Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011, What a roller coaster of a year!!!

What an eventful year to reflect on.  I'm sitting at my desk, that has an incredible view of the western end of the Heber Valley and the stunning snow spotted Wasatch Range, and trying to figure out where to start on this post.  A number of years ago a friend of mine died and at his funeral another friend started talking about tombstones.  He was talking about the dates on them and the dash in between.  One day you pop out and that's the first date then on the second date you are called back to God. In between you get this dash.  That dash is yours to do what you want with.  Some make it count and some piss it away, I guess that's me being a judge and that isn't the place that I have the right to be in, nor is it beneficial in any way for me to be there.  I'll try that again.  Some make it count and some could use some Love getting past existing part and into the living part of the dash.  This year had a very life changing last number in it for me.

On October 8th I found my father dead after he had committed suicide.  One brief moment turned my whole world completely upside down.  It has been almost three months and that moment is constantly on my mind.  It's not as bad as it was but it still plagues my dreams and taints my happiness...but not as much as it did last month.  I could go into this for a very long time but here is the cliff notes version.  He killed himself because of the dark place that he allowed himself to go to and I will not allow that in my own life, the only life that I truly control.  My sister and I have become closer than ever and continue to grow our love and respect for each other as each decision in the mess that followed his death has come up.  My mother is simply amazing!  My girlfriend has stood next to me and supported me the best that she can and hash't given up on me through my mood swings and indecisiveness.  Forgiveness is a must and often times has to happen numerous times in an moment for the same thing.  I am richly blessed in friends and family.  Life is good!  It really is much more than just a t-shirt logo.

On to the rest of the year, I had to get that out of the way so that I could focus on the rest with out it's dark cloud over it.  I started out the year on crutches after dropping a gun safe on my foot and having surgery to try and fix it.  My foot isn't the same but I can still do all of the things that I love doing so we're still ahead of the game!  I had a man tantrum in the drive way one morning when both crutches slide out form under me on the ice.  I threw my crutches and laid there on the ground cussing very upset at my situation. Now I just laugh at it, I love perspective!  Just before the tantrum a man had fallen through my ceiling.  It's kind of hard not to chuckle, isn't it?  Even though I was on crutches I had my father next door and my mother, sister and beautiful niece a mile away.  I lived in a beautiful place and was about to meet another soul that would change my life.

I got the cast off after two months in it and on crutches.  I had broke two casts in that time, done wheelies down the street on my dirt bike with my leg hanging off the side.  Got busted by mom while doing those wheelies and she was out on a walk.  The bike spent awhile in the garage after that.  I got pretty good at Black Ops on the X-Box.  Learned how to do all kinds of things like snow blow and fix fences while on one foot.  Oh yeah, I chased horses, that got out, as well!  Shortly after I became a biped again I went on a date with a crazy Armenian woman who like to touch my beard on our first date.  I just got off the phone with her :-)  I was able to get in about ten days of boarding but had to take off my boot between runs because the swelling in my foot didn't let it get enough circulation but they were good days!!!  I had my second surgery on the foot and was allowed to do my own stitches on an office visit a couple of weeks later.  So cool!

My niece and I got to spend a lot of time together while my sister worked and I loved it!  I love her so much!!!  She calls me Beeba.  I know that it doesn't sound anything like uncle Caleb but it sounds magical anyways.  She loves motorized wheeled things.  She loves cruising in the heavy equipment, on dirt bikes and quads, with her Grandfather on the riding mower and has even tried to get the push mower going.  RC helicopters freak her out though!  The morning after my father died she was walking around blabbering into a fake phone and made me smile.  She does that a lot.

I was able to board the mountain with my mother and my father last winter.  My Dad and I did some great rides in the mountains surrounding us.  My dearest friend and I got to mix it up in the same mountains twice even though he still lives in Cali.  I went to a hooka bar in San Fran with my two of my very good friends...then ran from the same hooka bar (still laughing).  Went to the Cakebread Cellars winery in Napa and sampled fine wines then moved on to Redding where we played on the lake and golf course.  I spent Valentines day in a hot tub with those two same friends and the wife of one of them.  My girlfriend was a bit jealous and is still trying to wrap her head around the three guys in a hot tub on Valentines day thing.

I jumped a ravine in Swing Arm City Utah!!!  My new found dirt biking buddy and I made a last minute trip to Goblin Valley and Swing Arm City to do some truly epic riding to ring in the new dirt biking season.  Another friend took me to a motocross track for the first time and it was a blast.  It would be way to easy to get really hurt out there!  I'll stick with exploring the mountains on my bike.  Normally I go through three rear tires to every one front tire but this year I found single track riding so tight and crazy that I tore off all of the side knobby's on my front tires that I had to replace them just as often.  Well worth it!

Work has been fun with new challenges and exciting relationships.  I am so blessed to get the opportunity to spend time with the youth that we get and with such a good team.  It is difficult to pour so much into an individual and then watch them graduate and move on with their lives but it is also very rewarding.

My sister and mother have these neighbors that I love!  We spend tons of time together and got to have some great days on the lake this summer.  I can still wake board!  I am still amazed at how good it feels to be in the water.  I even traded a boat for a dirt bike.  My mother and I got spend some great time together on it after it broke down and we paddled it half way across the lake.

I have entered into that scary place of loving a woman again.  It is so great yet so scary!  At least we're in it together.  She has introduced me to fine dining, gambling in Wendover, sushi, Armenian, climbing, and a whole new world of gaming.  Did you know that couples can actually sit down and enjoy the X-Box together?!  Mind boggling!!!  We have had to go into those self serving places and tear down those walls together a few times and continue to learn from them and come out stronger than before.

I was able to get one more day with my whole family together, smiling, happy, and real before my father died.  We were playing with my niece on the floor together the night before he killed himself.  It's so bittersweet.  My sister and I went through all of the things that my grandparents left my father and us and found all kinds of treasures like my grandfathers dog tags from WWII or a ring that he had made that I now wear.  We found my grandmothers sketch books and got to go through her paintings again.  It has been an adventure learning more and more about their lives.

On Christmas Eve my aunt, uncle, grandmother, cousins, and girlfriend all came over to my mother and sisters house for a Christmas celebration.  I love my family.  It was nothing short of wonderful.  Shortly before my father died I was driving home and was thinking how blessed my life was.  I'm surrounded by loved ones in a beautiful place.  He really is especially fond of me.

Two days ago I realized that I still hadn't been to Moab utah so I left work early, loaded up my truck and hit the road.  I had a great day riding some of the most challenging and exciting terrain on the face of the earth.

2011 has taught me to bounce back, to love deeply, to appreciate the ones you love, to never take a day for granted, to be passionate, to forgive, to forgive again, to live and that God still loves me...a lot!

Okay 2012, I'm ready!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today is a great day to become an uncle!

Today I officially became an uncle. I've been called uncle Caleb by a number of kids already and I love each of them so dearly but today my sister gave birth to my niece. She is incredible!!! I was at the door the whole time trying to catch what was happening inside the room. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. I was so frustrated because I couldn't take the pain from my sister. She's pretty flippin' tough, she did it naturally. That's right no epidural. I'm not saying that she didn't call for it, I'm just saying that she didn't get one. I was so tense. My fists were balled up, my shoulders were tight and my jaw was set. My mind was racing! I just wanted to take the pain from her so bad...then I heard my niece cry. My body loosened, my tears started and it became difficult to talk. In that one moment my body changed, my emotions changed and my life changed. I have so many dreams and hopes for her. On the nursery wall at the hospital there is this quote;

A new baby is the beginning of all things...
Wonder, Hope and a Dream of Possibilities.

She really is all of those things. There is something so pure and incredible about her. It's so unreal to hold her and think back to when my sister was born or to imagine myself like that. I Couldn't even imagine what it would be like if I were to be holding my own someday.

So the birth went pretty well. It was quick but obviously not painless. After the birth my sister bled out a fair amount of blood. When they took her to the bathroom she passed out and they called for us to help. I came into the room quickly and saw her in the wheel chair with her head back and her eyes open but rolled back. I've seen some horrible wrecks and more than my share of dying people and have always remained calm and collected. When I saw her my mind took off! I got to her as quickly as possible and lifted her to the bed then started checking her pulse and other such things while the nurses did their thing. This time was so different, I wasn't exact or totally calm like I used to be. It was scary.

She is doing fine now. I think she's eating a turkey sandwich actually.

Shortly after that she got a call from a dear friend who is pregnant and then I got a call from another one of her friends who wanted to let me know that one of their friends just lost her step father in a plane crash. Today is a great reminder of the beautiful and fragile nature of life. I was watching a movie with someone special last week and the movie was about a man who was losing his wife to a brain tumor. He was some kind of scientist who was searching for a cure to save her. He fought and fought to save her but he didn't get the cure finished until the day she died. He said that death is a disease and it could be cured. I disagree. He ended up getting a second chance at chasing the cure or being with his wife and ended up choosing that time with her. That made me smile.

I guess these are just the ramblings of a tired man. Scattered all over the place but some how coming together in my head in a way that might only make sense to me like the odd chaos of a dream that just seems natural no matter how odd it is. I guess to wrap it up I would say that life is to be lived no matter how long or short it might be. Death is just as natural as birth. Hold on to love. I'm sitting here watching my sister hold her baby and it is by far one of the most beautiful and natural things that I have ever seen.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random thoughts on Love

My dear friend Natalie once recommended that I read this book about Gods love for us. It was a fictional book but biblically based and I found it to be good. I wouldn't say that the writing itself was great but the message was. It's something that I completely agree with but I don't necessarily think that I've found the proper understanding of. It's Gods Love. I know that there is a God but I don't understand God. I understand that God has a personal attachment to me that is best described as Agape, the greek version of God's Love. I have a diluted idea of the power of Love in my own experiences and incidents that I have witnessed or heard of and it is beautiful. If you prescribe to the Christian faith then you have an incredible example of Gods Love in the man named Yeshua, Christ, Jesus. He Loved fiercely! He Loved openly and His Love was vast. I want to Love like that. I really want to Love like that!

So I was sitting in a hot tub last night with some good friends and we started talking about people who spend $5,000 on bedding for one bed. It made my blood boil! I found myself adding up how many kids that money could put through high school in Kenya and things like that. I'm still wrapping my mind around what happened in my heart and in my mind last night as that conversation continued. Here's where I am at with it. I find it a repulsive thought and find myself quickly judging those who do it. In that act I am polluting my heart and Love for another...I haven't even met them for crying out loud!!! I had to apologize for where I allowed my heart and mouth to go. It's tragic that the greed for money has the opportunity to corrupt hearts who don't even have the desire for it and are completely removed from it. It's tragic that I allowed it. I can honestly tell you that there is still bitterness in my heart for such things and that I have a long way to go with it.

Here's another thought that has come from my hot tub time with these friends. We were talking about youth and what we can do to better things for them. I'm a firm believer that change always begins with you. How can I ask another to change if I'm unwilling to change myself. So in our conversation someone brought up the phrase "what can we, the church, do....". My immediate thought was that "we" is not just the church but the whole human race and the responsibility lies in each and every one of us! My feeling is that when we try to make it the responsibility of "the church" we are saying that "the church folk" are higher than others in morals and responsibility. I disagree with that. There are plenty of opportunities to show lack of morals in "non-christians" but I also remember spending many sleepless nights with someone that I love dearly as they fought with their youth pastor in dreams as he and others from the church continued to abuse this person many years beyond the original offense. My thought and feeling is that the responsibility lies in the hands of every single soul on the face of this earth. Do not separate but come together! That seems a lot like real Love to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm back!!!

WOWZERS!!! I find myself searching for words to describe the time that accounts for my absence from this blog but it's really hard to find just one. I'll take a shot at some. Incredible, amazing, scary, adventurous, soul searching, invigorating, crazy, draining, captivating, tough, joyful, hopeful, and of course full of LOVE. You had to know that I couldn't forget Love.

I'm still in the process of processing my time in Kenya and everything that came with it and I'm sure that there will be plenty to come after this in regards to what I got from my time there. I have to say that I'm glad that I went alone and that it was for more than just a few weeks. I still had hardly anything figured out after just a few weeks. I'm in Cornville Az. right now at my Dads house and have had time to unwind and get used to being back here in the states but I still haven't digested what the last 3 months have brought me. Did you know that Senator McCain lives here? I didn't!

What I can tell you is that I saw some beautiful things and God allowed me to be a part of a beautiful piece of His kingdom and I am truly thankful for it. I look forward to spending time with all of you sharing life and the adventures that we've been able to be a part of in our time apart. I missed you!

I do want to leave you one of the most important messages that I got from my time in Kenya. I've heard this a hundred times and thought that I lived it out but I really did a poor job at it. The most important mission field isn't in Kenya or Mexico or Turkey it's right here right now. Every moment of your should be approached as the mission field. There's more glamor in going to some far off place and being Jesus to them and they really do need our help but the mission field is with your best friend, your spouse, sister, pastor, enemy, people at the beach, rich lawyer in Yaks, or the homeless guy that you just drove by. A friend of mine wrote to me while I was in Kenya and told me this story about a homeless mentally ill lady that she helped out one night against the advice of police and neighbors. She was just on her way home and saw someone that she could be Jesus to and did it. I have no clue if that lady even remembers her but I can tell you that at that moment she felt loved and those neighbors, police, fire and ambulance people got to see Jesus alive here. You and I are in the mission field right now!

I look forward to getting all of this going again and getting together with as many of you as possible. I wonder what's next?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

LOVE, the Phenomenon!!!

If any of you have spent much time around me and we got into any kind of deep discussion then there is a good chance that the word love was used. I love Love!!! Seriously I Love it!!! I can’t explain it but I sure am fond of it. It’s like the holy spirit, wind, or the way a womans mind works. I can’t explain it but it sure does lead to an adventure. Today I was at this Baptist church in Karen Kenya and the pastor asked what Jesus is single gift to us and he said that it was salvation, I don’t agree with this. The pastor had a great point and is much more educated than me but still I think that salvation is not standing alone on that podium.

So I asked God, “Father what is Jesus greatest gift to us?”

I think he said “Celine Dion”. Just kidding I got “Salvation, guidance, Love, grace and faith.”

“ I think your right Father.” I said and then I realized that He realized that I meant “Your right!” and just blew off the “I think” part because He know that wasn’t what I meant.

Maybe it’s just because I’m so fresh in this walking with Jesus thing but I always come back to Love being from God and Fear being from Satan. It’s very simple to me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Poddles and Dobermans

I was at this great conference the last couple of days called When God Dreams. At the beginning of the conference I was asking God a number of questions during worship. I was watching the worship team play and the worship leader was smiling as she played but the rest of them looked like they were playing poker. Please keep in mind that the worship was PHENOMENAL and the team was passionate about what they were playing and you could feel it in the music. Nevertheless they looked pretty serious. So I asked God "Father, how seriously should we be taking this life with you?" His response was "Poodles and Dobermans".

I immediately understood! My friends have this little poodle that is such a great reminder that God has a wonderful sense of humor and that lil' dog popped into my mind immediately. On my way to work I drive by a used car lot that has a two doberman pincers that keep watch after hours. That is a dog that I couldn't imagine doing anything but taking seriously. "Good point God. Thanks."

Friday, April 17, 2009

The quiet one

This morning I was thinking (this can sometimes be a painful experience but not this time) about people in my life and the differences in them. I feel that there has to be balance in almost everything in life. There are always opposites. Good to evil. Powerful to weak. Hot to cold. I see those in people to. I know people who come storming into your life with such a strong presence that draws everything around them to them. The power of their personality is like a magnet. Then you have the quiet one.

The quiet one is the one off to the side while everybody is surrounding the powerful one. I've known a lot of quiet ones and they have never ceased to amaze me. They are so powerful and they rarely realize it. I have this great friend that everybody knows, respects and loves but he is never the center of attention. He is possibly the most Christ like man that I have ever met in my life but once again he is not the one standing out in the crowd. He'll give you the shirt off of his back before you even have the chance to ask for it. He'll also lovingly point out that there is a chance that you could have dealt with something in a better way. He's the type of guy that you would never want to be disappointed in you because it would wreck you. I don't think that I would have ever really got to know him as well as I do had we not ended up spending a lot of time working together. I always liked him and always saw wisdom and love in him but I never realized how deep it went.

God is so good at humbling me with men like him. It would have been so easy for this amazing man to have been a passing friend in my life. I would have never known how amazing he is because he is the quiet one. People always listen when he talks but he still manages to slip by so easily. We should always remember that in the crowd there is someone in the back with an amazing gift for us. We can't get near sighted we have to stay aware of everybody and everything to really experience this life and the gifts that we have been given.

Father I thank you for the men and women of God that stand up and make your voice heard to the crowds. I thank you for the ones who have that powerful presence that is always out there in the open for everybody to feed off of and grow in. Father I also thank you for men like Jim who's quiet presence is so very powerful as well. Father I pray that you open our eyes to see more of these men and women and that we learn everything that we can from them. Father help us to open our hearts to relationships with these amazing people. Father thank you for gifting us with them. Thank you for loving us so very much. AMEN!