Day 81 – Monday once again

Day 81 – Monday once again

Normal corporate housing stuff in the early on the morning – this seems like the longest I’ve stuck with a workout regimen since high school. There is just something about climbing out of the walking world and diving into a swimming world that gets me going for the day. I’m noticing my “skinny fatness” is going away too, which is a bonus. Also if you were wondering, the home I bought in Lubbock has a pool so I can keep it going whenever I do move in – probably in a year. I know that many homes for sale in Lubbock don’t have pools because of the upkeep. But swimming is too important for me now.

My workday began with the church architects and we had a great meeting. They were seeing good results as a result of my work – more clients were calling them for all sorts of work projects and they attributed it to me. I personally think their portfolio speaks for itself and word of mouth has taken over for them, but I’ll take the credit if it keeps getting me paid. I’m also getting good reviews from my company – I won employee of the quarter and was given a $1000 prize. It surprised me and I was humbled by it. They are talking about leaving me in this region for three more months beyond the first 90 days – The relationships I have built are strong and it seems that there are plenty more clients to be had. Plus, I actually am learning to love Lubbock – as insane as that sounds. I guess I better love it – I’m going to be living here with Melissa for our married years. After these three extra months I am considering asking my company to open an office I can be in charge of – traveling has been good, but I want to settle down. I’d hate to have to switch jobs because of the long travel times.

Melissa is already doing physical therapy and she is doing amazing. She had enough paid time off that this recovery was not affecting her finances – plus the hospital she works for has some sort of fund to cover these sorts of events – at least for a while. This whole wreck thing still has me shaken – I keep thinking about how she could have died but even more now I am thinking of just potential injury. What if she had been severely burned? What if she had ended up as a paraplegic? Would I have loved her still? What if something similar happened to me? What if I got sick to the point that she had to take care of me around the clock? How would our relationship survive? Would it survive? I don’t think these aren’t things that most people think about when they are dating – I think most people imagine that sickness or injury won’t hit their marriage. I think most people imagine that all will be the same good forever. I asked Melissa about this and she believed we would still remain in love because we are going beyond the externals and are digging into the depths of one another. I told her the same, but if I am being totally honest, I’m not sure I could hang on if something terrible happened. I would probably stick around but I don’t know if I would love her as much as before. I know that sounds terrible but this is my journal and I can be terrible if I want to.

Anyway, I did call the head of the Christian school (Pre-K Lubbock – 12th Grade) to ask for her prayers for Melissa.  She was happy that I had felt like I could call in with prayer requests and she said she would put it on their school’s prayer list.  I told her thank you and I promised that I would keep her updated.

That’s it for today – a pretty great day.

Day 80 – The Lord’s Day

Day 80 – The Lord’s Day

I got up early again today but I skipped the usual pool time at my short term furnished apartment. I wanted to get to the hospital as soon as I could. I wanted to see just how much progress has been made in the case of my fiancée and celebrate with her that this wasn’t fatal. When I got there, a hospital chaplain was already in the room – nice guy who you could tell was pastoral in the sense that he was made to visit and care for those in trouble. Some ministry people are like that with a calm demeanor and a listening ear while others who call themselves pastors are actually just good speakers. On this tangent, I wish that churches would name their workers according to their giftings rather than naming them “pastor.” I’ve sought advice from nametag pastors and I could tell they were more about missions and evangelism. I’ve also sought advice from other nametag pastors who actually heard me and were able to advise me in a helpful way. But, I guess nobody has asked me and so this isn’t going to change anytime soon. As well, who am I to judge? Being a church worker must be super hard with all the demands and complaints. I don’t want to be one who adds to those stacks.  (I like how my private school clients (Pre K Lubbock – 12th Grade) list what  gifts each teacher and administrator has on the doors and on the website – lets you know where to go in special situations.)

So, Melissa…She is looking great and moving around even better. I heard that our nurse friends were going to be here later so I wanted some alone time with my girl. Once the chaplain prayed with the two of us for our relationship and for her injuries, he left and left us to be together. I gave her a light kiss on the cheek so that I could avoid her stitches and bruises and she did her best to smile without pain. I felt like I was seeing a miracle right before my eyes. I took a moment to thank God for His covering – It was like Psalm 91 – protection from The Man in the Sky. Melissa asked me if she was still cute enough for me to marry. I told her I would marry her twice if that were possible. Lots more mushy stuff like that – I enjoyed her. But I figure you know that already.

One of the church architects actually came by the hospital – he hadn’t come by just to see Melissa and me – he had someone else who happened to be stuck in this place. But it still meant something that he came by to check on Melissa and me. He told me that he wanted to talk with me at some point about doing a new project for the Texas college I represented. I told him to give me a call in the middle of the week and we would discuss it. It seems that in a strange coincidence, Western Texas College had need of a new auditorium and had heard of both Halo Architects and Gone Virtual. Funny how things like that happen.

Meditation: More on the Prodigal since I am re-reading the Nouwen book – The main thing I am wondering is why the Father in the parable agreed to bankroll his son on this journey he was about to take. If the Father had not given the boy his money, the boy would not have been able to go to the distant country to screw his life up. Is God like that? Does He give us what we need to go risk everything even if what we are after is negative? In some ways, I think this is the ultimate proof of freewill. I think God gives us what we need to choose, which can be bad for me because I choose stupid a lot more than I choose good. Oh well. Maybe I’ll stay home with my Father next time…

Day 79 – Saturday catch-up

Day 79 – Saturday catch-up

Beyond the life at my short term furnished apartments, I had a lot of serious stuff on my mind.  Because I spent most of my time with Melissa yesterday I didn’t get much work done – none really – so I decided to dig into my analytics as much as possible – get some reports ready for the clients we represent. These reports are key to the process because they let the client know how their website is functioning and it lets me know what sort of things I can do to make their site pop. I not only look at their website though – I look at their competitors’ websites to see what links they are getting. Then I go and get the same links. I covered all of my regular clients and even gave some love to my folks who specialize in catering in Lubbock. I was challenged by the analytics for the Texas colleges because they are not a business per say, but I got it worked out. Blah-Blah-Blah. (I wonder why I write all this when it’s probably just me who is reading this – I know how it all works. I guess that maybe someone who is bored out of their minds one day might stumble on to this journal and decide that they too want to use me to improve their site. One never knows.)

Anyway, I prepped these reports for about three hours and did competitive analysis for another two. Then I grabbed some late lunch at Pie Five – pizza sounded good so I went for it. Honestly, I needed to sort of lose myself today with all of the stress of Melissa’s wreck – So, I bought a book by Henri Nouwen called “The Return of the Prodigal Son” and headed to a Starbucks so I could begin it – I had heard it was a life changing book and I am always looking for a life changing. I also picked up a New York Times newspaper just in case the book was not my style. The NYT always covers the weirdness of Trump and Clinton – so I can stay up with the madness of our political system.

But wow…that book became my meditation for the day. There was no need for NYTimes silliness because this book reached right into my heart and soul and pounded it with power and love. Using the Rembrandt painting of the same name as its backdrop, Nouwen made me see the parable of the Prodigal Son in an entirely new light – a deep and bright light. I couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it and I had an entirely new view into how God loves even the most disgusting of us. I had moments when I felt like every character in the story and the painting – not easy to write in such a way. Anyway, I plan on reading it again much slower this time to let it sink down in my bones beginning tomorrow night. I may even give this book to Melissa to read since it would be a perfect way to introduce her to God’s enduring love.

Well, that is Saturday – Melissa is everyday improving. I am thankful.

Day 78 – Friday Visitations

Day 78 – Friday Visitations

Life is so fleeting and you really don’t know when your day is coming – most frightening we don’t know how it will come. That’s the part I fear the most. All this Melissa stuff has got me to thinking about life and death, which I think is totally normal. But I seem to dwell in the constant thoughts of what could have happened to her with just a simple drive home – just a moment of sleep on the road could have taken her from me – all of our joyous plans blown up – me left with a job and a home in Lubbock as well as a heart smashed to bits. It all makes me want to be more careful with my own ways so that Melissa would not have to deal with the death of me. But how can one be more careful and have any sort of quality of life? Truth is, it really wouldn’t matter because even if I hid away in a closet, I could choke on a piece of lunch meat. Or I could slip off of the toilet and bash my head open on the bathtub. There is no fighting death – only Jesus could do that – only He could take the sting of its cruelty away. I’m glad He is on my side.

I was pleasantly surprised by my church architects who must have found out about the wreck. They sent flowers to Melissa’s room – not 3D animations of flowers – actual flowers. I thought that was so cool. Even my new clients, a fantastic Lubbock catering crew was generous in offering to send over food.  Sometimes, people blow me away by their unexpected kindnesses. I am not surprised when people do bad things. I expect that kind of thing. But these things lifted my spirits. I made a call to her nurse friends and told them what happened. They said they would get back to Lubbock as soon as their schedules would allow. They were worried but when I told them what the docs had said they relaxed. They were relieved – I guess because they knew what this sort of injury entailed.

As far as Melissa is concerned the doctors said that she is making a miraculous comeback (they didn’t say “miraculous” – they used some scientific term but miraculous is what they should have said.) She is talking like a normal girl who just got her face banged up – still pretty as ever. She is even able to achieve some strained walking – she makes the trip to the bathroom on her own and will start Physical Therapy on Monday.  It won’t be long before she is hanging back at our short-term furnished apartment complex (see what I did there…)

I am amazed – God is good.

Day 77 – Thursday improvements

Day 77 – Thursday improvements

Praise God!!! As it turns out, it only took one day for Melissa to regain consciousness and even though she has massive pain all over her body, there were no broken bones or any long-term damage to her organs. Her brain will still fully function and she won’t have to rehab long. Truly a miracle and a wake-up call for me who takes life for granted a lot of the time.

I told my company what had happened and they were understanding, but they weren’t so understanding that they were going to let me spend all of my days in the hospital with Melissa. They still wanted me – the little cog in a big machine – to produce. So, I decided to do as much work as I could during the days and then be at the hospital at nights. If I bang out as much work as I had been and can finish my daily jobs earlier, then they will be cool with me.

I have found it hard to get right back to the grind one day after all of this emotional drop, but I did ramp up my work for that Texas college I’ve been working on and they have about 12,000 people per month looking at their site – which is fantastic. I can sort of put them on the backburner for now. My landscaping gurus at Lubbock Roots are seeing a spike in their business. I don’t know if I can take credit for that, but I will pat myself on the back anyway. My other clients are doing well enough to let them wait a day for my full services.

It was good to have a conversation, albeit painful, with Melissa at the hospital in the evening. They had her on some pretty strong pain meds and so I know my presence there was mostly blurred. Still, this is the girl who stole my heart and I wanted to just be there near her. I hoped that this wreck would convince her to ask for days at work so she wouldn’t be traveling so tired from the graveyard – but who knows what will happen. Anyway, those issues will be dealt with at a future more appropriate time.

My meditation was all about casting all my cares on God because He cares for me – very comforting. I could really feel God’s presence around me – such a tough experience – such a scary ordeal and God wants me to hand it all over to Him. So I will do that and praise Him that this was not as bad as it could have been.

Okay – I made it back to my short term furnished apartment thinking hard about life – Here’s to not taking life for granted…

Day 76 – Wednesday tragedy

Day 76 – Wednesday tragedy

Oh my gosh. Terrible news came my way today – absolutely terrible. Melissa was on her way home from a graveyard shift and she was tired enough to have slow reflexes. She must have closed her tired eyes for a few seconds longer than usual and she smashed full-speed into a telephone pole. She is in ICU – definitely a much worse way to be in the hospital than as a nurse. As soon as I heard, I told the situation to my clients, apologized to the private Christian school (Lubbock Pre-K – 12th Grade) leaders and I took off at top speed to go see her – to find out what the damage was. When I arrived I went to the nurses’ station and asked if I could see her – that I was her fiancée and was freaking out. They told me that she was unconscious and in a possible coma. They said they would let me know when and if I could see her. So, I called her parents and let them know. They said they were going to get there as soon as possible.

Am I now the drowning man from Psalm 18? Is this what God was prepping me for? Can I have faith enough to cry out in desperation and expect results. For the next two hours I just read my Bible and prayed – the nurses then came out to tell me could see her. When I got in there, I felt like a stranger in a strange world. I looked at Melissa and I just cried. She had multiple head contusions and a face that had been stitched up in several spots. I was told that she would recover fine but that her car had been completely destroyed. I was lucky that she wasn’t dead as a result of the impact. I’ve been in a few wrecks before but they were minor – nothing like this…

It turned out that she was just unconscious and that it was expected for her to fully recover. Still she would have to go through full-on physical therapy. I gave thanks for that news and lifted my arms into the air to thank God for His mercy in reaching down to Melissa and saving her from death. I also lifted them up in surrender – I’d never been through such an experience. Those who have died in my family did so naturally in their old age. And I’d never known anyone who had experienced serious injury. New territory for me. I waited for her mom and dad to show up and when they did I went off by myself to mourn the internal struggle.

So, it was a bad day. No time for lawn care or Lubbock homes for sale – Any advice from my readers about how to deal with this sort of thing – I’d appreciate hearing your stories –

Thanks in advance.

Day 75 – Tuesday and the Werewolf

Day 75 – Tuesday and the Werewolf

Okay today had no werewolf in it, but sometimes I want to intrigue you with a title that will at least get you to read my first few sentences. Today did have some supernatural sights in it – When you meditate and consider God, there are bound to be such moments. I had my supernatural moment when I was diving into my short term furnished apartment pool as usual. Nine feet deep I went and touched the bottom of the deep end and I felt that I should contemplate Psalm 18 – like I really felt it – like God was prompting me to step outside of my normal devotional order and consider these verses. Sometimes I just follow my devotional book and let it guide me, but I had this strong sense (could it even have been a voice) that the words of this Psalm had something specific for me. When I finished my laps and dried off, I grabbed my Bible and went to the middle of my Bible. After I finished reading about a man who felt as if his life was in grave danger and felt that he was truly drowning, I began to worry. Was this going to be me? Was I going to become so desperate soon that I would feel like I was going down for the count? Or was this all about how God uses all of His actions to rescue His children no matter how bad it gets. I meditated on it a lot and felt that it was an encouragement today – as if God was reminding me that not only had He rescued me before, but that He cares about me so much that He will be there for me no matter how life sinks in the future.

This gave me a big lift as I began the day.  I bet the kids and teachers at my Lubbock Pre-K Christian school clients are lifted up each day by their Bible studies.

I still had some time after that meditation to work on a few things before going to official work and so I pulled out the magazines about all of the Lubbock homes for sale (I picked it up when I was at their offices the other day). I did this out of curiosity to see how each house was being described and I noticed that whomever wrote these descriptions used a lot of the same words to describe some homes in Lubbock that were quite different. Realty has it’s own lingo and when you get into it you find that pretty much every realty company talks about curb appeal and school districts. Funny to me. I also grabbed the Dummies book I had picked up from the Barnes and Noble about how 3D animation works and also how to do it. I skimmed a few of those pages and then headed out to my real workday. I don’t know why architectural renderings and the like fascinated me so much. I think I just hate working on business rankings when I know very little about the subject I am working to grow.

Real work day: I went to pick up new clients today but I wasn’t able to convince anyone to go with us. It felt like such a failure, but I decided not to take it personally. I went to them with fresh breath and deodorant so I know it wasn’t that. And I also decided not to give up on these companies that were still using the Yellow Pages over driving website traffic. In my opinion, the Yellow pages and the like are not at all useful except to grab the attention of the elderly. Once one or two more generations pass, I expect that these books will be extinct. And I hated that these potential clients were wasting significant cash on such advertisements. Anyway, that’s all for me today.

Some Melissa probably tomorrow.

Day 74 – Monday Slumps?

Day 74 – Monday Slumps?

The weekend was so good that it created a huge contrast for me – from huge excitement to the normalcy that comes with a normal day.   I hate contrast that moves in this direction. I think I’d rather have a bad two days followed by two normal days so I would be thankful for the normal. Who knows? I always fight to make all situations stay pretty close to the emotional middle of things. I don’t want to be so wildly emotional that it messes me up in my work or in my fun. Does any of this make sense to you? Do you ever feel super up and then be crushed by the every day? How do you deal with it? Speaking of that, how does France mostly have four day work weeks while we go for five and six day work weeks? Why don’t they export that little thing to us? I guess if they did, we would love it for a while and then take it for granted – probably calling for a three-day work week…

After meeting with Coldwell Banker in the morning, I got an update on my house. It is basically ready to move into except for a few minor changes (like lawn care maintenance and landscaping). I think I will go ahead and hire a management company to rent it out to grad school students or doctors who might want to wait for a totally new house to be built. I figure if I rent it out for a year, I will make some money and then I guess I will relocate to Lubbock with Melissa if she is amenable to that choice. She can just take a permanent place at the hospital and I can get my company to put me here as the regional master of disaster to bring in more and more clients.

Speaking of clients, I checked on the Lubbock Pre-K school and made sure they had what they needed as far as analytics. They were satisfied with the growth and how it was affecting their bottom line. Enrollment is up and that was the goal. We set new goals and I promised to hit them. I also called my church architects to see if they had what they needed so that I could be one of their change agents. They said that they were good. I also met with a new client – a local coffee shop owner who was trying to keep up with the likes of Starbucks. I told him I would do my best to market things so they could grab those customers who were dedicated and committed to going and staying local in their dealings.

Finally, my meditation (which I had to do as night because I was not mindful of God as early as I had meant to) was all about the gifts that are distributed to the followers of Jesus. I know that I have been given a gift of wisdom with the Bible and I also know I can communicate powerful messages from the Bible to small and large groups. I haven’t been doing it much in Lubbock, but I did it when I was in Dallas and in Houston before that. I need to get back on the ball and use what I have been given in the meantime. Just because I am here doesn’t mean I can’t serve in a small group capacity. (By the way, I’m not trying to be cocky by saying I am wise and fantastic communicator – These are just gifts from God’s Spirit and I have been told again and again by those around me that I have these obvious gifts.)

Okay – I am out. This Monday could have been a slump, but it wasn’t. Happiness…

Day 73 – Sunday Rests

Day 73 – Sunday Rests

After all of the relationship coolness that happened in the last few days, I was swimming in more than the pool this morning. As I swam in the corporate housing pool, I caught myself just giving thanks to God for changing my life so positively and so quickly. The verse I meditated on while giving thanks was the one that says: “God, who am I that you are mindful of me.” Billions of people are on the earth and billions have gone before me and yet God thinks of ways to give me perfect gifts. And I think, “Why?” Why would the Almighty, who is doing everything to run the entire creation, send out blessing to someone imperfect like me? I am humbled by this fact and it sends me straight to a higher level of thanksgiving. I know that life throws troubles and I know Jesus promises troubles and persecutions to His followers, but it’s not happening right now – It’s all good right now – God is mindful of me –

Does that blow your mind too that God would pay attention to us? Deists just think that God made things and set everything in motion and then stays out of it. He is no longer mindful of His creation. This verse says otherwise. Not only is God paying attention, He pays attention to the smallest details of our lives. But, these verses do more than blow my gratitude up several levels – They challenge me to be mindful of God at all times. If God is mindful of me, then I should definitely be mindful of Him, don’t you think? Let me know in your comments how God has been mindful to you if you like.

Beyond that stuff, today was spent planning out the week – I will start with Coldwell Banker of Lubbock (www.coldwellbankerlubbock.com) to see how I can help them out in what is already a powerful realty community. They know all of the most current Lubbock homes for sale and can guide people right to the house of their dreams (that is even within their price range). I like working alongside them to make sure their online presence is as solid as their every day, personal service. They were the ones who helped me land my new space out of all of the homes for sale in Lubbock. And I would definitely work with them again if I was buying another house (that might take a while.) I won’t bore you here with any more work plans other than saying I am trying some new things with regards to my lawn care clients.

Nothing on Melissa today because she worked all day and into the late night. I did make sure she got into her new suite with no problems. It was my excuse to kiss on her a little. So, it was a nice restful Sunday. Tomorrow we go at it again.

Day 72 – Saturday Aftershocks

Day 72 – Saturday Aftershocks

After a day like yesterday that had earthquake type movements on my world, I could only expect there to be some aftershocks. When we got back to Lubbock from our B&B, I made Melissa accompany me to a really fancy jewelry store on Milwaukee Avenue so we could try on her engagement ear-rings. We had fun at it. I had already decided to get whatever she asked – but I would add a size to show her that she means more to me than what she thinks. I am not a big diamond guy or fancy jewelry guy, but I did want to have these symbols of love hanging off both sides of her head. We bought some beautiful earrings and I kept them so I could give them to her in a more romantic way – if only I can figure a more romantic way…Maybe I can sneak into one of her patient’s rooms at the hospital and have them hanging from their Foley Catheter. I’m sure the patients would not like it too much but it would be funny – I definitely would not put them into a bedpan. That would be gross. Anyway, I’ll do what she asks as far as the wedding band – she wants a tattoo of a wedding band put on her ring finger – that way she won’t have to bother with it at work and won’t ever have to take it off.

After this, we went to church a bit early to see if it would be a good venue for our future wedding. We had obviously seen it before but we had never looked at it as a place to solidify our relationship. When I was there I asked the church architects if they had any timelines as to when the new chapel would be finished. I also asked to see 3D animations for that chapel and asked how many people it would hold. We were told that it would be a year until it would be totally completed. But after we saw how cool the architectural renderings for that space looked, we set a date for whenever it was going to be finished. We were stoked. After this we went to speak with the person in charge of weddings and we were sent to a woman named Beverly. We told her of our plans and we asked to be the first couple that could be married in the new chapel. She wrote our names down and promised that we would be at the top of the list.

Then we went to church, which was really good all the way around. I love to see Melissa worship. She just does whatever she wants – as if the Holy Spirit is moving through a person with a childlike faith. Sort of like how the kids at my Lubbock pre-K worship. It’s powerful because they don’t (and she doesn’t) care what anyone thinks. It’s fresh love for God and it isn’t performance. That’s what God loves and what He asks for as far as wholehearted devotion.

Overall, it was a great day and I slept well in my corporate housing space.