Archive for November, 2012

Complaining of a Cruddy Week

Posted: November 30, 2012 in Life

[Journal entry complaining of a cruddy week. Feel free to ignore this post as I’m just griping.]

Last week, Thanksgiving week, was good. I had a great time with family. This week, the travel home and first few days back, has been not good. It started Monday with one of the worst migraines of my life. I’ve only been to the ER/Urgent Care three times in my life for migraines. I’d just deal with it mostly. Monday was number three. That’s how bad it was. We’d had plans to spend that day in Old Town Sacramento but after they injected some stuff into me I went back to my sister’s place and slept the day away.

Tuesday started off fine. I was feeling well and we got all packed up and made it to the airport, through security and to our gate without issue. About boarding time, however, I started to feel unwell. This time it was a heaviness in my stomach and an unquenchable thirst. The flight was uneventful, even pleasant. I got to read a lot, holding Lil’ K in my arms as she slept. After getting our luggage, it took us longer than anticipated for the hotel shuttle to pick us up and take us back to our van. I was now feeling very poorly. I didn’t eat dinner, just had a small smoothy and several cups of water.

The drive back home was uneventful if long. We arrived home at 2:30 am. I drank more water and crashed.

Wednesday I felt nauseous all day. My thirst continued. The only thing I could consume easily was water and watered down apple juice. I went home early from work. Thursday started off much the same, but I did start to feel marginally better. I was able to get through the day and even ate dinner (a small one).

This morning (Friday), my stomach feels fine and I’m not constantly thirsty, but I do have a low grade headache. I was able to have a cup of coffee (for which I’m thankful). We’ll see how today goes.

Bad Day

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Life

Today was, in a word, horrible. It started at 4:00AM when I awoke with a migraine. I took my meds only to vomit them up. Nothing I tried helped either the headache or continued vomiting. At 9:30 i finally asked my sister to take me to an urgent care facility she knew of. They gave me shots for both the pain and the vomiting. We got back to my sister’s house just before noon whereupon I took my headache meds (as the shot hadn’t totally removed he pain) and crashed. I literally slept the day away.

We had planned to go into Old Town Sacramento and sight see, visit the train museum, etc. That plan was shot all to hell. Even now, at 9:30 PM I’m still not feeling up t scratch and as soon as I finish this post will be sacking back out.

Oh, and I’m starting to feel nauseous again 😦

Winding Down

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Family

It’s been a great week, spending time with my family at my grandparents’ house, wrapping up by preaching at their church. When I was a boy, traveling from church to church with my grandparents, running all over the church building where his office was, and spending time with them and other missionaries, it never occurred to me that one day I’d be a minister and missionary, preaching at their church. It was a great close to a great week. But I am tired now. It’s nice to be lounging on my sister’s couch, the entire family asleep, reading a good book.

Faith, Doubt, and Worship

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Church, Faith, Life

In my late teens and early twenties I became a seeker. I sought truth, purpose, meaning, clarity, etc. in a variety of places, people, faiths and thoughts. I pursued enlightenment in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and even Neo-Pagansim. I finally resigned myself to being an agnostic. It wasn’t long before I was forced to admit that to be a complete cop-out. Through a variety of ways (college professors, history books, and the writings of Rene Descartes, to name a few) I began to reevaluate the faith of my youth, the faith I’d initially rejected: Christianity. My final return to Christianity occurred during a conversation on destiny, man’s responsibility and the sovereignty of God. The conversation was a strange one and resulted in my return to the Cross only one step ahead of the young man I led there.

That was quite some time ago, and doubts did not end there. I no longer doubt the existence of God, nor the divinity of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt that the Bible is the authoritative, inspired word of God. What I doubt is humanity in general and myself in particular. I know that, at its core, Christianity is not about organized religion, or what people who claim to be Christians do or say, or even about the teachings of Jesus, but about an historical event that occurred almost 2000 years ago: namely the death burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Even though I know this, it is these secondary and tertiary things which cause me doubts. Christians say and do things which piss me off. The organized church does, or doesn’t do, something that frustrates me. My own thoughts, attitudes, actions and words fail to line up with what I know to be right. Despite my best efforts ministries fail, people’s lives fall apart, my own family suffers and I despair. During these dark times I do not question God’s existence or sovereignty. I question whether I want to continue to serve Him.

Someone once said, “I don’t have anything against God. It’s his fan club I cant stand.” Sometimes I think that no one knows how true that sentiment can be than a pastor. As an officer in that fan club, sometimes I get so frustrated, angered and hurt that I want to tear up my own membership card. At times it’s simply a desire to leave vocational ministry. I try and try, pour my heart and soul into the people only to be bitten and kicked by those Im trying to help. But there are times, I must confess, when I no longer want to have anything to do with church or (dare I say it) God. In the short term the thing that always brings me up short, that stops me from throwing in the towel is my children. I would rather burn for eternity in hell than to cause my children to stumble. But that just the thing that keeps me from lashing out. What renews my faith? What lifts me up? What draws me back to God’s embrace?

There isn’t just one thing. God uses a variety of means to draw me back to himself. Sometimes simply journaling these types of things, laying my frustrations and concerns that i can feel the hand of God helping me sort it all out. Other times I simply have a shouting fit and rail against God and when I’m done, I feel better. I can’t explain why hat works, but sometimes it does. On many occasions scripture just seems to speak directly to me, to the situation I’m struggling with, as if that passage had been written just that day and just to me. Sometimes a person who I thought was hopelessly lost will suddenly call or write to me out of the blue and ask me for pastoral advice. And I can never understate the value of thank you cards from church members.

There are days when i want to give up, go back into he computer industry and just let the spiritual world get on without me. But I haven’t yet. It’s not because of me, or anything I’ve done or am doing, it’s because God keeps drawing me back and refuses to let me go.

Vacation Journal Entry

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Family

I think vacations are bad for me. Okay I could go several directions with that, but in this case i think it’s the renting cars while on vacation is bad for me. It’s the only time i get car envy. On our last trip we rented a Dodge Grand Caravan. This trip we got a Chrysler Town and Country. Pret much the same vehicle. I don’t think it was specifically requested the last time and I know it wasn’t requested this go around. (We had a bit of a snafu and its about all that was available.) They were simply one of the few vehicles which could seat all seven of us and provide cargo space for our luggage.

I must say that I have been impressed by both the Dodge and Chrysler versions of this vehicle. On our last trip the family affectionately dubbed it the SpaceShip. This one, being a more luxurious model, far surpasses the other.

Aside from all the bells and whistles (and both models had plenty of both) there are two things about these vehicles which I enjoy. The first is the room. There are seven seatbelts, and the back row is wide enough to seat three kids fairly comfortably, even with car booster seats. Not only can it fit all seven of us, but it has the cargo space to fit luggage for all of us as we’ll… and that was just the back. My wife reminded me of the stowage bins in the floor after we loaded the sucker up. Plenty of space. Our drive up north tomorrow should be nice.

He second practical thing I like about the vehicles is the power and response. There’s plenty of get-up-and-go to easily get a car full plus luggage up to freeway speed on an inclined onramp. The handling is rather nice too.

If i were in a place to be able to afford a brand new family vehicle, this is the kind of vehicle I’d want to get.

As for some of the bells and whistles I don’t ever expect to own but which I’m certainly going to enjoy on this trip: Backup camera, DVD player, and Bluetooth syncing with my iPhone.

Personal Journal Entry

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Life, RPG/War Gaming

The following is copied from today’s journal … just because.

Today started off rough. Though I was only up once in the night, I still woke up feeling horrible. I skipped Men’s Bible Study this morning. Getting to the church by 7:00 AM just wasn’t happening today. The morning was spent packing for our vacation after which M and I headed to Kearney. I run a monthly Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game campaign. It’s been running for over a year now. Our first adventure was run in my garage. After that we met primarily at Cafe Vibe. Following its closing we moved the game to the Troll’s Den. In order to make the game it was necessary to dope myself up on cold and migraine medicine. Fortunately I have a good core group of players.

Today we had the pleasure of two new players. I regret it wasn’t the best adventure, not the best showing for the new guys. I hope they still had fun. One indicated he’d return for next month’s game and the other was a maybe. Even though it was a short adventure I still lost my voice.

So this campaign has been running for over a year now. I think the first adventure was run in September of 2011. While I’m not bored or tired of this campaign, I would like a change of scenery for a bit. I presented the idea of running an adventure in a different game system after this story arc is complete. While they were open to, if not thrilled by, the suggestion. We’ll see. Maybe if I run a WEG Star Wars (D6) game for Game Fest that will give me the breather I’m looking for. I definitely want to play in a Pathfinder adventure during that event. While I’ve played D&D 3.x and looked at the Pathfinder books, I’ve yet to actually play a genuine Pathfinder game.

Tomorrow we leave for vacation after church. I’m very much looking forward to this. We’re going to spend Thanksgiving at Oma & Opa’s house in Eureka, California. Mom, Dad and Chips are also joining us. Humboldt County is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I’m thrilled that it has also become one of my Jenn’s favorite as well. Each time we visit it becomes harder to leave. Part of this may be due to the fact that Oma & Opa are 89 now and each time I visit I’m concerned it will be the last time I see them in this life.

Okay, I’m plum tuckered. Need to get to bed. I’m praying that tomorrow we’ll all be feeling 100%.

Not My Own Hero

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Faith

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

That’s the opening line from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. It’s considered by some to be among the best first lines from a novel. It brought me up short. “That’s the problem with humanity,” I said to myself.

We all want to be the hero of our own life (and everybody else’s too if we’re to be honest). In truth, however, we are not. There are so many different directions this could go. My mind briefly skittered down so many different alleys but ultimately came back to this: We are dead. The human condition is neither one of good people needing to realize their potential, nor bad people needing to be good. It is one of dead people needing to be brought to life.

I spent a couple years working as an EMT. During that time I never saw a dead person bring themselves back to life. On a couple occasions I saw someone who was technically dead brought back through CPR or the use of a defibrillator. The dead person was completely helpless. They needed a hero.

I am who I am, have what I have, and can do what I can do because someone else brought me to life. I am not, and could never be, my own hero. That title belongs to someone else.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:4-9