Thursday, November 30, 2006

The best gift you can give to yourself

Back when I was a little Janusling, Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. I think anyone that celebrated Christmas as a kid would say it was their favorite time of the year, or at least in the top five. Christmas meant waking up to presents and tearing lots of wrapping paper and parents getting to smile to see that they picked out the right stuff.
One year I got in an argument with my brother about a week before Christmas and I remember my parents were furious with me (and my brother too.) I was terrified because I thought I was going to get a lump of coal and maybe something that Santa emptied from the Reindeer scooper that year. That morning I went out and had stocking stuffers and the packages seemed normal.
When I kept opening them I kept getting things like socks...and underwear...and windshield wiper blades. I didn't cry or grumble, like I wanted to, but I thought for a while perhaps Santa really did have it in for me and figured this would be even more punishment than coal. After all the gifts were opened and my brother and sister had a whole bunch of cool stuff they wanted, I sat there in a my pile of Socks, Underwear, and two windshield wiper blades (which is odd anyway, since eight year olds don't drive.)
Finally my dad handed me a note from Santa, that said "Open the walk-in closet."
I opened it up and it was full of wrapped presents for me, and that's when I found the things I had asked Santa for. He just decided to make me sweat a little it seems. My dad was giddy watching me open my gifts and seeing me beam with each one. It was a Christmas I would never forget.
Christmas is not all about G.I. Joe and Barbie, even though the commercials would make you think so. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, time with your family and friends, and unless you are a little's about giving. A lot of people have heard the expression "The reason of the season" but in truth many people seem to think the reason of the season has something to do with shopping.
This is a time of year when many people are depressed. It's stressful trying to buy gifts and take care of all the other bills. I found out a few years ago that the year when I got all those socks and underwear and the "real gifts" later on that we almost didn't have Christmas presents.
My dad had a bad year at his store and a new state law required him to spend 4000 dollars just so he could legally keep his gas station open that winter. My family had to dip into our personal savings as well as the Christmas Club money that my mother had saved up all year for our presents. My dad did one of the hardest things in his life, he swallowed his pride to ask for a small loan from my Grandma. My dad hated borrowing money or even using credit cards back then, and to ask for help cost him every ounce of pride he could lose. He did it though for us kids so we could have a Merry Christmas.
Christmas shouldn't be about the money, but it costs money for anything it seems. I will admit to you that I was a lucky kid growing up. My parents didn't spend hundreds or thousands on us really, but they were able to buy us gifts for Christmas. As a son and a uncle, I can tell you how stressful and depressing it is to want to give to your loved ones this time of year and not have a way to do so.
I want to tell you about the Christmas Gift Mart that my church is taking part in. I am like you, and this is probably a very tight and crunching time for money at this time of year. Well for some parents and kids out there it can be even worse. Nothing can compare to wanting to give your family a great Christmas, and hardly having a dime to your name to do so.
The Christmas Gift Mart works because people like you and me can give toys or a donation to the great volunteers that make this happen and they are able to sell the toys at a fraction of the cost to parents that want to get their children presents but don't have the resources to do so.
This allows people (Like my father once upon a time) that do not have the means to buy a lot of toys from the store, to be able to get toys for their children and still have the dignity of paying for it rather than having to take a hand out.
The money that is made from the "profits" (the small amount of money that the parents pay for the gifts we donate) will go to the two financially struggling elementary schools that these children attend.
What I like about this is that one gift becomes five different gifts.
1. You get the gift of knowing that you helped some good people able to have a merrier Christmas with their families.
2. The parent gets a gift, being able to buy presents for their kids without having to spend entire paychecks to do so.
3. The children get a gift, which you can imagine bringing hundreds of smiles out there.
4. The school gets a gift, which benefits the family, the children, and the entire community.
5. God gets a gift.
Yes, that's right you are not just giving a present to a needy family, you are giving a gift to God. These children, the families, the schools are cared about by God, and a gift given out of love is a way of honoring him. Money is not the "reason of the season", Jesus is. Your gift can bless the lives of others and bring glory to him.
So if you can and are willing, please click the link to learn more about the Christmas Gift Mart and find out how you can help. If you can't donate a gift or are a terrible shopper like me, you don't have to buy some poor kid a set of wiper blades. They have plenty of volunteers that are willing to buy some gifts for the children for you, and all the numbers to call and people to speak to if you want to help are right there and you can help by offering a gift of the universal gift certificate that we call cash.
Help out if you can, and give yourself one of the best gifts you can, by sharing with those in need.
Now if I could only get them volunteers to do my shopping too.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Tis the season to spend money, fa la la la la....

Well the weekend went fast didn't it? It's back to the grind for me. This officially begins for all of you that celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas as...Crunch month. You have to pay your bills and manage to buy a whole bunch of gifts before Christmas.
This year I am going to go the gift certificate route as normal. Whenever I say that I normally have one person always go "But Janus, That's so impersonal." Well maybe it is but it's better than driving to about 100 stores to look for the hottest junk that my nephew will play with for about 2 days after Christmas and have it smashed. So my advice for all people that hate to shop is, get gift certificates or give cash. (The Universal Gift certificate.) Dare to be inpersonal.
Last week I got the gift from the hospital I had been expecting, a bill. So I will be making 100 dollar payments once a month for about the next 3 years or so, give or take. My advice to all of my readers who may find themselves uninsured. The hospital will still treat you, and you can make payments. But don't get sick.
With that I am off to work, be careful with your holiday shopping. It's insane out there.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Organization, Colds, Tea, Fine Dining, and a rubber ball.

Ok so it is Saturday or Sundayish...I am not that great at managing my time. In fact I got a copy of "Organizing Your Life For Dummies" about 12 years ago and I think I have maybe skimmed it about 3 times since I got it. It does look kind of funny though if you have a big mess of books on the floor and you put that one on top of the pile before you take the a picture of that one.
I am still having the gross sniffles and can't seem to get rid of this throat thing. I just really wish I could feel normal. The cold won't DIE.
So this week I am trying something new. I am going English. I am drinking lots of tea (decaf though) and water only, and actually trying the fluids thing that the doctor told me about a week ago with a little bit more seriousness. Milk is nixed and so is soda, so of course I want milk and soda and everything that goes with them all the time. They have Oreos on sale every week when I can't drink milk, which is required for Oreos to be eaten properly. Ever really want to have a big bowl of Sugared cereal with milk?
Hmm maybe I am craving sugar too.
Anyway, I am hoping to be back to normal soon, because I am having a hard time concentrating and getting anything done right.
Good day besides that, spent it with Bella. We went out for dinner, we have to take it a bit easy on going out for a while, so glad it was a good place. (Weddings and bills cause quite a crunch.)
We went to a place called Smokey Bones, and it was pretty good BBQ food. They had the usual side dishes like baked beans and 10 different types of potatoes. What really surprised me was they had Asparagus and Green beans. I really like finding a restaurant that actually has options for a green veggie. So I had Asparagus today, for the first time in a restaurant that didn't have a candle lighting.
I would recommend it to a friend.
Oh and I got a rubber ball from church. It is to remind me to live my life for God, and it is called a "super ball." Well, they finished a unit called "Heroes" this week and well you can't have heroes without superheroes...and somehow we got a super ball. Which makes sense when you think about it, and it beats another wrist bracelet. Now I just have to figure out where to put the ball.
Maybe next to "Organizing Your Life for Dummies."
This is an example of a rant I suppose. Sick people probably shouldn't blog.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

Well it is officially Thanksgiving day where I am , so Happy Thanksgiving.
This year I am going to the house of Bella's aunt for my feast and family time. My parents and my brother are down at St. Bart's this year, enjoying the nice tropical climate. Man that makes me a little jealous, but just because I love the warm climate. My sister and her family is going to Iowa for some exciting event with crafts and stuff...which I am not jealous of admittedly. (Though maybe one of you might be possibly.)
So what do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving?
I think of pie. Lots and lots of pie. Mashed potatoes and gravy by the truckload, and normally being so tired that I can't move by about 15 minutes after dinner. I remember my Grandma making this green jello salad that I would not eat to save my life, but that she made every year. I remember having to sit at the kiddy table, and being mad because I wasn't grown up and could sit with the adults, and now wishing I was still young enough to be considered the "kid" somedays.
Even though it is a stretch this year I want to remember the meaning of Thanksgiving (no, not football.) Normally I take for granted the loving company and the meal. My Grandma is long gone for almost 6 years now, my own family is scattered to all corners of the world, and Bella's mother passed away in July and the table will seem emptier without her. I don't say this to be depressing, it makes me realize that how special it is to see loved ones and have a meal with them.
It's not just a day, my family doesn't even have Thanksgiving on Thursdays. We normally have ours on a random Sunday sometime in the fall/winter these days. It's about the company and the meal and spending time for each other and realizing what you have and taking a day to enjoy it and think about it.
I am very grateful to have Bella, and my pets and to be adopted into another family this year and invited to share a meal with them. That I live in a place with Supermarkets and Jewel Grocery store pies that I do not have to make. That I have made it another year. If you celebrate Thanksgiving every day since you were a toddler you tend to forget about the special meaning, you just think of it as an ordinary holiday.
Don't just eat the meal, savor it. Don't just show up at your family's house, celebrate the day. Why do people get up at some ungodly hour in the morning to start cooking dinner and make the kitchen a madhouse while they prepare for this day. It's an act of love, and it brings people together.
Bella's sister Lynn is coming down to eat dinner with us, we don't see her that often so it is always a special treat. I know that Bella misses her sister alot, and I miss her too. It will be good to have her down here.
I have a brother named Ed, that lives 20 minutes away from me, and why do I only visit him on major holidays I ask myself. Why don't I make those phonecalls more often and just say "Let's grab lunch today." My dad is cancer free for almost two years now, and I am thankful to have spent another year being with him.
My friend Rob is having his parents visit him from over the Atlantic, and has three out of four of the kids home this Thanksgiving. I would imagine that his house is bursting with activity today.
One of the church campuses is having Thanksgiving for people that have no place to go for Thanksgiving. Imagine those wonderful people giving of their time and sharing this day with others who need to be shared with and have something to be thankful for.
So whenever you have your Thanksgiving, whether it's tomorrow or some odd Sunday. Enjoy it, savor it, and see you soon.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Have a good turkey day

Happy Turkey Day. I hope that most of you are too busy, to come by here today. I shall return fridayish. Busy week, so not entirely sure, but keep checkin' in.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

getting back on track

It is the end of the second day since I officially have been "well" and I am doing pretty good other than a headache and sounding one of the guys that does the late show. Today I was able to talk without coughing so I called my guys up and told them where to get those Uncomfortable outfits known as Tuxedos. Everyone is going out of town for the Holiday but otherwise things are pretty much normal.

I am sick of leftovers, so tonight I am going to make something new to eat. Or at least something not in a tupperware container. Which means I better do dishes so I actually can. Tonight we ended up going out for a bit.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 8, Home at last

The alarm woke up early that morning, and I honestly couldn't think for a minute why I was getting up so early. Finally it came back to me, that I was going to the Three C Course that morning. Bella asked me if I would take the Three C Course about a week ago and I said yes and found out about two days afterwards that it was a Saturday morning class. (Important the fliers) I kept my word, but I wasn't too happy about it that morning...Janus Torrell is not a morning person.
The class was small and we had about five of us total plus our teacher. Our teacher was our local campus pastor Troy McMahon who probably is a morning person because he started us up pretty well and gave us a few things to read and write along with and gave us a pretty good overview of what Community Christian Church was all about. (Yes for those that emailed me thats what CCC stands for.)
So, I hope I am remembering this properly, the three C's also stand for Celebrate, Connect, and Contribute. It was not a long class but it was a very interesting one. I am afraid I can't really give you the presentation without getting too far off topic, but I wanted to at least tell you why they call it a Three C Class. The website is a little better at explaining things than I am.
In the last part of the class we got to do a little of question and answer about things and while the class was good on it's content alone what I saw that morning, as tired as I was, amazed me. I had wandered and gone to many churches since I was very young, more churches than I care to remember, but this one was different.
When you read the book of Acts and the writings in the church way back in the early A.D. days you wonder why these people risked their lives, gave generously, and enjoyed going to church. I never looked forward to it before after that brief time of Sunday school years ago. I went because I was told "Janus, you need to go to church." It wasn't a joy to me, it was a chore, something you did to keep God from being mad at you. This church doesn't make it some drudgery chore.
I have read the Bible off and on (more off than on admittedly) over the years and I always read about stuff like joy, forgiveness, and love. I didn't understand it. The things I understood before were guilt, rule following, and fire and brimstone. If you do read the gospels and Acts and really try to understand it, you find out that Jesus came and died and rose again because of love and forgiveness, he came here to free us from those guilts and legalistic practices that I tried to do. In fact if you read the gospels you find out exactly what he thinks of loveless rule following. (Hint he doesn't like it.)
I don't know exactly when or where this finally sunk in, I don't keep a diary. I do remember though that I finally understood it. It was like chains were broken off and a pressing weight I had carried for a long time was taken from me. I do remember sitting in that class room on the second floor of the church, and listening to Troy speak and realizing that he meant everything he said and I couldn't find a trace of legalism or hypocrisy in him.
I must of gave him many of my trademarked Janus deep thinking scowls, while I was sitting there trying to figure out if he was a real follower of what God was all about. I hope I didn't come across as rude, but I kept waiting for a catch. Their wasn't one. After taking this course and being face to face with a follower of Jesus and having no way to avoid dealing with it (I was in a class room with five people, kind of hard to vanish in a crowd) I realized that I found a church I could call home.
We are going a bit long today I realize but I want to just leave you with a few little nuggets of verbage before I close out.
I have met all the campus pastors, at least at my home church and I found out that Troy, as good of a person as he is, is not the only person that had this inner light that made me want to come here. He was the first I got to really see face to face, but not the last, I saw it with ever person I had met there.
I went to take another class that we called the Alpha 2 course. (I took it before part 1, which I am currently in.) I met my good friend Rob in there, along with his wife and some really great people. I have been going to CCC for quite a while, and I am still amazed that I have not run into anyone that just goes there because they feel they have to. I have found a place where the people really believe what they speak, and its not a ritual but a celebration.
Some of you that are reading this that are a bit far away and I really wish I could invite you to go to the same place I do, because it took me a long time to find it but I haven't regretted it since. You can see the lessons on the website I linked to above after every week, and you can see some great stuff. If you are reading this and you aren't in a church no matter where in the corner you are and you want to know what this great thing is all about I would tell you that is worth it.
Find a place, and be with others to help you grow and don't just be an attender...celebrate with it, connect to it, and contribute to it. I have learned and grown in ways so much in just a little time, compared to years of aimless wandering. Find a place where the love of God can be felt and where you can return it. If you love God with all your heart and strength, and love your neighbor as will get it. It would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to you.

Thank you for reading my story, sorry that it get's a bit long in some parts but this is not something that I can easily squeeze into one little entry. Later on I will make a link that puts them all together in order for ease, but otherwise this testimony is finished. As cheesy of a cliche as it is though, it's hardly the ending for me, I am finally just beginning.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The 11th hour update

Well today I did what everyone recommended...which is not do hardly a thing and rest. Here I am getting ready to log off and get ready for a hot bath and dinner. So what do I have to tell you? not much. I fixed all the labels on the blog...not that it is very exciting but because Bella told me that their might be a point to it.
Labels with exciting names like Faith, Family, and Mailbag.
Yes it's true, even if you say exciting a few times in a short post it still isn't always exciting. I realized from retro-labeling that I have posted over 101 times. So I am doing pretty good compared to the old days when I first started blogging. Way back when Ned told me to write fairly regularly over a year ago and I wrote about every 2nd moon cycle.
Well tomorrow I am finishing up the Journey of a Janus sometime when I am awake. if you want to follow it without sifting through a few hundred posts , I will put up a link page for it about Wednesday or so.
Thanks for everyone that has come by and visited. That kept me writing, it has done alot for me keeping in practice. I have been able to look back over the 100 posts as I was doing the labeling and it is amazing to see how things have moved in just a few months. They might have a point to keeping journals after all.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 7, Even the Colonel is Not Spared..

After a while of attending the family group every week, Co-worker/Future Sister-in-law Lynn, told me that I was going to have to find a place to fellowship and grow. Which sounded eerily like what Pastor Goode told me years ago to do that I managed to mess up badly at.
While I agreed and shook my head, Bella actually did something about it.
So while I was pretending not to think about when I would have to find a new church, Bella started surfing the web and trying to find a "good healthy non-psychotic" church for us to join.
Way to go Bella.
You have to love that modern technology, which wasn't around back in the day when I had to find A) a church that wasn't insane and B) One I could get a ride to. (Janus didn't drive back 15 years ago.) Some churches had a few basic core doctrines, others told me what food they didn't want me to eat and what R rated movies I couldn't watch. Bella, looked at a church some of her co-workers told her about a while back and they had a pretty normal (non-psycho) core doctrine (and nothing else) and we figured we better give it a go.
My first impression was very big. I mean that you could fit about four of the congregations I was a part of at one point or other comfortably in this room and still have plenty of seating. I am a bit shy (if you couldn't guess) and get a little nervous with crowds so I was not too relaxed for my first time out. (I also went to the busiest service they had, the over crowded 11 o'clock.)
I also came into the end of a lesson series, instead of joining when they just started. So I got the tail end of the lesson on being a good steward, which admittedly made me a little nervous since I didn't realize that this is not a continual message. (I went to a church before where they tell you constantly to give give give more every week, and well they didn't really use what we gave them.) At the end my panic attack got me walking quickly to the exit.
Bella and I went to the IHOP afterwards and she asked me what I thought of it. I listed the good points I got from my brief visit (Nice people, casual dress, they enjoy it there) and mentioned the things in the above paragraph to show how I was not sure yet. Bella said we would pray on it and maybe visit another one, but she liked it and wanted to go back. (Goes to show that you can't always go off your first impressions.)
We didn't make it for the next service because we were out of town, and I was actually thinking that I would get out of not going to church. (Yes, I admit, I really didn't want to go to church, nothing against that particular church...I was avoiding all of them equally.) On that Monday that I went to my KFC and went to work. (Note the day.)
The next day I was praying (actually more like arguing with God, which I had done alot the last few years) about not wanting to go and fellowship, because I could do it all on my own. Since I didn't fellowship for a long time and you could see how well I clearly was doing. (Add your own sarcastic tone here)
I had that Tuesday evening off, and I decided that I wanted KFC again. Which for me is a normal thing. At one point I got so annoyed with the guilt pangs of not wanting to go back to the church that I said, "I am going to go get me a Chicken dinner from KFC...if you insist that I go back to that church, do a miracle...make me unable to get my chicken dinner." With that I left and drove to the local KFC.
When I pulled in, everything seemed normal enough. I got to the door and it was locked, it was 4:30 in the afternoon. I look at the door and saw a sign that said "CLOSED INDEFINATELY." The day before it was busy, people were working like normal. It came from out of no where.
Well God doesn't have to give us signs especially when we know deep down we are being bullheaded.
But I dared him.
And he called it.
I looked around nervously, and expected lightening to hit me or something.
Some of you out there who are reading this go "Wow thats an amazing coincidence and might accuse me of taking this too seriously."
Well if you heard the words I said to him earlier, and you saw my face out in that parking lot in January, you would know that it was a miracle.
" win, I'm going back to the church."
And so I did, and I am still there. The KFC is still closed, apparently the rent was too high and they just closed down with no notice or warning. I drive by it almost every day and see a husk of what used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken, now closed and standing there to remind me of where I came from.
I don't ask for signs anymore and now I eat at Popeyes and Browns Chicken. I recently found a KFC on the way home from work, and I have not asked God for any more dares. Do not put the Lord to the test, and he ain't kidding. If Colonel Sanders can't survive his smoting, I don't want to push my luck.
Soon After Bella said lets take a class at our new church called the 3 C course. I didn't dare argue, it was already decided.

To be continued and concluded.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Slept alot today, didn't get on here til late.

I am recovering now pretty well, my throat no longer feels like I swallowed a box of nails. It is more like thumbtacks now. That's progress.

No big updates tonight, because I want to take the time to write more in depth (Translation: longer)

Tonight I am going to show Bella how to make my homemade chicken soup and try micromanaging it. TGIF in 30 minutes.

Have a good night all of you.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

taking a stand against spam and other things

Wow, well got a few changes to announce today but I have to be quick, as I am supposed to be in bed right now.
My doctor appointment went ok, I got put back on my decongestants and nose sprays again, and I got a note that excuses me from work til Monday. I never thought I would say it, but I miss work. I don't want to stay home and sit on my hiney for the rest of the week. I did that the last few days and I am already climbing the walls. So five days left to go before I get green lighted.
I have been getting spammed from a travel agency, that for some reason keeps visiting me every day or so and tells me that they did not find what they were looking for but their computers enjoyed reading my post anyway and were so overjoyed at reading my blog that they just HAD to comment. Well I got a few things to say to you Miami Travel...

1. If you didn't find what you were looking for the first time, why come back 7 more times? I have gone to your site twice to see if you had anything on how to make a great Jello Salad, but after two visits I gave up.
2. You just HAD to comment? My own mother doesn't even comment around here, so why would you feel so inclined?
So, I don't want to make my readers have to get a special account or have verification to leave me a comment, I try to make it as easy as I can. But Miami Travel may be forcing my hand, so if I get a few more I am afraid I will have to turn on verfication. I am sorry for the regulars who like it when I keep things simple. Blame them.

Finally, I updated to the Blogger Beta today, so I got a few new features. I even get labels for my post...I have no idea what for...but hey its progress. Sort of... part 7 is coming soon, probably tomorrow afternoon. Have a good night.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 6, Haven't we been here before?

Continuing from part 5...

So after my little outburst I did not really look for a church that much, even though I figured I should have. I got more and more over the guilty feeling as time went on, and eventually I just kind of put God on the backburner of my life next to the "Great American Novel I will never start" and getting the garage cleaned.
Things gradually got worse as I drifted. I stopped reading my Bible, I stopped praying, and I pretty much thought I would use my Jesus Net 2000 (Which is where you say, hey I am saved if he wants to talk to me he can drop me an email.) I met someone that turned me completely around, though the wrong direction.
Well to make a long story not so long, about 5 or 6 years later I hit rock bottom. I was angry, bitter, and basically came back from my wandering a broken person. With just a shirt on my back, a really ugly truck, and my Jack Russell Terrier named Sammy.
Sammy and I were both wanderers back then. She had been my brother Ed's dog, and Ed was always out of town and leaving her at my parents and my sisters house. So Sammy got passed around like unwanted litter, when I came back from the West she kept me company on the nights when I didn't know where to go or turn. We have been together ever since.
Eventually I came out to this area, and met Bella. I was not always the easiest person to be around, but for some reason she liked me and eventually we fell in love with each other. Bella's mom gave me a job helping her do household chores and little odds and ends. It didn't make me wealthy by any means, but it kept me going.
After a brief time, Bella's mom, who never was in good health declined a lot and quickly. After a while I went from lawn work and helping unpack boxes from the move- and went into taking care of Mandy (Bella's mom) instead. Over the next two years we went through several other caregivers and her condition got worse, and I was there, sometimes full time sometimes part time.
Mandy's other daughter came down from Wisconsin to take care of her briefly and decided that her mom needed Bible Studies (as well as her and the rest of us, since Mandy was homebound.) So while I did not quite get excited about Bible Studies again, I started attending them. At first Lynn did all the lessons, then her dad took over a few times.
I was told that if I wanted to lead I could take my turn, I was content to be lead for a while. Though after a while, I started getting impatient because I was tired of looking up verses all over the old and new testament to learn that God was "Mighty." We did a lesson on the book of John which was interesting but no one seemed to be ready. I think God forced my hand.
So I did a lesson on Exodus, I went through all the Egyptian plagues and the marching towards the promised land. I did my research and my notes so that I could find all the little gems of wisdom that I have overlooked and I found myself fascinated again. You cannot teach without being taught yourself, it just doesn't work that way.
So I started looking up difficult verses, instead of just dismissing them as errors or embelishments. I read lots of commentarys, and started reading my Bible very heavily. Through the frustration of wanting to teach so I could talk about what I LIKE, I ended up finding my way back to God. This was just the beginning again.
Remember how I said if God wanted me he could find me again? Well he did.

To be continued.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Janus and Bella have the plague.

You may have noticed I have been unusually quiet the last day or so, that's because I was (and still kind of am) ill. I went to wedding for Bella's dad on Saturday afternoon, and about mid service I almost fainted as I was sittingperfectly still. At first I thought it was because my necktie was too tight or maybe I was nervous or something, but it didn't get better even when I practiced breathing slower and all the things that you were meant to.
So I did not stay for the reception and I went home and admitted that I felt very sick. So Bella drove me to the clinic, which was closed, and then I went to the county hospital. After spending three hours or so doing tests and taking fluids I was sent home with some anti-vertigo pills, and two pills to control nausea. I have been on home rest the last two days, and tonight I am going back to work.
The condition is called Vertigo, its caused by a few things none of which are entirely treatable except by drinking fluids and letting it run the course. The pills are to keep things in check, but really can do no more than that. I have my follow up appointment with Dr. Martina this week. So don't worry out there, I am already on it, and doing all that I can be doing.
Bella is also sick, and has a bad cold/minor flu combo. This weekend we were also dog sitting for her dad. So Today I go back to work, get my house back from the extra pooches, and hopefully sleep really good tonight. Tomorrow you get the update, you would think that the powers that be would hate me sharing my testimony or something. :P

Have a good one. JT.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

E-body language

Today I got caught waving and nodding to my computer. I didn't even think of it, but then Bella walks in and goes "Janus did you just salute your computer." I could not think of anything else except.
"You weren't supposed to see that."
I apparently am not the only person do pointless things like this. Have you ever seen anyone nod at the driveup speaker at Mcdonalds?
"Do you want to try our Big Mac special today?"
"No...No...No Thank you," (Man shakes head and has timid smile at speaker.)
"Would you like a drink with that?"
"Uh...der..Yep," (Man nods head with fervor.)
Now I suppose all of us could be worse, I can truthfully admit to not kissing the screen when someone sends me a Valentines Day email. I don't tend to argue back when I get a stupid email....etc.
So, I have no idea where I am going with this, but thats ok because this is not really helpful content anyway.
Don't argue with your bills when they come online, don't talk to your computer screens, and try not to use body language when talk on the telephone. It's pointless and it makes you look like an idiot if anyone else is watching. Plus you can't explain it.
It reminds me of when they first started having the bluetooth handsfree things and James was talking on his phone while we walking downtown for our meeting, and I thought he had lost his mind. I watched him talk to himself for 10 minutes while gesturing with his hands in the air.
"Do you normally talk to your alien mothership like that in public?" I asked after he said goodbye, and started talking to me again.
"It's my phone.." he said turning to the side and showing me the ear piece.
"Do they hear you talking with your hands too, mate?"
He just shrugged. "You know I am Italian, boss."
Well there ya have it.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Might be out for a day or three...Sammy earns her rent.

The blog is having a few technical issues over the next few days, so be patient as...well I don't exactly know what the blogger folks are up to, as soon as they know I guess. I am also going to be done for personal and work related reasons for a few days, I am working a few extra nights this week and have a wedding this Saturday. (No...not mine.)
So I might pop in and talk here for a little, but not going to be writing anything too huge. Sorry for those of you following along with multiple part series and stuff. This will be a pretty busy Wurzday and Fraturday, and not so sure about Sunday. Don't worry though I will drop in and say hello, and once I have a few things taken care of it will let me concentrate while I am here.
Last week while we were doing some cleaning, we found the tell tale signs of a rodent intruder. We didn't set traps or anything, but I was going to clean out under the sink and lay the traps then. I have since kind of pushed it to the backburner.
Last night I came home from my Alpha Course, and Sammy (My dog) was sitting proudly on the floor next to a dead mouse. She didn't make a big mess, she just did what terriers do. She caught it, and killed it, and made sure I found it.
"Sammy, did you kill that mouse?" I said a little louder than I meant. She stopped wagging her tail and put it between her legs for a minute because she thought I was angry. "That's a GOOD dog," I added and petted her head and gave her a treat. Then she realized that she did the right thing and wagged her tail so fast I was worried it might fall off.
I was so proud of my little dog catching her first mouse ever, that I called Bella at work to tell her the news. So when Bella saw Sammy, she gave her special pets for a job well done. Sammy has been proud of herself and basking on her glory as a rodent catching terrier since last night, and after over eight years of chasing chipmunks and squirrels in the yard without prevail, I think she is walking on Cloud 9 (the one with milkbones.)
Now I have to head in to work, but thanks for coming by and visit. I still hope to give little updates over this weekend, so please drop by once in a while. Will talk to you later.


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Meewsday,

Tuesday every week I get up at the crackish of dawn time, and then I am gone pretty much until 9 pm so I occasionally combine Monday and Tuesday postings at the same time. Thus I have invented my new day, Meewsday sometimes I have the same problem with Wednesday night/ I will call them Wursdays.
Tomorrow (or today depending) is election day at least for the U.S. readers. I am looking forward to not getting anymore recording phone messages from people running for office, party committees, and people not running for office that feel they should call me to tell me about how evil the other political party is. Other than saying that I got a call from The Terminator, I have been as good of a sport about this annoying telemarketing recording thing as I can.
Last night at work, Telly answered the phone when he came back from watching Wheel of Fortune. He tried to talk to some lady, but she wouldn't shut up so in frustration he handed me the telephone. I found out it was a recording of Laura Bush, so I tried not to laugh and told Telly that it was a recording of the presidents wife. He just gave me an annoyed and puzzled look and told me to "Tell her to go to hell!" So I did, though I don't think the tape recording felt it, but it seemed to make Telly feel better. Some nights I really love working for Telly.
It may shock you, but once I was a politican. That's right I was a candidate for "Road and Public Works Commissioner of Bouncanville." (That means I would fill in potholes with gravel, and complain that I need more road salt.) I am proud to say that I was in 3rd place out of 4th, and I really did not know what to do if people took me seriously and voted for me. The best part is I really didn't run.
We thought it would be funny to get me campaign signs and pins back in those days. I had such great signs like "Vote for Janus Torrell for public works commissioner, he will fix the sewers" and "When you think of raw sewage and road construction, think of Janus Torrell." friends of mine put the signs up in their front yards, I had a political rally and BBQ at the tavern on all "make your own taco night", and I loved it when people stole one of my signs to hang up and show their kids someday. My former school guidance counseller was gone for his vacation, so we put about 20 various signs in his front yard. My signs got stolen even more so than the guy that had posters that said "Tough on crime," which was just begging for people to steal the sign just to see how tough he was.
I of course was not on the ballot since I didn't really run, but a few of my friends said they would vote for me anyway because we had a place to write in votes back then. The result was 108 for Orville Irons, 73 for Salavator Welsh, 32 votes for me, and 11 for Mickey Mouse who always got a lot of write in votes. I was kind of impressed since I stole at least 20 votes from Mickey Mouse who normally had better voter turn out. I knew 12 people that voted for me, which made me wonder who these other 20 poor sad sad folks were that thought I was worth writing in.
They didn't ask me or Mickey mouse to give a concession speech, but we had a nice party anyway. This is why you don't vote based on name recognition otherwise you might get a young college guy who is just bored or a talking mouse with shorts and white gloves. See ya sometime on Wurzday.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

I wish to hold that bliss a little longer

Yes, part 6 is coming up but tonight is the intermission evening, though I was thinking I will probably I will finish up the Journey of a Janus Testimony thing by the end of this week. So I might do a little two days in the row or so.
Other than informing ya (or warning you, depending on if you are enjoying it or not) of that, I have no Testimony or wedding updates for you. Something that I am sure will make at least a few of you a little happy. It is what is going on with me of course, but I don't generally get into grueling details about weddings of other people either. Rest assured, I am still almost in touch with reality.
Tomorrow is my first real pay day, and I am looking forward to that for certain. I am trying not to think of all the bills that already must be spoken for before I can enjoy it, just let me have my moment of bliss. I am getting a paycheck tomorrow, not a few 10 dollar bills after raking in a yard.
Now I do appreciate that friends and family have helped me out by giving me work while I was searching, so I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate the cash I made here and there. Something though about the word "Paycheck" makes me feel legit and somewhat proud. I am not longer a hobo or working vagabond, I have a "real job." A certain amount of shame is lifted from my life, though I did not talk about this until now in fear that I might jinx things.
So by Tomorrow night I get to send out my bill for auto insurance and some funding to my partner James to get us all set up for the next year. I don't want to think about how much I have left after that, I am trying to bask. Just bask Janus....just bask.
The writing came along terrible this evening, though by no one elses fault. I was a little under the weather tonight so I ended up taking Wal-Bourne cold and flu prevention tablets and taking a nap that was much too long.
I am working on having 3 weeks worth of articles edited and ready to go ASAP for project number 2. My goal is to have things setup a month in advance by February (after the wedding stuff and holidays is over) so that we only have to occasionally meet, we can set up photo shoots and all that. Meanwhile James is transfering our server onto a new host, so he isn't expecting too much out of me.
Maybe it's the "under the weatherness", maybe it's because I didn't feel like I got alot done today, maybe its because I realize that I have many personal flaws to work out, and who know's how many other maybes...but I am feeling a little down this evening. Why is it after every great thing, I seem to sink into this sort of mood.
I wish I could be more organized like my brother Ed, he seems to have bad days too but always gets things done. I think it's just an older brother thing. When people hear that I am the youngest they say they can tell because I am not organized and very assertive. I hate thinking that my order of birth affects me so much, so I am going to try somehow or someway to rise above it.
I will start by getting these articles done at least. Besides it will get my mind off wedding plans which are stressful.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Journey of a Janus pt 5, Did we read the same book?

(Warning, if you are new here...this is a multiple part article, I would encourage you to read the archives and today has me using a little bit more insight into my teenage years, so take my own actions with a grain of salt back then. I promise when this is all done I will link them all together.)

From where we started last time a few days ago...

So I had to find a church, Pastor Goode assured me it is important that I stay with the "body." Which is a odd way of saying (At least to me), that I needed to stay connected with others.
I did not understand at the time why he was so worried about me doing this, but about 15 years later it makes sense now.
So for a while I tried the Baskin Robbins approach, where I would try going to a lot of different churches to see how it worked. In truth I probably should of given some of them more of a chance; I didn't go to some because I found out I was the only person under 100 years old in a few of them, some didn't teach anything and were too loose with their faith and it felt more like after school bowling team, some were not just strict but utterly insane. (I will not tell you which church, but when you need to put a restraining order on a "pastor" because you leave the church and he doesn't stop calling you and telling you that you are "hell bound" on your answering machine...go to another church.)
The last church I stayed at for two years, because some pastor told me that no church was perfect so find one and stick with it. It was a very strict and legalistic church, and I fought the urge to leave because I promised I would give it a chance. This was the church that called me "Brother Janus" all the time, which for a long time afterwards annoyed me. (But times change, see here for the story.) All the flimsy handshakes and Brother Janusing made me feel like some sort of monk.
To sum up some of the details of my church experience, so that you know where I am coming from. You do know I hate listing numbers though.
1. They are a formal dress church, the "Wear your Sunday Best" church that inspired slightly painful memories when I watched Eric's movie -Just go to October 22, if you need to find a specific reference to Sunday the whole blog while you are there maybe.)
I actually had to borrow money from my Grandma to buy a suit so they would stop treating me like the spawn of Satan. I didn't have a suit and was not working at that age full time, so when in doubt call Grandma.
2. They believed that the King James Version is the only version of Bible that is legitimate for us to read. When I brought my NIV one time (New International Version, for those not into Bible initials) I remember the looks of fear and reproach I received because I did not have the "true version." I wasn't a Bible scholar back then either, but I am pretty sure that Jesus spoke a different language than Shakespearean English. (at least maybe in Judea region around 30 A.D. or so.)
3. The most distressing part for me was the intolerance. Basically they felt that people at this church would be the only ones to be spared from the wrath and every other denomination or whom did certain sins could never be forgiven and would be "hell bound." The youth minister even used a slurs to describe people that did certain sins that he thought were unforgivable.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, but this is not a flamefest, and I do not intend it to become one. I must admit that I still get some raw nerves when I speak and talk of this place. I did not quit it until after over two long years, and I tried my hardest to fit in and adjust. I heard others talking about the Holy Spirit flowing, and I honestly would of loved to feel that there. First I got the suit, then I got a haircut, but I never really got the hang of it.
I heard about the love of God at least two nights a week, but to be honest I didn't really see it that often other than written down in the program. Everyone seemed to be gossiping, thumping the bible like it was a baseball bat, and only seemed to be holy for about an hour of service, and then everything would go back to normal after the closing prayer.
I remember not sleeping at night sometimes wondering if God was going throw me out of heaven because I wasn't good enough. I read about the Pharisees and all the woes to them for being false and hypocritical, as I looked at my borrowed King James Version bible and the suit I bought so I could fit in with the rest of the group. I realized that this wasn't who I really was, and that maybe church wasn't for me and maybe I would burn in hell like they said. I began to think that if heaven would only be full of people like this, maybe I would be better off in hell.
At this point family troubles with my extended family brewed and exploded, and in a short while my life turned upside down. My parents couldn't reach through to me, counseling failed, and after a few months of absence without hearing so much as a peep from anyone there that might not even noticed, I tried to turn to my church for assistance. I tried to talk to the youth pastor about my trouble, but he didn't seem to care less even though I made an appointment. Then he told me that my hair looked a little shaggy and lectured me on respect for God's house. I finally lost it and said, "Look, I don't give a damn about my hair alright!"
Which then made him lose all sense of control over his perfectly forced holiness, and the condescending smile faded away and I thought he was going to hit me across the face. I admit that what I said was not appropriate but I was also tired of being lectured and wanted some sort of "Holy Spiriting." Instead I was told that Christians didn't say such things, and was thrown out of the office.
I made a phone call to an old friend and went to what would be my last Sunday school there. It was customary for people that were filled with the spirit to share a passage of the bible to the entire class if they should so choose, and I decided for the first time in the entire few years I had been here to give public speaking a try.
Now looking back I realized that this was not a loving nor Godly thing to do, but I was so fed but with the church and everything to do with it I was going to give them a memorable farewell. So I did a lesson on Numbers 22 and prepared to show them my abilities as a pastor.
Numbers 22:21-39 is a section in my old King James Version that is titled "Balaam's ass" and is actually a pretty neat story in any translation. It's about a guy that rides on his donkey and an angel of the lord stands in his way and the donkey refuses to walk past the angel. Balaam gets angry and whips the donkey and can't get him to move. Finally after a while the donkey asks him why he was whipping him, and Balaam answers him "Because you are making me look like a fool." I figure Balaam must be really frustrated and not paying attention because if my donkey spoke to me I would probably fall off in shock.
So using the "True version" I spoke about Balaam and his ass whom he called worthless I believe at least once, and whipped. This was very childish and very harsh of me, but I said it with complete deadpan and such conviction that I did not betray any lack of sincerity. Though many of the kids from the class and the youth pastor was well aware of what I was doing, but no one dared stop me from reading the word of God.
The senior pastor was clueless and was shouting Amen repeatedly during my scriptural reading, while the youth pastor started sweating and wishing he could hide. At the end of the lesson they have time for people to ask questions, the youth pastor tried to usher me off the stage but the senior pastor (his father) wanted to ask a question.
"So Janus, why did you pick that passage to read," he asked with an enthusiastic smile.
"I picked it because it shows that God can give even an ass the ability to speak and once in a while help us reach wisdom," I said without missing a beat and looking straight into the eyes of the youth pastor who was doing all he could not to come up to the pulpit and hit me with something.
With that someone started the prayer, and I slipped out of the room and went to the parking lot to a running car with Pastor Goode waiting in his trucking uniform. I ripped off my necktie with crosses on it and threw it in the trash and got into the car.
"Had a rough day my brother?" Pastor Goode asked me.
"Please don't call me that anymore," I said giving him a look of anger and ice, that startled him, "Could I have a ride home please."
"Sure...Janus," he said silently driving me home and not daring to say a word.
Looking back I feel bad for my treatment of my old friend, I wish I could say that I went to another church the next week and things got better soon after. For years though I wandered and grew more jaded until I stopped praying, reading, or having anything to do with God. Don't be nervous though, because even if we want to forget our old friend God...he doesn't stop loving you and he did reach me eventually. Which you will hear more about next time.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Bad night at work (At home)

Well good news is I got alot of articles done today for the other site. That's about the only good news.
My partner on the other project is AWOL this evening, I'm hoping because he is busy and not because he is out playing while I am trying to work. I don't mind people working of course, because sometimes you just have to. Sometimes personal important stuff comes up that causes delays, like wedding plans or something. All these are fine. I just wish people would send me a message and tell me they are going to be out for the day so I am not going crazy from waiting.
I need my access codes so I can work, otherwise I just type up articles and wait until someone else puts them up. So tonight I wanted to get some work done and it just didn't work out. I got about a half hour left of my shift, and I am a bit disgruntled since I have to wait til tomorrow...maybe to get things sent in.
One of my coworkers called Bella's cell to try to reach me, since he couldn't call me at the house phone. This is not comforting, since either he doesn't know how to use a phone either or it's the phone here. I got a voice message about an hour ago from Bella about it, but too late to call Jose back since the message showed up after his childrens bedtime. So no one either can or will get a hold of me tonight that I need to work with.
However I got 4 calls from political recordings today telling me to vote for this guy or that. Phone calls are alot like mail, the only ones you seem to get is the junk mail. If you got a certified check from out of town it's assured to get lost or eaten by a golden retriever that eats your mailman, but fear not, Capital One credit card offers that I have to shred never fail to reach me.
Blog was down earlier for a few hours, so I was only able to give you my frustrated rant tonight.
So Update for my Testimony (That is Journey of a Janus) should be here after 10:00 tomorrow evening, as long as the network doesn't die on me again, sorry for delays. Tomorrow I should have my network access, if we have no delays. We have to discuss administration, finances, and other things for the project websites...if we have no delays, and really can't afford them. I need to call everyone back tomorrow I couldn't reach today...yes you guessed it...if we have no delays.
Today is one of those days where I wish I actually worked in the same building with everyone like in the old days so I could reach out and flog someone with my mouse cord if they delayed me, now I just have to hope we get back from technical difficulties. I hate telecommuting somedays.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

A night in chaos and Tony's troubles

For all of you waiting patiently (or impatiently for part 5) I will be filling it in tomorrow. Since I decided to fill you in on yesterday and the latest and greatest (and not so greatest) news on Boucanville and the family. My every other day thing for posting part of my testimony isn't so much a lie, as it is that I am dealing with life at the same time.
So as you heard the other day, Bella and Caroline went dress shopping, which if you know anything about wedding dresses isn't just a mere dress but an investment for something you have to keep forever, much like the groom. Women can never find the ideal man, but they CAN find the ideal dress... in theory. So they were gone for a good while and didn't commit to anything in particular since they want to check a few options first.
I did my first informal powwow with the guys and I got 2 out of 4 to come out, Jose and Manny were a bit busy, and I said it was informal and it would be ok if they stayed behind. Karl and Tony were able to go out, though my two nieces were without a sitter so we took the two Jr. Bridesmaids with us. We decided to go to the Boucanville Bar and Grill. Which is really more of just a bar, and not much grill to it. (Most people don't go there for fine dining.) Then Karl's wife and little girl met with us there.
Tony doesn't drink, and if he does he has one glass of wine or beer once in a great while. Since he had his two kids he had a tumbler of 100 proof Diet Pepsi. Karl and I bought each other two beers and I had my Cape Cod (That is a Vodka and Cranberry...I was not driving after all.) Tony's eyes bulged when he saw me drink it down really fast without suffering any effects. Tony...Tony...I have come a long way since I was the 15 year old kid brother of your wife, and since I have had acquired knowledge of what my body could handle, besides I had to see how good the local fare was. The look he gave me was confusing, but it was like he realized I was an adult for the first time.
The girls all played with the jukebox together, with Elly watching over her little sister and her cousin. (Karl is my unofficially adopted brother, so his family is mine and vice versa.) The three guys with an occasional imput from Mrs. Karl decided on very few things. Mainly we just talked to each other, and caught up. The kids are growing up and getting older, and we hate to admit it but we are getting older too, and we are at the point where we just like to get together and share our lives and old stories over a bottle of beer...or er a can of Diet Pepsi.
I had not been in the Boucanville Bar and Grill since I was 9 years old and I shared a Cherry Coke and a Burger and fries with my dad. The place was a lot smaller and yet emptier than I remembered. The old baseball game had been removed and replaced with one of those stupid hunting games that every bar has now, along with bowling and a vintage pinball machine. The bartender was just a few years older than me, which was a change too. The burgers were great though, we all savored our 2 star bar food like it was a banquet of kings.
We left after 8:15 ,after some of the regulars started coming in and started lighting up cigs and drinking, because we had the kids with us and we had already eaten. I went over and payed the tab and one of the customers in my dad's store from 10 years ago was drinking a shot of something that looked strong and realized who I was. He said the Boucanville greeting.
"How is your dad?" Which means, I know which family you are from, even if I forgot your name.
"He's doing pretty good, how have you been?" Which is a rhetorical answer, followed by a rhetorical question. Since neither are particularly helpful or sincere. He mumbled an answer, as even if he has had a few drinks at this point he knows Boucanville etiquette.
"Janus is getting married in January," Tony told him. At this all the older guys and guys that looked about 30 years older than they were due to bad lighting and too much drink all craned their heads up and looked at me.
"I guess we will be seeing you here then more often," one of the older guys said with a chuckle.
....God I hope not. was all I could think. Then we paid our tabs, and we all walked out to the car on the quiet streets of downtown Boucanville (which is not really a downtown at all.)
When I got back to my parents house and waited for Caroline to bring Bella back and as the hours grew later I hoped that Caroline didn't take her on a shopping spree. After praying that Bella need not be led into temptation, and being very grateful that I only come to this town to visit friends and family, and very much appreciating that I only come here for a little bit at a time, I heard the ladies at the door.
That's when Bella and Caroline told me what was fashionable and which outfits to get, which irritated me a bit because while I could see that they were correct in what they were saying it would saved me a whole bunch of trouble if they just told us what we were getting, rather than have us look it over. Let's make me look as stupid and indecisive as I can, before the big day can we. I will agree though that bowties do make you look like a waiter, and we just didn't know it was called an Ascot that we were looking at. This thing must be genetically ingrained in certain women, because we call everything a tux or a tie. I really am indifferent to it all to be honest, but I don't like looking foolish, which is next to impossible if you are wearing a tux.
I found out that my brother in law Tony is having some dental work done at the bar, but only talking to my sister did I find out what it was. Tony is having a reconstruction done because of a childhood disease that ruined many of his teeth and caused bone erosion and infections. What he made sound like a minor tooth pulling, was actually torturious oral surgery. He didn't want to tell me because he wanted to be in my wedding, but my sister told me that he might not be in any shape for that. So today I called to make a compromise.
I will have a fifth groomsman, and Tony will be the fifth one if he is able at the date. Instead of being assigned to a bridesmaid to dance with, he can escort his oldest daughter (My Jr. Bridesmaid) down the aisle if he is up to it. If he isn't up to it, then he can be at home recovering or can watch from the pew. I figured that way Tony could play a part if he was up for it but that way if he was unable to that I wouldn't have chaos. I am praying for Tony to have a quick and as painless as possible recovery. Though I am not counting on it, after hearing the details from my sister. Poor Tony.
My sister and my mother are having a little feud right now, and I am hearing both sides of the story which make them both sound right but sounds like they are for two completely different events. Tony and my Dad are stuck in the middle of it, and trying not to get burned from the hellfire of scorning women. So I am praying that I at least get through the wedding with my family in peace, and I am looking forward to my life more and more with my bride to least an hour away.

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