Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013 The Year That Was.

 
 
As is a tradition, its also good to review the out going years and think of the accomplishments and perhaps disappointments of the year ending. 
 
 
This past year, 2013 has been a good year over all, not easy, no year is ever "easy."  There are ups and downs, dashed hopes and changed plans.  However, 2013 was a year of good starts and accomplishments for me personally.  Here are just a few...
 
1.  My job was reclassified for me in a positive way, 
2. I gained good health benefits
3. I was accepted into and started graduate school.
4. I am not on call as much, so I am sleeping better! Enjoying the sleep!
5. My schedule allows me to attend church more than in the past, so I am visiting some different churches as I can.
6. I am exercising more, walking 2 miles each day, doing stretching and some strengthening exercises.
7.  Learning more about personal investing and adapting to market conditions. 
 
Just to name a few main things from 2013.
 
Now in the news in 2013.
 
2013 was the year of one congressional created financial crisis after another.
2013 we have a new more popular Pope for the worlds Catholics
2013 the Supreme Court struck down part of DoMa, A victory for Same Sex Marriage
2013 saw Same Sex Marriage legalized in more parts of the world and United States.  Including France and United Kingdom.
2013 saw the birth of  a Prince in Great Britain. 
2013 saw more celebrities doing stupid things and getting away with it!  What's wrong with Chris  and Lindsay spending a few months in prison?  Perhaps they might learn something.
2013 the year the markets rallied, and the economy improved.  But too many are still unemployed and under employed! 
2013 the year of tea party republican gridlock.
2013 the year of the Twerk? the Selfie? Facebook's decline among the young. 
 
What will 2014 bring us?  We shall see! 
 
 


Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Medley: News Years Week Edition Auld Lang Syne - "Happy New Year" :)



I hope your New Years Eve is filled with the celebration of a year gone by, and the wonder of the possibilities of a New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Investment Plan

As I stated in the previous post, I want to share something about my investment plan.  Yes, its important to have a plan.  That way there is a direction to what one does.  This year, I have changed direction slightly.  I recalibrated my portfolio by selling positions (stocks held) I held in companies that have not and do not pay dividends.  I reallocated those funds and profits to strengthen positions I already have that pay dividends.  This year, I focused on stocks I want to have for a long term.  Now with the upturn in stock prices, it has been difficult for one like me to purchase the companies I want a price I can afford.  So its little by little, as funds are built up, I invest in a few shares.  Dividends can amount to enough to pay the stock fee or even a share of stock.

Now there is a cost to investing in individual stocks.  So I have a minimum number of shares I purchase.  When considering a sell the price must be enough to cover the fee plus profit. Otherwise its best to hold the stock. 

So for this new year, pending how the economy and markets fare, I am going to invest in mutual funds.  Two types of funds, an equity fund, and  bond or fixed income fund.  I do not have either in my Roth portfolio.  I have not picked the funds yet, but they will be No Load (no initiation fee) No Transaction fee funds.  Also the minimum investment has to be on the lower end to make it an affordable move.  So each pay period I plan on making deposits to my Roth account, and as the funds build make appropriate purchases. 

I also have an add on Certificate of Deposit at my Credit Union that is a long term saving, as well as a small emergency fund. 

I hope that when I get to retirement to have sources of income from Social Security, a small annuity I am vested in, then my 401K, Roth and then long term savings.

I hope these two posts have given you some food for thought about your saving plan.  You build it one deposit at a time. If its $10 or $100 a month, it adds up after a while.  I encourage you to explore your options!

Friday, December 27, 2013

ARE YOU INVESTED?

As we approach the end of 2013 and look to 2014, there are always articles, News pieces that give suggestions of what we should do and how to "prepare" for a new year. 

Well how does one do that?  Its not like we have a crystal ball and know what a new year will bring. No one can do that. They can look at trends and suggest where the trend might go. Sometimes that works!  This is especially true when it comes to saving and investing.  I am blessed to have a 401k type retirement plan at work.  I also have an add on CD at my Credit Union I am using as a long term fixed savings. Then there is my Roth IRA I have with a discount brokerage firm, which I usually make deposits to each pay period and as the cash grows I make investments according a plan. 

This year the stock market has grown significantly, all times highs actually, which is good for the economy and those investors who were able to cash in some profits.  However for someone like me an extremely small investor, not so much.  Higher stock prices makes it harder for me to buy shares I would like too.  Though I am a long term investor,  I buy and hold positions in companies for a long term.  Two years ago, I did buy two companies whose shares plummeted as a speculative move.  I was blessed that move paid off.  I held those positions for about a year and sold them at a profit for my ROTH. 

A mistake I made was not buying Netflix when it was at $58 at share.  I did not think the stock was going to do much.  Boy was I wrong, its sitting at over $300 a share!  Oh well that is what I mean, that no one knows what the future will be.. 

So I ask are you invested?  Do you have a saving account?  If not now is the time to do something about that. 

Stay tune for the next post. My investment plan.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Gay in the News

Happy day after Christmas!  Some headlines in the news concerning the gay community have been talked about in the days leading up to Christmas.  I chose to wait until now to comment.  I will call this the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.  I will start with the ugly so I end todays posting on a positive note.

The ugly:  Last week Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist Pastor, was defrocked by the Pennsylvania UMC Conference court or officiating at the same sex wedding of his son.  The United Methodist Book of Discipline prohibits this.  They are following the letter of their denomination's  law, not the law of love in my opinion.  Of course its a theological issue, the UMC is a denomination that has an official position that say Homosexuality is not compatible with Scripture. So its no surprise to me, however it is a disappointment.  My heart goes out to Rev. Schaefer and what this means for him. I understand he immediately appealed, which is good.  In my view, once called always called, once ordained, always ordained.  He can take his Master of Divinity to the United Church of Christ, or  Disciples of Christ.  I am sure they would welcome him.  So much for Open Hearts, Open Doors!


The Bad:  In Virginia, the state department of taxation will not follow IRS rules allowing same sex married couples from filing jointly.  This is no surprise since they consulted the outgoing Republican Attorney General.  There is hope when the democratic leadership takes office in January.

What is Duck Dynasty?  I hear it is the most popular reality show in TV?  I have never heard of it! Well the individual who is head of the TV reality family made anti gay and racist remarks. He was suspended and the backlash over his suspension does not surprise me.  Who cares?  I don't, I never watch the show.  Sounds idiotic.

For the Good:  President Obama is including openly gay athletes like Brian Boitano, who recently came out, in the United States delegation to the Winter Olympics in Russia, which has anti gay laws. This is a victory for the gay community as well as Mr. Boitano, who is now out and will lead the delegation.

We will end 2013, with now 14 state recognizing legalized same sex unions or marriages.  Plus the fact that a federal judge has struck down a law in Utah banning same sex marriage.  There is a law suit moving forward in Virginia concerning the states ban on same sex marriage. 

We also will end the year with more countries legalizing Same Sex marriage.  Including the United Kingdom and France! 

What will 2014 hold for Gay in the News?  We shall see. 
 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!! Handel Messiah, Chorus: For unto us a Child is born

.



Luke 2:1-20

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is [e]Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a [f]manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men [g]with whom He is pleased.”15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the [h]manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

MERRY CHRISTMAS  TO ALL!!


Monday, December 23, 2013

An Early Christmas Present

This past weekend, I received an email from my professor.  He was returning my final with comments and my grade.  I was very pleased with one comment he wrote on one of my essays.  He said said I did an excellent job explaining  both the facts of the question and my position on the issue being discussed.  That was the issue of religious diversity.  For the test I earned an A, for the course I earned a B!  I am very pleased, it was work, but now I am one course closer to that MTS degree.

Today, I turned in both my grade report and my financial statement to my employer for Tuition Reimbursement, as well as my application for the next course approval.

Sometime next spring, the Seminary will receive word of accreditation approval of its retooled Master of Divinity.  When I see how it has been changed, if it allows more clinical courses, like Pastoral Counseling; I may switch to that degree.

Its a good early Christmas!


Monday Medley: Christmas week: King's College Cambridge 2008 #17 O Come, All Ye Faithful arr. Stephen ...



Christmas is 2 days away!  Are you ready?  Enjoy the music of the season.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Friends Birthday Today

In the tradition of this blog, I like to mark special days for people close to me.  So in that tradition. Today December 21, is my friends Birthday.  I congratulate him on his years of living, his accomplishments, and experiences.

He shares his big day with a few famous people, such as
 Paul Revere 1734
JEFFREY KATZENBERG 63
Jane Fonda 76
Keifer Southerland  47
Samuel L. Jackson 65

Just to mention a few.

Keep looking forward toward your goals, and dreams.  Continue toward them and you will achieve the body of work you desire!

I wish and pray you to be  well and celebrate many more birthdays!




Monday, December 16, 2013

MondayMedley: Advent Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Traditional Choir



Christmas is now 9 days away!  About time this blog shares some Christmas music!  Slowly I am beginning to feel more is the mood for Christmas  School is over for the semester, I have attended 2 Christmas dinners at two of the Hospitals I work.  There will be 2 more this week. I still have shopping to do, it will get done somehow.  This week I plan on going to the Garden light show, I plan on this becoming a new tradition. 

Well all for this post Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Word For Wednesday!

Instead of posting a Wordless Wednesday, I decided to post a few words instead. As of last night, I completed my first course and semester at this new Seminary.  So that's 1 out of 19 courses, not including courses I am transferring in.  I am relieved it is done, I stressed over my paper and final exam, but I think  I did well.  The Professor has a brilliant mind, the way he explained complex philosophical terms and ideas!  He challenged me to think and express what I think, not what the author.  The only problem I had was every-time I  tried to read the text book, I ended up falling asleep,  even sitting at the table!

So now I can begin my celebration of Advent, Christmas, and New Year.  No solid plans yet, i do want to go to the Botanical Garden light show, I want to attend a play, I hope to go to Christmas Town this year.  I plan on doing some baking too.  Yummy

Of course there is shopping to do, got to make my list.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

In Memoriam for Nelson Mandela,  A man of change, a man who led a nation to change, and example of what forgiveness and hope can accomplish.





"Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."   A quote of Mr. Mandela.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Time For New Christmas Traditions.

This  is the year for me to begin a few new traditions.  Nothing really wrong with the old ones, good memories, but I feel the need to add some new ones. Make them mine, there is one tradition I want to continue.  On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, my family always lights candles, fire in the fireplace and has goodies.  I don't have a fire place but I do light candles, its a way of being connected with  family across the miles.  

The new possible traditions are attending a concert at one of the local Opera houses, attending the Botanical Garden light show, attend Christmas Town in Williamsburg.  I want to continue a tradition I once had, of walking Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg decorated for Christmas.  just a few possibilities to consider.  Not sure what if any new tradition will take hold. 

I don't think I will be placing lights outside this year.  It will be the first time in a long time, but don't think is worth it where I am now.

Stay tuned! 

Monday Medley: On Tuesday. Jason Derulo "Marry Me" (Official HD Music Video)



Pardon the tardiness...better late than never.  I had a busy weekend, mostly on call but also working on a term paper.  Which is now finished and sent YAHHHH!   Next week is the final exam, but tonight its time to relax.  Next week will start the Advent music. I'm a week late oh well.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Its Black Friday!!!

THE MAD DASH

So what its Black Friday?  Are you shopping til you drop?  NOT ME.  I used to work Retail and that was enough, and I have never gone shopping on Black Friday.  Too many people, too much hype, potential for problems. nothing I need that bad, that I have to camp out for a week to buy. I'd rather stay away and eat leftovers!  What about you?  If its your thing, more power to you!  Oh and I am sad a family holiday is increasingly being encroached upon by stores opening on Thanksgiving.  Again nothing I need that bad!

THE MAD GRAB


THE DAY AFTER TURKEY DINNER! LOL



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!



1 Thessalonians 5:18A  "In everything give thanks" 

This Thanksgiving I have so much I am thankful for. I thank God everyday, but particularly on Thanksgiving day. Let me count my blessings

1 My health, that I am able to get up and go, have my mind.
2. My job and money coming in to pay bills.
3. A roof over my head.
4. Clothes on my back.
5. Food on my table
6. Medication in my cabinet.
7. A car to drive and gas to put in it.
These are tangible things there are intangibles like...

Family, friends, good memories, gifting, a calling, spiritual blessing.  Too many things to mention here!

Give THANKS!

Thanksgiving Day Dinner \\\The turkey from yesterday lol


Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Medley: Thanksgiving Edition, "Thankful Heart" Petra



This song always reminds me how thankful I am, and where my thanksgiving belongs.  Not much to say today, I am very busy working, and working on my paper, as well as preparing for my exam.  I decided I have to turn off the TV, usually background noise is helpful, not right now its a distraction.  If you pray please pray for me in my completion for this class.
Blessings to you

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Medley, Song of Faith: White Heart - Desert Rose

Today being the Monday after Communion Sunday, I share a song of faith.  This song is one I used to listen to quite often, during what I would call the "Dark night of the Soul" time in my life.  Its an old song by a group named White Heart. Faith is something we must wrestle with, I find at times I "wrestle" with God over things, circumstances, doctrine, and life situations.  That makes faith real to me.  Its one thing to sit and listen to a preacher, or teacher  or simply read the Bible and say yep I believe that.  However, its when we question our faith, our theology, and doctrine. Its when we examine for our selves the Scripture, relating to our experience, and what the Spirit of God is whispering to our soul that we learn its reality in our heart, mind, and life.  My faith is NOT a doctrine, or a denomination, any organized religion.  My faith is a relationship. Are you struggling with an issue of faith today?

 Hope you enjoy this song and that it speaks to your spirit and feeds a need.

Look at the hair style in this video!!! LOL
http://youtu.be/O7OGieXHM5g

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Healthier Me

For several years I have been on a quest to lose weight, and I have.  I have gone from about 230 to as of today 167.5.  Recently, I have embarked on a regimen of exercise and better eating.  I eat five smaller meals a day. I have been walking a mile a day most days for awhile.  Recently, I increased that to  two miles during the week, and three on the weekend.  In the morning I doing stretching exercises and push ups.  In the colder and rainy days, I will go to the fitness center at my apartment and walk the treadmill, and elliptical machine and at least two times a week  lift weights.  I am not trying to become Mr. Muscle but be healthier, physically able to perform my work and enjoy my life.

Two encouragers I have are my employer, through an extensive wellness program. Including a website where I log my walks, and other exercise and earn badges for things like 7 day work out, getting a physical, and things like that.  If I do the primary things they say I should, I can earn $900 in healthcare expense money. The second encourager, is my friend who is on a journey of losing weight and being healthier himself.  In fact he has a blog about it, you can view it here, http://www.madfatmandiary.blogspot.com/  Give him encouragement if you like.  He is making great progress.  He uses my fitness pal.

So as part of my journey, I will keep on moving forward in my health quest, education quest, my vocation, and my life!  I hope you do too.





 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Its Halloween day celebrated in many ways by many people. Some see it as a harmless day for children to get dressed up and Trick or Treat.  Others see it as a day to be ignored, not recognized in any way because it is the "devils day".  As for me its a harmless observance, I don't give out candy anymore, I don't like the idea of opening my door to strangers or giving candy out in this day and age.  I have not given candy out in about 10 years.  In honor of the day here are a few pictures and a Youtube video of the Headless Horseman from the movie Sleepy Hallow.  Unfortunately, I could not embed it, so there is a link to it below.

Happy Halloween!!





http://youtu.be/D-sX7fyWyf0

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29, 1897

I was reminded this morning when I looked at the calendar, that today would have been my father's 116th birthday.  He died in 1976, for many reasons, this is the first time I have paused to remember this day in sometime.  Usually busy and it dawns on me after the fact.

Sometime in the future, I want to have a garden bed or corner of a patio for a memorial garden of plants that remind me of and can honor my grandparents and parents, perhaps something to honor those patients I remember who have died.  Roses, Iris, azalea, other plants, anchored by a dogwood would be nice.

Today I pause to honor my father.




Sunday, October 27, 2013

Church Today




Once a month now, I am visiting a church of a different denomination.  Mostly I am looking for different Worship experiences, but also looking at the possibility of finding a denomination where it my sexuality and being a minister/chaplain would not be an issue.

Today, I visited an Episcopal church close to home.  This particular Parish has been on my list since it  is listed on the website www.gaychurch.org, as being an open and affirming congregation. Also, the Episcopal Church, ordains gay Priests, Deacons, and Bishops.  I enjoyed the service, it was very different from what I am used to.  I did not stay for the Eucharist, or Communion since I am not Episcopalian.  The Sermon was brief, (nothing wrong with that) and spoke to me in that the Rector talked about singing the song that is in your heart, and singing it loudly.  He made the point our individual song are the gifts, and talents we have within us.  Let them out of us and use them to the glory of God. I left after the offering was taken and they were singing the offering Hymn. 

I may visit here again sometime. Next month I am thinking of visiting a Disciples Church.

Tomorrow's Monday Medley will be the annual Halloween edition.   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pastoral Care Week

This week is National Pastoral Care Week.  This means there are programs set forth by the Association of Professional Chaplains, National Catholic and Jewish Chaplain Associations, encouraging Health and other organizations which have Chaplains to highlight their role in the organization and thank them for the service they provide. 

The theme this year is "Prophetic Voice"  This week already at one facility we had a service of appreciation and our Director gave us mugs, with Journey theme.  Being that we are all on a journey together, and as Chaplains we journey with patients, their families and staff through their situations.

I like that theme, as I am on a journey, you can tell by the fact the name of this blog has journey in it. 

Today I have opportunity to serve one of my other facilities by staffing a table with information highlighting the work we do in that place. 

If you work where their is a Chaplain, take a moment this week to thank him/her for the work he/she does.  It is often stressful, physically, emotionally an spiritually draining. 

I am thankful to be able to do the work I do, and enjoy it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The First Exam



Well this week, I experienced the first exam of the course I am taking.  It was not terribly difficult, just the preparation was tedious.  The professor gave us ten study questions and selected three to be on the exam, out of the three, we selected two to write.  I spent the weekend reading and more reading, writing the answers out.  I completed the test in the allotted time and was so relieved! So on to the next assignment, plus I need to select a topic for my paper. It feels good to be working toward this goal and looking forward its completion. So its onward and upward!




Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Medley: Big Sean feat Jhene Aiko & Lil Wayne - Be Aware (Lyric)



Happy Columbus day!  Another Monday has arrived, a new week.  This week I have my first exam in this class I am taking, and I am nervous.  I have studied, I will be as prepared as I can, and praying all the way through. The material is pretty deep and some of it is abstract, I will get through it!

Today I am sharing a song I have enjoyed on the radio, in fact this is the radio version.  I love the beat all through the song. Hope you enjoy it and that you have a great week!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Mother

In Remembrance on  her Birthday 
October 13, 1915-January 25, 2012


Orlando Cruz Update

Well unfortunately our man Orlando Cruz lost his boxing match last night.  Cruz lost his bid at the Feather weight championship in a 7th round TKO. Well he gave it his all, and is a winner in my book.  Next time sir, next time.



Friday, October 11, 2013

A Sport Event To Follow

Tomorrow night there will be a boxing match for the Welter Weight Championship.  Its between Orlando Cruz and Orlando Salido in Las Vegas.  Now I am not a huge sports fan, I follow scores, but that's about it.  So why am blogging about a boxing match?

Well I am glad you asked that!  Orlando Cruz is the one I will be cheering for, because he is the first pro boxer to come out of the closet.  ABC news did a segment on him the other night.  He would be the first openly gay boxer to win a title!  So I hope he wins! 

 
 
He also has a boyfriend
 


I will be looking for the results of this sporting event!
 



 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Medley: A Song of Faith: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - National Episcopal Cathedral, October...



Today being the Monday following Communion Sunday, I try to share a song or hymn of Faith. Don't always post it but I try.  Today I am sharing an old hymn titled "Love Divine All Loves Excelling" 

Hope you enjoy.  Next week a current song oof choice will be back in its place! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

LOVE ALWAYS WINS

True Love knows no boundaries.  Love does not fail, life ends but love goes on. Sometimes we do unloving things, perhaps on the spur of the moment. Still love is there, be it Agape, Phileo, Eros,

 I believe love will always win in the end. 

1 Corinthians 13

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Excellence of Love

13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Medley: Womanizer - Britney Spears - With Lyrics



Happy Monday, Here is a oldie but a goodie. 

Pray for Congress to get its act together! No government shut down.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sin or...Something Else?

 
 SIN OR WHAT? The cartoon below was in the paper a few days ago, and I thought I would share it along with some thoughts.  I am always struck by how closed and judgmental some religious groups are. Notice I said religious, not just Christian.  It runs through all religions I think.  Whenever some disaster, disease,  or some other crisis befalls us, there is some person of faith who makes the statement, this happened because YOU did some bad thing.  Its  God's judgment and punishment for something.  Well I say NO. 
 
 God did not make the fire burn down your house, God did not give you cancer, or some other negative thing because you are a bad person, did something bad. I have come to understand, these things happen because we live in an imperfect world. They happen as part of life lived in what a Christian calls a fallen world. True there often is a cause and effect if a person smokes for 60 years it most likely will cause some kind of health issue, but God did not cause it.  60 years of smoking caused it.  You drive 90 miles an hour in a 55 zone you might get arrested.  Now I also believe in God's protection, often times I am protected even though I did something stupid.  god did not cause the storms, tornadoes and such to destroy property because people did bad things.  its a weather pattern.  This is not to say God might not use it to bring about something in one's life. The Biblical principle here runs through the entire Bible.  Something might be evil, or negative, but God brings something good out of it. Sure its hard, but there are many examples in Scripture of the hard things bringing something better about.  Jesus talked of the wine press, Peter talks of trials by fire, James even talks about facing trials with JOY! Knowing the result will be something good, better, and there is a reward.  In the old testament, we see it when Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and others experience trials and end up bringing something good about.  Hence the statement the world means it for evil, but God means it for good.
 
Another point,

Matthew 7:3-5

New International Version (NIV)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
 
 
I think these verses say it plainly, the people who like to point out with such judgment the sin of another, should pay more attention to their own problems and sin. Before they try to call attention to others troubles. 
 
To break it down farther:  When anti gay people start judging the gay community and spewing hateful venom, especially in the form of invoking god's judgment, beware!  Think of Matthew 7:3-5.
 
 
Finally, when someone says this happens because of God's judgment, think of the Peanuts cartoon  and smile! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Medley: Capital Cities - Safe And Sound (Official Video)



Well my birthday weekend is over and its time for another Monday Medley. Today I selected a song I enjoy hearing on the radio, I hope you enjoy.

Report of my birthday celebration, I had a meeting of the Chaplain group I belong to, I don't attend too many of these, I'm usually covering one of the Hospitals, I was able to go.  I went on call and hoped for no calls Friday night, alas I had four.  The highlight is always a birthday dinner, this year a friend went with me to Outback where I had the rack of Lamb, salad, asparagus, and a brownie wit ice-cream YUMMY! I enjoyed it! 

I take a walk for exercise each day, I found an app for my phone by Google called Tracks.  It works very well, measures distance, speed and time. Even provides a map of my route. If you run or walk I suggest you try it.  Next I need to get back to some weight training, been wanting to o that for a while problem is when do I have time to squeeze that in.  Wish my text book came on audio books! 

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Birthday to this Blogger!

Historically for this blog, I post Happy Birthday in  honor of my family and friends, its a fun thing to do.  Well today is my birthday! So happy birthday to me.  I am old enough, just old enough, no not gonna say how old.

Usually on my birthday I pause and reflect, today is no different. The difference this year is my I am looking more to my future with a positive outlook.  Grief, although still present and will be, does not have the hold it did.  I continue to experience peace with myself about my sexuality, and I am glad where I am with that.  I am still relationship focused which has been a downer, since it does not seem to be happening, and I am not trying as hard as I used to find someone. I am glad for the friendships I have be able to form!

My career is moving in the right direction, I still enjoy my work, although its hard and stressful at times being present in other folks crisis.  ( I say that having just finished a 24 hour plus workday)  I have a renewed vision for where I hope to be in a few years.

My health is good, I am thankful for the example and encouragement of a friend, I am changing some eating habits, and exercising more.  I want to stay as healthy as I can and its my responsibility.

As a person with faith in my life, in fact my career is closely related to my faith. I reflected on some
Scripture I use as life verses, thinking about the early days of my life. Here are a few of them...



5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 
 
  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
 
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  I Corinthians 15:10
 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
 
These verses are a few that inform me as to who I am. I was born to be me, given the personality I have, formed to be a gay man, born to know and be known by God, called to serve the way I serve.
Thanks for reading!
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monday Medley: Jason Derulo "The Other Side" Lyrics



Another week is starting, new opportunities, new challenges.  Hope you enjoy the song!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

25 Years Ago Today My Nephew

Twenty-five years ago today, my nephew was born!  Hard to believe Nickarus is 25 years old.  Happy Birthday to Nickarus.   And many many more!

Tonight there will be a good dinner, and a piece of cake, perhaps a glass of wine in your honor!


 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In Memoriam of 9/11/2001

Twelve years ago today our world changed dramatically.  Many lives were lost, those left behind had their lives shattered.  The loss of husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, friends.  Today, Patriots Day, pause to reflect, remember, pray.




 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fall Convocation!

Today I attended the Fall Convocation for the school I am attending.  it was a nice service of Worship, with music, prayers, and a Homily by the Dean of the Seminary.  During the service the entering students were recognized by receiving a piece of towel, a tradition at the school, it represents the towel which will be received at graduation.  The towel represents the servant hood of the minister. The example Jesus set by washing the Disciples feet.

The Dean's message this morning spoke to me, he has diabetes which he ignored for quite sometime and created a health crisis for him.  This crisis led him to a year of recovery, and reflection culminating in his call to the Seminary as Dean.  I can relate in a number of years ago, I had a health crisis which led me to change course in my life.

Today is the official start of the semester for me, I will be attending my first class tonight. It is Philosophy of Religion. 
Here are a few pictures of the Convocation Setting.


 

 
The above picture is of an electronic calendar outside a classroom, each classroom has one and it shows the classes, meetings for each day in that room. This new facility is high tech! 
 
Please pray for me as I embark on the journey to complete this degree.
 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Graduate School: The Adventure Begins!

Today I attended the new student orientation for the Seminary where I will be working toward my Master's degree. It was an interesting day, finding the places I needed to be at the time I need to be there was a challenge at times.  That part was stressful, I got lost once, but made it to the place just in time.

We started out at the Morton Library, with orientation to the Library, kind of boring but information will be useful in the near future. There were introductions to the Seminary President, Dean, Registrar and financial aid representative. There were a lot of pictures taken, one of all the attendees, these pictures are to be used for advertising and promotional material. 

There was a nice lunch, where we met our Academic adviser's, and fellow students. It was a nice time.  Then the drive home! Got stuck in traffic as usual!

This semester I will travel to campus once a week, and I am taking one class this semester to start off. It will be Philosophy of Religion, which should be an interesting subject, and lends itself to the work I am currently engaged in.  

Here are two pictures of the inside of the Library. from the top floor looking down over the main lobby. and the ceiling. 


 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monday Medley: Maroon 5-Love Somebody (Lyrics) Happy Labor Day



enjoy the music!
Today is Labor Day 2013! A day we celebrate the opportunity to work, earn a living, and  the opportunity to work toward goals and dreams.  Lets Celebrate, I celebrate by working!