Where Are You Today?

Finding words.  *sigh*

Yesterday was a day.  It was topped off with a great date with my daughter.  We went to La Suprema where she talked to me for well over an hour.  (She talked for over 2 hours Wednesday night – I just love listening to her.)  Our next stop was Market Basket.  This may not sound exciting just yet but the Blue Bell Cookie Dough ice cream was recently released and this is Kristen’s favorite.  Watching her when we got home was just one of those moments.  Then we rented “Sherlock, The Abominable Bride”.  I attempted to stay awake but failed.  However, when it was over I got to see her excitement regarding the larger implications in this show that she enjoys so much.

I am blessed beyond understanding with her.

This morning however the pain rose up and is trying to crush me.  I think it started while I was praying Psalm 72.  I have done some work.  Wrote a note.  Read some.  Listened to music.  Nothing distracts for long.  I want to write things I should not write to people I should not write them to.  Soul intimacy.

One of the verses from yesterday was Ephesians 6:6, the part that says: “but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart”.  Another verse or two that I have been in the last few days, Philippians 3:10-11.  “My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

My aim is to know him.  There are words that would help explain the value of these in my life the past few days but I cannot find them.  I keep deleting the words since they are all wrong.

The verses I did not want but still came to me over the past few days.  Ephesians 2:4 and Ephesians 5:26.

The first one begins with “But God”.  The next one includes “with the washing of the water by the word”.  Words evoke memories.  All the memories.

I am not even going to try to put words together for those verses.  Holding back tears.

One of my girls turns 9 tomorrow.  Birthday party this afternoon.  She wanted a crawfish boil.  I can’t wait to see her.

Time to look at lists.  Add to.  Subtract from.  Write more words to people.  Here we go…

Star Wars Time

So the kids and I went to see the new Star Wars today.  It was great.  The time with the kids was even better.  Later we went to Mass and then Christmas in the Park.  Then the dread of life hits me.

I try to fight it off.  I have so much to be joyful about but it is an intense battle.

There are many issues at work.  I cannot write as much as I want.  I cannot read much of anything.  The holidays are brutal in their relentlessness to destroy those that are alone.  People.  Prayer seems different.

You know I gave someone a gift today.  It referenced Romans 5:8.  Then the preacher at Christmas in the Park quoted that verse.  I had that verse arise many times after it was selected.  It just confirmed it was the proper selection.

Crazy thing is, that it could go away at any moment or it could linger for days and weeks.  I suspect it will be moments or hours.  Yet I also think it will hit even harder in the days to come.

See I can’t even write this…

Always More Projects

So I have a special project I have been working on for Kristen for a few years.  Another one I started for Blaine about a year after that.  A different one I started for Blaine earlier this year.  And just nine days ago, I started yet another long term project.

This most recent one will last at least one year.  I may do it again but I cannot say for sure.  I thought one year would be a good place to start.  Originally I was not planning on writing each day for this project but I have not been able to stop.  *sigh*  But when this project is complete, there will be much joy.

After I get done writing for this project, finding words for my own self are much more difficult.  Lack of words difficult.  Even now writing this, I am struggling for words.  And there is another project that I have in my mind to begin.  By that I mean a project for a specific person but the project is not defined.  Without a defined project, obviously I cannot begin.

I do not want to duplicate the other projects.  It has to be special for that person.  So this one may not begin for quite some time – maybe two years out before it begins, if it begins at all.

Friday and Saturday were filled with Whimsical.  Saturday I had to go into the cast party to see Kristen.  It was quite taxing and I was asleep early that evening.  This means I was up at 2am.  I honestly did not think it was going to take that much out of me.  I deduced that it was based upon unpreparedness and once I realized where I was going, lack of prayer for strength.  So next time if the situation arises where I am unable to be prepared, I just want to remember to pray.

Learning about prayer has been fun.  One day I might actually know something.  🙂

The Great Divide

You know what the kids and I did yesterday?  We went to Houston to visit my cousin and then later my sister.  We stopped at the same Kroger twice.  The first time we stopped we purchased three half gallons of Blue Bell.  The store happened to have Cookies and Cream which they ate in the car.  We left those three partially eaten cartons with my cousin and went back to purchase more.  We did buy two more but they were already sold out of Cookies and Cream.  The sadness.  We left those two at my sister’s house.  The best way to spread Blue Bell cheer is to purchase it for every house you visit right?  No, I’m not coming to your house.

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Today the kids and I went on an adventure.  We visited four different Kroger stores looking for another Cookies and Cream (it was going to be a gift for a dear friend).  There were none to be found.  We did fill the ice chest with ice and more Blue Bell for our freezer.  We got four more.  That should hold the kids over for a few weeks.

Even I partook of the Blue Bell joy with a small bowl of The Great Divide yesterday at my cousin’s.

Kristen was so happy.

Then She Was A Teenager

I have pictures of Kristen when she was younger of course but I much prefer these.  Today my baby girl turns 13.  One of the best things God has given me is this young lady.  Even more, God graces me by giving me time with her.  Precious time.  I would tell you of the many blessings that I count one by one.  You can see this one for yourself.

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That was way back.  This is now…

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The Gift Of Time

This morning I was extremely thankful for the gift of time.  I think I am usually thankful for time, most of the time maybe but this morning’s thankfulness was a bit sweeter.

Last night I picked up Kristen after work and we talked as we drove home.  We talked as we prepared dinner.  We talked while we ate.  We talked after dinner.  We talked while we walked in the kitchen. It was around three hours of talking.  Very little phone.  No computer.  No TV.  No Blaine (he’s at boy scout camp).  What a joy to have this time with her.

Now I know I talk to Kristen all the time.  Typically during the school year, we sit down and talk for 30 minutes to an hour three or four days a week .  The summer time is a bit different but still we talk a lot.  I thanked God last night for this time.  I thanked Him again this morning.

This week has been rough.  Monday and Tuesday the mask has been up to hide the depression.  No one notices of course.  I hide it well.  I would never want anyone to know how sick I really am.  A good thing has been how God has been with me.  I learn this lesson a lot – reliance on God.  I learn it more often than I care to admit.  And yet here I am still being given this gift of time by Father.  His grace abounds.  Endlessly.

Seriously, His grace abounds.

My lunch appointment cancelled on me yesterday but I continued on and had lunch with someone else entirely.  Another gift of time.  Monday night a gift of time with Bethany.  Sunday a gift with Kristen at DQ for ice cream.  Sunday a gift with Aubree and Abbee.  Time and time again, Father gives me these gifts.  So today I wonder if He will allow me to see the gift He gives me.

Lord, thank you for the bounty of time in my life.

Fun With A Toaster

Blaine and I decided to work on a toaster.  Attempt to arrange the heating element to burn something into bread.  We purchased a cheap toaster and began to dismantle it Wednesday night – just us guys you know.  As we did this we were joking and decided to replace Kara’s toaster with the disassembled version.

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I can tell you that Blaine and I got enough laughs out of this to last a long time before Kara arrived home to see the destruction.  Kara said Blaine was giggling too much and gave it away but it was still a great time.  Now we have to get back to work on the actual project with the toaster.

When I Became A Father

When I became a father…I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  I’m still mostly clueless but like many fathers out there I get by as best I can.  This first one is my baby girl.  She is nearly 13 now.  We have done a lot together.

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Then I became a father again.  Yes, well if it isn’t such a thing it should be (for moms too, of course).  This is my little man.  He is nearly 12.

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I have been through a lot of old pictures lately.  Google has unlimited photo storage now so I began uploading what I had from the past few years.  Then I pulled a DVD full of pictures.  I burned this particular DVD in 2005.  It even has some videos of the kids.

It was difficult looking at the pictures the past few days.  I had already fallen into a pretty deep loneliness and looking at memories of when you thought you were happy does not help this situation.  I do not recall an extended episode like this since February (or maybe further back).

I contemplated on the drive home yesterday the ways in which we avoid the pain – drinking, drugs, sex, self-loathing.  But nothing we do can really take that pain away.  Wednesday or Thursday was particularly rough.  I made a note that said “God is with you through the pain” and repeated that to myself over and over.

And it does help.  It would be better if He would take it away but I am learning something that He wants to teach me.  Probably a few things.

This past week also saw a single pregnant mom take back the father of her latest child again.  This time after he was escorted from her residence by the police for a physical assault.  That did not help my week.  Another mother had her son decide to visit his father.  It sent the mother into a spin.  I’m not sure I could describe the pain with a specific word but it was intense for her.  She still needs to be lifted up as she masks the pain.  A girl is removed from her home by CPS – good cause but no family to take her in.  She is trouble and whatever foster family takes her needs prayer.

It really is good to be a father.  And it is good to have a Father in heaven to talk to about everything.  Sadly I feel quite distant from my Father lately.  Very distant.

The Forgotten Prayers

This weekend I was standing in a hall with a bunch of fathers waiting for our time to dance with our daughters.  I do not do well in large groups like that so I learned how to block out my surroundings decreasing the stimulation (data input).  So I am standing there ignoring everything around me when this young girl walks by.  Then she stops, turns around, hugs me and walks away.  She never said a word.

I did not recognize her at first. The girls are all wearing similar clothes and similar makeup but it clicks while she is hugging me.  I had been praying for this girl for quite some time last year.  She was having social problems.  I’m not really sure how to describe it but when I heard one of the stories of what she was going through I could do nothing more than pray.

Eventually I stopped praying for her.  I get overwhelmed with requests and my hearts aches for each one.  Too much of that is difficult to handle emotionally.  At some point we have to take them off our list for our own sanity.  Right?  I pray I’m not alone in this regard.

I have no idea why she hugged me.  Maybe I looked like I needed one or maybe she just needed to give one.  I know dance girls hug anyone for any reason so maybe it was just the dance girl “time to hug someone” moment.  It does not matter in the long term, I suppose.  But it did remind me about her and I was able to pray for her that night.  I said “hi” the next night when I saw her again and remembered her in my prayers.

Some people grab your heart very easily.

Spectators Watch

Spectators watch.  So what does that mean if you are watching the attacks on your very soul?  I think a week or two back I watched a string of events occur in my life that would have typically lead me down a path of depression and loneliness.  This time however, God prevented me from falling.

When this happens I begin to wonder how long it will last.  How long will God protect me?  Events then build on top of other events until the great crash.  So how many “one more” events can you take?  Of course this is the wrong question.  The real question is how many of these events are you going to give to God?

And we watch.  Today I just watched myself allow it to happen.  I begin to wonder if I am even there, in my mind.  Of course we can reflect on that time and realize that something else has taken over.  And then when we regain control, we can only throw ourselves before the feet of our Savior knowing we are already forgiven.

Being a spectator for your own life is a unique experience.  I highly recommend it.

Speaking of spectators, this weekend is recital.  The dad and daughter dance is always a favorite.  Most of the dads have boring dull bland colors for their Hawaiian shirts.  I did not think those were a real thing.  Maybe they are tropical but even then I think tropical is bold.  I should have more pictures at some point in the future but this was one sent to me last night.  That beautiful young lady I’m dancing with is of course my daughter, Kristen.

Dad and Daughter 2015