Job 27:3-6

 As long as my breath is in me,
And the breath of God in my nostrils,
 My lips will not speak wickedness,
Nor my tongue utter deceit.
 Far be it from me
That I should say you are right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go;
My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.

Job 27:3-6

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Screams and Sobs

Sitting in church today, the pastor in discussing Romans 8 brought up the groanings and utterances of the Holy Spirit on our behalf when we simply don’t know what to pray. It reminded me of those times in my life where I prayed without words.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:26

Those of us who can remember what a computer sounded like… The sound of a modem negotiating. Beeps and screams that the human ear can not discern or translate. My computer knew what it was saying, and the remote computer knew what it was saying, but I was clueless and just satisfied when the connection completed and my request was completed.

When I sobbed by myself at the failing of my marriage, or when my father passed, or many other times where I sobbed or screamed out loud. God knew my heart, he saw through everything at the surface to the Holy Spirit inside me and granted me peace. He answered my prayers, no words left my mouth but He knew. The Holy Spirit knew, translated those sobs and screams into prayer and spoke it on my behalf to the Father.

If you believe, if you need to pray but don’t know the words, God does. Through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, in your sobs, screams or even your silence, He hears you.

God bless ya.

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Covid, Depression, Exercise, and Faith.

Now I’m not sure if depression is a known side effect of Covid, and I’ve fought it all my life, but DANG. Lets do a recap. I come home early from a men’s retreat with my church, Covid kicks my ass for 3 days straight with congestion, brain fog, fever, chills, the whole kit and caboodle. Day 4, most of the symptoms are gone besides the brain fog and general lethargy.

Day 7, I’m feeling well enough to get out of the house and go to church, yay! Day 8 I try to work out and after 6 minutes find myself a gasping, pathetic mess. Fast forward to the start of week 3. I think I’m good, I feel 99% good, I even get a workout or two in. Enter the funk and general post-infection malaise. Friday of week 3 I wake up at 2am coughing violently.

Heavy congestion has me. It’s back… oh good grief.

Saturday? Gone. WHAT.

Finally week 4 comes along. I still have an occasional cough (first time I got Covid 2 years back I had a month long cough after, this one is better). But my mood is absolute GARBAGE. I noticed I’m drinking a bit more so I put a stopper in that. Wednesday (two days ago) I get home from the office completely dead inside. Yesterday? Felt dead outside too.

Now when this month of fun began and I was distracted by illness, not only did I stop working out but I also stopped reading. That included my bible. Something I’ve noticed over the past few years, the longer I go without getting into the Word (listening to sermons/music doesn’t count) the worse my mood and attitude get. Remove exercise too? I’m a real charmer.

So a few days back I made the time and got back into the Word. I’ve been working through Acts in my own study. I also started working out this past Monday but last night… I neither wanted to read the good book, OR get on my exercise machine. I get to about 8pm, sitting on my couch with a bunch of candy wrappers (no trick-or-treaters this year)…

Then it hits me… the bits of scripture I’ve highlighted this past week.

Acts 3:6 – In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

Acts 3:16 – And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Acts 4:11-12 – This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Look to Jesus, accept Him, find strength through faith in Him, RISE UP AND WALK.

So I did. My mood today? 5 by 5. I’ve got a long day of work ahead of me, but I have faith it will be a productive one. My eyes need to be on God. My focus needs to be on God. If I keep him in sight then whatever I’m doing will (hopefully) be for my good and His glory. Best I can do is keep trying, keep rising, and keep walking.

God Bless.

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the ick diaries

I haven’t been sick in about 2 years now. The last time I got sick? Covid. I caught really bad colds in December of ’21 and January of ’22 then got to win the ultimate prize in Feb of ’22 just ahead of moving to Georgia. I recalled it being pretty bad but it came and went in about 3 days and left me with a cough for about a month.

So about 2am on Monday morning I woke up to a sore throat and a runny nose. Goodie! Figured it’d be a cold, but as the day progressed it just got worse. Coughing. Stuffed up. Brain fogged. By early evening despite no fever I was violently shivering. I drank plenty of water, turned the heat up to 78F, hid under two large comforters, and prayed for relief.

Claritin-D didn’t help my sinus. Mucinex didn’t help my coughing or congestion. That also reminded me of my vow never to use that crap again after it turned my nose into a randomly firing blood geyser on what would be my last Christmas in NY. I made it to the next morning and popped some Advil. Surprisingly that stopped the shivers but made me sweat a LOT.

My skin hurt, my hair hurt, my joints ached. Then the fever kicked in. I think I topped out at about 101F. Thank goodness for doordash and instacart. My appetite was non-existent but I had to eat something and between the Pho place in town and the organic Chicken Soup from Kroger, that really hit the spot. All that plus two gallons of cranberry juice. I was good.

At night I noticed how everything looked yellow to me. That was a new one. I had to google it, but it’s a thing. Oh, and my sense of smell? Exit stage left.

Wednesday came, and between my cocktail of NyQuil and Advil, the fever broke. I still was not a fan of moving. Everything hurt. Most motions sent everything around me spinning. I was glued to the couch watching Grimm (not a bad show at all, has the paraplegic dude from “A Million Little Things” and Lois from “Superman & Lois” in it).

My brother suggested I try a “Hot Toddy” before bed, never had one, had to look it up. 1.5oz whiskey (Bulleit Rye in this case), .5oz lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey, and up to a cup of hot water. That plus a NyQuil? Slept great for a change. Thursday came along and after getting cleaned up I started to feel myself again. My energy was returning, as was my appetite.

I managed to go outside, feed the birds and get some fresh air. Felt wonderful. I also started to clean the house, washing clothes, dishes, floors, etc… I wanted to disinfect the crap out of this place. The Advil made me sweat like a dog and I’m almost thankful I couldn’t smell the place. Yea maybe TMI but nobody’s paying you to read this.

Thursday wound down with some Tempeh tacos, another Hot Toddy and another NyQuil. Slept even better as I had to try and get some work done. I still don’t feel great today but if I sat on my couch for another 12 hours I was going to lose my mind. I took the garbage out earlier and by the time I reached the house I was gasping.

A couple weeks back I took a 9 mile hike, now I was struggling to walk 50 feet. Lesson learned, take it easy. I’m still hydrating, still eating, still can’t smell a dang thing. There’s a bit of brain fog and some head/chest congestion but I feel like I’m definitely over the hump this go round. Going to keep to myself for another couple days before I get around people again though.

I will say the 2 week long social media detox was wonderful though. I turned the taps back on but I’m not glued to it now. I also decided to not re-activate tiktok. As entertaining as it could be some times, it propagated a lot of toxicity into my life that I simply do not need, especially when I’m recovering from my latest bout with this crap from Wuhan.

Anyhoo… have a good weekend y’all, and God bless ya.

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Social Media Detox – Day 2

Last night I uninstalled Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok from my phone. The one thing I noticed right away is that in lieu of the endless scrolling on my phone I’m focusing on other tasks that need to be completed. I have picked up my phone a dozen times today and out of sheer muscle memory started the app that is where Facebook used to be.

It sort of reminds me of when I first quit vaping many years ago. I think at that point I’d vaped for years and gotten to the point of building my own mods that ran off my work computer’s USB port. This was back before they banned the practice indoors. Anyhow when I decided to quit, I stopped bringing it to work.

Every few minutes I’d get the urge to take a drag, so I would look for my vape mod and physically twitch when I realized it wasn’t there. I endured that for two weeks give or take. The headaches faded in a few days but the physical habit was the hardest part to break. I think that will likely be the case here.

I figure if anyone actually needs to reach out to me, they can. Otherwise the social media world spins on without me. I do have a headache though, but I don’t think it’s caused by lack of dopamine… 🙂

God bless!

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Social Media = Less Social

I came to a realization the other day, and shortly after that decided to deactivate both my Facebook and Instagram. The problem sad to say it is my apparent addiction to social media. The realization hit as I spent about an hour arguing with someone via PM, something which without social media tunnel vision and manipulation, never would have happened.

Social media has as a whole made me far less social. I’m an introvert to begin with, so my fuel tank for socialization is already extremely limited unless I’m currently engaged in activities or conversations I personally find interesting. Instead of burning said fuel via direct person to person interaction, it was done online. By the time I had opportunity in the offline world, my low fuel light was flashing.

I sit and think about it – so many times I had a brief interaction with someone in the real world, and instead of connecting directly I ducked behind that virtual shield of Facebook. I wouldn’t get to know them by asking – I’d look them up on social media and if I found greater interest afterwards – I’d add them as a friend and wait to see if they were addicted like me.

In very few instances this resulted in further engagement, conversations, etc… I’m not even talking about trying to date people here, just human interaction on my terms using the modern (read: idiotic) paradigm of social media. For most though, I just became another number on a pile of “friends” numbering in the hundreds if not thousands – and that is only if they accepted.

If they didn’t accept, I would literally wonder if I read the cues wrong. After all, I saw Facebook as a safer route to engage, I control the taps here, don’t I? Early on it used to grind my gears when a message wasn’t accepted or a friend request was ignored. Now with so much else to look at, I embraced my dopamine fueled apathy and moved on to the next post.

So much of what I see every single day on social media is cultivated first by other real people only showing what they want others to see, and further by mysterious algorithms working behind the scenes to draw our attention where IT sees fit. At the end of the day I’m still just a lonely introvert, sitting at home and rapidly scrolling through an endless feed of nothing.

The entire time, my socialization tank gets emptier, and emptier, and emptier until the point I really don’t care that I’m lonely. I don’t care that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade. I don’t care that when I go out the only conversations I get with real people are the folks serving me food and drink that are forced to interact with me to get paid.

That said though, some of the best conversations and interactions I’ve had over the past few years were with bartenders and wait staff. They are people too after all, so many I see simply running on auto-pilot until their shift is up… Others however, there’s something resembling a friendship built there which can expand beyond the working week. I’ll take it.

In the mean time, my social skills fall away, and instead of seeking contact, conversation, and socialization with real flesh and blood people where a keyboard or touch screen is not involved… I’m left confined to my own mind, as are others, and I wind up arguing with them over a reality that outside social media or our own brains – simply does not or should not exist.

Social media thrives on social manipulation, and I’m !@#$ing done with it.

So for now, I’ve deactivated Facebook and Instagram. Tiktok is next. I’m cutting off the source of my dopamine addiction and forcing myself to put down the phone. I plan to use my limited supply of introvert fuel to interact with people in the real world for a change. I think nicotine may be easier to kick than what I should have walked away from back in the days of MySpace.

God bless.

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Like, share, and say AMEN!

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Mark 12:41‭-‬44

Maybe I’m out of line here friends, but any time I see a social media post with some declaration about God and a request to like, share, or say “Amen” it stinks to me of pride and reminds me of “The Widows Offering.”

The pharisees would pray the loudest for their own glory.  They would drop their coins into the collection jars from a great height so everyone would know what they did.  In the mean time this lowly, humble widow gave all she could.

Every time I see those posts it disgusts me.  Even more are the images who suggest prayer to anyone other than God or Jesus.  It’s a “look at me! Acknowledge my faith, world!”. It’s a load of crap!

The Lord knows our hearts.  When we like, share, or type “Amen” we serve no master other than the world for the adoration of our peers.  We’re praying loudly in the public square for OUR glory, not HIS.

Maybe I’m out of line here, but maybe I’m not.

Don’t like or share this, just pray.

God bless.

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Who knew?

The hummingbirds that visit my feeder have figured out how to tell me it’s empty… they only buzz my cameras when the feeder is empty or close to it!

I also discovered today that they chirp, when I came out to collect the feeder for a cleaning and refill they got quite chatty. Before that I had no clue they could.

Btw the ant moat worked like a charm. No more ants.

God bless!

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Snub and snub alike!

I like to think I’m an observant person. When I started working in NYC several years ago, I recognized a specific behavior from the opposite sex. At first I felt a little offended. Then I realized it was a normal thing and began to find humor in it. Not everyone does it, but when they do, it takes a ton of effort not to laugh out loud.

That behavior? The visual snub, the abrupt and many times exaggerated look away. Here’s how it works… Approaching a woman (I’m a dude in case y’all didn’t figure it out yet) when I start to attempt eye contact, some will share a look, some just don’t look, but a special few will wait until the last possible moment (especially if they were already looking at me) and look away.

Now I never returned to NYC after covid (praise the Lord) but even down here in the Atlanta area, that exaggerated look away is alive and well. Not so much outside the urban areas, but in them? Yup. I still find myself laughing nearly every time it happens, but after a particularly exaggerated, head jerking away motion at the office, I’ve decided to play the game and up the ante.

That animation above where Homer looks at his family then closes his eyes, puts his nose in the air and walks away? Every. Single. Time. Now not only do I get to laugh, but I get to play along. I realize this may be entirely in my head but at this point, it puts a smile on my face, so why not? Some like to look at the world and find a thing to complain about. I like to look at the world and find a reason to laugh. One more on the list. God bless!

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Prayer Hacks

Not necessarily a hack, I just thought the title sounded cool.

So several weeks back I was in my hometown visiting. Long story short, despite my best efforts to keep my cool, someone set me off something good. It was one of those cases where weeks later, I was replaying the argument in my head and getting pissed off all over again. Now I’d say it was 50% wounded ego, 50% annoyance at myself for taking my eyes off God.

So what’s the hack? (again, not a hack, just sounds cool).

A week or so ago, in those random moments where the argument would rise up in me yet again and damage my calm I did something entirely BACKWARDS to how the world works. I prayed, but wasn’t a prayer to God to take the thoughts captive, no. It wasn’t a prayer to remove the anger from me and replace it with something good either.

I prayed for the dude that pissed me off. I prayed for the Lord to bless him.

Every single time.

It took maybe a week or so, but now if my mind loops back to that, it’s barely a blip on my cortisol radar. This does a few things the way I see it, first and foremost it sets my eyes back on God. Second, it reinforces the forgiveness I gave for the slight afterwards. Third, it has me praying intercessory for folks I may or may not ever see again, which is never a bad thing.

Now one other hack I’ve discovered (see previous disclaimers) again involves my own human ego which has zero interest in me furthering my relationship with Christ, or growing, or changing… Is when I feel that ego rising up in me, the anger, the angst… I no longer surf that wave of stress like I’m in the sequel to Point Break, I treat it like an alarm bell.

At first, it took quite a bit of effort and prayer to overcome it, but I knew that I was never going to be completely rid of it, so I converted my torment to a tool. 99% of the time when my ego kicks in, it means I need to pay attention. Whatever slight I’m getting angry about, there’s a situation there, a learning experience and a greater opportunity for prayer.

When it rises up in me my first thought is “pay attention” and my next thought is to pray.

Now I’m not only recognizing God moving in these instances, but I’m able to sop up the entirety of the experience like a sponge. I use it to grow, all the while worshipping Him who put it all together for my good and His glory.

God bless!

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