Friday, March 29, 2013

Family & Friends.

It's been a long time, if ever since I considered myself having a church family.

God has really pulled me out of the muck & I don't think I could ever go back.

It all started at the C3 Conference in Dallas last Feb. I made the active commitment to Rededicated. Then I took steps to really get involved in the church.
I consider now that Feb 14th is kinda my new birthday. I'm gonna try & go back to C3 next year to celebrate my anniversary God willing.
Another thing that I learned is that not only am I Rededicated to a Christian life but I'm dedicated to my church & it's leadership.
I'd never looked at it that way before & it was easy for me to get hurt & leave a church or just hit & miss if I attended. Now I'm committed to the body where I am.
As long as my pastor(s) follow God I will follow them & my family will follow me.
A huge thanks to Kelly, Graham & Nathan for not letting me slip away & making me feel like I was wanted even when I didn't necessarily want to be.

I'm learning to let go of hurts and hard feelings. Holding grudges and such too.

It's about commitment. Not about feelings. Those come with the commitment though, I'm finding out.

Since I've started greeting people & spending more time at the church I've discovered I like people again.
I've been such a hermit for the last 4 or 5 years for reasons maybe ill go into some other time.

Then when JB & O moved I really became just a home body.

Anyway I find myself genuinely interested in the people I attend church with. I really care about them & that may sound normal to you gentle reader but its pretty new to me.

I look forward to Sundays. I look forward to Wednesdays. I look forward to functions & chances to serve & I look forward to getting to know more of these very interesting very friendly brothers & sisters. I'm a new man.

I think that's enough for tonight. Just needed to write & it was too much for twitter.
Thanks for reading.

Alan

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Coast Guard Art

Just finished some work for the Coast Guard.











Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessings

Work has been steady here recently & it didn't occur til this afternoon that it started looking up around the time I started really serving in the church.
Honestly it didn't actually occur to me, a friend of mine mentioned it. Then it clicked.

Work has improved, it's quite a bit more steady. However it could still be better.
I need to manage my work time better.
I post on FaceTime about how busy I am or how many designs I need to get done in one day.

It sounds impressive at times. May make people think I'm busier than I am. That isn't my intention. Usually if I have a bunch to get done in one day. Kinda like I do tomorrow, 6 designs total due tomorrow, however I had a week to work on them and other things came up.
Some were little jobs for friends. Some distractions were church art related. Some were just regular lazy & procrastinate tendencies.

I have got to manage my time better & in doing so God willing I will have more time to serve at the church & be quicker at my job.

Thanks for reading.
Alan

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chrysler Art

Figured I'd stop whining for a bit and let you see a few designs I did today. Went for minimalism.





Day 6

I'm preoccupied with food today.  Trying to decide if i'm going to try and go the full 21 days without food and only juice or if I'm going to do 11 days juice and 10 days Daniel Fast.
Also thinking about going to the 27th with juice then moving to just salad and fruit until the first. If I did that I wouldn't be Daniel fasting technically cuz I would use dressing but ti would help transition my body and get it ready for a return to food.

Right now the Daniel Fast seems like and insane indulgence and I'd feel like king of the world on it compared to no food.

Lin was telling me today she just couldn't think of anything to make for dinner next week for her and the kids that sound good.  I'm not the most sympathetic to that plight right now seeing as I'd eat anything she cooked right now.

I like the juice fast because for me I think it will sink in more. If I was on the Daniel fast I'd not really be hungry cuz even if its not what i'd normally eat at least it would be food. Plain baked potato with nothing on it at all sounds pretty great right now. Some of my friends have been posting Daniel fast dinner pics and they all look tasty.  
As it is I am hungry a lot, it comes and goes depending on how much attention I choose to pay to it. But I'm hungry.  My snacks are limited to a small juice or a bottle of water.  I know I'm not getting enough water in me but I find water hard to drink if I'm not eating and I don't really get thirsty on this thing.
When I'm hungry though or when I'm fixing the kids a snack is when it really hits me about why we do this. If I was eating even bland foods I don't know if I personally would think about it that much.

I wasn't planning on keeping track of weight loss cuz that isn't my goal and I know that any loss would be temporary but I did break down and step on a scale. I'm down about 11 pounds in 5 days which seems like a lot to me but not enough to physically notice.

I've done really good though I haven't cheated at all from my goal of only juice and smoothies.
I read one blog from someone who was trying the Daniel fast and by Day 7 they had eaten, Mexican restaurant chips & salsa, pizza and a cheeseburger with fries. It wasn't anyone in our church by the way.  Probably bad that it made me feel good that I've made it 7 days 100% on it but it did and I'll take the tiny encouragements any way I can get 'em.

My goal in this spiritually is be mindful of sacrifice and drawing close to others of like mind. To pray more often and with more heart about the issues that face my church. As well as praying for God's favor for the upcoming Egg-stravaganza and Haiti fundraisers.

Physically I'm kinda hoping this will reset my mind and body about food. Help me to avoid crap that I don't need and limit my snacking by showing me that as hungry as I might be I'm not "really hungry".

I'd like to only drink water with my meals from now on after this too. the occasional coffee tea or soda but for the most part just water.  Thats a big step though cuz I do not enjoy water it is a bland vile liquid that has no business near my mouth.

So thats the extent of my thoughts on this today. I'm going to try and get some work done today too.

Thanks for reading
Alan

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fast Thoughts

Day 5 of my fast.  Our pastor asked a coupe weeks ago who would be interested in joining him in a 21 day fast. 
There are several types of fasts he mentioned but any really would do. A lot of people are doing the Daniel Fast and a few I think are doing a fast from their electronics.
I chose a juice fast in which I would eat no food for 21 days. Mainly I am having fresh juices thanks to my black and decker juicer.  I also have had a few juices I've had to buy and which aren't nearly as healthy. V8, Orange and Apple, I avoid anything that says cocktail for sure when I buy juice.  I've only had to buy juice a couple times.
If I was out about town and got thirsty or knew I was going to be away for a while.

I also am drinking a smoothie for breakfast.  Usually 1 avocado, 2 bananas and some rice milk for that.

When I started this thing I figured I'd be able to do it and it hasn't been too terribly hard but throughout the day I do have ridiculous cravings. As I write this I'd kick a horse to death for a chili dog.

Still when those things come up that I can really understand why people fast.

We have come together to say that this thing that we are all praying for is more important to us than comfort.

It's uncomfortable fasting. I can't really go out with my friends for lunch. I can't enjoy a meal with my family or grab a snack.  When Bat wants some cheesy whales, I'd normally have a couple out of his bowl but I don't and its weird.

I'd really like to have a chili dog, or a slice of pizza instead here in about 10 minutes while my wife bakes pizza for her and the kids I'll go juice a couple carrots some apples and a beet for my dinner.

I'm not complaining at all by the way, I hope it isn't coming off like that.  
I'm by no means miserable, I don't know that I'll ever truly know what it is like to be actually hungry.

I'm happy that Kelly laid this out for us and asked that we participate if we felt we could. 

I hope everyone else who is doing a fast this month is having a good time with it.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taxes

Got my taxes done this year by Melanie Prock here in town.
Been a nightmare. First I stopped in & personally talked to her. Told her that I have a small business & I made spreadsheets of all my expenses, income & such.
We talked for 10-15 minutes and she said she could do our taxes for $75.
So as soon as we got all our paperwork
I took it over to her office.
Took less than 15 minutes and I was out the door.
Got a call to pick up my paperwork a few days later so that's what I did. When I got there to pick them up I was told I owed $125 not the $75 I was told personally by Melanie. I was still glad to pay cuz H&R Block did my taxes last year and they charged $386. For just my personal taxes no business.
I picked up the files & put them away at home.
2 weeks later I pulled them out to check
The status of my refund at the IRS website.
The site said my check should be in my bank no later than the 5th.
So I checked with my bank and no such luck.
Then I got my paperwork out so I could take them to Melanie and figure out why my refund status went from "refund sent to bank" to "taxes being processed"

When I started goon thru my paperwork I discovered that Melanie Procks office had given me some of my tax papers and the tax papers of 3 other people.
Income, social security numbers, full names and addresses & employment info Basically an identity theft starter kit.
I went and told her plus brought copies of the strangers papers.
I was assured that it was a printing mistake and had nothing to do with my wonky refund status.
Melanie herself told me she called and my taxes were done properly.
I got home filed my (and the other 3 people's) papers back in my drawer.

Today I finally got a hold of the IRS and together we discovered that my refund had been rejected by my bank because
Melanie Prock's office had typed in the wrong routing number.
The right account but the wrong routing number.
I've never had problems with Melanie's office before but this was a crazy situation.
So now I'm waiting on a check from the IRS that is supposed to be mailed out on the 13. Which is 8 days later than I was scheduled to actually receive it.
It's been crazy.
I have a few invoices out so God willing they will come in and things will be ok.

I took a trip last month to see my sister & niece. To my shame I used some bill money because I figured I'd have my refund by now & could finish paying bills then.
So now I'm a smidge nervous about a few things but God always provides. It's just nerve wracking trying to figure out how.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Been Thinking.

I'm trying to work thru this as I so please bear with me.

Something occurred to me last night when I was thinking about my walk with God.

I get weirded out when I see Christians doing things I don't do.  I don't drink, I don't swear, waited to have kids until I was married.  Stuff like that that has a biblical foundation. Stick a pin in this cuz I'll come back to it here in a minute.

I started thinking about it last night because I have some friends that went to help start a church. They told me they prayed about it and thought it was God's will to move across country and help start a church.
I am a skeptical person because usually when God calls me to do something its seldom something I want to do.
Then as time went on it seemed from talking to them that they just really wanted to move from Missouri and that was the way to do it and get zero flak.  I mean you can't very well tell someone that you don't think they were called to do something.  A calling is usually very personal and it's not my business.

A calling is a commitment, it's saying to God that you hear him and even if you don't want to and you don't like it you will follow him.  Even if it's not the thrilling adventure you thought it would be. When things look better elsewhere you stick with it.

Sometimes we get psyched about something that we want to do but your friends and family don't want you to go. So you "pray" about it.  You talk to God but you don't listen to what he has to say.  Your mind is made up. You pray for him to give you peace on something you have already made your peace with.  So you feel fine and confirmed and you move forward.
I'm not saying at this point you are out of God's will.  I'm saying one has to be extremely careful that "Thy" and not "My" will be done.

Want to know if something you are doing is Gods will?  Go do it and see if  you last thru the first valley you hit.  You'll start on the mountain top, excited about your calling, when the valley comes though do you stick it out or just declare God has called you to something different. Which happens to be somewhere else you personally want to be.

You can do what you want just be careful who you give credit for the idea to.

I've commited to where I'm at I can see God's plan for me.  It's never been so obvious that I am in the place he wants me church wise.

Sorry for that tangent. Lets get back on topic.

It hit me last night that maybe part of me that is bothered when I see professing Christians doing things I don't do is a little jealousy.
I don't know if that sounds right. Let me explain.  I see these people posting instagram pics of all the beer or margarita glasses they have consumed at that setting. Or read their tweets and facebook posts with swears in them. Then inside it bothers me. Partially cuz I think its wrong.  If you want to have a drink have one but its a pretty poor witness to post your bar pics and empties.
So while I'm not jealous of what they are doing. I've never drank a drop of alcohol and never will but there are other things that the flesh wants that I abstain from. I'm jealous that they aren't bothered by their actions like I would if I followed my inclinations as much as they do.
They believe in Christ they talk a good game and I don't know their heart so from the outside it looks like we are both trying to get to heaven but their path is a smidge wider than mine.

The other part is because i feel like they are getting away with something.
Does that make any sense?

Like they are beating the system and it angers me.  I'm that way across the board. If i see someone get away with something or try to skirt the system I get irritated.

I wonder if thats part of what I feel in situations like that.

Ok thanks for reading.

Alan

Hey Nathan!

This blog is going to be comprised of a few youtube videos and such that I want my friend Nathan to see and but I forget to tell him about.

First off is Listener, I admire the passion in his writing and with which he performs.  if you get the chance to catch him next time he's through i highly recommend it.





Next is mewithoutyou, not sure if you've ever listened to them but I love them.



This is probably my favorite mewithoutyou song. It doesn't have a proper video so there isn't much to see but its such a great song.



STRYPER!!!!





I know I'm forgetting something.

Thanks for watching

Alan