time helps keep the stress bugs at bay.

Lately I've been thinking about healing, sickness, injuries, health, and healthcare. A lot of people think that miracle healing was a first century Christian phenomenon. Every living being has been healed of something many times. For example, a simple cut will heal all by itself with no apparent help. A broken bone will mend straight if it is "set" or realigned, or mend crooked if left unset. The body is designed for healing. So why then is it so difficult to believe in "big healings"?

A guy named G.K. Chesterton who lived in the late 1800's wrote: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried." How true and sad for us and those around us. So, looking back at the years before sobriety, I remember being sick at least once a year. I have not been sick since 2006, as best I can remember. I also had liver disease from alcoholism and an esophagus that was virtually closed up with scar tissue. My innards are all as they should be, my blood pressure is in the just right zone, and my cholesterol numbers are all good. I believe God healed my liver and esophagus, and just claiming daily victory that He has for me has done the rest. I thank God for my health everyday.
The "Christian ideal" is difficult, because of my sinful nature. But having tried, it and continuing to try it, God has proven himself to be all powerful and totally trustworthy. Living a Christian life is not easy, especially having to unlearn old ways of thinking and doing things that have been in place for decades. But day by day in every way I'm getting better. Life is worth living because my saviour, Jesus, lives.

I really want my grandchildren to remember me as a man after God's own heart. A man who is quick to laugh, slow to anger, and always loving. When they are older, I want them to know the story of how I became the man I am, and see the victor and not the victim. I want them to see a man who loves God, his family, and life; who is not afraid to face each day but sees it as an adventure in every circumstance. I want them to see a man who does not want or need to control them or others, but a man who prays for God's will to be done in their lives as well as his own.

I hope I live long enough to become "a man after God's own heart" I thank God that I am closer today than I was yesterday.

It occurs to me that this blog hasn't been as much about riding motorcycles as I thought it would be. Having said that I think I'll ride tomorrow and see what lies over the next hill.

Keep the shiny side up.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Super powers are hard to give up.

It has been a struggle letting go of something that has been apart of me for so long. I'm talking of my super powers. We all have them, or think we do. We all somehow know what other people are thinking or are going to think about us. We stay up late making contingency plans for the events that will take place in the future. Sometimes we get so mad at the people involved with future events that we take preventive action and cut them out of our lives. Sometimes we get disappointed at a person when they don't react the way we had envisioned. Yes, super powers are not always reliable.

This week our refrigerator quit working. There was a time when events such as this would cause me to stress out, yell, cuss, and kick whatever was handy. This time my response was simply to tell Kim "this really isn't blessing me". But in a way it is blessing me. I have the opportunity to marvel again at how God is changing me from the inside. It is also amazing how the change in me is reflected in Kim's attitude as well. She didn't have to watch me drink and obsess over something beyond both of our control, and knew everything would work out just as it is supposed to. So I searched the internet high and low looking for the new refrigerator that would just fit in the space available, (not as easy as you might think), and found one at Lowes. Then, she asks me if it is available in black, so as to match our other appliances. So the sea ch began anew. Last night I looked at the Lowes website, found the brand we wanted, in black, and the right size. Oh yeah, it was now on sale 10 % off and they will deliver, setup, and take away the old one for no additional charges over the purchase price. We also calculated that the icemaker will pay for the new refrigerator in about two years by me not buying ice 2 to 3 times a week.

God is so much better at being God than I am. The more I trust Him, the more I am blessed. I'm really going to try and trust Him with other stuff this week, and if He does a good job with that, I think of something new while trying not to take back anything. Progress not perfection is good enough for me right now.

Today I've been sober for 1,493 days.

Both of my grandsons are awesome.

My wife and daughters are simply amazing, and God is always good.

Keep the shiny side up

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Busy week

Monday's post was pregnant with upcoming events, whether they were mentioned or not. The "have not because ask not" will be the topic of this Sunday's Bible study; Ryder Cullen Bricker, #1 grandson courtesy of Whitney and Jeremy came into this world on Tuesday, July 13, (excellent job you two). Jon and Benjamen saw to it that Kristi made it back from Illinois in plenty of time for the birth. Friday morning I cooked a ton of food for the kids, and whoever else is hungry, and was just about worn out, when neighbor David invited me to go walkabout via motorcycle. After checking with Kim, it was determined that my usefulness was pretty much over when I delivered the food, so be careful and have fun.

Twenty four hours and 450 miles later, a blog update is in progress. I have pretty much experienced all the great things in life this week. I saved money for the family with ATT, doubled the number of grandsons, my kids are all safely where they belong after journeys and hospital stays, my wife loves me and is honing her spoiling skills to new levels, God has shown me great and wondrous things in His Word and His World, and my bike got 49 miles per gallon on the way home. Oh, I almost forgot today is 1,472 days sober, Wow. It just gets better and better.

Keep the shiny side up.

Monday, July 12, 2010

you have not, because you ask not

My modem died last week. I bought a new one at the AT&T store. While there I asked if I could save any money by canceling my land line. I was told yes, I could save some $40.oo a month. Since this was on Saturday, we had to wait until Monday so as not to interrupt my Internet service when the phoneline was canceled. Monday, the local AT&T rep got me in touch with the "official" AT&T customer service rep. This lady said I could keep my landline and increase the speed of my internet and save $37.65 each month. When asked why I wasn't getting the services for this amount before, she simply explained that I had not asked for it.

A couple of months ago my sister got a motel room for a lot less than Kim and I got ours for. When we asked her how, she said that she asked for a cheaper rate.

This has got me to thinking about James 4:2 which says we do not have because we do not ask. Jesus said ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened.

Can it be really that simple? Can I just ask and expect to receive? One thing is certain, the odds of receiving are a lot greater if I ask than they are if I do not. I had always assumed that asking, seeking, and knocking were just between me and God because it was "in the Bible". Asking, seeking and knocking seems to be about life on planet earth. Another thing I noticed as I thought, and that was sometimes when I ask I place limits or conditions on the prospective giver. Before I got sober, I prayed every night that God would take the desire to drink from me, and I would make various offers of my services and behaviours in return. It was not until I prayed in desperate surrender for God to make me sober with total willingness to do anything it took, that He did for me what I couldn't do for myself.

This train of thought is going to require some more mulling before it is concluded.

This promises to be an exciting week. Yesterday I receive my "Freedom Cross" for 4 years of sobriety. Today I did the ATT deal. Friday, Ryder (newest grandson) will arrive, unless Whitney goes into labor before then. I can't imagine anyone being more blessed than I am. Life in the Light is good.

Keep the shiny side up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My, how time flies.

It's been three weeks since my last post. This weekend Kim and I celebrated 34 years of marriage. It really doesn't seem that long. Whitney should be delivering grandson #2 (Rider), within the next couple of weeks. I rode to Ft. Davis in the Davis mountains and spent the weekend last week.

Ft. Davis is 337 miles from here, most of it thru flat hot west Texas. My neighbor, Ben, and I left at about 3:00 a.m. Saturday and rode thru the night to miss the hot part of the day. Sunrise found us headed south on Hwy 118 with the mountains barely discernible on the southern and western horizon. In less than two hours of straight dessert riding we found ourselves in the midst of breathtaking granite mountains. There was a sweet smell in the air that I could not identify, but I would like to stay there just to enjoy that aroma. I was reminded of the line from "Wild Hogs" where William Macy's character describes John Travolta's cologne as a smell between a lawyer and a cowboy. It didn't smell like that, I was just reminded of the line because I do not have the words to describe it.

This is a picture from atop the mountain in Ft. Davis State Park. Man, that's a good looking motorcycle. I packed a lot of stuff, as this was my first camping adventure. I learned a lot about what I need to take, and just as important what I don't need to take.

We rode to an observation site that was built for viewing the Marfa lights, on Saturday which is where the sunset pictured below was taken. The lights did not appear for us that night, but it was a good ride and the facilities were awesome. I recommend you take your own chair if you go.

There will definitely have to be another trip as we did not get to go to the McDonald Observatory due to weather, and I have to give the Marfa lights another chance.

Sunday morning broke early, and I rode to the mountain top alone to be with the Father. I enjoyed a quiet time of reflection and meditation. Basically I stood amazed and humbled at the beauty that God had created, and gave thanks. This was also Father's day. I was wishing my family could see what I see, and feel what I feel in that moment. Four years ago I was at risk of losing both my family and my life. But a loving and all powerful God heard my prayers and those of my wife and freed my from the bonds of my addiction. One week from today I will have been sober for 4 years. Thank you, Jesus.

All in all, it was a good Fathers day. Keep the shiny side up.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wooo Hooo, I struck it rich

This has been a weird week. Except for anger, selfishness, and being judgemental, I was pretty well behaved. I have to really look at the things that frustrate and anger me, because I believe that these things must live inside of me as well. Before I became self aware it was ok to be angry, selfish and judgemental, because I was always right, or in the right. Now I must look thru the lens of "if you spot it you got it", and that sucks.

There are untold numbers of paths to poverty, death, and destruction; all of them paved ever so nicely with good intentions and incorrect knowledge. We must always be willing to unlearn things that are not true, before we are able to learn. Proverbs 27:22 tells me that you cannot remove folly from a fool. I suppose a fool is someone who is unwilling to learn and therefore unteachable. I've been foolish many times, though hopefully not for too long.

On my desk lies a counterfeit 5 dollar bill, that was given to me Tuesday by one of my customers. I obviously did not know it was fake until later in the day when I had time to sort my money. So there I was sorting by denominations and this one bill stands out amongst its brethren as odd. Upon realization the thinking process begins: Who gave this to me? Did they do it on purpose? What should I do with it? Should I turn it in with my deposit to the company and let them take the loss? Should I pass it in change to an unsuspecting customer who is not my favorite? Should I pass it at a store to a young clerk who is easily tricked? Should I call the police and turn it in?

I looked back over all of the customers who could have been guilty, and decided the ones most likely to have passed it probably did not know it was fake. These people would not intentionally do that to me. If I passed it on to the company or someone else, I would be not only stealing, but committing a federal crime. More importantly it would be wrong and I would know it. It's only five dollars, but five dollars can make an important difference in some one's life.

My self esteem, integrity, honor, and my soul is not for sale for 5 dollars. I will not carry the shame of intentionally hurting someone else. Monday I will turn the bill over to the police because it is the right thing to do. I can afford to do this because I am rich. All of my bills are paid and there is money in my pocket. More importantly I have a family who loves me, and friends who love me. And I can love me because a merciful God loved me first and forgives me always: and gives me wisdom to do the right thing and become a man of integrity.

It has been 3 years, 11 months, and 1 day since my last drink. My how time flies when you are doing the next right thing.

Keep the shiny side up.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ben Franklin once said "Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five." I think this is probably true. I also think the "dead" can rise again.

There are many causes of death. There is fear, laziness, envy, greed, addiction, selfishness, despair, ignorance, duty, guilt and probably others. These are the things that come to mind right now. Character defects are a great destroyer of life.

I spent many years as a walking dead man, and the character defects listed combined to be my undoing. During these years I did not know who I was, where I was going, or why I was going. Somewhere along the way the passion for life was hijacked, and I was left with going thru the motions, clouded by emotions and no sense of direction and purpose. These years are blurred and in black and white in my mind, with occasional bursts of color and clarity. Somehow, religion took the place of spirituality; duty took the place of passion; envy and greed stole prosperity, selfishness and guilt took away my joy. Alcohol and drugs were the medicine used to try to regain life. But there is no life in addiction. God gave me the great gift of desperation which took me to a place where I could let go and let Him lift me up and bring restoration and rebirth.

"How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, and resolution enough to mend them." Ben Franklin.

In this one statement by Mr. Franklin, he summarizes steps 4 thru 8 of the program of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Even before Mr. Franklin and A.A. was the sermon on the mount spoken by Jesus.

I was resurrected from the "dead" 1,419 days ago. Today I am a victor, not a victim. Today I live in joy a life of passion and hope. Today I prosper. Today I love. Today I dream. Today I ride. Today I give thanks. Today I pray. Today I serve. Today life is in vivid, vibrant color. Today the shadows and darkness flee the Light that lives in me.

Today I truly Live.

God is always good. That makes me glad.

Keep the shiny side up.