National Novel Writing Month

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Tomorrow kicks off National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal of National Novel Writing Month is to write a novel with a 50,000 word count in 30 days. This breaks down to writing 1,666 words a day. Woof!

Last year, I dove into this competition and ended up drowning in plot points. This year, I’m going to get back on the saddle and try and push my way to completing my first novel.

So, I want to ask you to join me on this trip. Everyday you can visit JBG and I should have a new chapter posted to my story. I encourage you to give me feedback as I write.

See ya tomorrow when the bomb drops!

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Friendship

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"I don't understand why we can't get close enough, I miss the shivers in my spine every time that we touch" - Jars of Clay, Closer

This morning, on my way to work, I was listening to a Focus on the Family podcast featuring Doctor’s Les and Leslie Parrot. They were talking about the importance of friendship in relation to marriage. Specifically, they spoke about how important it is to be good friends with your spouse. Reminded me of how easy it is to take spousal friendship for granted.

From the moment I met my now wife, we had an understanding, a connection. From our first conversation, I opened up to her about my Grandpa passing away and how I missed him. My wife has always been someone that I can talk very easily with. Quite quickly, she became/ is my best friend.

We have been through a lot of trying experiences over the years. Multiple family deaths, surgeries, and hardships at work. We have also experienced the birth of our son, four years of marriage, and the continual adventure that life brings each day. In short, we have traveled amongst the peaks and the valleys; we have grown stronger in our travels.

I don’t ever want to take the friendship I have with my wife for granted. I think that the ease of our friendship makes it easy to forget “the spark” that we have, the unique connection.

I never want to let you go baby, I love you .

Fear of Silence

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“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Lately, I have been leading a Bible study at my church on Wednesday nights. One of the things I’ve been learning is to be okay with silence. For some reason, we tend to fill moments of reflection with noise.

This past Sunday morning, the choir director at church had a musical interlude for what seemed a few minutes. Instead of focusing on what lyrics were next, I found myself alone in my thoughts. Quietly, I was able to reflect on the lyrics that had been sung and was able to simply pray.

Our words quickly lose meaning, effectively becoming white noise, when we won’t shut up for a second. Instead of living in fear of awkward pauses, I encourage you to be brave and embrace the reflective silence. Who knows, perhaps you’ll discover something new.

The Raging Tiny Tower Inferno of Doom!

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Woke up this morning to find it gloomy and cold outside. A perfect day for coffee laced with a bit of caramel. Apparently, we had a cold front move through last night. Today is supposed to be windy with a high of 68 degrees. Such a welcome relief from the record summer heat we experienced in East Texas. Good riddance!

Had a friend email me this morning about the iPhone app Tiny Tower. He specifically asked: “Does this game ever end?” I am guessing the answer is no. For the uninitiated, Tiny Tower is a tower building simulation for the iDevice. The game allows you to build different business types (retail, food, recreation, etc.) and then rack up the cash as consumers consume your tower’s products in droves. There is also another “gameplay” component that allows you to act as a slum lord/ hire and fire employees. For those that have a fashion bent, you can dress up your Bitizens to your hearts content. Keep in mind that this app is free with a catch, Tower Bux. Tower Bux are Tiny Tower’s currency that speeds up construction time and increases other in-game options. Think of Tower Bux as liquid patience. One of the beautiful things about this game is that you don’t necessarily  have to purchase the in-game currency. Every once in awhile, the game will automatically award you Tower Bux for random events such as taking a Bitizen to a specific floor via elevator. Again, think of this slow feed Tower Bux concept as a drug dealer methodically bringing potential users in with a “taste” of his product.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time playing Tiny Tower. My most favorite part of the game has been naming the individual stores. Where else can I have a coffee shop called Hipster Brew? I have to question though the longevity of playing this app. There do not seem to be any goals other than to build a massive profit-making tower. This will get old at some point. Like the donkey with the carrot on a stick, eventually I will just kick my rider off and eat the darned carrot. In the mean time though, I’m going to mindlessly distract myself by building another floor to my tower. Maybe I’ll expand the “Hipster” line of stores?

Recovery

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I have been sick for most of my life. As far back as I can remember, I have dealt with stomach issues. My parents have told me that I had problems digesting milk from the very beginning. Thankfully the wonders of the soy bean had been discovered long before my arrival. All of that to say that recently I become sick of being sick. So, at a friends suggestion, I sought out a gastroentrologist in an effort to delve into the secrets of my gut.

About the same time I was pursuing the gastroentrologist, I started to experience pain in my right and left sides. A sonogram and a HIDA scan later, my doctor concluded that I was having gallbladder problems. I then had an appointment with a surgeon who told me that I was a prime candidate for gallbladder removal. Woo hoo!

October 6th, I arrived at the hospital for check-in. I was nervous. After having lower back surgery earlier this year, memories of my pain and recovery were still too fresh. The last thing I wanted was to be put under again. The near-constant pain in my right side said otherwise, however. Prepping for surgery, I consistently had a sense of deja-vu.  I kept thinking that I recognized different nurses and orderlies. Thankfully all the pre-op stuff went well. Having the IV put in was no big deal. What was a big deal was seeing the needle for the blood thinning medication. The needle was huge! The nurse gave me the choice of having it inserted into my abdomen or my thigh. I quickly chose my thigh (leave my stomach alone!). With pre-op stuff completed, I was soon wheeled back into the pre-op holding area.

Back when I had my back surgery in January, the pre-op room I was in was for kids. By this I mean that there were prints of colorful animals all over the walls. I remember the wall decorations as being somewhat creepy and not soothing for an adult. This time though, I was placed in a normal white-walled holding room. My wife and I talked and I gave her permission to remarry in 20 years. I also told her that I wanted a 15 minute guitar solo at my funeral.

Being wheeled into surgery, my memory starts to get fuzzy here. The last thing I remember were the operating table lights. I was literally asleep in what had to be minutes. Praise God!

When I woke up, I noted that it was 1pm on the wall. My surgery had been at 10:45am. I had no clue how long I had been laying there. What I do remember though was the nurse telling me to stop moaning. She said that it wasn’t helping anything. Sure, tell a drugged person to knock it off. I fell asleep shortly after that.

Waking up, my wife was by my side. She would later tell me that I had not been too nice to the recovery nurse. Apparently I just wanted to be left alone. Who can blame me? By 4pm the doctor cleared me to go home. Thanks to the miracle of medicine, I don’t remember too much of the drive home or the rest of that day for that matter. Hmm.

Recovery has been slow but good. Nothing like my back surgery. Worst thing that has happened is some sort of allergic reaction that I’ve had. My incision points look like welts and I’ve developed a rash that itches like none other. I also have occasional pain and can’t eat too much. I think I’m actually losing weight. Which isn’t a bad thing.

12 days since surgery and I am going strong. I have even been able to eat yogurt, which is something I haven’t had in years. So yummy! So yeah, I’m back. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. I am hoping that this surgery marks the end of my surgical year. Anymore and I might as well become a doctor and operate on myself.

Selective Love

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In the years that Jesus Christ ministered on Earth, he only loved on those that had pink hair. He specifically sought out the pink-headed ones in order to:

  • Heal them
  • Drive demons out of them
  • Love them unconditionally

To the others, to those that lacked pink hair, he intentionally ignored them. *Just ignore John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world…) and the entire Bible for the above to be true. 🙂

For at the least the past month, maybe longer, I have stopped going to the Highway 80 Bible Study my church leads every Sunday afternoon. Part of the reason I have quit going is simply a matter of convenience. I have had too many family gatherings, medical issues, and other excuses come up during the 4-5pm Bible study time. Sometimes it is nice to just relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap with my wife. Who can argue with that?

Justifications aside, I had a friend send me an email the other day in which he talked about loving on other people. The email made me realize that I am selectively sharing my love, Christ’s love, for other people. In a way, I am prohibiting the work that Christ can do through me. I have become an ambassador of Christ that likes to hide away in the Christian embassy.

I am not proud of my sudden isolation. I dislike knowing that I am prohibiting potential blessings on others due to my lack of faithfulness. Just need to figure out how to get back on the horse. Regardless of my Bible study attendance, I need to be actively sharing Christ’s love outside of my comfort zone.

Lessons From L.A. Noire

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The deeper I have delved into the darkside of Los Angeles, the more unfocused things have become.

With nine cases under my belt, I find myself currently working the Vice Desk. So far, in my career with the LAPD, I have learned:

  1. All African Americans want to be like Shaft. Now I know that this game takes place in 1947, which is nowhere near 1971’s Shaft,  but just hear me out. The African Americans in L.A. Noire are cool kats who enjoy stringing the f-word together in unique and creative ways. They be hustlers yo!
  2. My police captain, who is Irish, is a foul-mouthed man who enjoys marrying religious imagery with the f-word. He also seems to have a penchant for drinking. Who would have thought?
  3. Driving at high speeds and narrowly missing other cars is not a way to lose your license. If anything, as long as you don’t scratch the paint, you’re a war hero.
  4. Perpetrators are going to run. You are going to have to chase after them. End of story.
  5. If you visit a location once chances are you are going to visit that same location again. The second time you visit though things will fall apart and general chaos will ensue. Trust me.
  6. Rain makes everything moodier and noir-ish.
  7. Just when you think you are rid of one foul-mouthed partner, another one comes along. Kind of like real life.
  8. The City of Los Angeles has always been a seedy place.