Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A New Chapter

I've always been an emotional soul. Something that can be challenging working in the funeral business. Growing up in my large Christian family and the Pentecostal Church, I didn't learn not to have feelings; but instead to hide them. A lesson I've tried the last 16 years to unlearn. This last entry in my blog has been two years in the writing. I feel it has been worth it.

I want to help my father and often feel as though I need to be there every moment for him. But in reality, the best thing I can do for him is show him that I have not given up my own life to take care of him. I have to trust those that I have hired to take care of him and remind myself what living is all about. 

He sat at the breakfast table with his cup in hand and watched out the window as the morning light slowly snuck in and stole the power that the darkness had held over the house and surrounding gardens. It turns out, this would be his last morning at the familiar table. Time has stolen his ability to interact, like a switch that has short circuited, his brain has left us.

Suddenly, life has drastically changed for everyone involved. We wait patiently as his body dwindles away. We find ourselves longing for an end. The suffering must end. But it goes on. Day after day, we sit by his side. We wonder, is today the day? Or will it be tomorrow's early light that will shine on a new life for us all? The day that will be the beginning of a new chapter. A chapter that doesn't include either of my parents.
I've been an adult capable of making my own decisions for many years now. But this is the beginning of the chapter where I can no longer call for advice from those that have cared for me my entire life. It's time to take everything I've learned and become an example for someone else. Am I ready? No one ever is. But that's the way life works. Those hidden emotions have become too much for anyone to hide.

Then, one late evening, when I don't think I can take a moment more, as I sit quietly, holding the hand that gave me life, I feel his life slip away. His last breath was uneventful. Just a shallow, short breath. A breath that was relieving for not only my father but for me. A single breath that would change the way that I see the world. Who knew so much could be contained in such a short breath. In his 89 years, my father had taken countless breaths. Often those breaths preceeded instructions or advice. Now in his short last breath, I find the best advice he's ever given me. "Find yourself", it said.

And thus has begun the next chapter in my life. At first, I wanted to pass on the things I have learned. But I quickly learned that others will not hear what they need, until the time is right for them. So my lesson in the end was to experience life, for all that it has to offer. There is more to discover than anyone could ever discover. There is more to see than any one person could ever see. It would be best for me to focus on what I can do and see for myself than to try to enlighten the whole planet. I love this quote from JJ Van der Leeuw; The real mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

So over the two years since my father's death, I have focused on me. I've stopped dying my hair. I've changed my eating habits and focus my attention on toning and conditioning my body. I limit my exposure to the sun and have shed nearly 30 pounds.

Now, as I care for my aging dog, catering to his every whimper, I find myself more capable of dealing with my impending loss. I feel better physically and have gained great pride in knowing that I have touched the lives of so many people even in the smallest ways. People that I am proud to know and love. I know that I will have many more folks that my life's path will cross in the future and I look forward to each and every one.

Tonight, as the daylight gives way to the mystery of darkness, and a chill comes through the open window, I ready myself for tomorrow. A new chapter. A new emotionally filled opportunity. And I wish you all happiness.

Friday, May 8, 2015

History is Expanding!

I did not write this, but I found this article from The Onion funny, but true! It does resemble how I tend to think though....

WASHINGTON—Painting a stark portrait of a phenomenon that appears to be irreversible, a report published Thursday by the American Historical Association has found that the past is currently expanding at an alarming rate.

The comprehensive 950-page study, compiled by a panel of the nation’s most prominent historians, warns that the sum total of past time grows progressively larger each day, making it unlikely anything can be done to halt, or even slow down, the relentless trend.

“We believe the past is larger now than it’s ever been before,” said College of William and Mary professor Timothy Gibbon, lead author of the report, observing that whole generations of people have already become a part of history, and that if nothing changes, an untold number more can expect the same fate. “Many things that are in the past today were, during our parents’ and grandparents’ time, still in the present—or even the future. Based on precise measurements of its size, we believe the past has subsumed every single person and event that has ever existed.”

“It’s shocking to contemplate, but in the relatively short stretch since 1984, when I first began tracking its growth, the past has expanded by more than 30 years,” he added.

The report predicted this disturbing pattern will only continue, with one occurrence after another becoming part of a “colossal” historical record that, by all indications, appears intent on seizing absolutely everything without any discrimination. To date, nothing, no matter how significant, has been able to escape the past, which historians say has taken hold of episodes as momentous as the invention of the printing press, the execution of Louis XVI, numerous ice ages, the westward expansion of the United States, and the year 1995, among billions of others.

“This massive, unrestricted accrual of time is quickly becoming unmanageable—it’s growing bigger and bigger even now as I speak,” said Gibbon, who confirmed the past grew by more than six months in the time it took to research and write the new report. “Presidential administrations, extinct species, ancient empires—all have been claimed by a relentless past. There was some speculation that World War II would end history, but it didn’t.”

“Neither did the moon landing, the signing of the Magna Carta, the formation of Pangaea, the extinction of the dinosaurs, the fall of the Ming dynasty, the breaking apart of Pangaea, or the discovery of the Higgs boson,” he continued. “Indeed, these events have only served to make the past even larger.”

The report went on to state that concerns over the expanding past were outweighed only by fears about the future, which is assumed to become vanishingly small with each passing moment.

Satanic Yoga?

Are they serious?!
I seriously question how these people get to be any sort of authority in any capacity. I know you will join me in shaking my head in disbelief after reading the article that follows.


(NaturalNews) The successor to Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's former chief exorcist for 25 years, has come out in condemnation of fantasy novels and yoga, declaring both to cause demonic possession. Speaking to The Independent (UK), Father Cesare Truqui explained how the Roman Catholic Church has seen a steady uptick in reports of demonic possession all around the world, and that popular culture pastimes like reading Harry Potter novels and engaging in Vinyasa are largely to blame.

The popularity of many modern television shows, movies and novels that glorify "demonic" creatures such as vampires and magical wizards has apparently led both young and old alike to engage in certain activities that the Vatican says summon satanic spirits, claims Professor Giuseppe Ferrari. Ferrari recently attended a meeting in Rome where Catholic authorities and delegates discussed how to deal with this alleged demonic possession crisis.

Demonic characters in shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries are often portrayed as beautiful human beings with desirable characteristics and superpowers, which may lure the unsuspecting into dabbling in the occult. Father Cesare says he's seen many an individual speaking in tongues and exhibiting unearthly strength, two attributes that his religion says indicate the possibility of evil spirits inhabiting a person's body.

"There are those who try to turn people into vampires and make them drink other people's blood, or encourage them to have special sexual relations to obtain special powers," stated Professor Ferrari at the meeting. "These groups are attracted by the so-called beautiful young vampires that we've seen so much of in recent years."

Is yoga about worshiping Hindu gods, or is it about engaging in advanced stretching and exercise?

At its roots, yoga is said to have originated from the ancient worship of Hindu gods, with the various poses representing unique forms of paying homage to these entities. From this, other religions such as Catholicism and Christianity have concluded that the practice is out of sync with their own, and that it may result in demonic spirits entering a person's body.

Others contend that yoga practice is really more focused on advanced stretching moves and physical exercise, and that it can bring about healing and improved well-being such as improved core strength, better circulation and reduced stress. The intent of the person doing yoga, rather than yoga itself, in other words, is what defines the extent of how the practice influences a person's being and soul.

But Father Truqui sees yoga as being satanic, claiming that "it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter." And in order to deal with the consequences of this, his religion has had to bring on an additional six exorcists, bringing the total number to 12, just to deal with what he says is a 100% rise in the number of requests for exorcisms over the past 15 years.

"The ministry of performing exorcism is little known among priests," stated Father Truqui to The Independent. "It's like training to be a journalist without knowing how to do an interview."

At the same time, Father Amorth admits that the Roman Catholic Church's notoriety for all kinds of perverted sex scandals is also indicative of demonic activity -- he stated that it represents proof that "the devil is at work inside the Vatican."

"There's homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption, IVF [in vitro fertilization] and a host of other things," added Monsignor Luigi Negri, the archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, about what he says is evidence of the existential evil in society. "There's the clamorous appearance of the negation of man as defined by the Bible."


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Like most of us, it's easier for me to see my own flaws than my good qualities. My whole life, I've been teased about being too skinny. While that is probably true, I see things a bit differently. I see my sagging chest and a little roll to my gut. And most of all, I see my lack of chin definition. For my entire life, I've seen this as "Who I Am". I never saw any of that as something that I could change. I even tried to convince myself that I was accepting " who I am ".

You see, it was programmed into me at a very young age. First, came the food. We learn to eat what our parents feed us. We form habits and preferences before we even know it. I had food allergies from an early age as well that helped to form my self image.

And activity plays a key roll in it all too. I've always been pretty active. But never considered myself physical. Friends and family reinforced the thoughts that I had of myself. I would have no fear to try something new. But was always dismissed when I wasn't very good at it. One winter, I remember trying ice skating and found that my ankles kept rolling to the side and I couldn't stand up. I was told that my ankles were weak and was given a pair of double-bladed training skates. Well, that only brought on teasing from the neighborhood kids. I decided that I would rather never ice skate again, than to be picked on for having funny looking skates.
My sister was always athletic. She's the type that wanted to play baseball with the boys rather than be stuck playing softball with the girls. Mom always backed her on any of the athletic challenges that she decided to tackle. I was tagged along, told to sit quietly and cheer her on. I did play little-league baseball for a couple of years. I was always the one that was stuck in right field and never allowed to shine. I ended up hating baseball, still do. After being teased relentlessly, one practice, I swung the bat and hit the ball over the fence. I then dropped the bat and walked home over a mile. No one could believe it and my mother asked me why I played if I didn't like it. But I felt forced to do it. Forced to live up to the example being set for me by my older siblings.

In High School, I decided that this skinny kid would be great at swimming. So, I tried out for the swim team. I won't pretend that I was all that great. But everyone seemed to look up to me for the first time in my life. I stuck with swimming for over a year. But I always felt, less important than my other siblings. Mainly because no one from my family ever showed up to watch me race. Not one! I eventually quit that and never looked back. Many years later, I asked my mother why she never came to see me swim. She said, "When were you on the swim team?" But, in her defense, she underwent a major heart surgery,  the year I was on the team. Still, I was a developing young man with no support from home.

I'm not telling you all of this to have you feel sorry for me. I'm not telling you this because it's who I am. I am telling you this because it's who I used to be. In the years following the deaths of my parents, I have struggled with finding who I am. Many people go through something similar. Working in the funeral business, I thought I understood what people went through after the loss of a loved one. I was wrong!

I have emerged the other side of this fog known as grief, a stronger man. Stronger mentally and physically. I have redefined who I am. I used to joke that I was the fattest skinny guy ever. I wasn't fat, I know that. I was out of shape. My upbringing taught me to accept who I was without question. But never once did I stop to ask myself who that was. I now have found my voice. I've found my inner self. I no longer look at something and think "I can't". Because, I can! I can do anything I desire.

I have trimmed down and toned up. Sure, I've lost a little weight. But I've gained so much more. I've gained confidence, pride, and self respect. I've let go of feelings that were holding me back and welcomed challenges that push me further than I ever imagined.
Life is meant to live. It's meant to explore. My advice to anyone reading this, is to find out who you are, and be you. Who ever you are, no one else can do it better than you can. Some say that life is hard. It's not. Some say life is easy. It's not. Some say life is lonely, tricky or a test. It's not.

Life is only a reflection. A reflection of whatever you say and do. Did you ever think, "What if this is all a dream and someday I will wake up"? Well, what if it is? What if you have the ability to steer this dream any way you like? Well, you do. I do.