Episode 33…That’s a wrap or maybe a Season?

Just 19 more…

But it just ain’t gonna happen.

No more new episodes for now.

I have decided to finish out the year with reruns of previous episodes.

Maybe we’ll just call that season one. For now.

It’s no one particular thing. Just a mash up of a lot of little things. Sometimes life and technical stuff just are not made to go together.

The additional responsibilities of my new job.

Increased responsibilities at church.

The focus of building my ministry.

Not being able to find convenient times to talk.

Rushing to always get this thing out on time.

In a way it got to be very much like a business.

Sometimes things just have to go away.

What is nice is that the recordings will be there for our girls. I know they don’t really care now. One day they will.

There is sadness. A sense of failure. Some relief.

The next months will be a time to refocus. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Where we truly able to help anyone? Why? Why not?

And to answer the hardest question, did Liz or I benefit from it? If so, how? How can we put more of that into our everyday relationship?

Finally, a big thank you to all these who have listened to the journey and lived the ups and downs with us.

I pray that somehow, somewhere, someone got something from this and was able to use something that pushed their relationship forward.

God Bless.

 

Photo by Kristian Seedorff on Unsplash

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

Episode 31…Only the Lonely

 

Today’s episode does not feature my wonderful wife. Sorry, you just get me.

I promise it is for good reason.

She has been busy. Really busy. The last thing I wanted to do was unindate her with any philosophical questions and deep conversations.

I know she just needs a break. But is not getting one anytime soon.

For the past five days she has been gone anywhere from 12 to 15 hours.

In addition to her regular work schedule, she has been recording a CD with the church and moving her place of business.

I have helped as much as I could. I thought it would also be a big help to just let her be for this episode. I knew I could pull this one off by myself.

So, I reflected mostly.

About what I am trying to accomplish here. What lessons have I learned? What lessons do I need to learn?

When to back off? When to lean in?

I tell why this  is weird. 

See, I am not the guy who needs a lot of attention in a relationship. I am the guy that can lie in bed and just be touching feet in the silence to know that I am loved.

But the past five days have been hard. The communication has been short bursts.

She gets home, I am already asleep.

I leave for work, now she is asleep.

I felt neglected. Not in a bad way. Just a little on the outside looking in. It’s just a short season.

She left the house at 7 this morning just to continue moving her business.

This is after working all week.

This is after rehearsing and recording a CD with the church.

This is after spending five hours helping another lady prepare for a baby shower.

So, I felt like the best thing I could do was just tackle this episode myself and show some praise for all she does.

And it is hard sometimes. Knowing when to back off and when to just let the river rage by and search for calmer waters.

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

 

Episode 30…The Check in…

It’s not all philosophical or deeply emotional. 

Sometimes you just try not to lose ground. I have no idea why but, the visual I get is that of World War I trench warfare.

A lot of time is spent waiting.

Waiting to gather the resources

Waiting to gather morale.

Just so you can make that next big push forward. In today’s ratrace it seems that marriages are no different. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that marriage is war. I am merely suggesting that not everyday is a great leap forward for your relationship.

There seems to be pockets of chances, that if taken advantage of, can push your relationship to the next level. Unfortunately, those kinds of days are few and far between.

The conversations are not always deep.

The I love you’s not always sincere as they could be.

The kisses a little more hurried than they use to be.

So many other things seem to need your attention.

And you just check in. Quick conversation. How’s the  day?

I know because I have done it before.

I tried to spice this one up. This check in was supposed to be about celebration. New beginnings.

Some firsts all around.

It just shows one how difficult and perhaps mundane married life can be sometimes. It’s not all fun, laughs, and hot sex.

Instead of advancing forward, you sometimes just try not to fall back. Keep the ground you have gained at all cost.

And that is simply what the check in is all about.

 

 

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

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Best Friends?!?!…

What is a best friend anyway?  I have never really sat down and tried to tie any real concrete things to one. I had a best friend once. In middle school. That probably was one of two times in my life that I truly talked to someone about anything.

Nothing seemed to be off limits…

If we were doing something, we were doing it together come hell or high water. But it was only for a season.

Is it even possible to have one best friend your whole life? Or do you just get different ones in different seasons.

The thing I wonder most about..

Is it possible for men and women to be best friends?

Honestly, I am still not sure. You see, I get this picture in my head about best friends sitting in front of the television with the pizza box sitting in their undies. One farts. Then the other tries to one up the other one. And around and around it goes until one concedes that the other has the “winning” fart.

I hate conversations like these because I try to put logic behind such seemingly illogical concept. There is nothing concrete about one’s perception of a “best” friend.

That is the one thing I loved about sports and lifting weights. The Numbers. The higher the numbers the better things were. Excluding golf of course.

Sports is tangible.

You can see it.

Feel it.

Smell it.

Hear it.

The numbers won’t lie. You may not like what you see but the numbers reveal something about you as a person. It’s simply quantifiable.

True Friendship on the other hand is not.

It’s just a mess of random emotions about how good or wanted you feel. Then if you live with someone, and in the case of men and woman, have sex it just complicates things even more.

So, I tired of thinking about this and being to much in my own head about it.

I am going to stop digging now.

“Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

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Unchurching?…

As someone raised in the church and saved at age 11 I have done a lot of church. Listened to all types of music and sermons I have long forgotten.

And I dwelled…

Mostly in complacency. Mostly in that happy place. You know that place where you think you are being a good Christian just by showing up on Sundays. Then living Christlike enough the rest of the week.

But that seemed like only half the picture.

With where I am now I am constantly afraid I am not doing enough. That I am not showing up enough. That I haven’t talked enough.

Helped enough.

Praised enough.

Prayed enough.

Volunteered enough.

Lead enough people to Christ.

What is it about pursuing GOD that can seem so thrilling yet leave you questioning at the same time?

The title of this blog comes from a book I read recently. One of six in the past two weeks. A pastor of over 20 years just ups and walks away.

Not from GOD. But from the way he and the people around him were “doing” church.

Is it enough to just show up on Sundays for an hour or so and consider your walk done for the week?

I know I did. For far to long.

Then I took action. Found a groove. Got some mojo going. Started investing more in the church I was attending. Now to be moved again. To things beyond my comfort zone. To the larger world.

Beyond the confines of four walls.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love attending my church. There are some truly amazing people there. But there is something inside me still restless. Stirring. Waiting to be disturbed.

Lord, continue to move me to action. Beyond the confines of four walls. Make me useful. Change live for the better.

Mine included.

 

 

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Episode 24…The Breakthrough?! Part 1

Is it just me…

Or does our whole existence seem like one gigantic search? Or 1,000 puzzle pieces and no idea of what the big picture is of what it is we are trying to put together?

We either wait…

Or look for the breakthrough that will change everything.

But when you think it arrives, how can you really tell? Will it be the thing you need to lead to true and lasting transformation? Is this going to be another in a series of letdowns?

This is the first episode in at least a two part series that re-lives a great couples weekend event that felt like a breakthrough for some involved. Myself included.

Over the next few episodes we will journey deeper into the five stones of marriage. Liz and I are trying to find the things that lead to better communication and a greater intimacy.

The connecting is difficult…

At least for me anyway and I feel like it is difficult for most men in general. Men are not only action takers but we are simple. Connecting on deep emotional level is hard because it is not tangible.

You don’t see it. Touch it. Smell it. At least not the way my wife seems to crave it. Sure, there is sex. And a lot of men feel connected through that medium.

But how do we bridge the Gap? That space that exists between the expectations and reality. How can we make it easier for men and women to just be.

We will be exploring that over the next few weeks.

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

Episode 23…Messy but how to clean it Up?

So, I will put this out there first. I never said communication wasn’t important. And never pointed any fingers.

All I Was saying…

Is to maybe look at what barriers are affecting the level of communication.

People, therapists, the “GURU’s” say all you gotta do is talk and things will somehow magically get better.

Communicate…

Those therapists and “GURU’s use it as a buzzword to avoid the laziness that comes with thinking deeper about an issue.

I talk to people all day long. Doesn’t mean it is effective or accomplishes anything really.

Like I’m famous for saying, “Without intention, nothing specific Happens.” What is it you want to happen?

Never heard therapists and “GURU’s” ask that either. Is there really a reason to talk, just to talk?

I even have to be a lot more intentional with what I want to accomplish when having conversation or communicating.

And, just to reiterate last week, what I apparently failed to get across is that before anyone can communicate effectively and deeply enough for transformation and deep bonding safety has to be first and foremost.

I can talk to anyone until I am blue in the face and unless it is intentional and received in safe environment then all the oratory skills Socrates could muster would be met with ill will.

And I am sure most of you probably know that Socrates had to drink poison because he was trying to communicate in a not so safe environment.

Understand this…

Communication is important and much more effective when transpiring in a safe environment backed with the intentionality of accomplishing an outcome.

Otherwise you may just be talking to hear yourself talk. By the way it is messy. And a lot of times happens organically. Begin with an outcome but don’t be derailed by visiting a few other stops along the way.

Thank you for understanding the episode in all it’s messy glory. It’s real. It’s life.

That is the way I like it. Unscripted and raw. Until next week.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

 

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

All about that safe….about that safe….no trouble!

Maybe some of you would recognize the title as a play on words of a little tune that was popular a few years ago. If not, no big loss, I tried.

Stand up comedy was never really my thing.

When deciding about marriage and what was important to making it work, I came up with I believed to be the five most important “things” to have. But, of course I couldn’t just call them “things”. I needed something way cooler.

After much thinking I started doing some research on stones. We can think about stones in a couples of different ways. But, what came to mind for me was stepping stones. The way you might use them to go from one side of a river to another.

Assuming the stones are big enough of course.

Well, what I slowly remembered was that a “stone” is a unit of measurement in some European countries. It is the equivalent of 14 pounds. When I multiplied 14 times 5 I got 70.

Upon doing some further research I found out that the number 70 was the number of parables that Jesus spoke in the four Gospels. Not 70 per gospel but 70 if you add up the parables found in each of the Gospels.

So….stones it is.

Now, I like to think that the stones are in no particular order, seeing how each stone weighs the same. But then I realized that in order for everything else to work, the “safety” stone had to be the most important.

What does that mean?

It means that for any marriage to work well, I strongly feel that creating an environment of safety is the most important thing you can do.

Before your spouse can communicate…

They have to feel safe enough to talk to you. They have to feel like they can come to you about anything and you won’t yell, be negative, criticize, tell them there an idiot, or make them feel less than what they are.

Your job as a the head of the household is to make sure your wife (and kids for that matter) want to talk to you first about anything before they talk to anyone else.

They should know that you are not going to lose your cool and fly off the handle. If your wife doesn’t feel safe, both physically and emotionally, in the their own home then you really have to reassess what is happening in your kingdom.

Photo by Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

 

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

To all the Special Ladies!

 

Wow…20 Weeks already. Nearly halfway through the year. Seems like I just begun. But here we are into Mother’s day weekend.

It has been an incredible journey and on today’s episode we have two very special guests, without whom my wife would not be a mother. And I would not have the coolest tribe on the face of the planet.

As frustrating as parenting can be at times I wouldn’t change it and it something everyone should experience. Either biologically or through adoption.

Eight years really has flown by. And most likely in another decade Liz and I will be empty nesters and ready for a different chapter of life.

The tired is still there. The house a mess. Never know if I am coming or going. Always wondering how to pay for everything but I consider that all marks of a life well lived.

And I want to say a big “Thank You” to the mothers out there for all you do. You truly do not get the recognition you deserve. I know Liz doesn’t. It’s easy for us dumb men to get into a rut and take things for granted.

I think I have mentioned before that behind every dumb, strong man is an even stronger woman.

I’ll leave you with a quote that I think is attributed to Mark Twain.

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

 

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com)
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

 

What to talk about…..when there is nothing to talk About.

Is it even possible to run out of stuff to talk about? I will be completely honest, I have never been a big talker. I really don’t mind listening. It is entirely possible that my wife wishes I would talk more. Didn’t help that my role models were less than inquisitive. Could talk sure. My dad and sister has never met a stranger. But it is always that superficial stuff. You know, weather. The Friday night football game. How’s school going?

Maybe it was because my dad was really a simple man. Just like the song. Be a simple kind of man. Never heard him talk life philosophy. Of course for the longest time sports was, and still is, his life.

He worked hard. Didn’t play all that much. Although he can still tell me about all those times he would get home after midnight from the softball tournaments. How he would sleep about four hours and then get and go to work.

I would say I have missed a lot about my family. Especially the ones that have departed this temporary existence. We all have things we wish we could change. That would be one.

That I talked more.
Sought more.
Inquired more.
Told my feelings more.

But I really didn’t think anyone cared to know or even be bothered by little old me. After all, what could I really bring to the table? Most of the time I ask people how they are doing because I thought it was the nice thing to do. And it helped alleviate the awkwardness of passing by someone and just looking at them. We really couldn’t come up with a better greeting?

Actually the better question is, “Why do we converse to begin with?” Why do some do it better than others? Why do some want to do it at all?

What is the main objective? What is the real need behind conversation? After we talk enough to have our basic needs met, isn’t the rest just excess?

Are people talking just to hear themselves? Do they like the sound of their voice? Most of the time I feel I talk just enough to get through life.

The avoidance comes, because if people talk long enough, eventually they will have no choice but to start telling the truth. And the way I have it figured out, if people knew the truth they might not like me very much.

Music: Cullah – “Riverse” on “Cullah The Wild” (http://www.cullah.com
Under license (CC BY SA 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/