1.28.2009

There's Somethin' Happenin' Here

What it is, ain't exactly clear.

So, lately...as in the past week or so...I've been noticing a....I guess transformation is really the best word...in my life.

(this is about to get God-talky and introspective, so turn away now if that's not your thang, I respect that).

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately from LiquidChurch.com. And they have been very cool. Not typical 'church' at all. If I lived in NJ, I'd definitely be going there. They have a very 'out of the box' vibe, much like ICC. In other words, a good fit for my distrust of organized religion, but belief in God.

So, I keep hearing people say 'fill yourself with the Word, and you will see a difference in your life.' 'Turn your life over to God and He'll do wonderful things.' All that sort of thing that seemed to be smoke and mirrors. Until recently.

I noticed something odd last week. I was getting ready to hang up with a customer on a support call. And I quite literally almost said 'Love you' as I hung up. The words were formed and the "LLL" was almost vocalized. It wasn't weird and didn't seem unnatural, it was something I was just going to say. I caught myself, because I'm not sure how it would have gone over (both with him, and any management that might have been listening to the call). But the thing is, it wasn't like I wanted to go out to Minnesota raise Llamas with the man, it wasn't that kind of love. It was 'hey...you're a good person in my life and I enjoy our interactions, thanks for that.' OK. So I kind of shrugged that off as 'too much Jesus' that week (which, really is laughable if you stop to think about it).

But then, there's this whole Facebook thing. I've been interacting with a lot of my friends (a lot of you) and people that really weren't my friends (people that in my feeble teenage mind I thought looked down on me because I was the weird guy, or not cool, or rich, or a partyer, or whatever (fill in the blanks)). As well as a couple of people that I actually dated in high school/college. Now, keep in mind, that most of these 'relationships'/'friendships' from back in the day didn't always have such happy endings for yours truly. And some might be saying "dude-you're nuts for talking to some of those people again...what could have changed? what makes you think they actually give a sh*t about you now?"

And I didn't really have an answer for that. I have to be honest, I still don't. But, if you're reading this on FB, there's a chance that I added you as a Friend by stepping out on faith. And what I have found has been amazing. All of you, with practically no exceptions, surprised me. You have all grown in to people that I feel that I can honestly call my friend. Not the 'fake high school kind of pass you in the hall' friend, but someone that I could share my life with. And I think part of that is that I've grown, too.

I hit a point, probably last week, maybe earlier, actually where I let it all go. All of the pain and hurt that I carried around with me. The crap from my childhood, the snubs, the failed relationships, the flubbed friendships. I just gave it back to God. It was getting to be too much for me to wallow in. I didn't even really realize I was carrying that crap around until I started seeing all of the 'blasts from the past' on FB. And I found that when I honestly interacted with people, from my heart, I got their heart back in return. And I found that we all have pretty good hearts (some of us have teflon re-enforced hearts, but that's a story for another day).

And it was at that point I let it go. I realized that we were ALL very different people and that most of us were dealing with sh*t we kept buried under several layers of facade. Whether it was abusive parents, homosexuality, severe self-esteem issues, or whatever...we were all dealing with crap. I think if I had realized that then (and maybe to an extent I did), but if I had realized that back in the day I wouldn't have gotten so bogged down with the crap.

I posted in my status a few days back that I forgive all wrongs and perceived wrongs and hurts that I associated with any one I've had relationships with, and I want to add to that, if I've in anyway caused you pain, please forgive me.

I think when I hit that realization was the point I felt like a new person. Time, it seems does heal all wounds (or did in my case, at least).

I don't want to go back to those times, but I'm also not trapped by them anymore. And I do really credit God with that. His influence in my life as of late is undeniable. Actually-he's always been there, I just havent' always looked or been ready to receive.

I did something this morning I haven't done in a long time. I actually prayed, aloud, on the way in to work. Not because the roads were bad, but because I had things on my heart that I needed to give back to God. And I could feel His presence there with me. There were no 'answers' or blinding light on the road to Damascus. But there was a peace. I've felt it a few times in my life and never really understood the full effect of what caused it.

And I'm sitting here at my desk (and should be working,)but I actually feel GOOD. Not the Dupont-induced happiness, but actually good...from the inside. I'm happy. I'm happy for the people in my life. I'm happy for my wife, and wonderful kids. I'm happy for my shitty credit. Sounds crazy, but you know what? It's happening for a reason. At some point, I'm going to be able to let someone else with shitty credit know that "hey-God deals in currency that doesn't rust." (that's not an endorsement to charge away, just a fact that I know that by turning things over to God, they always seem to work out the way they need to).

I guess that's what this is. Me telling you, that I turned things over to God. And I feel love. Each of you reading this will take those last 2 sentences in a very specific way. I'm sure of that. I don't know what way. I don't know what's on your hearts. I know what you've shared, through FB, emails, face to face interactions. But Love.

It's pretty powerful.

I am feeling like I'm rambling now so I'll cut this short. But it looks like Lennon had it right-All you need is love.

And second chances. :-)

-A.T.S.

1.26.2009

Really?

Yes, I realize it has been a craplong time since I've actually posted anything on this blog. And even longer since I posted anything relevant. Looks like 2 weeks or so to be precise.

Yes, I'm busier these days than in recent history. Yeah I'm kind of bored (ok, bored isn't the right word...but it's the safe word for right now). But none of the typical excuses should keep me from Blogging to the delight of the 4 people that ever read this blog.

What's going on in Todd-Land
The kids continue to grow into their teenages roles in our household. Take that pretty much anyway you want to. Chances are, you'll be right.

Nancy's in an opera, Turandot. Put on by Opera Columbus. I'm not an opera fan, but I love to hear her sing. She could sing the phonebook. Although that might be weird...I'd still listen to it. I might try to smuggle a recording device in to the opera to get a decent recording of her singing.

Still no calls from Gilby Clarke or Glenn Hughes to come out and be rock and rollers. And that's ok. I got the 1099 for 'prize' package. I'm not sure I could afford to be a rock and roll star AND maintain my habit for StarWars action figures.

I have been putting 40 hours in at work. Used to be more. Economy took a dive. No overtime. Can't say I'm completely unhappy about this (although I didn't really mind since it was only 5-10 hours overtime).

The lack of overtime just means I have more 'free' time to put in to the work I'm doing at International Christian Center. And free time it is. I'm over the Video Ministry there. It's a phenomal opportunity and one that should eventually grow into a full time job. It's gonna be very weird to me to actually get paid for doing something I love to do. The closest I ever got to that was when I worked at Flamingo Isle. I'm fond of telling people that I deejayed there. Truth is, I dropped the needle when we were cleaning, getting ready to open for the evening and I also did actually DJ a Birthday Party there or something. This was shortly before they closed up for good....sadly my Rob Base and DJ Eazy Rock 12" was never seen again. But THAT was the closest I got to getting paid for doing something I loved to do.

That's about all I got for now.

Eventually this blog is gonna go all Members Only (only without the cool collar belt thing). The reasons for that aren't too surprising. There's a chance that someone's gonna read this blog that I don't want to read it because of the fact that I would need to censor myself. And the point of a blog is not necessarily for me to censor myself, but to get those sometimes disturbing, often mundane musings from inside my head to outside my head where they can't mess with me anymore.

So. Um Yeah.

That's about all I got for now.

-AT

1.11.2009

Things I Don't Want For My Bloggity Blog Blog

1. I don't want my blog to feel neglected. Damn...prolly too late on that one.

2. I don't want to feel like I can't really write what I want to write because certain people could see it and make it very uncomfortable for certain other people. Crap. Again, too late.

This blog is gonna go on the downlow for a while. Nothing major's happened, but the paranoid side of me just kicks in sometimes, ya know? If you are regular readers and would like to read the unfiltered thoughts that will be on the private blog, shoot me an email at Filmdude71 at gmail dot com and when that goes up, I'll send you invites.

Sorry for the complete lack of any useful information in this regard.

-T

1.03.2009

Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?

A little background to this note. I'm somewhat of a gadget whore. If it's shiny and new, there's a chance that I want it (or wanted it for a brief moment). I want (or think I want) an iPod Touch. There's no logical reason for this. I have a 16GB MP3 player currently, an 8GB Sansa View that I've upgraded to 16GB (http://www.sansa.com/players/sansa_view). And I have a touch-screen wi-fi device-an N800 (http://www.nseries.com/products/n800/#l=products,n800) that I rarely use. So there's no LOGICAL reason for wanting an iPod Touch (especially given the fact that I used to have a 40GB iPod, then sold that, then got a 1GB Shuffle, sold that, then traded for a 1GB Nano and gave that to my wife...not to mention I have nearly 200GB of MP3 files spread across 3 computers).

All of that leads to this.

I woke up this morning about 5AM from my NyQuil induced slumber and had a thought. This thought was a carry-over from a dream I'd been having. In the dream I was being shown what would happen if someone DIDN'T accept a gift from God. In the dream the gift was a Sports Car. And the question in the dream and the question as I woke up with was 'Does God want me to drive a sports car?' And this led to the title of this post which is from a song by satirical genius Ray Stevens.

But really. Does God want me to drive a sports car? I am in no way anywhere near in the position of owning,renting, or even standing next to a sports car, so this is more of a thought exercise than anything else.

But what happens if we say 'No' to the blessings that God wants to bestow on us because we are worried about what other people might think about US? I mean, if I was driving a brand new flashy sports car in this time of recession and want, what would people think? There was a time when they would think 'Wow...look at the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon him! I want that kind of Godly relationship!' I venture to say that would not be the thought. I'm guessing the words 'frivolous,' 'wasteful,' 'foolish,' would come up in the conversation.

And I would be ashamed. Ashamed that the Lord had blessed me. Ashamed by what people thought of me. What I SHOULD be doing is using it as an opportunity to give the Glory to God...but would I? I don't know.

Actually, I do know the answer to that question. I came in to a situation very similar to this when I won the grand prize in the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Sweepstakes. The Prize was a $1000 Epiphone Les Paul Slash Signature Edition Guitar, a $500 gift card to Guitar Center and a 5-day all expenses paid trip on tour for 4 stops with the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. There was one prize winner-nationwide...and it was me. And it was AMAZING. God took this dream I had as a little kid of being a rock star and made it come true, thirty years later. If only for a week (Which, trust me, was MORE than enough time). And that was a BLESSING. But what did I do with that gift once I was done basking in the moment? In my blogs I bitched about how sick I was before the trip...I bitched about the administrative stuff that got in the way. I bitched about the mundane stuff on the trip. I bitched about the taxes I'm going to have to pay on the winnings. I basically said 'I almost wish I'd never won the thing in the first place.' How's that for gratitude. If I had given my children a gift as awesome as that and they spit it back on my like I practically did, I'd be heartbroken as a father.

I ignored the gift.

I limited God's gift to me. I put a box around God's love...saying 'I think this is a blessing, but it's not THAT great of a blessing because look at all this bad stuff that happened along with it.'

I wonder how many times we do that. We try to diminish a gift that the Lord is giving us because WE think we know what's best for our lives right now? When we do that, rather, when I did that, it showed that I distrusted what God had planned for me. And it showed an unwillingness to let God be the Lord over ALL of my life.

How do I know this contest prize was a blessing? Simple. When I tell people about it, I can see the way their eyes light up... and the 'WOW-That is SO Cool!!' sentiments that I hear echoed tell me that it's something that I'm supposed to use to show people that yes...good things CAN happen in the middle of a recession and yes...you CAN have a dream come true. THAT'S how I know it was a blessing. And now that I've accepted that-I focus on the good parts of the trip and the story and the experience.

I think the whole dream (and the fact that I remember it clearly when I woke up) and tying it to the RRFC Contest are a reminder to me to let God handle the good stuff in my life too. Not just turning to the Lord when things go sour, but giving him Praise and Glory for each day I wake up and each evening before I go to bed, thanking Him for another day on His glorious planet.

So...does God want me to drive a sports car? Not sure. Maybe. Eventually. I think for now, He wants me to know that He's vested in my life and that the sooner I turn things over to his power and glory, the sooner I'll be able to enjoy the heavenly blessings on earth. There isn't just an eternal reward waiting for us....God wants to use us to show the lost that ALL of us are His children.

It was a sobering eye-opener.

zoom-zoom-zoom.

The 10th Annual Typewriter Meetup

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