Day 102 – Monday Bible Study
Lubbock homes for sale – homes for sale in Lubbock – Corporate Housing – Lubbock catering – 3D animation – All of these were certainly on my mind as well as other keyword phrases as the week officially began. I was focused on them and ready to do some work to energize them and gain some more space between these businesses and their competitors. I have to say it is nice that many of the competitors don’t use Search Engine Optimization – makes them so much more vulnerable to getting left behind. And as they fall back and my clients rise up, there is much joy to be had.
I worked hard today and took a long lunch with Melissa at this new super organic and super healthy restaurant called Freshii. It was very good and my conversation with Melissa was great. We were able to nail down our marriage date with the church (the chapel would definitely be ready in June of next year.) So, we picked the first Saturday in June and rejoiced that we had some official plans for our coming together. Melissa told me that she wanted me to take a trip with her to meet her parents who apparently are thrilled with me, even though they don’t know me. I imagine Melissa must have been talking a lot of positive stuff about me. I wanted to ask her what those things might be, but I decided I didn’t need to puff up with pride on this day. Anyway, we parted and as I went back to my work, Melissa went to take more flyers around to let people know about the upcoming Bible Study. We were going to have a dry run tonight – do some short version of it with a few others to see what they think of it. But, Melissa got called in to work this night and I wasn’t going to go into this challenge alone. I don’t know if I was clear earlier, but this Bible Study was going to be held on Monday evenings now – from 7:00 – 8:30 – junk food and sodas provided. And the book we will be studying is Ecclesiastes. Just making sure I make that clear – for myself as well as for any readers. I’m the sort who has to remind myself over and over by putting it on paper – or I totally forget.
Today’s Meditation: This was all about how people do everything to satisfy their own appetites and live meaningless lives to make money that they will not be able to take with them into the eternal realms. It seems that this is the crux of the conversations in Ecclesiastes – people could choose to do godly things but instead choose to chase temporal and useless things. The Bible makes it clear that money is a useful tool for this life, but it also says that money can become the reason why people exist. Green paper and plastic cards feed and clothe us (with God’s help) but it should never be seen as the end all of life. I have found myself giving money more power than it should have in my life at different points and I don’t want to do that again. Sure, it allowed me to buy a really cool house and it allows me to take Melissa out regularly, but it isn’t meaningful.
What do you think about money and it’s proper use?
Day 100 – Saturday the following
I purposefully chose my meditation for today because I suddenly recalled that I would be leading a Bible study on Ecclesiastes very soon. Chapter two of that book talks about how the author, Solomon, denied himself nothing that his eyes desired. I think this is a crazy hedonistic pursuit that could lead anyone astray and according to other parts of the Bible, it does lead Solomon to leave God behind in favor of the women he brought in during that time. Solomon writes that he was just trying to see if there was any meaning that comes with embracing folly and of course there was not – just like there wasn’t any meaning in anything that he pursued. This whole adventure of his – this whole grabbing up all the fun and folly – made me wonder what he expected to learn from it all. It also makes me think of how my own American culture markets this sort of life to me. I am told to eat, drink and be merry with a big house and an expensive car – to self-actualize – to live life to its fullest. I see it and feel pulled toward its tractor beam very often. I wonder what I would do if I had as much money as Solomon – would I try the same experiment? Would I survive this kind of experiment? Am I surviving this culture’s experiment? I can certainly say I catch myself always wanting more than I already have. That’s not good. I need to think more about the people around me who are truly suffering to stay alive – I rarely do.
As for my time in this short-term furnished housing suite, it was good. Melissa and I spent the day together – we ate at a Mexican food place called Montelongo’s and it was fantastic and then we prepped ourselves for afternoon church with a solid afternoon nap. We got to service early so I could talk to my church architects who were showing off more of their 3D animations today. They were in good spirits because they had just landed another project in Colorado, which happens to be growing by leaps and bounds. It’s in Colorado Springs, which is still known more for its Christian influences than for its marijuana sales. I’m sure this will be overtaken soon enough. But as for now, the church architects were all about this new sanctuary and Family Life Center in the Springs. It was good to see them so excited. They showed me their plans and renderings and it was surely impressive – much larger than the church here.
The church service itself was fairly formulaic (and I mean that in a good way). The worship team introduced a few new songs and brought in two hymns, which was shocking to me. I love hymns and I got me some. Anyway, the preacher followed them up with a rocking sermon about obeying God wholeheartedly rather than part-heartedly. He talked about how so many things vie for our heart’s attention and that we must be vigilant in our refusal of those things. I thought that this was a good lecture, especially after doing my Solomon meditation earlier. Melissa told me what she got out of it after the service was over and that was it. I did see one of the Pre-K teachers at church again and we talked a bit about their enrollment. She said that it was all growing very well. I was happy to hear it.
Day over – a good day finished.
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Day 95– Monday Mountains
Ruidoso is a cool place that I hadn’t been to in a decade or more – It’s a few days past Summer and I could feel the perfect weather of the fall season. I could feel release as soon as I entered this place – an extra shot of relaxation hit me – I didn’t know I was carrying so much stress over my Lubbock catering clients and/or my landscaping clients. I guess you have to get away to know where you really stand emotionally – I was thankful to be here and even more thankful to be here with my fiancée Melissa. Still walking with a slight limp, she was radiant and as relaxed as I was – being away from the stresses of the hospital was doing her good. Once we got to the luxury room we both were in awe of the lake view we had from the fourth floor – hand in hand, we stood there and just took a deep breath. This is what happiness feels like – in the center of God’s creation standing beside the one you love.
We ate at a fantastic place called Tina’s that served green chili tamales and the absolute best cinnamon rolls on the planet (I challenge anyone to find one better – this one had fresh bacon stuffed into it – enough said). Melissa had found this place and several other restaurants for us to try in the next day or so. I learned very quickly that we have the same tastes in food – local favorites over chain restaurants – that’s a good thing because we will be eating lots of foods together over our lives. If she liked Cheddar’s and TGIFridays over the restaurants that are local I would probably have to break up with her – or better yet just suffer with most of the rest of America. I did learn a pretty major difference between Melissa and me when we got back to the Inn of the Mountain gods – On the fifth floor, there is a good sized casino – I love to play poker and there was a really cool poker room – I wanted to play and match my skills against the players inside. Melissa was totally cool with that and she even stayed and watched over my shoulder for an hour or so as I gained chips and lost chips – up and down – thrilled and disappointed. Still, she was a trooper, but this was not her idea of a vacation. I learned that she liked to go to the pool and hot tub – I learned that she loved to just sit on the balcony and look out over the lake and into the mountains – I learned that she was big into reading books cover to cover on trips away. I love to go and do. We talked about this difference and we both decided that we would give each other room to do vacation as each of us preferred, with some good compromise built in. I won’t play poker the whole time and she won’t isolate into a deep rest the entire time. I think this was an important discovery – She is a rester and I am a doer – Once we get married we can simply switch up the locations – one for her and then the next for me – and then we can do the compromise trip after those.
Meditation: The book of James talks about how temptation links up with one’s desire and leads to destruction. I don’t want destruction. I want the opposite. But when you desire and are tempted, destruction is much harder to avoid than one would think. I have lived that out a lot in life. And with my desire on full blast around Melissa in a shared hotel room, temptation looms large. Melissa and I talked this over and we agreed that any physical touch had to be in public – no touchy in the room at all or we would end up in sorrow that we had gone too far. Sorry to those who had to be around us as we showed public displays of affection, but it was a good rule. Day two was fantastic overall. God is showing us much grace…
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Day 94 – A Sunday Jump
The weather is getting a bit cooler and I am feeling the fall swoop in upon me – Amazingly, the pool still feels warm enough to keep me away from the dreaded Elliptical machines – I prefer to be in the water rather than on dry land swinging my arms and legs to the beat of a Spotify mix – I like the music part but there is just something about treadmill-like equipment that makes me feel like I am stuck in one spot – probably because I am stuck in one spot. Anyway, I swam this morning at my short term furnished apartment to get myself to wake up. It was an extra cool morning swim because Melissa decided to surprise me with her presence. She said she was tired of wondering what my morning workout was like – she jokingly said that if we are going to get married we need to know about our partner’s workout regime. She is a stair climber and a marvelous one to be sure. She went ahead and dove in with me and we both did the same workout. It was sort of fun to have a synchronized swimming partner. Then when we were done, Melissa surprised me again. I was going to just have a normal day of rest apart from my church architects and my Lubbock homes for sale etc., but Melissa had been surreptitiously planning a three-day and two-night getaway to Ruidoso. She was already packed and ready to go and so I excitedly got myself ready. Throw some clothes into a bag and jam together my hygiene products into a bathroom bag – ready to make this four-hour trip to the mountains. I asked her if she was trying to seduce me like Mrs. Robinson, but she denied it and scolded me for comparing her to an older woman.
On the way to Ruidoso, I let Melissa play the DJ with my large stack of compact discs – mostly Britpop and new wave 80’s. It was fun to sing as loud as we could and just let go of the world around us. After two hours of this, Melissa pulled out some cd’s that she said we should listen to so we could improve our relationship – It was a Christian book turned into a cd pack – the book is called The Love Dare and it was a national bestseller. I had heard of it from one of the administrators of the Pre-K school and I was happy that we were going to learn from it. It was supposed to be all kinds of good. She said that she had read half of it but that she wanted us to go through it together so we could be on the same page (see what I did there). We started it and it was so good that we had to pause the cd time and time again so we could talk about what we were hearing. It was a great learning experience and it was very appropriate because we were about to be sleeping in the same room at the Inn of the Mountain gods – of course separately sleeping in two queen beds, but still in the same room in the dark. This was going to be a challenging temptation to overcome simply because we had been struggling with the right levels of physical touch pre-marriage anyway – now we would battle the temptation together. Anyway, this cd about having and showing the right kind of love was a smart buffer zone as we headed into our own pajama time.
Meditation of the day was about how God would leave the 99 sheep in the pasture just so he could retrieve the one sheep that had wandered away. I was struck by His love for each individual wanderer and the celebration that followed the finding of the sheep. I don’t want to be as dumb as a wandering sheep, but I know that “all we like sheep” end up distant from God at different times. God is a good shepherd.
My Sunday was amazing – and just in case you were wondering, Melissa and I controlled ourselves as we shared our first night together.
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Day 93 – Saturday smells like Teen Spirit
Hit the pool at my short term furnished apartment space and then had breakfast – then I took more time on my knees to seek God. I asked for Him to open my eyes and my ears so that I could sense whatever He might be calling me into. I know that I don’t spend enough time listening to God – most of the time I am so busy telling Him about what I need and telling Him what other people in my life want/need that I don’t just shut-up and give silence to Him – or even thanksgiving. I have been rescued so many times from dumb decisions – I think some thanksgiving is in order, don’t you?
Ecclesiastes meditation: the author of the book says that he denies himself nothing that his eye desires to see if there is any meaning in folly. And knowing that this author has the bankroll to do whatever he wants to means he is not going to miss much that is available in that time and culture. Cue the hundreds of wives and concubines. Confession: Sometimes I wish I could just go to Vegas and give myself permission to indulge in every hedonistic opportunity available in that town. It’s sad to admit, but I actually have that temptation still. After all of these years of sinning and being forgiven and after being gifted with a girl like Melissa, I still entertain the worst thoughts. I wonder why? Is this just leftover temptation or am I just a wretched man who needs to see that I need a savior on an every day basis. Sometimes I scare myself…
I used this Saturday early afternoon to review the accounts I am still handling. I have been keeping pretty close attention to all of them, but it never hurts to check up on the condition of both new and old accounts. After losing that one client, I don’t want to lose anymore due to my neglect. The ones that concern me the most are the ones seeking to rank better for “church architects” (3D animation) and for “homes for sale in Lubbock.” They aren’t suffering or anything but they have so much strong competition that I don’t want to let them to be overtaken. This is where my competitive side comes in. I want to win with all of my clients because I feel like I owe it to them. They are paying good money for our services and I don’t want someone else beating them. I am happy that my Lubbock landscaping group is flourishing – I tried out some new methods for them and they are paying off – I will use these new methods across the board and especially for those businesses mentioned above.
Melissa and I went ahead and booked our appointment with supposedly the best premarital counselor in the area. Dr. Johnson is going to put us through the paces and ask us lots of questions to challenge us. I actually look forward to having a third party to mediate between Melissa and I. It’s easy to get blinded by romance and it will be good to have someone on the outside who has years of insight. Maybe he will help us find answers to questions we have about marriage. And maybe he will know what to tell us about how to stay pure until we say “I do.” (That issue gets harder and harder every day – intimacy seems to start with the body and moves to the insides later on – Lord, help us not to blow this.)
That’s all I’ve got to report on today – Oh, I forgot about church – I’ll tell about it next journal.
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Day 86 – Saturday countdown
My short term furnished housing space was about to lose another resident if something wasn’t done today – Melissa’s contract was officially over as of Monday and if she didn’t choose to renew her contract she would be gone from my vicinity. I didn’t want to press her or seem too eager just in case she wanted to do the long-distance thing, but I wanted to hear her decision pretty soon so I could prepare my heart for it. (I’m a lady child, I know.) I think she could tell that I chomping at the bit to know so she left me a voicemail (I was in a business meeting) that said she had called the Lubbock hospital she was working for and that she had asked for a six-month extension. When I heard the voicemail I let out a small yelp. I wasn’t going to have to separate from my fiancée and this was ideal for me. Our closeness would grow closer or we would tire of one another and blow off the wedding for as they say, “Distance only makes the heart grow fonder.” I don’t want distance to make my heart grow fonder. I want my heart to grow fonder with her nearby – intimacy is built on an everyday push and pull and that’s the sort of relationship I wanted to build. It would be more fun but it would also be more difficult. I don’t want either one of us to fool ourselves into believing that we fit perfectly if we don’t see each other every day. I think you get my drift…
I spoke with my church architects again today and it seems that this call is going to be a daily occurrence. I don’t mind because they are such cool guys over there. They were just calling to see if they understood the latest analytics and they wanted to do some day to day analytics so that they could see if their actions created definitive spikes in viewership for their website. I don’t usually offer such services but for these guys I decided to. God might not show favoritism but I do. I also met with my Lubbock catering team and we made some strong decisions for their future growth. Other clients got some of my attention – my private Christian school is making the best moves for now and they were happy to hear it. It seems that my “top college in Texas” is stagnating some – I need to do some checks on that site because it has fallen below my standards.
My meditation today was based on how God can do exceedingly do more than I can ask or imagine. I know that is what it says and I know that nothing is impossible for God. But, I don’t even know what I would ask and I don’t do much imagining. This made me wonder why I don’t let me imagination run wild so that God can show Himself in ways that are incredible. Maybe the reason we don’t see God do the really cool stuff in this culture is because we imagine far below what God can do. We imagine what Apple might do next and we are amazed at it. We dream of what man can create for us – not what God can do for us. Am I reading this right? What do you think about God doing exceedingly more than you can imagine? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this…
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Day 83 – Wednesday Wearables
I woke up really late this morning – My doctor told me to take two Claritin and I didn’t mean to but I sacked it for sixteen hours. These brain changers gave me some really strange dreams about hanging out with hippies who wouldn’t let me take a shower and get ready on my own. Plus their kid had this weird fascination with Woody Guthrie. To top it all off, I thought I was awake when I was with them – so it was sleep inside of sleep. This experiment to crush my histamine might have helped me more on a weekend when I don’t have appointments to make. It’s a good thing that I went to bed at a reasonable hour. No pool time but I made my first meeting with sweat on my forehead – more Lubbock homes for sale – more Lubbock Pre-K – more Lubbock catering. All good meetings but I had to push back a meeting with the new restaurant that just hired me. They were not too worried about it since I was able to email them a baseline report about their initial analytics. And I have to tell you that the baseline reports are such a key to this business. Without them, you don’t have anything to show any positive movement for the clients. They love to see the starting line and I love to watch that starting line disappear behind us in a positive direction.
My lunchtime meditation was appropriately “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” As I jammed a Subway sandwich down my gullet, I considered what it means to taste God – not that He has a flavor and not that He can bitten off and chewed. But, God can be tested out to see if He is who He claims to be. I once told two atheists something based on this verse. I told them to just give God a shot to show up in their lives. I told them that if they would just ask God to show Himself to them by asking for that very thing on a nightly basis before they went to bed, God would do just that. And you know what? Both atheists converted to Christianity because you can taste and see if God is good. He’s never sour and He’s always worth the risk. In the past, I used to argue with atheists and agnostics trying to prove God’s existence to them using philosophy, quantum mechanics and other apologetics. It never worked. So I decided to simply put it all on God. After all, God wants everyone to come to salvation a lot more than I care and He has all the resources to make Himself clear to specific individuals that I gave Him all the pressure. Testimonies are fine and dandy, but I’ll turn it over to God every time if I can. Do you believe in God? If not, I would ask that you give God a six-month trial – see if He shows up in some tangible way that makes you taste and see that He is good.
Melissa is good – She is expected to get out of the hospital in the next few days just doing her physical therapy on an outpatient basis. She is a tough one. I’d be using this whole deal to mourn my condition to all who would listen. I would insist on staying in the hospital at least until I met my insurance’s out of pocket maximum. Then I could get everything I needed from that moment on for free. Imagine health care being free. Thanks Obamacare – I’m kidding on that one. I’m not a fan of this system – not one bit. Anyway, that was my Wednesday – one of rush but one of depth. I’ll see you Thursday.
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Day 82 – Tuesday closes in
I made a decision today – a rather big decision for me. I’ve noticed that I’ve been drinking more alcohol. I’m not getting drunk but I am getting buzzed and enjoying it a lot. I have even started drinking alone at my short term furnished housing, which I hear is a danger sign. I keep justifying it as my vice that isn’t going to hurt anything but my liver. But I really felt convicted about it last night. So this morning I decided to just quit drinking altogether. I know it’s not a sin to drink but I don’t want to push it. I’m not moderating as well as I had been. So, I stopped. I wonder how this decision will impact my days and nights. Will I feel more bored? Will I miss the buzzy happiness? Will I be able to stick to my guns about quitting? Will this decision open me more up to the Holy Spirit’s movement? Lots of questions on my mind – but I am going to be firm on this one. Why not see what happens? When I told Melissa she was a bit surprised – she knows I like to drink my share of the world’s liquor. She asked me if I thought she should quit too. I told her that this was my decision and I didn’t want her to stop just because I have. She nodded and said, “I’ll let that be your decision and if I ever get there, I’ll join you. But for now, I am going to keep it up.” Just proof that good couples can live different lives and still get along fine. I told her that I hope we can let each other live without trying to control one another. I have heard that control happens a lot in marriages and I don’t want any part of it.
Anyway – to work…
My Texas colleges accounts went ahead and renewed for a year – This surprised me because they still had four months left on the current contract. But once again I got blessed in my work. God covers me all over the place. I also got some props from my Lubbock corporate housing account. They called me in to their offices and said they were very pleased with my work – As a result they also extended their contract with my company. To make everything even better I picked up a franchised restaurant that wanted to see if they could rank number one for the phrase “Lubbock catering.” I told them I would do all I could to get them moving.
Meditation verse today was right on line with my big decision not to drink. It is found in Ephesians and it basically says don’t get drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit. What stuck out to me was how alcohol might push the Holy Spirit out of one’s life – or at least limit Him doing all He wants to do. Knowing what I know about the Holy Spirit and how He moves so powerfully to do amazing works through people makes me want to get filled up with Him. What difference will it make in me? What cool things will He do through me just by simply letting go of alcohol? I’m interested to find out…
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A good rant –
I was recently sent on a business venture to attract new clients to the optimization processes that my company provides. This was a new sort of trip because it was not for a week or two – it was for six months. My company debated whether to send me to live in an apartment because of the lengthy stay, but after a lot of back and forth they decided that putting me into a 6 month lease in an apartment that would also require a full set of furniture and U-verse cable would be too expensive. So they told me to research what short-term furnished apartments (corporate housing) would require. After a cursory search, I easily found the best place to be my short term home for the next half year. I’m not trying to advertise for this corporate housing space, but I am going to say what was true about it when I got there and unpacked my bags in my new home.
As a salesman for a top end inbound content and digital strategy firm, I really wanted to be comfortable in my new digs and that is exactly what I found in a place called Home Style Suites (www.hssuites.com). When I got to the reception and lodging desk I was welcomed by some very friendly people who were happy to accompany me on my entrance to what turned out to be a gorgeous furnished apartment. On a first look, I was so pleasantly surprised to see that this place I would be staying in actually looked just like it did in the professional photos pasted onto their website (this is rare, by the way). The apartment was spacious and well decorated and the cable (with Netflix streaming) was already ready for me. They ran me through the different amenities that this corporate housing space had and they told me about the pool, which was great for me since I am an avid swimmer. I walked through the apartment and checked out the beds, toilet, shower, etc. and was just amazed at how nice and new everything looked. I told the employees how nice it was to be in such a great place. I asked them if the walls were thin and they assured me that I would be happy – the walls were plenty thick enough to hold in me and my neighbors loud sounds. After I finished giving this place a once over, I thanked the employees who had showed me around and I started to unpack thinking to myself that this trip away was going to be a good one, because I had a home away from home to always come back from. And if you have ever been on the road for an extended period of time, you know that having a nice and large suite to come back to after a hard day of sales is a must.
So, that’s my first report from this new town and I’ll try to give more updates about my work as time goes one. For now, God bless and keep your head up!
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You know how sometimes you receive such excellent service that you cannot help yourself from writing a review. Well, I have two reviews of two very different businesses (one is actually a college) and I hope they help you if you are ever seeking either one of the services offered.
One recommendation is for Western Texas College (www.wtc.edu) that is located in Snyder, Texas. I went to Texas Tech University in Lubbock and it was an okay experience. I made high grades and learned some fairly interesting stuff in my majors – Political philosophy and History. But since I didn’t go to law school or to get my MBA after that, I felt like my majors were a mistake. I don’t blame the guidance counselors for not steering me in better and more practical paths, but I do think that they should at least asked me what I was going to do with my classes. The reason I recommend Western Texas College to so many people is that despite having only two year degrees, I have found it to be one of the top colleges in Texas because they have counselors pointing students into areas of study that will immediately help them find jobs (check out their lawn care and golf course landscaping focus). And isn’t that what colleges and universities are for – to not only help a student learn but to help them land a lucrative job. Beyond the counseling, they also follow it up by offering classes and degrees that get students ready to do those jobs. And to top all of that off, they have excellent recruiters and administration, which makes this one of the best Texas colleges for the money. I highly recommend this college.
My second recommendation is for a corporate housing group called At Home Corporate Suites (www.athomecorporatesuites.com). For traveling workers who have to live in an area different from their permanent homes for a month or more, this place is fantastic. I have stayed in several extended stay places that cater to that population, but none of them compare with this place. I know this might sound dumb, but I actually felt like I was in a home away from home in this space. They have nice furniture, a good amount of space, new bathrooms and amazing customer service. They tend to look out for their temporary visitors and they have a way of making you know you are welcome. I highly recommend this place as well.
Okay, you can do what you want with your higher education and your longer stays in various towns, but I figured I would at least put my two cents in – Feel free to comment on either of these places – I’m open to everyone’s reviews. Thanks.
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