Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Night of the Pumpkins

Welcome to the late night Janus Halloween/Intermission post, their will be no Janus tomorrow since I will be out of town. I hope you all had a good Halloween if celebrating Halloween is one of the things you do. I don't really do much for it anymore, because I get no tricker treaters and my nieces and nephews live to far away, but I like it when circumstances permit.
I am a bit apathetic this year, because I had no party to go to and 30 year old men generally shouldn't go trick or treating unless they are taking kids along, otherwise people tend to get nervous and check locks. I am even getting too old for the "my sister" is sick line, though I suppose I could say my daughter is ill and my wife is making me do this or something. (Yeah I know...lying is bad...now quit looking at me like that.) People don't know me well enough here to catch me on that, though, back in Bouncanville they would figure it out too fast.
Some people don't like Halloween because they think of it as a paganistic holiday, but I really just look at it as an excuse for people to wear costumes and mooch candy off people. Really what is evil and Satanic about a kid dressed up like Dora the Explorer?
My friend Jose wasn't allowed to trick or treat growing up because his parents told him it was evil, so he holds the record for being the oldest kid to trick or treat the first time. We took him when he was 22. Some Neighbors rolled their eyes, but when I told them why a bunch of guys in their twenties were trick or treating they were touched and usually gave us extra Milky Way bars. Jose was in heaven, this was back before we found out he was diabetic. We drove around and the four of us (I took two of my cousins too to share in our fogey trick or treating shame) went all over the place that year. We finished with about 7 plastic grocery bags worth of sugar that year. I guess we call it or local Make A Wish Foundation event.
After we went trick or treating until way later than is customary, we went out to the Rockford nightclub (Closest club to Boucanville.) Jose entered the costume contests and won 500 dollars for the scariest costume. (He was dressed up as a vampire, he called himself Count Hispanicula on the registration form.) Needless to say we spent that money like good stewards, and we recycled all the bottles when we were finished. (I told ya, we were in our early twenties.)
So now for a few random thoughts on Halloween before I go to bed.
1. I don't find Halloween really evil or that scary, but I try to keep a light side on it anyway. I never really go as anything scary (at least not intentionally...me dressing up as an old woman is scary for different reasons.) Normally I make myself elderly, do clowns (not scary clowns, but friendly approachable clowns), or go as a hobo or something. One year I combined my elderly costume and the dirty hobo costume and made myself a dirty old man. Well anyway, yeah just make it fun. It's only as evil as ya make it.
2. Pumpkin carving is pretty cool, I love the salt and bake the seeds up. I admit though my pumpkin carving skills are rather...er lousy. I tried to do a really cool pumpkin one year and everyone thought my pumpkin was made by my non existant 4 year old daughter that was too sick to trick or treat. They are just that bad.
3. Does anyone bob for apples anymore? I tried it once and found it really stupid. Let's see if we can give everyone in the party my cold. Just buy a stupid apple and eat it.
4. I inspect the candy, and I don't eat the stuff that isn't properly wrapped. But short of commericals and email forwards has anyone ever heard of a "real" person that got poisoned or found razor blades in their apples. I would imagine even if someone did want to harm children this would be kind of stupid since kids and parents would probably remember the guy that handed them razor filled apples in retrospect. What is the guy going to do, say that it was his identical twin that decided to break into his house to give out tampered candy?
5. and finally, I realize that trick or treating is kind of stupid when you get to my point in life, because I can go to Walgreens, pick up all about 20 lbs of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups tomorrow when they go on clearance and I don't have to walk about 300 square miles to get that much candy.

See ya Thursday. Be good! Be Safe...Save me some Reeses!

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Journey of a Janus 4, a friend calls me back

From where we left off with three....

So for a couple years I did not go to church after I outgrew my Sunday School. I was torn between not learning anything new from my "kid" classes and not being able to stay awake from the "adult" classes in the upstairs chapel. Eventually I just kind of let it rest and figured well...Jesus loves me, I don't don't kill people or rob banks, so I am good enough I don't need church anymore.
For a few years I just kind of existed. Learning nothing new but not rejecting what I had learned (though I hadn't learned as much as I should of.) Bible reading became less and less though due to the monster that every boy and girl eventually faces. That being puberty. Suddenly Jesus and God were not nearly as exciting to me as girls, after school stuff, and basically anything that was all about me. (Yes...did I mention the girls, important you get that I no longer found them icky about eleven years old or so.)
Then I heard rumors that a stranger had pulled come into town. A middle aged fire and brimstone preacher from Missouri had moved into our little town and got a new position as a pastor in the other church in town. He had aspirations of reviving the dead (spiritually) town of Boucanville and he already had his attack plan. He was starting a youth group.
At last God and girls could be experienced in one place on Wednesday night. Not only did we have a lesson but we had a bunch of other preteens and teens in one roof and this guy was going to let us hang out together. I was actually excited about both the God and girls thing pretty equally, most of the guys I knew kind of leaned more towards the lady part.
So Jim Cheffs the kid that sat in front of me in math class let me in on this youth group thing as I casually asked about where everyone was hanging out on Wednesday and stuff. Jim said that he could get me in the door, and that the bus would be around at about 7:00. I was trying to figure out if this was a serious thing or just a party so I kept my questions guarded like I was trying to find a speakeasy.
Well that first week was bad, I missed the bus because I got home late and missed it while I was in the shower. So I got desperate and asked my Grandma if she could give me a lift to the brown church. (Our churches are seperated by color of paint.) You can tell I was desperate because I wouldn't normally want my grandma driving me anywhere in front of the other kids back then.
I eventually did find everyone else, since I found out that everyone was at Pastor Goode's house, and doing a bit of detective work and calling a few trustworthy adults (cough...my scoutmaster, his next door neighbor.) I got there about 10 minutes until 9:00 and I knew I was already about 2 hours too late. His wife let me in and told me they were downstairs, and I never have been able to walk late into a classroom so I sat on the stairs and listened.
I heard about Jesus, the real Jesus for the first time. Not this lamb holding Mr. Buddy that I always thought of him, but as an innocent man (and God) that suffered and died for me and my sins so I could live. It was like meeting him for the first time. I almost cried, but knowing that all those people in the next room would see it, I held it in. I heard Pastor Goode ask if anyone wanted to ask Jesus into their heart and be saved, the room was as silent as a tomb.
I didn't feel brave enough to ask.
Later when we all went home I called Pastor Goode up at house, and hoped I didn't wake up Mrs. Goode. I then asked what I had to do to be saved. After a brief conversation he talked me through the verses and what to say. That night, August 12th, 1989 I became a Christian. (Though the road is far from over, and we will get into that soon enough.)
I got my first "modern" Bible from Pastor Goode a month or so later when he found out that I wanted a Bible that I could actually understand. I started going to his church and learned quite a bit about God, though I was still not learning the trust and forgiveness thing yet. I at least knew who he was without any watering down.
Pastor Goode became, and still is my good friend to this day. We went to breakfasts together and we had great discussions...kudos to Mrs. Goode for letting me borrow her husband so much so he could deal with my little teen problems and big questions that would make Billy Graham want to take aspirin. God had called me to a new friend and kept his promise to me, that he would not leave me, and sent me a teacher.
Things of course got adverse later, because Pastor Goode made the mistake that many small town preachers make, he tried to get people to change their hearts. Apparently in his church he offended Ernest Mckellan, who was the Chairman and chief financial support of the church, and Ernest used his influence to terminate his contract. After that injustice, and losing the minister that brought spirit to that church I stopped attending soon after.
My friend Pastor Goode told me that I had to find a new church for my own grownth sake, and then he had to get a job driving Semi's full time to support his family. So soon I was back on the search again.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Groom by ah my Lord, Groom by ah!

The title is spelled badly on purpose, so Nick from Cedar Rapids that always emails me to tell me such things can just not even bother writing me. Don't make me have to go over there buddy.

Sorry,no part four today, I was not home that much and when I was home I didn't have a chance to type til tonight. I am aware that some would rather hear about my Janus journey than get wedding updates including me, but bear with me again.

I am winding down to go to bed. I am meeting with Karl, Jose, Manny, and Tony or any combination of those four depending on time constraints this Wednesday. Our meeting will be to discuss a few things

1. Do we wear uncomfortable barely matching suits or do we dress like Antartica waterfowl with a form of neck tie. We got our colors that the women are allowing us to wear. Dark blue, silver, white. (Well that's our vest colors, of course we will wear the traditional "but not by the book apparently" traditional black...something about only wearing black after 6pm.)
We got to take it from there. We can't get anything though until Bella gets the dresses for the ladies, since we got to make sure we match and aren't allowed to outdress the ladies...which if you ever look at Tuxes...is not a problem usually.

2. When we will start Bachelor party and have the rehearsals for that. Originally when the date was next October we were hoping to have at least 12 rehearsals but now we must simply cram. Bring on the shot glasses, this is going to be a crazy few months.

3. Karl has a whole 2 months to write a toast that will show me in the best light as possible or that the other three groomsman are obligated to take him out behind the chapel and beat him into a coma. He has to give the toast, it's in the law somewhere between Thou shall not Murder and three cars go through the intersection when the light turns yellow.

4. We are figuring out who needs to get tuxes if we are getting tuxes, and who is allowed to be more comfortable. Our keyboard player is allowed to be comfortable because well...he needs to be able to play music and that is hard enough to do without a stiff itchy "March of the Penguins" Halloween costume, that and he has a size that would be hard to find for rental and we don't expect anyone to buy anything.
Ringbearer is too young and little ,so the little hobbit gets out of it.
Photographer is spared because he is 3 hours away from the tux place that we are going to and also needs use of his hands. If he is insane enough to want to rent a tux, he will be invited to the real fitting.
My dad may get to wear a tux if he wants to for photos and stuff...and Bella's dad will be wearing a Tux since he gets to walk her down the aisle, so you all can at least pity for him.

5. We are going to have something to eat. That part we look forward to, and I hang out with Karl and whoever shows up while Bella gets dragged to wedding shops by my sister Caroline. Maybe we will have steak. Yeah...that's the ticket.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

A day around town

Well yesterday went pretty good.
My sister came out and met with me and Bella and we headed out to look at the hall. It wasn't bad, though a bit more expensive than we wanted for what we were getting. So today Bella is looking at another place while I am apparently home taking it easy for a bit (and cleaning ahem), and if she finds a better place than we'll take it otherwise this one is pretty much there for us. Got a nice place for the service also, just got to sign paperwork. My blood pressure dropped a good deal by mid afternoon yesterday.
Bella had to go to work, so that left me and my sister Caroline to hang out for a bit. Surprisingly we ended up just kind of hanging out for a few hours. Caroline were really close when I was little, but later she become my obnoxiously bossy and opinionated sister. Now we are becoming friends again as well siblings after years of a little feuding.
After she went to Macy's and bought herself a new purse, which I found quite expensive and not really interesting, we decided to go grab some lunch. So I took her to Naperville and we went to the Mongolian BBQ place where you pick your own meat and veggies and they stir fry it for you. Now the Mongolian BBQ place has a special memory with me, since that is where Bella and I went on our first date. So I tend to take my friends and family there at least once when they visit the first time to show them the place.
After that she wanted to go looking around Naperville, and since she had the day off and never been there before we started walking around. I showed her Renovation Hardware which is my favorite store to window shop. The reason for that is that it is not a typical hardware store, full of nails and power tools and the like. It has furniture, and custom fittings, and stuff that I dream about in my own house someday. It's where I go to dream, I like to look there at curtains and coffee tables and think about how it will look in the house I have some day.
Caroline was surprised I liked to look at these things because I never did before. That's because before I wasn't looking seriously at spending my life with anyone else at the time and when we last went shopping together I lived at home 15 years ago. I was busy with high school and lived with my parents, why on earth would I look at bathroom tiles? I didn't used to have an opinion of what I would like in the house for decor, but now in the last year or so I really have started finding what I like and don't like.
After that she went to the specialty pet store and bought alot of stuff for her four mini poodles and a few things for Sammy (my dog, not her husband.) Then we went to Starbucks, a place I have only gone to about 3 times in my life and she got me a decaf apple drink with whipped cream and caramel in it that tasted like a liquid Carmel apple. Then she went into an antique store and ended up getting some gifts for Christmas for the family.
When we went back to my house I showed her the rings that Bella and I were going to have at the wedding, and told her about a problem I had fixing my shower walls. She volunteered by brother in law Tony (Who used to be a landlord of several propertys, and knows how to do alot of repaur work) to fix my bathroom up a bit. This sounds mean if you didn't know my brother Tony, he likes to hang out with me anyway and well...he's got his wife and two daughters at home, so if Caroline gives him a reason to get out of the house for a day he is usually happy to take it some days.
So great day altogether yesterday, and the Cardinals won. Not that I am a Cardinals fan really myself, but Telly the man I take care of is. If he is happy, it makes me a great deal happier. Also Karl can finally gloat a little, since he has been waiting for them to win since he has been watching them as a kid. If it can't happen for my Cubs, than I am glad it happens to the Cardinals.
Talk to you later.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 3. the hometown church experience

From where I last left off with part 2.
Everything from this part is a little difficult...summing it up without ranting too much, being honest but not being too mean at parts, keeping it brief, and even the title for that matter.
So After being at Sunday school for a while, I wanted to go upstairs for big people church too, I guess you would call it. I tried it out when I was about ten years old or so and it lasted maybe a few months, after that I continued to go to Sunday school but stopped going to the main church. After a while I made the grevious assumption that anyone that is trying to do this on there own makes. That is, I thought I could do it on my own and I didn't need to go to church, because I would end up being a total nutcase or may become an Athiest if I had to be around people in church. (At least that church, though that sounds a bit mean.)
I did have some good experiences too I should point out. The coffee was great. I started drinking coffee not to look grown up like some kids did back then, but because the punch tasted kinda scary. Every time I would get myself some coffee and add my cream and sugar I would get the "You're going to stunt your grownth" joke from the little old lady who runs the refreshments table. The first time it made me worry, the second time it made me smile, but by the third time I wished that coffee would stunt my ability to hear tired old cliche jokes.
The church I go to now has a band, the church I went to then had a choir. I think some hymns sound good with a choir, but they of course had to sing hymns because they don't have a band and we couldn't get a 83 year old choir guy named Ralph to do some guitar rifts. Some of the songs are quite beautiful though, and even when I was 10 I found them hauntingly wonderful to hear.
Now I have to tell you the other side of the coin of course, I should start out by saying that Rev. Bridges was not the most exciting minister to hear, and that's not just because I was young, had the attention span of a goldfish for lectures, and had just drank 2 cups of coffee with way too much sugar in it. I don't blame him for it though, really I don't. I am sure alot of people think I am boring, sometimes I read my archives and go..yikes. For some reason though the 70 year old and older crowd liked that "young man" and most the parents of the kids that went to Sunday school avoided church for a reason.
Most of us have heard the term "watered down" church services. Some actually mean "watered down" and some mean "not from our denomination and therefore wrong." I could honestly say our's was pretty watered down, I wish I could say one person learned something 11:00 Sunday morning in that church and applied it within 5 minutes of leaving the building. Rev. Bridges could talk about nothing, and he could manage to do that for about an hour. My dad was not allowed to go with my mom unless he had a cup of coffee due to his bad habit of falling asleep during the sermon and snoring loud enough to make the pulpit kind of wobble.
It was a bit alarming, because in the brief time that I attended I really tried to get something out of it, and when it was done I would discuss what I heard and kind of learned.
My grandma would always go "That's what he was talking about!?" She basically went there because she knew she should go to church, but never really learned anything and honestly admitted to that once when I asked her what she liked about it. Rev. Bridges never talked about who Jesus really was, how God can change your heart and the importance of accepting Jesus, or really anything that made you want to learn anything new. His message every week seemed to be "You're generally good people, God will probably let you get into heaven as long as you are relatively good people." I tried asking questions back then, but if I got anyone to take me seriously, they didn't know the answer.
That was kind of the other problem, though it was complicated. It was the little church in our small town. Most people like to go where people know them, but I honestly wished I could be own person and people would think of me as a person of my own, and not Janus Sr's boy, or the little brother of that surly Ed or his sister Caroline. Kind of like how when Jesus went to Nazareth and everyone said "Isn't that Joe's boy?" every time he talked and no one respected him there. That's really about to as close as I can relate to Jesus sometimes without sounding like I am delusional, but growing up in a little town where everyone knows you and your family you tend to get typecasted.
The other problem in little towns is that no one really donates or tithes. Most people in Boucanville think the word Tithe has something to do with laundry detergents. So since most people kind of treat the offering plate as a tip jar at Starbucks, the church is usually broke. So that means for a church to survive it lives off the generous donations of one or two of the bluer blooded familys of Boucanville. Which means that also that they effectively "own" the church and everything that goes on there. Ministers learn either to teach the way the "Chairman" suggests or they usually end up walking. Since the Chairman doesn't want to hear this silly thing about them being sinners and needing Jesus to go into heaven because God doesn't cash checks, the churches are pretty dead.
So after a few frustrating month or so of trying to make it work with my local church, I dropped out. For a few years me and God talked, but it grew less and less....

See ya soon, as I tell ya the good news of what happened next.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gone, back, and gone again

Oh good it works again...we were down for a bit due to server troubles but I am back.

Sorry no big updates tonight, its too late and I got a big day tomorrow, but maybe just maybe I will update tomorrow.

Think we found a place for the wedding and reception, so keep us in prayers we need it. My sis Caroline is coming out to check out reception area with us to make sure it is worthy...now if I can get us all over there at the same time and back in time.

So wish us luck, now I am off to make dinner.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I told you I was going to talk about Alpha one of these days.

(puts up his little soapbox next to the computer desk.)
A few things before I talk about Alpha today. I apologize in advance because I am taking a break from my testimony like I normally would but instead of something "completely different" I am going to talk to you about the Alpha Course today. I have been wanting to tell you about it for a while, but that new job thing kind of sidetracked me. So I am violating my rule of generally trying to stay with one step at a time with testimonys and taking an intermission, because I decided not to long ago to violate one of my other blog rules.
That rule is I never blog about anything that I care about too much. If you can't tell since I am talking about my new job, my engagement, and my faith that I have generally shot that rule to utter hell. So I am not talking about Alpha to make a commerical plug, I am talking about something that I truly care about and that I think you would like too if you have not experienced it.
My last note is that I have new link for you all today to be added to the little list I have already. Some of you reading the comments may have noticed some from my friend Lorinda who is one of my friends from church. She has a blog that has some pretty good reading and when she is not slamming herself with too much volunteering she is a regular update. So click over on the link "Redhead Ramblings (Lorinda)" sometime and check out her..well her ramblings and also some of her knitting work which is quite good.
With that, now I would like to tell you about this Alpha Course. First of all it has nothing to do with any kind of marathon racing. So don't worry, I am not asking anyone to run. This is from the guy that gets winded getting his Hostess Cupcakes at the back of the bakery section.
The Alpha Course is a course you take that teaches you the basics about Christianity in a practical and comfortable fashion. It is for those seeking to learn about Christianity that are not Christians, it's for New Christians, Newcomers at the church, and those that want to brush up on the basics. So in my very biased point of view of course, I think that everyone should go to an Alpha course. Don't worry though, I am not paid to express that so you can hear why.
I have believed in Jesus being the way for me to get into heaven since I was 12 years old, I didn't understand what I was doing back then but I did know that this was the way. Only recently could I say that I began to understand and to live like I did what he taught. See I did not understand it, nor did I ask that many questions. I thought I got it pretty well. Well I learned almost 18 years later that I didn't have it pretty well down, not by a long shot.
Through years of false starts, running the race on the wrong track, and getting told by people that I thought knew better directions to a race in the wrong town... I made alot of mistakes. I learned alot of things that I am hearing from Alpha on my own recently before signing up after years of frustration and wrong turns. If you are seeking and want to learn I would hope and pray that you would consider Alpha over the mistakes I made. It is a friendly and safe place to learn, and anything I could tell you that would spare another from the grevious setbacks and frustration I had is worth sharing to you. I can't keep you from all pain and suffering and wasting of time, but I hope that someone can be spared a little of it from what I messed up.
So...that's why I endorse it. I honestly feel that it could benefit anyone and everyone and that is from my own not even close to biased view.
We get together and we have a meal and talk to each other all casual like. Then we watch a video together, which goes fast and is not nearly as long as it sounds and it sure beats reading a book in a circle when you are trying to learn together quickly, then we have dessert together (last week was Apple Crisp...yummy.) Then we gather in our small groups and we discuss what we learned together. Time flies, you get fed, you learn alot, and you make new friends. Not bad eh?
This is my first time of taking the Alpha Course, though some of us have taken it 2, 3, or even 4 times. Reason is they make more friends each time, and they always learn something new no matter how often they take it. I did take what we have dubbed "Alpha 2" which was a study and very similar to the Alpha course I took now. That's where I met some of my good friends including my buddy Rob who is the other half of my small group. Rob is probably going to read this since he has me on his feeder, though he might not comment since the feeder doesn't do that. But I am going to say hi to him anyway. HEY ROB, LOOK AT ME..I'M ON TV. There, I had to do that.
So you can learn more about Alpha from this lovely link. Quit staring at my words and click this.
I hope you enjoy it, they have a directory for every church in every country that they have registered and you can find one near you if you want. So maybe if you think this might sound good to ya and I hope it does you can find out where to go to one. Thanks for dropping by.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 2, Sunday School

(Tomorrow's post tonight, while I wait for a call back...there now you won't be shortchanged.)
So continuing where I left off, my parents decided I was at that age to start attending Sunday school so I can learn about God and some of the people in the Bible that I had recently started to read but was still trying to make some sense of. It took a week or two for things to start up for me because they were just getting ready to begin a new unit, which was a good break (some would say Divine) for me, since I would be on the same page as the rest of my class (in many cases literally.)
Now if you haven't gathered from hearing about me before I did not grow up in a big town like Rockford or Naperville, but I grew up in Boucanville (ok I made that name up, but really the town is too small that I figured I better change it.) Boucanville has about 400 people in it including sheep and cattle. In every one of these towns...Boucanville, Shultz Crossing, and Harlemans Stream..every town has a church. Or at least a building that calls itself that and has a steeple usually. We will go into this more later, I promise.
So in my huge metropolis of Boucanville we had a whopping eight children that were between the ages of 6 through 11. Out of those eight, three of us were triplets who were 11 years old and would be done with Sunday school soon. I was one of the two kids that was actually there because I had a choice in the matter, most of the kids were related to the minister or somebody on the board and had to be there whether they liked Jesus or not. From this not overwhelmingly promising set of circumstances a faith with God was watered and blossomed.
First thing we did every Sunday morning is we sat on carpet squares and we sang some of the great classics that were big in Sunday schools back in my day. "The B-I-B-L-E" (yes, you sing it as letters,) "Their is a joy joy joy..down in my heart", "Jesus loves me"(I hope you heard at least of that one), and "If you' re Happy and you know it clap your hands." At this tender age I learned how to lip synch. To this day I still can not sing if people could see me sing, I freeze up, so I learned to move my lips enough to not attract attention. Though I sing just fine when no one else is around, I think.
Then after singing we split up into different groups, based on our age. My class consisted of two of us and our teacher that probably knew the bible so well because she was alive when it was first written down. Seriously though, we only had one Sunday school teacher (4th and 5th grader level) that was not at least 74 and usually fairly grumpy. Bouncanville is not overflowing with volunteers to wake up early on Sunday and teach. So Brice (the other kid) and I were the entire class. Brice was there because his Uncle was one of the people on the board and would rather be playing baseball or something. Again...not a promising start, but God doesn't need a seed drill, bucket of seeds, and fertilizer. He just needs a seed...and he got me with that.
Sunday school for a small child that normally can't read at the six year old level consists of a lot of coloring, and cutting stuff out with safety scissors and pasting, and fuzzy felts and magnet boards. I don't know how many of you went to Sunday School when you were kids, but fuzzy felts and magnet boards really were fun. You basically got to put them up on the board when the teacher read you the story so you could have something to visualize the story you were reading.
The Jesus one always gave him this little smile like he finds the whole fuzzy felt thing rather amusing, We got a couple smiling apostles, and a bunch of scowling guys that were Pharisees or grumbling wandering Israelites depending on whether you were talking about Jesus or Moses. Moses always looked kind of like a bearded old grandpa carrying around the 10 commandments (Yes...I found out who the guy carrying the rocks with words on them was!) You can't forget David and Goliath either, they all make great magnet figures...I could go on about the cute Noah animals and Zacheus (the little guy that climbed a tree to see Jesus...but fuzzy felts alone would take too much time.)
Many questions were answered but even more were forthcoming. The thing is when you are dealing with kids, you have to dumb it down to our level I suppose. It is slightly whitewashed for kids, I mean who wants to talk about the Moabite women seducing the men of Israel, David having an affair with Bethsheba and murdering her husband, Noah getting drunk, and all those smotings when you are talking to a six year old. Though since it is geared for children I got a few ideas about God that stuck with me for a while that might of been less than perfect.
I always thought of Jesus and God as two completely different people, instead of them being one. (No I am not going to try to explain the trinity here either...I can barely grasp it myself.) So I thought of God doing all the smoting and when someone screwed up God (voiced by James Earl Jones) would reach down from heaven and start smacking the crap out of people when they got too far out of line. Jesus on the other hand was always forgiving people, loving people, carrying around baby lambs and surrounded by the most ethnically correct group of children in all his photographs (A blond boy, a brunette girl, an african american boy, an Oriental girl, a Latino boy, and I believe a native american girl all in one picture apparently hanging around Jerusalem in about 30 A.D. all hugging Jesus with a happy looking lamb in the background.)
So this made me think that they were two people that just kind of worked together for a while. Call it Good God and Bad God. Jesus pulls Noah aside and says..."listen...I like you ok...but God here, he's had a rough week. I mean he is over there saying (like James Earl Jones) 'I am sorry I ever made people, I am going to flush them all down the toilet.' Noah...buddy...I don't want my partner to do that to yas. So...you make the ark, load it with animals...I am sure we could work something out."
Noah looks over at God in the corner as he cracks his knuckles and says..."s-s-s-sure Jesus...whatever you s-s-s-say."
Apparently God and Jesus had a really bad scripted Law and Order series back then.
Well eventually I would figure it out though, don't worry. I would suggest you read the unedited book with a commentary if you are new to get more of a perspective. Don't take my six year old ramblings too seriously.
Eventually they figured out that I knew how to read at a 5th grade reading level, and I got bumped up to Mrs. Avery's class (The only person younger than 74...if you recall.) I did much better there, and both of the kids in the class were able to help explain things to me if I asked nicely and I became the pet of the class. Part of it was good because it was more on my level, but I still was a kid and I liked coloring sometimes.
After being in Sunday school for a while I signed up for the memorizing portion of the class. I would get my own Bible (a Revised Standard Version) from the church in exchange I needed to memorize the 10 commandments, the 23rd Psalm, and the Lord's Prayer.
It took a little work and having my mom helping me memorize it (I used to say he leadeth me down by green crackers...I learned that it was pastures at this point.) After a week of drilling, flash cards, and trying not to break any of the 10 commandments in frustration I did it. In the presence of the entire congregation plus the parents that showed up for holidays and special occasions like kids getting Bibles, I recited them to Rev. Bridges with only one minor correction. I got a firm handshake and a hint of a smile, and Rev. Bridges presented me with my first Bible of my own.
All good things must come to an end though, and I eventually graduated from Sunday school...and it was time to try out Big people church. More to come...

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Delays Delays Delays, and going at full speed.

I woke up a bit late today, and wedding planning and unexpected errands have set me back a wee bit, Tomorrow is my craziest day of the week, so you might not hear from me to Wednesday morning or so.
My brother called today (a very very rare event, as we are not the closest usually.) I got congratulated and he asked me about dates because he was wanting to lend me his Arizona house and his company car and a few other odds and ends for a gift for our Honeymoon. Which is nice because it would be very cold on our wedding and going to a place that's in the 70's or better that time of year would be great.
One friend called and asked if we would like a gift now to help out with the wedding to help us along, and wanted to make sure that their is nothing she and her husband couldn't do to help. Some people really know how to get on my goodside let me tell ya.
The date has been moved forward to January...which takes about 9 months off my planning time..which makes me have to move a bit faster. The reason for the sudden change is nothing more than "We want to get married, we don't need an extra 9 months to get better flowers, invite more people, and to stress." I am pointing this out due to 3 groomsmen asking if everything was ok, since Janus Torrell doesn't hurry usually unless it's a problem.
So sorry, I didn't get the Sunday School bit written today, but I figured you would like to have a real update anyway. Now I have to go up town to the library and to do a quick errand and I got work at 4:30. So I will see you all tomorrow or the next day.


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Sunday, October 22, 2006

The last day of work for this week!

Well tonight is a break from my serial thing, I am going to work this evening til 10:00 so chances are I am not going to be saying much tonight. I have an exciting evening of dish washing and grilled chicken. Today I feel terrible I didn't sleep well last night, and well I slept in really late and missed most of my day.

Working the next two nights in a row, and a morning shift Tuesday. So Waiting for Wednesday eagerly. The hours aren't too long, I am sure eventually I will get used to this routine and get caught up on sleep as well as be more ambitious when I get home. After all these books aren't going to write themselves.

See ya tomorrow God willin'


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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 1, Mom's book.

This is a series I was going to do, so I could show you how I started with my faith to where I am now. I had to break it down into a series because really for me to give you any detail I had to split it up otherwise it would be more like an outline than a testimony, and I couldn't write it all at once because then this would be more like a novel. Also don't worry if I take breaks from it for a day or two and then write more about this series, think of this as the Battlestar Galactica of testimonies, the series just might stop for a little and start up without warning. Though I will try to do it every other day, unless I have to sleep....Now on with the story.
My family taught me how to read before I finished preschool, by the time I was four years old. I was reading on my own anything that could hold my attention that wasn't too challenging. I had read my Mickey Mouse books, The Big Book of Fairy Tales, Childcraft Encyclopedia, The Snoopy Encyclopedia, and was starting on World Book Encyclopedia by the time I was six. My method was simple, I would write down any words that I did not know (Which could be a lot depending on the book) and then I would bring my list to my dad who would then either tell me what they were or would look them up in the dictionary for me and read it to me.
One day (around the beginning of Volume B in the World Book) I wanted to look for something with more of a plot, since I wasn't remembering everything I read from the Encyclopedias and some of the things were getting a little dull. I had read all my books at that point, and my brother and sisters books were not only off limits but didn't look very interesting. So I went into Mom and Dad's room while they were watching some boring show about some guy named J.R. and a whole bunch of people that don't like each other (Dallas I found out later, I still never actually watched an episode of it.)
Mom and Dad had a lot of books which I called "big people books." That didn't mean that they were adults only or anything inappropriate, that meant they didn't have a lot of pictures and I might have to write down a lot more words for Dad to look up. So from the bottom of my parents big book shelf I started looking at books. (If you are wondering why I kept this a secret from my parents, my brother and sister told me not to touch anything of theirs and I didn't want to ask my parents for permission in fear they would tell me not to borrow their books.) So I looked at the titles...some traveling books, Mom's "Harlequin Romance Novels" (which I had no interest in whatsoever even if they had pictures), "Readers Digest book for Do It Yourself Projects"...finally at the top left corner I saw a big black book that said "THE HOLY BIBLE."
Now I don't know why I wanted to read a book called "The Holly Bib ell." (As I pronounced it as best as I could at that point.) Something about it though made me want to check it out more though.
So peeking in the hallway to make sure that none of family was within earshot and cracking the door slightly so I could hear for footsteps I slid a chair over to the shelf...picked up the book..and put the chair back. Then I took it into my bedroom and started trying to read it.
It was a tough book, and was an old King James style Bible. I sneezed from the dust on it, it had been a long time since anyone had moved it from the old shelf. I looked at the chapters of the book. The book of Geniuses, Exodus, Levitation (or something like that)... but in the middle I found some pictures, so I started looking at them.
A picture of two people without any clothes on that were standing behind bushes in trees in a manner that could be described as "lucky for the guy taking the picture not to see their naughty parts" (I figured they were using the bushes as a bathroom or something and they were scared of a snake.) A picture of an old guy with a beard that looked very angry dropping these big rocks with letters on them, (I figured he was mad because he dropped the rocks kind of like how Dad got when he drops his garage tools.) The last two pictures showed a man knocking on a door who had a beard and a nice face though he looked a little sad (He must be late going to his friend's house I reasoned.) The last picture showed the man nailed to a cross and a little blood (which made me a little nervous) in between two other men nailed to a cross and a bunch of people standing around. (Which made me wonder if they did this to him because he was late, and that would explain why he looked sad in the previous picture.)
So every time my parents were going out for dinner or my family was watching the J.R. Show, I would sneak in here and would do the same sneaking the chair and taking the book and bringing the chair back ritual, and read the book in my closet and when the hand of the Donald Duck clock was on the 11, I would bring the book back and put everything back the way I saw it and then go back to my room.
The second day I found an index of sorts in the beginning of a book, and since I learned how to use an Index from my encyclopedias I started reading certain stories. I had plenty of words to write down for Dad, and he was wondering just what kind of book the "Snoopy Encyclopedia" was. Words like "Verily", "Unto", "Thee", "Thou", "Thy", and so on.
I self-taught myself some interesting things in that brief period, such as the fact that they gave baby Jesus three presents when he was a baby... Gold, Frankenstein, and Meth. That Jesus rode into the city on a very bad word that I was not allowed to say even though my brother Ed said it before, and that Jesus told a lot of stories that no one could understand and healed a lot of sick people. I started giving my dad more words for him to look up such as "Leprosy", "Virgin", "Colt", and "Pilate" (Which I thought looked kind of like pirate.)
It was at this point that my sneaking the Bible around got interrupted. My parents were going out one evening, which meant that Ed and Caroline would watch TV and leave me alone. I hugged and kissed them goodnight as they walked out of the house wearing their "Going out at least til I should be in bed" clothes. As soon as they went out the door and I saw Ed turn on the TV, I went back to my parents room. I moved my chair over and I reached for the book, when suddenly I heard my dad's heavy footsteps coming back from the hall. I didn't have time to get out of there and get into my own room so I ran as quietly as I could and hid under my parents bed. (Ok ok...so I was a sneak back then, and bad at it too, but I liked the book and was afraid they would tell me not to read it since it was Mom's.)
My dad came in followed by my mom (apparently she forgot something she was supposed to bring.) My dad immediately spotted the chair by the shelf, and glanced at the Bible with incriminating six year old boy fingerprints all over it, and looked from the chair to right about where I was. His eyes looked right at me though I didn't know if he could see me. My mom saw the chair and asked my dad why he put it there. My dad cocked his head slightly in my direction and put his finger to his lips with a smirk.
My mom nodded, and while she put the chair back. My dad took the Readers Digest book from the bottom shelf and switched it with the Bible from the top shelf.
"Ann I was thinking of maybe reading one of your books sometime," my dad said with a strange voice that was louder than normal.
"Anytime you or anyone else would like to borrow one of my books, all you have to do is ask," she answered back with a strange voice too. Then they picked up the gift that my mom left on the dresser and my mom added, "I think it is time that someone started Sunday school..."
My dad nodded as he opened the door for my mother and they both walked out with strange smiles on their face.
A few days later I asked my mom if I could borrow a book to read, and she seemed surprised but she said that it would probably be ok. Then she led me to her room and asked me which book I would like to read, and I pointed to the big black book on the shelf. I found out it was called "The Holy Bible" (she pronounced it correctly,) and she told me I could borrow it anytime I wanted to as long as I put it back when I was done. From that day on my parents made sure it was on the bottom shelf so I didn't break my neck trying to get it with a chair.
Then my mom told me that she wanted to show me a place called "Sunday School."
To be continued....

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Braindead on Thursday

I took a short short nap but I am going back to bed. Adjusting to the morning has not gone as well as I hoped. By God's grace I have been able to function and survive on two hours of sleep for most of today (well now 3 maybe.) I have the lights off...I am laying in bed...I am doing nothing else, and I still can't sleep easily.
So as a result you are not getting anything too lengthy or exciting tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I will be more in the land of the living.

So....let me direct you to other places to read. Harry is updating pretty frequent and his expanded his many talents to rappin' go check him out if you would. Janet has a few updates lately, you can learn about CCC's Next program a little...good stuff to read on even if you may not be a CCC attendee and her husband Troy had his birthday today, but he doesn't have a blog that I know of so you will have to send your wishes through Janet. Eric's been updating quite well lately too and you can watch a movie for our latest series as well as read some good odds and ends.
Might be adding a new link soon, and tomorrow night is my first night shift, not late night but different things and different routines so if you would keep me in prayer I hope that night shifts are as pleasant as day.

Talk to you soon,


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The war against tag

Today on my yahoo news update I have read that several schools have banned the game tag and other unsupervised games where children can be hurt. This is a recent development on the war against all fun during recess whatsoever, after people have found that dodge ball is "exlusionary and dangerous" not to0 long ago.
Now I am all for safety, but let's be honest. What can a kid do that won't get them potentially hurt? Take a five year old for example, a five year old boy can't clean his room without needing three band-aids afterwords. Some kids look alot like Bruce Willis at the end of a Diehard movie when they get together, because kids can play a bit rough. So I am all for schools wanting to be safe.
Our school outlawed tackle or rough contact sports when I was a kid, so we learned to play touch football and tag style games. Some kids still tag you with a little too much zeal, and those kids were either removed from the game or you learned not to play with those kids. In 6 years of recess I never drank milk at a strange lunch table, got hit over the head with a blackjack, and woke up in a field being press ganged into a game of tag. You can't really be forced into playing tag, if someone tags you and you go on the swings... it kind of defeats the purpose.
I can only think that the reason to blame with recess turning into an excercise yard at a Shawshank prison has something to do with lawyers. I don't mean all lawyers of course, I have met some very nice lawyers. So lawyers in general is probably not accurate, so I will be specific...Sleazy lawyers. Lawyers that can bring 20 million dollar trauma and emotional suffering lawsuits against an elementry school because a kid threw up on a merry go round.
I will not go into my rant on the legal profession in general or on the people that hire lawyers of that depraved nature that would hire a lawyer that would take that case. (Many lawyers actually turn down cases because they are trivial and petty...good to know isn't it.)
What I will say is that being a kid can be tough, and all the laws and rules can't seem to and never will protect kids from getting hurt. It is part of growing up, and while many parents would do anything they could to keep their child from ever getting hurt, as silly as it sounds for me to say this...it is important for a child to experience such things for good or ill at times.
I have had friends with over protective parents, and while they did not get booboos like other children, they also were taught not to take risks and to ever try anything new. I have seen the results in two opposite ends.
Some of these kids lived in mortal fear of doing anything new in fear of pain or upsetting their parents, which is all part of becoming an adult is learning how to survive in a world with other people. One of these kids lived with his mother until she died of natural causes and is afraid of people outside his family and will still never leave his home unless he had to. Taking care of your children to help them grow is good, protecting them and sheltering them from reality makes them codependant on you forever because they don't learn to live on their own. Some parents have to think that someday I will not be there for my child, and then what will my child have to do.
Then you got the other side of the coin, you have parents that shelter their kids for years and then one day the kids figure out that they are missing out on something. This happens alot for college kids the first time they get away from their parents. Taking my classmate Jesse for example. When he was at home he was a straight A student, his parents never let him hang out with other kids, his family was his only social life he had...He went away to college 5 states away and in about a week he was in the hospital getting treated for alcohol poisoning.
So you can sign a disclaimer if that is what it takes to keep the lawyers happy, and you can talk to your kids and teach them the dangers and be a strict parent. Remember though you can't whitewash and sanitize the world for your children, and you can't keep the world away from your children together no matter how much you try. So teach them young and lead them while they are young, and even if they think you are a complete moron when they hit their teenage years they will eventually learn the values you taught them. It will make them better people in the long run, you have to believe it. My parents found out recently that their is hope for their kid yet.
So teach them to be safe, but let them play. They got to get hurt once in a while, they need to stretch their wings and sometimes you have to let them out of the nest. In the long run it's the best protection you can give them.

Thanks for coming by.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Janus the liar tells you about his first day of work a little.

Don't worry I just called myself a liar because I said I wouldn't be here today. So forgive me, but I ended up coming home for lunch before a night of stuff to do.
Besides being very tired and having a small headache (3 hours of sleep...ack) I had a great day. Telly and I get along just fine, and he is a man of routine and I like that. Since it makes things fairly stable and predictable and I don't wonder what I have to do. He is also pretty self sufficient and I am there to be an extra set of hands and to make sure he has balance.
So there, all of you who were praying and curious about my day. Janus lives. Now if I can only adapt to this strange thing that you mortals call...Morning.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm not really here today...

I am getting up in about 6 hours...I will be gone pretty much all day. So can't really post here for today. I will be gone on Tuesdays and Thursdays pretty much most of the day, so don't be alarmed at the slacking.
Today is the first day of work :)


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Mornings are really overrated

Today I got up at 10...10!?!? Yes 10:00 am, some of you are snickering at my laziness and others are in a state of shock. I am gradually adapting to being a morning person, since I work at 8:30 in the morning starting tomorrow. So in an effort to help me go to work without falling a sleep at the wheel, the whole house is getting used to going to bed a little earlier and getting up a little earlier. The dog is learning that she can't wake me up to use the yard at 4:00 in the morning.
How fun this will be.
If you couldn't figure it out, I am a long time second/third shifter. Usually if it was a one time appointment, I would just stay awake and sleep when I get home. I was born late at night, in school I couldn't wait til I could graduate so I could sleep, and I used to take night classes when I was in college.
Karl used to tell me I slept til noon because I was lazy, which used to make me laugh. I got to bed at 6 in the morning and wake up at noon, because I am lazy. He goes to bed at 9:00 to wake up at 7:00 because he is Mr. Ambitious. After I told him to do the math it made him shut up, that an the fact I threatened to call him at 3:00 am to see how fast he could get out of bed.
So I am hoping I will learn to adjust to this first and second shift fairly soon. Last night it took me til 4 to fall asleep. (Trying not to use sleep drugs or anything like that.) Today I woke up at 10:00, and it took me about 20 minutes to keep from wanting me to go back to sleep. After an hour of showering, coffees, and walking outside I was able to stop drooling on myself.
Hope you all will say a prayer for me tomorrow, I will need it.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

When the Torrell guy moves, he starts moving fast...

Well I am glad that some of you came back after yesterday's sincere (but sincerely sappy) posting. It is a new week so now it is my custom to completely change subjects without warning. Thank you for all the congratses (I think I made that one up) on the yahoo messenger and emails though, that was really nice. Though I got to do a flashback today first.
About a month ago to the day (give or take a day) I wrote a piece on goals. I guess writing them down really does work. Just for a rehash. (not in order)
1. Get a day job that I enjoy or at least tolerate for a while (Looks like we can cross that off hopefully after Tuesday.)
2. Settle down and get married sooner or later (Next October...I guess that's decently sooner than later now.)
3. Pay off debt one bill at a time. Well that one is going to take a while, especially if I am paying for wedding stuff. Also, I got alot of bills. It wouldn't be considered a goal if it wasn't something fairly difficult and complicated. So yeah, still working on this one.
4. House with backyard...that will be a while. See above.
5. Finish and publish book...well now that I am working I don't have to spend 3 hours a day looking at ads and filling out paperwork, so I can go back to working on the kids books. Usually after my first or second day of work I realize I want to write a bunch of books and be a famous author so I can sleep in later and not have to shave (Not that I shave if I can avoid it anyway.) Plus the thought of having to bathe people for the next 40 years of my life, suddenly jars me out of writers block.
6. Get a car....which I got today. Nope that's not a misprint. Today I Trickle Inherited a car (Trickle inherited means, that someone else got a car and I got their old one.) I am officially getting rid of my ugly old van tomorrow, and giving it to my brother in law Tony. I got me a little 4 door Chevy Lumina with good heating and a radio that doesn't cause accidents for me to reach over and try to adjust. It is also the first car that I have that is younger than my graduation year. For a guy that never had a car that was younger than 1987, this is great.
Now that gas is less than 10 billion dollars a gallon at the pump and I have a car that has better mileage than a World War 2 vintage SuperTiger Panzer Tank (thats 2 miles a gallon if you were curious) I have to go on a road trip. Except I work Tuesday morning, and I don't have that much money til my next check. So I guess my road trip might be to Montgomery Illinois or something (40 minute drive.)
So all in all I have to say, the goal thing is doing pretty hot this last month. Though I still have not found a way to spin straw into gold, haven't wrote my great American novel in one afternoon, and my jedi powers are still far from developed...though I think I made the light switch move just a fraction...I swear. That might be delirium though, I am off for bed.

See you all later.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

"THE" question

Last night I popped the question. That’s right THE question. This may seem like a shock to some of you, mainly because I am not always the most open about all personal details of my life in my emails, blog, and messages. However, today I will let you in on a very public happening in my life. About this time next year, I will be married.
I did the proposal with the eye contact, hand holding, and bowing on one knee. I said some words that I can’t quite remember since it was all a blur. She said yes, I handed her the ring which I held in my hand (Do not keep them in pants pockets...bad idea.) What had slowly (and not so slowly) had begun over three and a half years ago, led to this wonderful but very awkward moment last night.
So for all of you not named Bella, I apologize but I am going to be a bit mushy today. After all, who’s blog is it anyway?!
Since neither of us remember much of what I said I am going to add a little to last nights ramble....so this is for you Bella.
You have been a wonderful mother for Sammy, when you first met us both we were two abandoned vagabonds with a really ugly car and not much more than the clothes on our back. You were able to see beyond the dirty badly groomed me and my Jack Russell that sheds all over everything and love us for who we were and are. Even if I had wanted to leave way back then because of that scary thing called commitments , Sammy wouldn’t allow it. She fell in love with you the moment she first met you, and said (If a dog could talk) Daddy...she’s the one. I agree with her there.
You have stolen the heart of my nieces and nephews, my parents, and you did what no woman has ever been able to do, you won the heart of my sister Caroline. Caroline wouldn’t accept just anyone for her little brother, and has never had a problem voicing her opinion as such. I knew when she started asking me when she was going to cater my “fricking wedding”, that you touched even her heart, like you did mine. You have become a sister to Caroline and my brother, a daughter to my parents, and a favorite aunty to the children of my family.
We have been through some rough times like the loss of your mother, the stress of me looking for work, my dad’s fight and eventual victory over his cancer, my past, the recent loss of my good friend. We have been through some good times like my cousin’s wedding, your class reunion, holidays together, vacations together, your co-workers wedding, picnics and cookouts, going to church together, and almost every other moment we can spend together.
We have been there for each other when we are sick, we enjoy being with each other when we are well. We can’t wait to get home to see each other when we are both forced to do that horrid thing called work. You can tolerate me when I forget to call sometimes, or I don’t clean the place like I should. You just plain put up with me, and you should get a medal for that.
You have brought love and light back into my life. You are the reason why I have found my faith again, with your gentle prodding (you didn’t even have to use the cattle prod) and your inspiration. You truly are and will be my better half, you don’t just make me want to be a better man, you have done a lot to make me a better man.
I hope you will still do the honor of marrying me, and become Bella Torrell.
With Love, Janus.
Thanks for coming by everyone and watching me get all mushy, I hope to see you tomorrow. Thanks for the editing assist, also done by Bella.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuesday is coming fast.

I figured I would have a few days before work and I would be able to relax for a bit. Man was I wrong. I have not been home for the evening once this week, and this weekend is looking crazy already. Not a bad crazy, but a good crazy! So I guess it would be moderately excentric or something.
Well I am off for a shower, got another big night. See you all later.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

What a Campaign in the butt

Sorry not to post the last morning, I have been slackin'. Well at least from blogging that is, Last night we went to the first evening at the Alpha course. Which to explain would take a whole other blog entry and I don't have time before I got my next appointment.
I tell you what though, if you couldn't guess from this slightly disturbing title I can't wait til the election season ends. Now before someone accuses me of hating democracy I am a registered voter, and I do care about what goes on with my community. "SOMEONE PLEAAAAAAAAAASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!" Yeah, it's not often I can just shout that in the middle of a post.
However I am not Mr. Politics by any means.
I watch the latest Simpson's season DVD whenever I hear the president is going to speak on television because I figure if he has something to say that I need to hear it will be in a newspaper or he will call me up and go "Janus I really need to tell you about the latest events in the war on terror!" If he does that, then I suppose I can take away from my busy scheduale of playing my old playstation games and invite him by for a Killians.
But for the most part, elections and politics annoy the crap out of me. I hate the television commericals, especially since they never talk about something they might actually do if they get elected they just tell me why their opponent is Satan in a suit. So all this shows me is that they have no plan, but their opponents are even worse. I could be watching "Easy Button" commericals, find out for the 100th time what is happening on "My name is Earl" this week, and...ok yeah Commericals stink no matter what.
Then you see all the signs hanging up in yards, which in Singapore would be considered littering and would get you fined and caned. I think a sign or two is ok if you really believe in someone, but I get scared when I see the guy that has 20 signs for the same political campaign in his yard, I either think this is the father of the guy running in the election or this guy is the last person I want to be stuck in a snowstorm with because he will probably tell me all about why Republican Treasurers can count better than Democratic Treasurers or something. Bottom line is I think that all politicans are full of it for the most part, and I don't debate how good a guy is that I don't really know.
I am able to mute the commericals, I am able to look away from signs...so I was getting used to this. I was getting ok with it. Then 10:00 in the morning my phone rings. California call? It's Governor Arnold, and he cares about some guy running for politics in my state so much, he decided to wake me up with a recording to tell me all about him. Since it's a recording I can't offer him a Killians nor can I tell someone to take me off of the $()@*$) list.
This is where I go from being an indifferent voter to considering anarchy. I need to have a phone on because I'm on call for emergancy things, so I can't turn it off. I am up til 4:00 in the morning usually, and nothing makes me crankier than waking up to a recorded message. Just send me a bulk email that I can delete to my mail box and back off.
Sorry I had to rant. Thanks for coming by.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

That there Janus guy is an employed man..yeehaw

The title says it all, the praying and well wishing paid off. Today at 1:30 I got the call, and now I am officially able to say that I got the job!

I start next Tuesday and it seems pretty ideal so far with the family. It will still be a while before I get paid, because of agency things so I got at least another month or so of lawn duty, but now things have taken a big turn!
Been spending alot of time on the phone giving updates. Now I have to head in and take care of the lawn. Thanks for all your support everyone, and see you tomorrow
Now maybe I can write a day or two without giving you a Job update...might make things more fun around here again, who knows :P

Happily Yours,

P.S. Have to republish this and hope it works

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Interview was wonderful

Well I will be out of the house a bit tomorrow but my interview went well today. Tomorrow I find out if I got hired, which means I could start working by next week if all goes spiffy.
Today I got to meet the potential patient and his daughter and I have one other person that could get the work instead of me. The interview went pretty good though, he is a gentleman of about 91 years, who needs someone to help him around due to his broken hip. He was very polite and told a few jokes, though he couldn't hear me well because of a hearing aid malfunction today. So I translated through his daughter who can shout better.
Interesting thing about him is that he is the youngest of three surviving relatives. His brother is 93 and his other brother is 96. He doesn't eat anything special, in fact he likes TV dinners. Next time someone tells me I need to eat healthier I will have them meet this guy.
The other caretaker and I exchanged some numbers since he said he would introduce me to other agencies and I found out we lived about 15 minutes apart and we could have coffee sometime. It was a friendly competing for our client, since he seems like a pretty nice fella himself and I wouldn't begrudge him getting it before me. He has 12 years of experience to my two and has had over a dozen patients to my two, but I speak more clearly (he has a strong accent) and am able to work days and nights so they would still have to hire another person even if he got the job. So the odds are pretty even, and I trust God's will to be done.
The patient seems like a real nice guy, he joked a little, and seems to love baseball. Even though he likes the St. Louis Cardinals and I like the Cubs...I hope we can overlook our differences if I get the job. Seeing his collection of St. Louis Cardinal things and his friendly talking, made me feel like I would be comfortable there.
Aparently the person that was there before me was Hot tempered, didn't let him watch his own television, and refused to do little things like clean up the tub for the poor guy. I often wonder what makes a person take a job like this if they don't want to take care of people and dote on their patients. If you are in this field because you want to be rich and make money you are in the wrong field.
I found I love to take care of the sick, elderly, and/or disabled. You can be the only good thing that they have happen to them all day or week even. You can give them dignity and have enjoy themselves even when they are in bad circumstances. Or as I told my friend Rob, it gives you a chance to be Jesus to someone. With the last patient and my good friend, despite mourning her death after a long term illness, I was able to find comfort through my sadness by having people come up to me at the service and tell me how much they appreciated what I did for her and how much she loved me and looked forward to seeing me. And folks...you just can't put a price tag on that.
Most people in this field are from Eastern Europe, and the agency was shocked to find out I was from America. Apparently not too many people from my part of the woods find joy and satisfaction in taking care of someone. When I left, my new friend asked me if I was really from America since he had never met an American like me before.
I was torn between being honored...and being troubled. I hope that I will show that values and patience has no borders.

Pray for me, I am antsy now.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Janus climbing the walls

Did some cleaning, did some relaxing...still antsy about tomorrow.

Course I got to go make dinner now, so sorry I am headin out early, even though I just got here. So getting directions...making dinner...going to bed....and probably sedating myself. I had kind of tried to avoid thinking about the interview tomorrow all weekend, but now it's the next hurdle.

How that goes will determine where the future hurdles are and what track I will run on. Wish me luck, and see you soon


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End of one Journey, and another begins.

I am here and home. Sorry for the 2 day absense, I have been away from my computer and from home quite a bit the last 48 hours. I am back now, and will try not to leave you all in suspense so long next time.
The last post was...well a bit scary, at least for me. I kind of lost my composure a bit. (And I am deciding if I lost my dignity or maybe just some pride that I call dignity to feel less vain.) On our last adventure...I had an interview in the morning, lost a friend, and didn't even make dinner. Well most of that has been resolved or at least more resolved than a few days ago.
First the interview. It went great. Thanks for the prayers, I think that made it even easier. So my next interview is on Monday, which I suppose it means you better keep doing them. I get to meet the potential client and his family and see if they pick me, since I cleared the agencys interview on Friday. Again, thanks all of you it does mean alot to have all your very visible support.
After the interview I had a pretty good, yet strange day. I admit I was still rattled about my friend's death and the service being the next day. So I really didn't want to go home and kind of avoided it for most of the day. I got together with Rob and we had a good reading and talk after my interview and then I just kind of loitered around the church.
That might not sound so odd to you because you have heard me talk about church before and how I like it there, but it still sounds odd for me. I never used to feel any sort of comfort being in a place full of people that didn't have draft drinks until this last year or so. Part of me was happy being in a building full of good safe company, the other part of me felt embarrassed for being an aimless loiterer.
I also have been chatting alot the previous two days, which is how I handle stress. It's embarrassing to me because later when it's over I go...I can't believe I talked that poor guy/ladies ear off and she probably thinks I am a nutcase. Besides talking alot I also change topic every 50 seconds or so, which makes me feel bad for the poor people that are at the receiving end of it. A poor pastor who was trapped in his desk when I was on my chatting rampage got to hear the story and prayed with me, which was nice, and told me to feel free to stick around. So I did, I hope he wasn't kidding.
Joined my friend Rob for a Bible study and got to meet his small group which was nice since I got to crash a party of sorts. Good conversation, some prayers, and a lesson. A very good lesson and it kept me out til 11. Got to love it. So when I came home I crashed and went to bed. Thus no Janus last night.
The service went really well, and I held it together though came pretty close to getting to that danger zone before crying but after having really moist eyes. It's not that I was afraid to cry in front of people, I was just worried if I did I wouldn't stop and not having control of myself (like I haven't the last few days very easily did ) frightens me.
Then we went downstairs and got to hang out with the family. That cleared the air, we remembered the good times and shared stories. Put me alot at peace, his death was unexpected but I know he is with God. So I know he's in good hands, and seeing all the people that my friend impacted and brought light to and of course all the prayers and well wishes if you folks and those that got attacked by the Janus Blab bomb the last few days helped carry me through. Thank you.
I wanted to end this story, which is already way longer than I realized with a happy reminder that life goes on. I came home and wented to rest, but I was asked if I would help move stuff. Naturally I don't like to move things even on a good day, but today I didn't want to do it even more so.
A friend with a little girl was in need of furniture and furnishings for her new home, and didn't have much. What brought me back was looking at a box with toys in the back of the car. Remembering that it wasn't just an ordinary move and chore, but bringing light to someone's life and this was something I couldn't miss.
After I finished helping moving things an adorable little girl brought me one of the big Duplo Lego blocks over to me and gave it to me to share with her. We got to spend time with new friends, and by the end of the night this little one would come up to me to pick her up. I started the day mourning for a lost friend, by the end of the night I was "Uncle Janus" and a new friend to a little girl.
It's amazing how life changes so much and still amazes me. One journey ends, and another begins.
Have a good one all of you, and I promise to be back soon. Or at least I leave you a note next time.


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Thursday, October 05, 2006

and after every great day..this one comes.

Today was great too for the most part. Did my Thursday thing, and had an alright day working at home and getting ready for my interview tomorrow.
My sister called me this afternoon before I left and told me that a dear friend of the family died and that his service was on Saturday.
He was the stepfather of one of my childhood friends, and one of those guys that are rough around the edges but really wonderful in the heart. He was like a second father to me during my teenage years.
I really lost touch with him in the last 10 years and to hear this phone call was a shock to me. They still aren't sure what happened to him, a few months back he got hurt at work and got hit in the mouth with a cable. the injury gave him a small infection but it was soon beaten. He had been at home for a few months (normally he travelled) and was doing fine we thought. His daughter had just beaten cancer and the family had spent alot of money to treat her with chemotherapy (Good folks, but no insurance.)
After celebrating his 20th Anniversary, he went out to Nebraska to work and four days later he was in the hospital.
They said he was disoriented, he had a low grade fever, and though he looked fine to the eyes he complained of a headache. He lost conciousness soon after his wife drove out to be by his side, and never woke up. For a month he was in a coma in a hospital, the doctors said he got an accute infection, his brain was damaged. They told his wife that if he recovered he would not be the same person, would not be able to walk, and probably would never be able to speak again.
His wife called work to say that she would have to be Nebraska for a bit to take care of her husband. Her work told her that she used up all of her family leave time and if she didn't come back in 72 hours that she would lose her job. Her Husband's family begged and pleaded for her to hold on, but she knew that her husband was not only all but lost but he was in alot of pain.
So after a month of prayer and a month of debate, she had his plug removed and he died within an hour.
It has been over a month and she didn't tell anyone but her children. We found out from the paper. My sister called and asked her what was going on and wondered why she didn't say anything...why she didn't call...my family lives 3 miles away from her and they would of been there in a heartbeat to take care of her.
My goodfriend's wife said she couldn't. She couldn't believe it herself, she couldn't face it, and she had been working 70 hours a week and tried to push the pain out of her life. Her daughter was the one that did the calls and the arrangements for this Saturday. She didn't have the strength for it.
I am sorry that this is not an uplifting thing to read, it was rather hellish for me to even write it. I did my routines today, I worked and chatted away (Lord did I chat away). It was a cross between getting out and recovering from the flu and wanting to push this from my mind. I can't push it away though. I needed to write this, I needed to have my little cry.
I've lost a few friends this last couple months, friends that were dear to me. While I wrote about my goals and Bible lessons that inspired me, I have been trying so hard to hold them back. I have not really broken down and cried when my employer and dear friend passed away, I did not break down and cry when I saw her family suffering even though I wanted to, but today I broke...today I broke.
My apology for the people I ran into today that couldn't figure out why I was so glib, strange, and talkative. I wasn't quite myself today, and I am kind of embarrassed that I let myself be seen like this. I am worried about my interview tomorrow...I am worried about finishing resumes which I hardly touched tonight...I didn't even make dinner. I just need to fall apart,

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A great day to be a Janus

Today was a good day, I don't really have a topic or theme today other than today was a good day.
I am well rested today, I had a nice dreamless sleep last night a rare thing sometimes.
I have an interview on Friday, and things seem promising. I got my lead for the potential position yesterday and this morning when I called they said come in on Friday for application and interview, bring my references. References is something I can bring.
Resume is almost finished up (just tweaking it) and I can look forward to not having to look forward to working on my resume. Whew.
Today I went over to work and I took Sunny and Carp for a nice walk, Sunny is handling diabetes really well and was able to keep up with me. I got to enjoy looking at the colored leaves in other peoples yards as I went for the walk and felt "Flu free" for the first time entirely in about a week. I got to look at all the houses and imagine which one I would pick out if I had the money to get one.
Today was just a good day, and I delayed writing about it til now because I thought I might jinx it. But since its 10 at night, I can say it went alright. Tomorrow is Thursday and I am well enough to do my Thursday thing.

See ya tomorrow.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Janus Salutes the Net Menders of the World

Well I was supposed to get my resume done last night but I kept losing my power and I eventually lost my "Saved" document which meant that I wasted alot of time and ultimately did not get what I needed to done. I hope anyone else that was dealing with one of those freaky storms last night fared better.
Last night while I was getting ready to lay down and fall asleep I read something in my scripture readings that I have looked at probably at least a dozen times but finally something just sort of clicked for me.
I will use Janus paraphrasology to tell you this, but if you want the exact words just to follow along just turn to the last half of Matt chapter 4.
At this point Jesus is gathering up some disciples and he talks to four of the "to be Disciples" who are fishermen. Jesus is just kind of walking around in the area and inviting people to follow him. Peter and his brother Andrew are out in the sea taking the boat around and fishing. Jesus says come and join me, so they did.
Then he sees James and John and their father (I guess that would be Zebedee, since these two guys are called sons of Zebedee in their boat mending their nets and he invites them to join too so they leave their nets and apparently their dad and business and follow Jesus.
Now here is the part that I skipped over that kind of dawned on me last evening. They were mending their nets.
Not too exciting sounding is it? I admit it seems so common and boring that when I read that verse I always just kind of skipped it over and didn't give it a second thought. At first glance (or even the four hundred and first glance) it just seems like some extra insignificant details or what a writer would call "filler."
Alot of us want to do something and we want to do things that we think are significant. Many a young boy (or girl for that matter) wants to be a Major League baseball player when they are kids or maybe a big movie star. When is the last time you heard a small kid dream about being a groundskeeper for a stadium or key video assist operator for a movie studio? I can't think of a single one.
So what is the big deal about net mending? The fact that if it wasn't done after a while that the nets would fall apart and fishing wouldn't be possible. If you had broken nets it doesn't matter how good you are at fishing because even if you found the biggest and stupidest fish in the world, it does you no good whatsover if the just swim through the big hole in the net.
Maybe you have a supportive role and are not the "star" of the show. Perhaps you feel that you are insignifcant sometimes and that you and your "deadend" job doesn't make a difference. Perhaps you feel invisible and that what you do doesn't really matter to anyone.
I know I have my days were I look at others doing bigger and better things around me and I feel like the leftover dinner that gets put away and forgotten about until I get thrown out.
Well we do matter! If it wasn't for groundskeepers at Wrigley Field we wouldn't be able to see the team play because the outfield would be covered in seven feet tall grass. Not too many things in the world could be accomplished if we only had room for "Stars" and "Leaders." Nothing would be done if we did not have a few people that fixed the nets so that fishing can be possible.
Some people won't notice the things you do, some people only notice themselves. Sometimes you might feel like no one notices or cares about what you do. Well I can assure you that someone does notice, not a single thing you do to fulfill your role escapes the attention of God. It doesn't matter if you are a president or a cashier working 3rd shift at a 7-11, he knows what you do, he cares about what you do, and he is proud of you and what you do even if the rest of the world doesn't understand it or even notice it.
So here is a challenge for all of you for sometime this week. Let someone know that they what they do for you matters. Tell that person that mends your net, cleans your office, makes your lunch, or does something for you all the time- That what they do is good and you appreciate it. Even if you pay them to do it, tell them anyway. When they know that they are noticed and appreciated itwill make their week better.
It won't just make them feel good, it will make you feel good.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

I want one of these for Christmas

Today at work I used a leaf vacuum/mulcher. I have decided that when I get a house with a yard and lots of trees (I need trees, just having grass is terrible) I am going to get me one of these. I am still a little sore from handling it for a few hours straight, but the yard looks great where I have worked, it kept me busy, and I don't feel exhausted like I would be if I tried to swing a rake around for a few hours without ceasing.
Today was my first day back at work since last Wednesday and man do I feel happy to be doing something productive again. So today I am kind of catching up with my life again, so I am afraid it's a shorty today. I got to go now and start hammering on an updated resume which I have been putting off for a few days (weeks..months...possibly years.) Have a great night and see you tomorrow.
I am learning to like power tools, yard stuff, and fixing stuff either this is a late blooming guy thing or I am suffering brain damage from the flu last week.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pet Names, and Divine Placement of Pets

No this isn't about cute little names to call your husband or wife, I am being literal. Pet names. I don't entirely know where I am going with this but...some people are very serious about naming their pets and won't let anyone do it for them. Other people don't really care about the pet name and are more concerned about the pet itself. I am kind of in the middle on this one.
I will give you a rare treat of hearing some real names instead of aliases today, because otherwise this blog entry would be even more pointless. The first pet I ever had was a cat that my dad brought home from the gas station. (My dad's gas station attracted homeless animals that my dad would adopt rather than abandon, thus for 30 years we never had to buy an animal, God brought them to us. Maybe I should call my dad Noah.) I was about four or five years old when he brought home a frightened but friendly cat into the house and told me that we had a new kitty.
Then I got the honor of naming the cat for the family, even though my brother and sister were there too. I thought for a whole microsecond before I said "Blacky!" Now you can take a wild guess at what color our new pet was, and like I said I was around four or five. My brother and sister groaned but they didn't get a say in that matter and Blacky became part of our family for the next 16 years.
When I got into fourth grade...er for the second time, I wanted a dog. Most kids, especially boys, want a dog some point in their childhood. I was a lonely and shy kid and I wanted a dog that I could play with and hang out with. So of course I came to the breakfast table one day and said "Dad can I have a dog?"
Behind the rumpling of a newspaper I can hear my dad trying to think of a way to talk me out of it since we still had the cat, I had two gerbils already, and he was probably worried if he got me a dog that I would ask for a horse next. "Hmmm..." he muttered for about a minute straight. "Well if you get all C's or higher and S's on your report card...I suppose maybe we can get you a dog."
"OK!" I said really excitedly, even though I never have gotten all C's or higher in my life back then, "Then I started giving specifics such as I want a beagle (Snoopy was a beagle, and he was cute, and I looked em up they are cute) and I wanted to name him Buddy.
"umm hmm," my dad said behind his newspaper and continued eating, thinking he would be safe from getting me a pooch with his wiley ways.
Well at "show and tell" I told everyone that I would get a dog if I got good grades on my report card, because I was so excited I had to announce it. Listening to this excited fourth grader that normally didn't talk was my teacher Mrs. Lark. She was a sweet lady that I would of called an old lady even back then, and I knew her since I went to her Sunday school class when I was five. She made it her mission that day to make sure that she helped me get good grades so I could get my dog.
Sure enough after the quarter was over, I got A-B Honor roll for the first time in my life and my dad's jaw dropped about ten feet into his newspaper. He said that he would have to set some money aside because adopting a "Beagle" from a pet store wasn't cheap so I would have to be patient and would have to walk it and feed it and make a house for it.
About two weeks later my dad came home with our big van and told me to come out to help him carry in the cashbox (It used to be an honor back then to help dad carry in his things from work back then.) When I opened the van door inside was...
This beautiful but half starved mutt. It wasn't a Beagle in the pure sense of the word she was a cross between a beagle, a basset hound, and Lord knows what else. She whined and rolled over on her back so I can pet her and was the sweetest dispositioned pet I had ever seen. It was clear though that before she came to us that someone had abused her and she was hoping I would rub her belly but also seemed scared that I would hurt her.
That rainy spring day my dad had opened the big door to his garage to air it out. He turned his back for a minute from the door to get himself a RC cola and a Snickers bar and out of this rain this dog came and walked into his garage. She was cold and hungry, and the rain was so bad outside. Even though she was afraid of people, she felt safe with my dad, and walked right past him and laid down on a stack of towels my dad used for repairing tires and went to sleep. Like I said, my dad is Noah and for some reason God brought us animals.
I petted this dog in the back of my dad's van, and I wasn't blind enough to think she was a boy dog, but I asked her if she liked the name "Buddy." Her response was to lick my face and wag her tail. I guess that was a yes.
"Well she's not a beagle exactly..." my dad said in a whisper, but he told me how she just walked into the shop that day. "Would you like this one even if shes not a beagle from the store?"
The dog looked up at me with her big brown eyes and wagged her tail slowly as if she was not wanting to get her hopes up.
"Yeah, I want this one...she's perfect," I answered.
With that she wagged her tail frantically, did this happy little whine, and licked my face again and climbed into my arms to be carried into the house.

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