Up, Up, and Away!

Im always looking for ways to “rise up”. This week I’ve got one of my faves, we are flying to Hawaii for the upcoming birth of our newest grandson!

Of course, going to Hawaii is great in and of itself, but it’s even better seeing family. Each night my 6 year old grandson Luc asks his Mom how many more sleeps until Papa gets there. Talk about melt my heart kind of stuff.

It’s really nice because for most of his life, Luc has lived in Hawaii. He doesn’t really remember much about his time in Ridgecrest when he was 2 years old, so his memories of me are all built around a few trips to the islands and playing on FaceTime. I’ve been able to build memories and the promise of fun for him through just that.

I write this to say that we might not be able to have the impact that we expect on people, but that does not diminish the impact we have. We are important. You are important. What we do and how we do it matters beyond what we might imagine or comprehend. Someone might be counting the sleeps until your next arrival. So keep doing those good things you do, and…

—Rise Up!! (Aloha)

Belly Button Birthday

In recovery we talk about sobriety birthdays and belly button birthdays. Today happens to be my belly button birthday. 53 years and I still don’t have most of it figured out!

Sometimes, especially in the isolated world of today, it can feel a bit lonely. Sometimes I feel somewhat insignificant because I’m not in the prisons and not meeting for CR in person. But sure enough, early this morning the calls and texts came rolling in wishing me a happy birthday.

It’s good to be remembered and loved. I had a great meal made in my honor yesterday, today my pal PH took me to lunch, and tomorrow I’ve got another friend taking me to lunch. Life is good, sometimes you just gotta look a little harder to find it.

Now I’m headed into another year in order to…

—Rise Up!!

The Right Perspective

My football team won a game yesterday. Leeds was just above us in the standings, so going into the game we all would be happy with a result that saw us holding a lead. Going into the half at 3-0 was fantastic.

In the second half we came out with another quick goal to make it 4 – 0. After that, we played a bit with the handbrake on and allowed two goals. Now the nerves began to twinge and stomachs were filled with acid. By the time the final whistle blew Arsenal held on for a 4 – 2 victory.

As I said, on Sunday morning before kickoff, most Arsenal fans would be thrilled to know we would score 4 goals on the way to a victory. Somehow allowing the “other guys” to score after being up by 4 made it feel a bit more hollow. We get focused on keeping the clean sheet instead of finishing the game on top. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s all about the win, and nothing else.

In my recovery I can sometimes get my mind set on perfection. I let small mistakes seem bigger than they are. I let myself get defeated when my walk isn’t 100%. Now, a day after the win, I’m not as upset by those two goals that got by us. I’m reveling in the win and moving up the table. I’m remembering how fun it is to…

—Rise Up!!

Happy Anniversary!

(Note: I tried to publish this in the morning, but it failed. Sorry it’s late) I did not know it until I opened up my blog app this morning, but this is your MoM’s 6 year anniversary. Wow, it’s a bit hard to believe. I remember when I started this thing. I was sitting in my office at the church where I was working and decided to make some blogs for the staff. I was trying to create this whole online community and experience so we had video of the weekend services, weekly talk shows, a podcast from the service, and blogs. The staff weren’t particularly excited about me creating more work for them so I offered to ghost write for the pastors. A comment was made that they didn’t think I’d be able to come up with enough to say in order to consistently publish a once a week blog. (We all know how hard it is for Paul to talk, right?)

Anyhow, here we are six years later and still going strong. I’ve missed a couple of weeks in the course of those six years. I really couldn’t say how many exactly, but I’m fairly certain it’s less than 10. That’s not too bad. Most of them have been typed up in the comfort of my “office”. That might have been the one at the church, or the one I use now at my house. Plenty have been written at a table in Starbucks. I’ve written in several different states and have even dictated some as I drove down the road on a trip to somewhere. For the most part they happen on a Monday morning as I look at the week ahead.

I’ve never planned them out. There has never been a master list of “upcoming topics” to write about. It’s simply a snapshot of what I’m thinking about or feeling on that particular Monday morning. It’s my chat with myself and God. The overriding message from the blog is supposed to be encouraging. I decided to put the closing lone of Rise Up at the end way back in the beginning and have tried to make that a theme. It’s not because I think that any of you Dear Readers need to hear it, but because I need to hear it. Life can be tough (duh) so I need constant reminders not to wallow in the hurts of yesterday. Hopefully you’ve gained something from it as well. If you have a moment, shoot me a message to let me know which of the several hundred posts you’ve enjoyed most. If not, that’s ok too. Here’s to the past six years, and to the ones ahead as well. Now get out there and…

—Rise Up!!

Not Today…

I’m sure you’ve seen the shirts and cups and stickers that say “Not today Satan”. It’s a great reminder that we will get attacked constantly. We never know how it will happen, but inevitably it does.

Today (as on many days) it’s my back. I went to make myself breakfast and boom, out went my back. My plan today, beyond pumpkin spice pancakes, was to patch some holes in the ceiling at my mother’s house after installing new canned lighting. Not today… the idea of reaching above my head on a scaffold is, well, it ain’t happening. Not today.

But just because I can’t do what I originally set out to do doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. If I allow the pains of life to slow me down, I’ll never go anywhere. I think I probably have some time in bed in my future, but even flat on my back, watch me…

—Rise Up!!

Can You Help?

I got a text this weekend that basically came down to a simple question: can you help me?

It seems such an easy question to ask, but far too often, it becomes one of the most difficult for a lot of us. There’s an admission that I can’t do it on my own. My pride doesn’t really like that so much… it can also feel like admitting failure which also dings my pride. It’s just so difficult to get past the lips…

The flip side is that as reticent as I am to say it, I absolutely love to hear someone say it to me. That feels like a validation of my worth.

This particular request had to do with an area of expertise that I have due to specific training several decades ago (quite literally in the late 1980’s!) I was thrilled to do it and I think it went well.

When you find yourself at the end of a difficult time or task, put down your pride and just ask someone “Can you help?” It will help both of you to…

—Rise Up!!

Sticks and Stones

We heard that sticks and stones can break bones but words can never hurt us for most of our lives, but I have to disagree. Words have power. We saw that this past week. Words can stoke a flame and words can heal.

One thing I know is that our actions have consequences that might last forever. Just because I have not broken the law since I was released almost twenty years ago doesn’t mean that everyone wants to forgive my past or in some cases, even let me move on with my life. But as long as I maintained my innocence, I had no peace. Once I admitted my guilt, healing finally began.

Step 5 says “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Sometimes we need to put down ourselves so we can lift up others. the simple act of confession and acknowledgement of wrong can suck the fuel from the fire that people feel.

If you don’t know what happened last week you might be living in a cave. There are no easy fixes, and I can only speak from my own experience, but I know that I had to step up and admit my wrongs before I could…

—Rise Up!!

New Year, New You

You’ve probably seen or heard that one a lot over the years. I know I have. It’s a cute idea, but really, the calendar isn’t magical. Why wait until January to make changes? And are you really new because of this changes?

If you’re looking for a new you, I know a great way to accomplish that: Jesus! 1 Peter 1:23 tells us that through Christ we are born again, a brand new creation in Him. The thing to remember is that this is a spiritual birth. Your past will still be dragging behind you like a trailer and a lot of folks will be all too happy to remind you about it.

Don’t let that past drag you down. And if it catches you, don’t wait a whole year to fix things. Every day is a fresh start. Go out there and…

—Rise Up!!

Last Chance

Wow, December 28! This is your MoM’s last chance to talk to you, Dear Reader, before the end of this crazy, wonderful year.

Yes, you read it right, I said wonderful. About 2020? Yes, indeed!

We all know the litany of complaints. There’s no real need for me to trot down that particular memory lane. But listen, we don’t talk much about the year that Polio began, but the name Jonas Salk is famous because he invented the vaccine for the disease. This year we saw numerous vaccines developed to fight COVID.

Lockdowns were a drag in some ways, but we got to spend a lot of time with family.

For many of us, car insurance rates dropped.

If you are reading this, you made it through the year.

What’s my point? What is always my point?!? We need to sift through the ashes and find the silver. Let’s try to expunge the negative diatribe and focus on the hope. It’s a new year soon. Let’s get out there and…

—Rise Up!!

Serious Overkill

Sometimes we have setbacks in life. It’s just a part of the deal. I suppose if you didn’t agree with that you wouldn’t be reading this blog, right? Well, this doesn’t just apply to people.

Last night I was watching my most hated English #PremiereLeague team lose. It was wonderful. Even though my team lost at the weekend, watching our North London rivals lose was a great way to ease the blow. At the end of the game I got a text from my son in law who lives in Hawaii. It seems that the volcano is waking up. Yes, Dorothy, you’re not the only one who is “done” with quarantine! Hot magma has found it’s way to the surface of the crater. Here’s what @USGSVolcanoes on Twitter said,

“Lava is cascaded into the summit water lake, boiling off the water and forming a new lava lake. The northern fissure, pictured, was producing the tallest lava fountain at roughly 50 m (165 ft), and all lava was contained within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea caldera.”

I watched someone’s livestream of the action last night for several minutes and all I could think was “Wow, now that is the way to…

–Rise Up!!!