Sometimes

Sometimes it tough to think, feel, and be positive. Last Friday I tested positive for COVID. Funny how positive is so negative. I spent the weekend hacking up a lung and watching sports. Pretty much every decision went against me.

Sometimes it all you can do to just stay afloat.

But today is Monday, and yes, I’m writing a bit later than usual. I’m watching my Arsenal play for their chance at big things next year. It seems we are all trying to stay near the surface and the promise of air…

I suppose for today I’ll have to be down, but I know I’ll get healthy soon. There’s always time to…

—Rise Up!!

Give it Away

I took my best buddy from childhood to see one of his favorite bands last night. It was a general admission show and we got there early so we could score a good place. As it turns out, we were dead center, right on the barricade. Not bad for a couple of 54 year old guys in a room with about 2000 people!

The show was a ton of fun. The band was the Cult. They haven’t made much of a dent on the charts lately, but in the late 80’s and early 90’s they were selling out arenas and filling the radio with multiple hits. If you don’t remember them, I recommend checking them out, you’ll thank me later…

The lead singer has always had a strong influence from Native American culture. He plays a lot of rhythm instruments as he sings. Among his favorite is the tambourine. In tossing them in the air and occasionally dropping them, he wound up “giving” several of them to the audience. I happened to score one. Not a bad souvenir from a show!

The one I got was kicked out from the stage and clattered around through a few people. It made its way to the floor and that’s where I nabbed it. As I stood up with my prize I saw the face of the lady behind me who missed out on it. She was pretty bummed. I decided that she needed it more than I did, so I gave it to her. She was pretty pleased and the folks around let me know that they thought I did the right thing.

The Bible tells us that we need to give away what we need. I guess this fit that mold. Am I disappointed to not get a cool souvenir from a concert? Sure I am, but in helping make a great memory for a stranger I was able to…

—Rise Up!!

Ian Astbury playing “my” tambourine

Mornings are Yuck!

I’ve been a pretty much life long hater of mornings. I’m a night owl, for sure. I love to stay up late and then lounge in bed until it’s time to get up. 1 or 2 in the morning seems like a reasonable bed time, then somewhere around 8 feels just about right to this guy.

The past two days I’ve been awakened at 6:30! Yuck!

But there’s a twist (you knew there’d be a twist, right?). Both mornings my alarm clock has been a kiss on the cheek from a grand baby. It’s the BEST. Even though I hate mornings, it is totally worth it to be awake for these little bundles of joy.

It’s all perspective, and perspective let’s us…

—Rise Up!!

Take Two

I was scheduled to record a phone in interview for my podcast this morning. That meant I had to get up early (for me). 6:20 the alarm went off and I got out of bed to get ready. The morning went very smoothly. I even had time to make a cup of tea before the show.

I logged on to Zoom and sent out the invitation to my guest. We had a nice preliminary chat to get to know each other. My guest writes a blog for people dealing with infertility issues (ConfessionsOfAPineapple.com) and had a difficult, heart wrenching story to share. In my pre-show chat I try to put the guest at ease so I related a story about a guest that had shared a very emotional story only to find out that the entire 70 minute episode didn’t record. Funny story, now let’s record…

As I went to the break I tried to find the pause button. No luck. Couldn’t see it anywhere. Uh oh!

We needed to re-record the whole first half of the show. Both of us already had tears in our eyes and on our cheeks and now she had to go back and re-tell it again. I felt so bad for her.

We were able to take a little break and redo the first segment. It went great, again…

There’s healing in sharing. Even when we have to tell the sad, dark moments in life, there’s healing when we do. This week I’d love to have you check out my new friend’s blog. Tell your friends too! Then next week listen to her episode on the Mess It Up podcast. Even when things don’t go right we can still…

—Rise Up!!

Excited for Wednesday

Weekends mean a lot of things for a lot of people. For me, between September and May it means that I usually have an Arsenal match to watch. (As I write that I can hear my wife telling me that not everyone cares about English Football…) It’s kind of how I set my alarm on a Saturday or Sunday morning though. I always wake up to watch the match live, sometimes as early as 4am!

This week it was a 7am kickoff to a team we should have beaten. We were coming off two straight defeats to other teams that we should have beaten. Our place in the table was becoming increasingly tenuous. Arsenal Nation was in a panic. Another loss would be unthinkable.

So that’s exactly what happened. Another 1-0 loss. I was crushed; on the floor; down in the dumps. All of if and more. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. All of my hopes and dreams from a few weeks back were burning like the Hindenburg on a New Jersey field.

Life isn’t always what we have planned. Stumbles happen. Sometimes we stumble because of our own actions and sometimes a person puts something in our path and out of the blue, through no fault of our own, were are face down.

Life happens in the reactions though. The action is just a part of the story. Our reactions are what win the awards and plaudits. So after a quick sulk I turned my focus from what had just gone wrong and looked at what was ahead of me. We play again on Wednesday. Sure, it’s a much better opponent. Sure several of our star players are injured and will miss the game. But my eyes are planted on Wednesday, when I am certain that we will return to our winning ways. I was down on Saturday, but I’m ready to…

–Rise Up!!

Moshing

Well, this past week your MoM went to a heavy metal show. Not just in the building, but all “up in the mix” with the mosh pit and everything. Yup, me.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show that was quite as wild as this. Back in the day, I was all about being up front, throwing elbows, and slam dancing with the rest of the punks. I’m not a teenager anymore. At 54 my body doesn’t react the same to a body slamming into it as it did back in the 80’s. Stuff hurts before I even get to the show.

Another thing that has changed is the behavior of the people in the pit. It used to be every man for himself. If you fell in the mosh pit you were gonna pay a price in bruises. Now things have changed.

I watched several times as people stumbled and fell to the floor. Almost immediately a wall of people emerged like the Secret Service. Each person that fell was surrounded by a protective barrier of fans that helped them to their feet then shoved them back into the melee. It was pretty amazing. I mean after all, these folks chose to find their way into the pit. It was their choice to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Yet here were strangers stepping in the gap to help them when they fell.

I guess that’s what God does for me…for all of us. He watches us wander into the mosh pit of life and get thrown about like rag dolls. He watches as our energy wains. He sees us get weaker and weaker; more susceptible to injury and mistake. Then when we stumble He reaches down to help us…

–Rise Up!!

Rocking out at the show.

April Fool!

We just entered April. My 7 year old grand son is trying to figure out the whole April Fool thing. It’s a lot of fun.

My favorite April Fool joke happened 27 years ago. I fooled my wife into saying “I do” on April 1, 1995. Life has been all over the place since that blessed day… for both of us. I can’t say it’s always been great, but I can’t think of anyone better to do life with.

It’s super important to have good people in your life. Whenever I stumble, my wife is there by my side. No, not like she’s helping me stumble, but she does have her hand out to help me. Without people to help us up, we are apt to stay down.

If you don’t have someone, go find them. They’re out there. When we are on our own, it is difficult to…

—Rise Up!!

Big Big House

This weekend we were blessed to go to a concert. Being a Christian show, they had the standard request to sponsor needy children. The guy who did the speaking was the former singer of Audio Adrenaline, Mark Stuart . His band broke up several years ago because he developed a debilitating condition in his vocal chords that took away his ability to sing.

As I sat in my seat I noticed him walking around on the arena floor I moseyed over to him, ignoring the security posted at the ends of the stairs and struck up a conversation. In the course of our chat he mentioned that he really liked my shirt and said that he would need to get one similar. I did the only rational thing: I went back to my seat, pealed off my shirt, put on the new one I had just bought at the merch table, then returned and gave him the shirt. Yup, the shirt off my back. I was looking to meet one of my favorite singers from back in the day and I was able to make his night. You never know when you will be able to…

—Rise Up!!

Ruined?

Friday is my day for Celebrate Recovery. There’s a fair amount of set up and clean up to do before and after our meetings. In order to make our night a bit shorter I took an opportunity to do some clean up while the ladies were still having their open share group. I put away the food and tables. I reset the chairs. I turned off the sound equipment. I left the coffee on…

Ooops!

Yup, me, the Minister of Mocha, your MoM, forgot to turn off the coffee machine and left the pot on the burner. 24 hours later I was sitting in San Diego at a Seals lacrosse game and got a phone call from our pastor. He left me know that someone had come in and found the pot smoking on the burner. Uggh. The pot was ruined. Bigger uggh.

Now I had a choice. As the leader it would be easy to shirk the responsibility and let him think that it was someone else who had made the mistake, you know, shrug at the uggh. Instead I fessed up to him then made a call to the person who runs the coffee ministry at the church to let them know that it was me that made the mistake and the I would replace the pot that had been ruined. The phone call took her by surprise. She was thankful for my honesty. Since so many different ministries use the coffee station, she gets a lot of shoulder shrugs when things go wrong. Somebody else must have done it is a typical response.

After I confessed and a strange thing happened: nothing. Confessing can feel scary, but it usually is not a problem. It’s just putting Step 10 into action. We recognize when we make a mistake, then we address it promptly. It’s really OK.

Next time you have a fall, break out Step 10 and…

–Rise Up!!

Magic

I used to love roller coasters. I could ride all day, do the loops, and have no problems. I was never really great with spinning, but loops and coasters were my jam.

Then I got older.

Now, one spin, one loop, one corkscrew and I’m out of commission for the rest of the day. It’s sad to me because I loved riding roller coasters so much. So when my grandson invited us to go to Magic Mountain for his 13th birthday I said yes, but told him that my favorite ride was gonna be the bench!

I waited in line with them. I watched the cars go careering around the twisted steel and felt that old rush of adrenaline. I wanted to ride, but I knew my limits. They tried to convince me it would be ok. They tried to tell me how it really wasn’t that bad. But I knew better and said no.

But the cool thing about amusement parks is that they have some rides that are decidedly more tame. Even a place like Magic Mountain that boasts 20 thrill rides has a few things that your MoM can handle. My boys love me enough that they sacrificed part of their fun so that I could ride some of the smaller, older coasters. No loops. No big vortexes. Just good old fashioned hills and thrills.

In the end I was able to go on three rides: two old coasters and a flume ride. It wasn’t the worlds most dangerous outing, but it still gave me a chance to…

—Rise Up!!