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Depression – Shout from the darkness

Depression. It’s everywhere. TV ads run all hours of the day promoting the latest drug on the market to treat it. Murders and suicides are being blamed on the illness. Teens, new mothers, PTSD survivors, our returning military. It goes on and on. There was a time that the term was barely used. Instead it was called a mental illness and many people who were diagnosed were treated to trips to mental hospitals and psych wards where they were drugged literally to death.

Depression is more common than ever. The causes are too many to list them all. So here are a few of my observations.

There are the normal medical definitions and reasoning. The chemical imbalances in the brain. The PTSD. Death in the family. Loss of a job. Divorce. Losing a child. Maybe even a terminal illness.

And then there are the folks like me who struggle with it without having one solid reason. For me it seems that my brain convinces the rest of me to be depressed. I don’t want to be depressed. I may not have any real reason to be depressed. But my mind steers me that way on a moments notice. The real opportunity here is to constantly be aware of my emotional self and try to head it off at the pass. This can be done by a change of routine. Or, setting up a schedule of tasks involving other people. But, most importantly, keeping yourself surrounded with good people.

You are your best defense against depression. Knowing you are headed there, getting the proper treatment, and not being afraid to reach out for help.

My last piece of advice is to find a really good bible based church and get involved. Get Connected to a small group. FInd a church offering Celebrate Recovery or another 12 Step Program. All of these things will help.

If you live in the east Pasco area and are suffering from depression like I am, please join us at Celebrate Recovery every Saturday night at from 8pm until 10pm. It’s at the East Pasco Y. For more information you can go to .


No Time For Gun Law Discussion

ImageIn the aftermath of the shooting event at the theater in Aurora, Colorado where over 70 people were wounded and 12 dead including a 3 month old, there was no doubt the discussion about gun control laws would raise its ugly head. But even though the lone gunman carried four weapons, a smoke canister, and gas mask into the facility and opened fire on innocent people, it is not time to start the ban on guns conversation again.

As Americans we tend to have this need to “fix” things right after something like this happens. The rest of the time we just point fingers, make a big stink, and do nothing. It’s all politics. The far left says, “See. If we had more control on guns we may have stopped this. The far right says, “See. If we relaxed the gun control laws more there may have been some gun-toting citizens in there to fire back on the killer”. But I really don’t think a “shoot out at the OK Corral” would have ended much better.

The time now is not to have the gun debate. Let’s talk about it another day. Today, as one nation under God, let’s pray for those who have suffered injuries, Let’s pray for the souls of those who lost their lives for no apparent reason. Let’s pray for the families of all involved. Let’s pray for those who witnessed the carnage of the event and had to live through something that no one short of our wartime military should ever see.

Tonight many of us will sit in the comfort of our homes. We will look at our spouses and children a little differently. We will appreciate them a little more. Again we are reminded how fleeting our time is on this earth, and that it can end at any moment in time. Even at a movie theater.

Thoughts on a Sunday morning

Five thoughts from the week ending June 30th, 2012

1. Age is nothing to mess around with:  When you are in your teens and twenties it seems like an eternity to old age. Then you hit 40, and start thinking “Wow! That was fast”. Then the next day you’re 50 and it’s “Holy crap!” I would say that I’m on the downhill run to 60, but its more like I’m cliff diving towards it!

2. Your relationship with God is more important than your relationship with the church: I love going to church, serving there, and worshiping God. It would be perfect except for one thing; There are people in it. Probably 95% of the people who attend a church don’t now, nor have they ever served behind the scenes. And it’s probably best they don’t. Despite popular belief, church work is hard. There are, after all, human beings leading it. Serving in a leadership role can leave you feeling partially empty in your spiritual walk. You have to be strong enough to fill in the gaps yourself with different small groups and reading the bible daily.

3. Do what makes you happy: We spend so much of our lives trying to please others, or to be what we think everyone expects us to be. As long as it’s not harmful to you or others mentally, physically, or spiritually go for it. There is no point in being miserable your whole life in the pursuit of making everyone else happy.

4. Love your parents: One of the saddest things that has evolved in the last 40 years is the lack of respect, manners, and dignity among our young people for their parents and/or elders. Society has taught them that it’s all about them and what they want verses being thankful and respectful for those who have provided and cared for them. This is WRONG! I constantly see young teens posting inappropriate comments about their parents on social networks and it just burns me up! Being a parent is a full-time job with no retirement. It is many times thankless when dealing with the behaviors of these kids. If our youth truly want respect they have to learn to give it first.

5. You always have something to learn: When I was 25 years old I thought I knew everything there was to know about life. I wasn’t even close. If you approach every day with a “Nobody is going to tell me what to do attitude”, you are just going to make your life that much less enjoyable. Be open to learning new things. Look for ways to improve yourself. Don’t go through life completely uneducated in the way things work just for spite. What you learn in school is ok. But if I had to depend on just what I learned in high school 35 years ago, I would be out on the street today. Things change, processes change, society changes. You will enjoy life in a much deeper way if you are open to learn.



I’m Old…..Yeah! Get over it!

Statement #1:  I am old.

*I know I’m old. So? In my entire life I have never been around such a large group of individuals who consider someone my age OLD”!

Statement #2:  I am irrelevant.

*So because of my age I know nothing about what’s going on in the world today. By that I mean, “supposedly” I know nothing about current life issues; life as a GEN-X teenager, modern music, raising children today, etc, etc.

My Response: 

I remember well-being a rocket scientist at the ripe age of 18 and thinking that my mother, (36) ,and my father, (38) ,didn’t know “JACK” about what was happening in my life. Although some of that may have been true, it was mainly because they chose not to accept what I was doing. It was still going on. I, on the other hand, was never that trusting with kids I was around. My greatest pleasure as an adult, parent, or step-parent was the “bust”. I loved knowing far in advance what was going on, and then making the kids sweat it out prior to telling me. An even better approach was calling them out at an inopportune moment and watching them squirm in denial in public. Even when they knew they were caught they would fold like a Jew at a Catholic Bingo parlor. (Whatever that means. Sorry. Must have been from God. I take no credit).

But here I am, barely on the north side of 54. I’m way over-weight, out of shape, a physical mess. Why would any young person care anything about what I have to say, or what I may have to offer them as advice for life?

How about this: Let’s just say that I am Jackson Rathbone or Taylor Rautner,  (I have found that if I have to tell you who these “eye candy” guys are you are old!) Now, zoom ahead about 30 years, add in tons of drugs, alcohol, bad relationship choices, multiple career mistakes, and selfish endeavors not of God’s plan, and who do they look like? How about the guy under the “Gatsby” cap in this photo? (If you know the “Gatsby” reference you are like prehistoric old).

Yeah…not so  much.

Well, I know I never looked like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, (although he is also from Kentucky), Jackson Rathbone, or Taylor Rautner. I was always this normal…average…chubby kid from Kentucky trying to be something more than a farmer or a coal miner. Yet, in the end, I still ended up being your everyday working class joe. The one exception though is that “I am a practicing Christian”. What does that mean? It means that I ask God to direct me in the majority of decisions I make, no matter how large or small. Why? Because 54 years worth of knowledge tells me that I have not been very good at it on my own. “Thinking you are in charge” is the #1 mistake of all teenagers, and adults!  Yet they make it over and over, year after year.

I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be. Neither are you. Are you so bold to proclaim it?

When it’s time to get my worship on, I strap on my guitar. Next, I bow to my Lord and Savior, asking him to use me as his tool (yeah I said Tool), his vessel, basically in whatever way he sees fit. Then, within moments, I open my head, heart, and body (as bad as it is) to the movement of God. From that point I am the clay he uses to create beautiful art that is only captured by the ears and hearts of the beholders. (Or so I’ve been told) Or is it?

So, you are a 16-17 year old in High School. You’ve done a few stupid things. Here is where you think, “I’m too dirty for God”. “I’m not perfect, and the church doesn’t want me”. “If I surrender to God now my life will be boring.” ” I won’t be able to do any of the fun things all the other kids are doing.” ” I’ll get into this church/God thing later”. Then the car you are in with a bunch of friends crashes. You are propelled out of the car into a tree. You die on impact. But. after all this, you never made your peace with God. Even worse, some of your friends made their choices about accepting Christ as their Savior based off whether you did it or not. Now “THEY” are dead and you are alive. Sound familiar?

The stories go on and on. Bottom line here is that sometimes experience speaks volumes when you are young and heading into life’s decisions for the first few times. It’s not about being independent. It’s about seeking God’s will for your life. The struggles I face today are here because of the choices I made on my own away from God so many years ago. Just like a gigantic row of Domino’s (the game, not the pizza), the choices you make today will affect every other choice you make though-out your life. Do not neglect and leave God out. Ask someone who knows!

Now…am I still too old to be relevant?

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