Jesus is our peace

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Just a few days into December and work is exploding. The environment is tense as a major project must go out soon after the beginning of the year. In other words, a typical stressful December here in my office. Knowing that things will get harder before they relax, I find my anxiety kicking in, causing my chest to tighten up. Feels like an elephant has taken up permanent residence on top of my heart. In the midst of fight or flight, God has reminded me of a snippet from Micah I read yesterday.

Micah 5:5A

I want His peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding.

A Christmas Note To Myself

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On the day before December begins,

I’d like to remind myself.

That no matter how stressful work gets,

Nor how much I miss family,

Swirling down into the depression pit isn’t worth it.

At all.

I need to focus on my family around me,

My friends,

The anticipation of the Advent season.

Spending the entire month of December, in a funk, sucks.

You know it, and your wife knows it. 

So stop it!

Break the cycle this year.

Tell depression to get off your mental lawn.

You’re welcome, by the way.

– A note from November Bryan to December Bryan.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Not sure about you, but December is traditionally a tough month for me. All through November, I’ve been watching depression circle around outside the fire light. Beckoning me to step away from the comforts of clarity and embrace the dark/warm fuzzy jacket of depression. Wanted to write a quick note to remind myself not to go down that path this year. I want to encourage you also to stay near the fire and pay attention to the words you are speaking to yourself. We can do this.

Blame the parents, if you can

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Got up and went to the dentist this morning. Have had a tooth that has been bothering me that I wanted to get checked out. Turns out there was nothing wrong with the tooth in question. The dentist did tell me to quit clenching my teeth down, while at work, and that I should check into consulting an orthodontist. I then told the dentist that it was all my parents fault. That they should have paid for me to have braces. Of course I was joking, not sure the dentist took it that way. Had to explain myself. Oh well.

2.22.15weather

Sitting here listening to the rain hit the windows. Kind of a dreary day outside. Has rained non-stop. Wouldn’t surprise me if we have gotten 3-4 inches by the time this storm system has blown through.

Work has been slow lately. We currently have a bunch of projects on the horizon (April/May-ish) but a lot of prep work in the meantime. Trying to busy myself with lower tier office items that I neglect when we are running in full swing.

Not a bad day over all. How are things with you?

Death in Motorville – Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

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(Bryan Note: This essay was originally published over at TheologyGaming.)

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure” ~ J.K. Rowling

Every story has to have an inciting incident. A moment that propels the protagonist to respond with action. No matter the greatness of the action however, forward motion is key.

motorville 1024x576 Death in Motorville   Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

In the lands of the digital

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch opens in an idyllic American town. Seemingly breathed to life out of a Norman Rockwell painting, Motorville is sweet Americana. The game opens with Oliver, Ni no Kuni’s protagonist, dwelling in this perfection with his mother, Allie. As in many stories branded with Walt Disney’s name, Oliver’s father is no where to be found.

Living in a town called Motorville, one would think there would be into a thriving automotive culture. Something akin to the car culture of Southern California. Well, one would be right in their thinking. Oliver’s friend, Phil, is a tinker who has built his own race car. After showing the car to Oliver, Phil asks him to sneak out, later that night, and come for a test drive. So, Oliver waits until his Mom is asleep and then quietly tip toes out of the house. A decision has been made, the adventure has begun.

Outside of town, Oliver gets behind the wheel of Phil’s race car. Goggles in place, Oliver races the car down a road that runs alongside a river. Meanwhile, in another realm, the White Witch zaps Oliver’s car which causes one of the wheels to come off. He quickly loses control and swerves into the river. Drowning, Oliver gasps for air. The situation looks dire until his Mom shows up and saves him. Carrying him out of the river, she places him on the road above. Due to a weak heart, she then collapses and dies. Oliver is now alone.

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Grandpa Ayers, my brother and I at Mount Palomar, CA.

In the lands of the real

My own father–or Dad, as I like to call him–drives a big rig for a living. This means that he is home maybe 2-3 days a week, depending on the week. With my Dad rolling down the highways, I was left with a lack of a strong male role model growing up. Thankfully, God filled that void in the form of my Grandpa Ayers. However, like Oliver’s Mom, my Grandpa was taken from me suddenly. I wasn’t alone, but I felt that way.

My Grandpa’s death led me to a series of events that catapulted me into the lands of East Texas; his death was my inciting incident.

Back to the digital

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Mr. Drippy comes to life!

A funeral comes and goes, the game shows Oliver in his room crying. His family is no longer a party of two. Crying begets tears, one of the tears falls upon a stuffed animal Oliver’s Mom made for him. Mr. Drippy is this odd creatures name. Suddenly, he comes to life! Mr. Drippy, Lord High Lord of the Faeries, invites Oliver on a quest to save his Mom. A decision must be made…and Oliver decides he has nothing to lose. Following Mr. Drippy into the Ni no Kuni world, Oliver has a mom to save…or does he?

 Death in Motorville   Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Everyone has to travel in style, right?

In reality that comes from above

God is calling, there’s no bigger love

– Newsboys, Reality

As a Christian, I am a citizen of Heaven.

  • I know that Jesus defeated death by dying on the cross.
  • I know that my Grandpa Ayers is in Heaven and that one day I will see him again.
  • I know that I do not have to embark on some epic quest with the Lord High Lord of the Faeries.

The Lord calls me to go, tell others about him, and help train up Christian brothers along the way. Death has no power over me; death is simply an Earthly signal that I have gone on to work and serve my God. I can’t wait.

Failure is OKAY

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A few weeks into a job, I came across a situation that was very foreign to me, verbal abuse. I don’t remember exactly what the task was, but my boss repeatedly told me that I had failed.

“This task is so easy that a third grader could do this.”

Then pointing out the window, “Do you see the Fedex person walking by? This is so easy that they could do this.”

Any sense of college optimism I had jumped out the window in that moment. Sadly, I began to let small repeated moments like those define who I am. Lies from the very pit of Hell itself.

Past failure, if we let it, can quickly become a part of our identity.

Failure is okay. I think that we have to grant ourselves the slack to fail from time-to-time. As long as we are learning from those failures, we are golden. Lies can only be exposed by truth. It is okay to fail because you will.