Day 124 – Mondayween

Day 124 – Mondayween

I am finding it harder and harder to make myself journal about the comings and goings of my corporate housing days. Is it because I have started writing for an audience rather than for just myself? Do I think myself too boring when writing about pool visitations and my relationships with clients and with Melissa? Why am I not using this as a spiritual discipline? Why am I being so hard on myself? Maybe this is just a speed bump but if it is more than that I don’t know if I can continue writing. This just hit me this morning as I pulled on my swim trunks and went out to dive into the still filled pool. And it’s sad because it is not just the writing or not writing – it’s the life being lived day in and day out that provides the foundation for the words that is troubling. Am I hitting a bit of a seasonal depression? Am I just being tough on my life and beating myself to death for not being more exciting? I think I am mainly whining about nothing because to whine is one of my favorite hobbies.

Beyond those difficult thoughts and questions I did have a lot of fun with Melissa at the hospital Halloween party. This party wasn’t actually at the hospital – it was held at one of Melissa’s friends house, which was well decorated. Right when we walked in there were ghosts and ghouls – bowls full of spaghetti and grapes behind paper walls that we had to stick our hands into (representing brains and eyeballs – scary stuff for a kid). It brought back a lot of old childhood memories. Everyone was costumed – I was Jessie Pinkman and my girl decided to go as his partner, Walter White instead of being the blue meth. She went all out and made me nervous every time I saw her fake moustache. Would I still love her if she caught some disease that forced her to have a moustache? I don’t think I could bear it – I am a shallow man at my depths. Anyway, we danced a lot and listened to traditional ghost stories – like the one with the guy who shines bright lights into the back window of a frightened girl who was driving home and the one where a guy with a claw hand does something or another. Dry ice filled the air with the classic smoky feel as tombstones covered the walls. At the end of the night, I returned my Walter White to her doorstep and kissed her hairy lip. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I guess I would keep Melissa if she had a moustache – as long as it wasn’t like a Magnum PI version.

Oh I forgot to mention that my workday was good – I really impressed those workers who are doing all of that landscaping in Lubbock. Their analytics are proving that they on the right path and they admitted to seeing good growth in their business. I also heard good reports about the Midland Corporate Housing clients. I wasn’t sure they would ever catch up with Lubbock’s high rankings, but it seems that they are nipping at their heels finally. Their point person told me that they were really glad that they had hired me. This of course made me feel very good.

Okay – that’s Mondayween. A good one to be sure. Now if I can just shake this seasonal downturn…May God restore me to a desire to write about life.

 

Day 123 – Sunday Weeds

Day 123 – Sunday Weeds

It was a calm day with the temperatures in the mid-80’s. Since tomorrow is Halloween and this is the fall season, I am a bit shocked by the weather. Maybe it is wearing “hot” as its costume. If so, that weather sure is clever. Halloween is actually one of my favorite days of the year – the pumpkins and the costumed kids and adults make me feel all excited for some reason. I recall my childhood days wearing my plastic C3PO garb and gathering candy from neighbors. It was fun and I wish I still had the guts to dress up as someone different. I have mad respect for those adults who don’t give a crap and who go nutty with their costumes all day long. The Lubbock lawn care president was one of those brave adults – he told me that he was going to wear a half Princess Leia/half Chewbacca disguise all Halloween day and into the night as they had their company party. I don’t know what a man dressing like a woman Wookie looks like, but I bet he pulls it off very well. He has a good sense of humor and he knows that he can get away with it because he leads the firm. I wonder if he will be hanging holiday lights in Lubbock in that tomorrow. If so, I bet he will get some strange looks.

I know a lot of Christians think Halloween is evil and should be avoided at all costs. And I am sure that Wiccan festivals and cat sacrifices are happening all over the place but I’ve never seen one and I’m not worried that I’m going to catch a curse. I do appreciate the churches who go ahead and have something fun for the kids – like the fall festivals that allow children to dress up and get “safe candy.” (I know my Pre-K Lubbock Christian School client has this really awesome festival for the kids – much respect for not giving up a fun thing.)

I will admit that I am sort of a punk about giving away candy on the night of Halloween because I am too lazy to buy any. If I am stuck at home, I typically just keep the lights low and the TV turned down so the kids are warded off by my darkness. One year I did feel generous and I changed out 100 bucks at the bank for one dollar bills that I gave out to kids. I gave most of them two dollars each and they were very happy – they had plenty of baby Snickers and little Kit Kats. I was the coolest because I handed out cold, hard cash. There was probably some people-pleasing mixed in with my generosity – it’s fun to see kids’ eyes light up when you hand out something surprising. This year Melissa and me will go to a hospital party where I will go as Jessie Pinkman from Breaking Bad (everyone says I look just like him) and she will go as the blue meth I make. So, we won’t be around to give anything away. But I forgot to mention that last night at church I saw a little girl dressed up as a Disney princess and I gave her five bucks. Probably made me look like some sort of weirdo, but she sure appreciated it.

Meditation: Everything that is done in the dark will be brought to light on the day of Judgement – God misses nothing. You can’t disguise your real self from God. He sees who we really are even behind the masks we tend to wear. I sure am glad He sees me behind the blood of Jesus…

Day 120 – Thursday Turntables

Day 120 – Thursday Turntables

Corporate Housing 101 – Make sure to pay for the weekly cleaning – I didn’t start with that little package but it has become a must-have. When you are in a smaller space, you think it will be easy to keep it clean, but I was wrong. It’s good to have someone else clean your toilets and your tub and replace your sheets with fresh ones. Just thought I would make a quick recommendation – I had my room cleaned today and it was really nice to experience good air and the sense of newness. It’s not worth saving a little bit of cash to do it yourself – plus signing up for it pays people who need it. Aren’t I the benevolent and generous and lazy resident of this corporate housing unit? I’m going to nominate myself for the Nobel Prize for Goodness. I bet I win. I do tip well when they come and clean. That should count for something…

Maybe they have a prize for odd, tangential writing…

I had a good workday – My Lubbock lawn landscaping crew is especially happy as are my other clients. I think I will hire this Lubbock lawn care group to go ahead and handle my Christmas décor – holiday lights and such. The new house I bought could use some festive cheer. I guess I will have to check with my tenants to see if they are cool with having this done. Speaking of my tenants, they haven’t been there long but I can tell they will be perfect for this year before Melissa and I move in. My management company did a great job at choosing the correct group.

Melissa and I had a good lunch together at Freshii’s – We both got a Metaboost salad with chicken added and each of us got our own fresh juice. It made me feel healthy to jam a salad and a juice down my gullet, which is used to meat and pasta. As well, the conversation between Melissa and I was purposeful. We decided that we needed to nail down our honeymoon spot. After several options were discussed we finally agreed on going to New Zealand. We both have always wanted to hang out in this country and so we thought it would be a wonderful place to begin our life journey. (I know we had talked about eloping but we figured the church’s new chapel would be more special.) We also talked about if Melissa wanted to go part-time at her nursing gig once we got married. I thought she might want to either do this or find a different nursing job at a doctor’s office – something outside of the crazy hospital setting. She wouldn’t need the money she is pulling in now once we are united and I want her to be happier on a daily basis. But Melissa said that she would keep working the same number of hours because it keeps her balanced. She did say that she would try to get day hours at a doctor’s office to relieve the pressure of the graveyard shifts she currently deals with.

Everything about this day was good – I’m thankful for it.

Day 111 – Tuesday Tells

Day 111 – Tuesday Tells

Another day working on “catering in Lubbock” and “Lubbock Pre-K.” I know it must seem funny to you non-Search Engine Optimization people out there. Using specific keyword phrases to get a company to rank higher for words that potential customers will most likely put into their search bars requires a lot of research. It also requires a lot of consistent work and most of this work is creating content. As they say in my business, content is king. Those who can place strong content on high-ranking websites typically win the day. There is a lot of backend administrative work that has to be done in the initial steps, but most of the rest of it is writing powerful and keyword-rich content. If you can’t write well then you definitely should not get into my business. You will suffer with frustration because you won’t see many gains and the clients who you signed up with promises of ranking improvements will probably fire you in short order. Oh, and you also need to be able to sell your services to potential clients – introverts don’t do very well in this business either.

Wow – that sounded like I just patted myself on the back for my ‘skills’ in this area. I am the Spartacus of SEO – Truth is, I am pretty good at the above, but I am certainly not the best. I find myself running out of things to write that sound relevant and this leads to bad content. Google is the judge of my writing and my placements and I don’t do well quite often. I can admit my weaknesses. I am humble, right?

Melissa and I went to our future house and did one more look through to determine what furniture styles we wanted to be keeping our eyes open for – we made notes relating to all of the rooms and then we went to shopping. We found a couple of couches and a recliner that we wanted for the den. We went ahead and bought them to put into our future house storage place. I found out from the management company that they had already rented this house out to an orthopedic surgeon and her family – they were having a house built and so they needed a place to settle in Lubbock until their house was officially finished. I was happy that I would be receiving extra revenue from that source and happy that the management company had found the perfect couple to live in my house.

Good news all around!

Day 107 – Saturday nights are okay for sliding

Day 107 – Saturday nights are okay for sliding

Since I took a day and a half off with my food poisoning sickness earlier this week, I wanted to get at least a few things done on Saturday morning. I worked on the keyword phrases “Lubbock catering” and “Midland Corporate Housing” and felt good about what I did – There’s that Bible verse that tells me to work on things as if I working on them for God – which means full attention and full energy. Sometimes I pull that off and sometimes I don’t. It depends if I feel like throwing myself into a project or not – That’s not good. God deserves my best in all of my doings – even if they are done alone for secular clients. That wasn’t even my meditation for the day – It happened to be the topic of the sermon at Saturday evening church. I had to attend this service by myself, because Melissa was working. She has been working a lot lately – I think to make up for her missed time due to the accident. This shows her dedication to her craft and I bet she lives out her work at full energy. She probably didn’t even need to hear this sermon because is already doing it. My respect for her grows more and more by the day. It’s one thing to fall in love with someone and an entirely different thing to respect this same person. I am a blessed man.

Meditation: We have a devourer who is out to lie to us, steal from us, kill us and destroy us. We have an enemy of our souls and spirits and bodies and he waits for “opportune times” to come after us. When we get bored, hungry, angry, lonely and/or tired we are most susceptible to fall into temptation that works – the kind of temptation that matches our desires with well-marketed evil. I forget this truth most of the time – I get my eyes on this world that is dominated by the senses and forget that there is a powerful spiritual being who is just waiting for me to open my life to his schemes. I don’t have to open a Ouija board or attend a séance or go to a Wiccan meeting to welcome him in to my world. I just have to forget he is around and lose my awareness of where I am in relation to my God. If I stay close to God, I have a refuge that protects me from such attacks – I forget to do this as well. But, now that I have been reminded of the reality of an evil that wants to put me on its menu, I plan on running back to my godly base and staying there. Good meditation today – especially as Monday night Bible study draws closer.

 

That’s all I have for this day of restful work and prayer. How are you in your world? How do you deal with the enemy of your soul? I recommend a book by C.S. Lewis entitled “The Screwtape Letters” for more on this topic. It’s a creative and powerful book.

Day 104 – Wednesday Recovery

Day 104 – Wednesday Recovery

Didn’t have to hang out with Mr. Toilet today, but I am still on the slow mend. You know how it always takes a day or two after such a stomach turning event to be able to return to normal life activities.

It was sort of weird having Melissa take care of me seeing as how she has been recovering herself. I felt kind of selfish because I only had food poisoning and she had a major car wreck. But, she told me to shut-up and to just let her be who she is – her very identity is “Helps.” And I am the lucky recipient this time. As far as our relationship goes, it’s full steam ahead. We are keeping our promise to not have anything but PDA and we are better for it. I am less likely to grab at private parts or lay on top of her at the supermarket or at the Laundromat – it’s a stupid but great rule.

By the way, does the song Loser by Beck ever get old? I think not.

Also, I don’t know if I mentioned it but I got Corporate Housing Midland accounts and a Corporate Housing Amarillo account that has made up for losing those others. I am relieved by those additions because I hate feeling like a failure. There is nothing like feeling defeated and beaten – even especially at work – maybe especially at work. When you are unemployed and you cannot get an interview no matter where you put your resume is a butt-kicking feeling. I feel terrible for those around me who have lost their jobs and cannot find another one that will pay the bills. It’s easier than you think to become a chronically unemployed person. And trying to start your own business using your entrepreneurial skills is super difficult. I actually took some time to pray for those in my world who cannot find work. I have a good job and the company always evaluates me favorably, but it only takes one year of budget deficit and I would be out of work. Ughhh. What a miserable thought…

In other good news, my Lubbock catering clients are kicking some butt…

Meditation: With these things in mind, I went to the verses that talk about how Christians should rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. It’s a show of community that is filled with compassion for one another – We should share the emotion and also try to help the weepers stop weeping by meeting their needs if possible. I don’t think I usually care enough about those around me – I care for those who I love, but when it comes to Christians I don’t know I don’t have compassion. This is a problem I must fix.

That’s it for today – hope you had a good one!

Day 103 – Tuesday Throws

Day 103 – Tuesday Throws

I woke up today with some kind of stomach sickness – the kind that wrecks you for at least a day. I was throwing up for most of the morning but I got some Phenergan after calling in to my doctor at my old city. He thankfully prescribed this wonder drug and I mustered all of my energy to go and pick it up. Thirty minutes after taking it (suppository version – TMI?) my vomiting ceased and I was out like a light. I think I must have gotten a bit of food poisoning from one of the fine restaurants in Lubbock and the very thought of any sort of food made me retch. Oy…

I could only do some work from my Corporate Housing space, but at least the bathroom in these suckers are spacious. Just one more reason to stay in these short-term furnished apartments. Sometimes I take for granted the glories of American restrooms – but no longer. When you have had to basically sleep on the bathroom floor or lay your head on top of the top seat of the toilet for hours you suddenly realize what a blessing a top notch bathroom will get you during these times of distress.

Okay, enough of that sickness talk except to say that when Melissa got home and slept off her hard working night, she took good care of me. You find out a lot about people when they are sick and when they are caring for the sick. It was hard to be sick in front of her, but I let her use her special nursing touch to raise my spirits and to heal quicker. And I found that she was a caregiver at heart. She wasn’t the sort who would just say, “Get up. Be tough.” She was a Jello maker, an ice chip maker and a chicken noodle preparer. Someone perfect for me.

Even in my sick state I did get some Biblical meditation done – I’m sure the prophets never let a stomach sickness stop them from seeking God. Anyway, I read about how Jesus was saying to Peter that he would build His church on Peter (the rock). But I had never noticed before how in the same meeting, Jesus told Peter that he was being like Satan because he was refuting claims from Jesus that He had to die and be resurrected. Jesus told Peter that he was thinking like a person who is tied into this world rather than as a disciple who understood heavenly things.

What did this say to me? Well, I think I can recall arguing with God on many occasions and telling Him what I thought should be so, rather than letting the spiritual view be digested. I also imagine I would be called Satan a lot by Jesus because I am always thinking in this temporal realm,

That’s about it for this day of struggle. May tomorrow be better for us all.

Day 99 – Friday Party like it’s…

Day 99 – Friday Party like it’s…

I did the Corporate Housing pool with extra vigor today – I think the Friday bug is getting me too – probably because I know that I had a cool date with Melissa ahead of me. It’s amazing how someone can not be a part of your life at all and then all of a sudden become the sole focus of everything we do. I have to watch that she doesn’t ever replace my devotion to God because I am thinking of her all of the time. I wonder if she thinks of me all the time – even while cleaning bedpans and such. That would be fitting.

I ran into Sarah who told me that she and Tom were getting more and more serious about their relationship. Both of them have decided to relocate to the same town to do their businesses and even to share a corporate housing suite. I asked her if she has a hard time keeping her hands off of him and she said yes. I decided that I would delete that picture from my head as soon as I posed the question. A nude Tom is not what I want to think about.

I spoke with my realty company and I told them that they are continuing to rise up the rankings due to my efforts at inbound content. They said they were grateful and that they had seen a boost in business in the last week. That made me happy. I also got similar news from my friendly Lubbock catering group who are making great progress with the community I am a part of.  I was happy for them.

Meditation: My time with God has grown and so has my desire for Him and His words to me. I read Psalm 103 again and was reminded to allow God to satisfy my desires with good things. This must be a warning to me because I run into it all of the time. I need to watch my desires for acceptance and happiness. I need to be patient as God brings those things into my life rather than me trying to add them via Melissa or otherwise. I think that too many of us do things to satisfy our begging feelings with little thought about what God thinks of our efforts. I know I chase little addictions to grab a buzz or two when I should be slow to chase anything that isn’t God.

Well, apart from a date with Melissa at Café J’s and a follow-up classic DVD (Cool Hand Luke), it was a fairly normal day. And normal is something that can’t be taken for granted. Thank God for a good day!

Day 92 – Friday Hail The King

Day 92 – Friday Hail The King

I have to admit that I usually rush through my journals lately – almost like it is has become a must-do that I need to just get out of the way. But today I am dedicating myself to take the necessary steps to prioritize it as a spiritual discipline that can deepen me. So many things we do seem to require an intentional restart at some point or they become stale. I think that about going to church, doing my work rounds (Today, short term furnished apartments and Lubbock Pre K ) and I can see how this attitude could creep in between me and Melissa. I also do this same thing in prayer. Some days I hit my knees literally and bow my head so that I trigger my spirituality and show God that I am here for a longer time so that He can speak to me – some days I just lay in bed and rip out a lightning fast Lord’s prayer. Prayer and study must be the foundation for everything else – if I am rushing that part of my life (which includes journaling) I will be on shifting sands in every area. So, all that to say, I better get my butt on the floor with my journal and Bible every morning so that I best prioritize everything else.

Speaking of that, as you know I have been reading Ecclesiastes and digging into it so I can be ready to lead an upcoming Bible study. Today was all about accepting and living in a specific season that God has you in – Most people know these verses from that Yardbirds song (Turn, Turn, Turn) but I have never thought much about it until now. These verses teach an important truth – You aren’t always going to be on the positive side of life – sure there are seasons of happiness and joy where everything seems to be going your way, but there also times that seem dark and hard. Sometimes God wants to teach us how to handle success and sometimes He wants to teach us how to handle failure. Sometimes He wants us to laugh and sometimes He wants us to mourn – there are times for everything in this life which is preparing us an eternal spot. It’s like taking different classes – some easy and some hard. I know a lot of people (like myself) who freak out when things hit seasons of difficulty rather than accepting the time as a time to grow. People who get an A+ in each season are the ones who are willing to take on anything instead of demanding ease all the time. Anyway, this has got me to thinking that I have been in a season of ease and good things but I wonder what is next. Will I be taken into a desert of life where I have to lean harder on God than I have to now? What will trigger this season? I don’t know why I wonder about it or try to predict when and what it will be. When something different comes, I just need to be ready to roll with whatever punches come.

As for everything else, work is good except for the loss of that client yesterday (still makes me upset that I couldn’t do more) and Melissa and I are considering going to a premarital counselor who can ask us questions that we haven’t thought of yet. We will see how that works out. It seems like that book we have been going through has covered almost everything imaginable but we figured why not let a professional dig into us.

That’s it for today. Always feel free to ask me questions or make comments…

Day 90 – Wednesday Hump-ty

Day 90 – Wednesday Hump-ty

Today marked my three-month stint in Lubbock, Texas and I’m so happy to get to stay here. I know that many Lubbock natives would scoff at me and say that Lubbock is nothing but a black hole that consumes dreams and happiness – a wilderness that rains mud and blows cruel dust into everyone’s face – a true exile that must be escaped at all costs. But, I have loved my work here and I met my future wife here and I’ve chosen from all the Lubbock homes for sale to stake my claim to a wonderful time in a wonderland. No John Mayer, Lubbock is the wonderland…

I will get to church stage design, Texas colleges and Lubbock catering at some point in this journal entry, but I have to start by saying that I not only had a really hard time falling asleep last night. It was either too hot or too cold. My pillow didn’t hold my head in its usual cradle. My legs itched and my arms cramped. It was a tough toss and turn existence. And when I did finally fall asleep at 4:30 a.m. I had a most disturbing dream that I was trapped in a household of dangerous hillbillies. These were not the Beverly Hillbillies. Nor were they the banjo-listening hillbillies of the Deliverance movie. They were somewhat in between – like I felt that they were going to kill me at certain points but then they started singing death metal country tunes. And sometimes all of this could combine to be funny, but it didn’t feel funny to me. I hated every second of my time in their dream house but whenever I tried to leave, a really oddly shaped bus with couches inside would pull up, put me inside and take me to a clinic that was giving flu shots with dirty needles. I wonder how I survived the night time – I’m still mad at those imaginary people put forth by my brain. I’d like to wall them in Amontillado style. Do them some Edgar Allen Poe damage – teach them to stay out my sub-conscious.

Anyway, I woke up in my fine short-term furnished apartment tired and a little frustrated but I didn’t let that stop me from doing my swim routine and my meditation on Ecclesiastes. The part that stuck out to me from Chapter one today was that no matter how hard we try to be remembered for our great human deeds, we will soon be forgotten. This was a good reminder for me because sometimes I put so much pressure on myself to succeed that I hit near-panic. Sometimes I think so hard about how to act in front of others because I want to be memorable or impressive. These verses from Ecclesiastes tell me that in just a few generations (if even that) I will be forgotten. And if you think about it, the entertainers who get most of our culture’s air time are quickly forgotten (even by TMZ) if they don’t star in any more movies, plays, concerts, etc. Sure, names like Michael Jackson will be remembered for a while as the King of Pop, but no one really cares anymore. Is that mean to say? I hope not. I’m sure prideful people who have a lot of power on this earth will hate these verses because they have done all they can to extend their legacy. But fact is, legacies are remembered by name only. Sure your name might be on a building at a college somewhere, but no one will remember you as you are. Take that William Taft and Abe Lincoln…

That’s all I have for this day – I’ll catch you up on other stuff tomorrow as it happens.