My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Lessons my dog taught me

It’s been about over a year now since we got Reilly, our Lab cross.  She is all grown now but technically still a pup.  I would be telling a lie if I said that I have no regrets about getting a dog. I was never really a dog lover. I tolerated them and give them just the right attention, but they were like grandchildren to grandparents, give them attention and treats then send them home to their parents.  For some strange reason, the wife and I decided that having a dog would be great for the kids.  Plus they promised they would do all the dog duties.

I envisioned getting a dog like my friends’.  One that sits and cuddles and walks around the house without wanting to eat everything, including the house.  A dog that I could take walking or jogging and he would not trip me.  I could even ride my bike while he trots alongside.  I am not dreaming, I have seen such dogs! And that’s the dog I wanted.  What I got was Reilly.  The total opposite.

Reilly is as cute as any dog could be. She just wants to play, my wife always says when I am mad at her for not complying, even after being told over and over and over again. Yes, I have done the treats thing, some obedience classes and whatever you were going to prescribed. She’s still just a puppy, everyone says that too.

A puppy is like a little baby.  Always exploring and getting into things, so it was no reason for me to flip my lid over poor Reilly’s inability to comprehend that Daddy gets mad when she goes upstairs or sits on the couch or grab edible and non-edible items off the tables. She’s just a baby or a puppy. The thing is though, I wasn’t ready for another baby. With 3 little boys, I had my hands full. What was I thinking?  Or was I even thinking?

Having Reilly has taught me a few things.  As hard as rabid dog lovers/owners try to push dogs on everyone, they are NOT for everyone. Just like kids aren’t for everyone.  It’s totally ok, you or anyone else do not HAVE TO love dogs. No, just like you don’t HAVE TO love or want kids.  Just don’t abuse them is all you need to do. Many of my friends are anti-kids.  Doesn’t mean that I won’t trust my kids with them.

Dogs, like kids, can also grow on you.  They could be therapeutic as they are very forgiving and trusting. One of my most disgusting pet peeves was seeing dog hair on people’s clothing.  Eew! I couldn’t have a dog in our house that leaves its hair all over the place, no way! Now I barely notice the strands of Reilly’s hair that decorate my clothes as I leave for work. Or even the odd stray hidden in my food.  I probably have a small fur-ball growing in my stomach by now anyways.

Yes, dogs and kids can teach us some lessons.  If we could only stick around long enough.

 

A Thought

Think on this:

If today is the best day of your life, it won’t last. Tonight might be an inch short of hopeless; it won’t last either. Whatever has brought you to this moment is only part of the story of your life and relationship. The rest is yet to come. Put all of it—dark thorns and shining threads—into God’s hands, and he will sustain you.

Shut up and let me sleep!

They all start off the same. Falling into a nice deep sleep before the end of an episode of Modern Family.  By 1am, so deep in Lala Land I could be mistaken for a citizen or a Lalatian.  Unfortunately, like all the other nights, I get deported before I could even be considered a landed immigrant.
Last Wednesday night I fell asleep just after 10pm.   I was very tired so I had no doubt that I would be sleeping the whole night through.  Just before 3am I found myself awake and alert.  My mind sensing this, decided to start a conversation.  Oh there you are! Sucks about your friend dying eh?  So many people dying young these days. How is your health by the way? How is the blood pressure that you had tested?  How about work?  Let’s see what you have to do when you go in tomorrow. Or maybe I should say this morning.

My mind bombarded me with thoughts like those.  I chewed on some and dismissed some.  I tried to shut it off, telling myself I need to get some sleep but my mind wouldn’t relent! What time is it anyways?  Oh almost 3am.  Almost 4am.  Almost 5am…oh oh, someone needs to be getting up soon.  Aaarrrghhh!!

 

 

 

DST

Image result for daylight savingsIn this hectic world where we wish daily that we had one more hour in our days, losing an hour is a big deal.  When it’s done on a Sunday morning where the next day is the much-dreaded and hated Monday, it’s an even bigger deal.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that this tactic has ran its course but the decision-makers continue to flog this dead horse.  Maybe they just don’t want to admit defeat.  Saying this,  I have a work-around that could make this DST work and benefit everyone.  Make the change on a weekday, preferably Monday, at about 3pm!

How would that benefit everyone?  Well when the time changes on a Sunday, employees show up to work tired and unproductive.  That’s if they do turn up, some prefer to call in sick.  If the time goes forward an  hours closer to the end of their work day, employees get to leave on hour earlier AND start their evening chores earlier too! It’s almost as if they gained an hour! It’s all in the mind of course because really, who doesn’t want to leave work early? Happy employees=production=happy employers.

Thank me later.

Hell! It Can’t Be Real! Or Is It?

I have been thinking a lot about Hell lately. You know the Hell your parents and your church warns you about.  The place where bad people go to burn forever.  With the horned devil perched on his seat while he pokes sinners who dare to try to escape his fiery pit.  Try as I may, I just cannot fathom something so unimaginable.  (As a little boy, I would look at the big painting on the wall of my aunt’s house of Satan sitting with a harpoon and watching as tormented souls writhed and burn in his fire.  For some reason, I was always mesmerized by this painting, even as a kid).

Pardon me if you perceive that I am venturing out on the edge of blasphemy here.  It’s just your perception, I am a proud believer in God.  Now this Hell thing is what confuses me.  God Is Love, the ultimate unselfish lover whose love and forgiveness is bottomless.  I love my kids to no ends but that pales in comparison to the love that God has for his children.  And we are all his children, sinners and…never mind, there’s no ‘and’, we are all sinners.  There is nothing that my children could possibly do to make me sentence them to a life time in a burning pit of fire, in fact, there’s nothing anyone could do that would get me to wreak such a punishment on them.  God gave me that kind of Love.  If my puny love could transcends whatever wrong was done to me, how could his much greater love allow for any of his children to suffer this way? Yes, they broke a commandment and did not repent but does stealing a goat equate to an eternity in burning flames?   The funny guy in me is imagining a conversation between two burning souls:  Soul #1: So what are you in here for? Soul #2: Oh for murder, you?  Soul #1: I made a graven image.  Soul #2:  What the H E double hockey stick is that??

Maybe I am missing a big chunk of the picture and someone with a deeper understanding of the Bible needs to bring me up to speed or maybe it’s just my cynicism.  See my last blog here.  So, is Hell for real?  Would God really allow his children to suffer in anguish and torment while he feeds his other kids milk and honey as they walk the golden streets of Heaven?  I have to say no.  But then again,

That’s just My Take.  If I’m wrong, I pray God will forgive my ignorance and save me from the pits of Hell.

 

 

Are You A Cynic Too?

So I have been diagnosed as a cynic. Well it’s not a legit diagnosis done by a qualified doctor or anything like that.  In fact, it’s not even a medical condition. It’s a self diagnosis borne out of the realization I am a person who takes everything with a grain of salt.  Everything!  Ever seen those people who reach for the salt as soon as their food is brought to them, without even doing a taste test? Well that’s me.  Except for the food part.

What am I cynical about? Every darn thing! See above.  Take for example the good old tried and true recommendation that one should hide underneath a door frame during a hurricane.  Do I believe that?  Nope.  I saw photos of Haiti after it was hit by an earthquake.  Not once did I see a doorway just standing there, in the middle of the carnage. Not one doorway!  Indonesia, no intact and untouched doorway there either. In fact, in all of the photos of earthquake devastation, I have yet to see proof that this works.  That’s not the only example of my cynicism though. There’s more. A lot more.

I am also a cynic of political promises.  Do  you really think I believe one word uttered by those smiling, well-dressed politicians? No way Jose! Why do I vote for them?  I do because I am tired of listening to the ‘If you don’t vote you blah blah blah’.  Newsflash! They are all the same.  And if you don’t believe that, show me solid proof that they aren’t.  I didn’t think so.  Just like that phantom doorway…

You are probably thinking that I have to be positive about something right? Maybe world peace.  Lmao! World Peace? Isn’t that an oxymoron? I do pray for world peace but I know that this would never be achieved.  Not while humans walk the earth.  End to racism? Sure, when pigs fly.  While humans of different color, class or creed share the planet, never happen.

So you get the picture, I am as cynic as they come.  Are you one too? Or do you share and like Facebook posts that promise blessings and winnings if you like or share?

I join the masses in praying for the stuff that I am cynical because cynic or not, you never know, and I have had misplaced cynicism before.   I do, however, cover the spread.  I pray harder for patience to deal with the undesired stuff that comes to me. Understanding to discern why it is happening and strength to deal with it.  I also pray for a small portion of the faith that Job exhibited in the Bible.  Without it, all is lost, cynical or not.

 

My Take

Who’s Holding The Trump Card?

If you follow NHL hockey you would have heard about John Scott, the goon-turned-all-star.  After an online campaign, fans voted for Scott, who had just 5 goals and 1 assist in his career, to be the captain of the Pacific division team.  Yes, it was a joke.  The NHL in its embarrassment, tried everything they could to ‘right’ this ‘wrong’.  They had him traded from his Phoenix team to Montreal, hoping to make him ineligible since he would be a different division.   He was even sent down to the minors!  It didn’t work.  A win is a win and Scott had won legitimately, it didn’t matter his credentials. At the All Star game, Scott scored 2 goals and won not only the MVP but over 90 thousand dollars.  No one saw that coming.

Donald Trump’s Presidential  mirrors the above.  I am sure everyone thought it was a joke  No one really thought the Donald had a chance.  He had nothing in his portfolio to suggest it was anything but a joke.  In fact, Trump claimed that he knew nothing about politics.  Well the joke’s on America.  Trump has rolled down the Republican hill as a small snow flake but has now grown into a huge snow ball and gaining momentum!  Trump is for real!  You can see it coming.  The Republicans, like the NHL, are seeking ways on how to quietly end this  embarrassment, but could they?  Is it too late?  The people have spoken?

The fact that the KKK and other white supremacists groups pledged allegiance to Trump speaks volumes as to the type of person he is and what he is about.  Not that anyone needed proof, his tweets and loose tongue already revealed such.  Trump, in his honest defense, claimed that he knows nothing about white supremacists or the KKK when asked about the endorsements.  He just doesn’t know.  I doubt he knows that his wives are immigrants.  If he did he might think twice about his stance on immigrants.

It seems like what Trump wants, Trump gets  because the more he fumbles and bungles his way through his campaigns, spewing hate, sexism, racism and taking cheap and immature shots at anyone who dares to oppose him, the more popular he gets!  He is contradictory and barely knows what goes on outside his personal space.

A man who refuses to make his tax returns public and declared “I try to pay as little tax as possible,” is the forerunner in race for President.  There was never a better time for Americans to seek God’s blesssing.  From Obama to this?

Unlike Donald Trump, John Scott is a good man who deserved the good things  he go.   Sorry for the comparison, Mr. Scott.

My Take.

Don’t Let Your Badness Stop Your Goodness and Make You Lose Your Happiness

As I sat in the pew last Friday, attending my second funeral in as many months, I reflected on how final death was.  It was the funeral of a close family friend, she was only 46.  The celebration ran long as there were a total of 10 speakers, each sharing stories of the awesome person whose ashes lay before me.  Gone too soon.

I thought of how we sometimes live our lives as though we have a lot of years ahead of us.  Even though we greet each other at funerals with the same, “Oh life is so short, let’s not meet like this anymore.” that sentiment is usually forgotten before we are even done gorging on the funeral food.

Life is indeed too short and even though we have all these memes and sayings that remind us not to worry or sweat the small stuff, it’s all just hogwash.  We worry about past mistakes and screw-ups wasting valuable time regretting what we did to our best friends, our families and ourselves.  What we did in Vegas that stayed in Vegas…  The time we got drunk and experimented with drugs… Sometimes we even worry about the good things we did!  We spoke the truth and it resulted in us being alienated by family and friends, so we worry and stress about that too!

Last time I checked, worrying never fixed or changed anything.  Wishing you could turn back time is not going to change what happened.  So you did something bad stuff, who hasn’t?   Life is an ongoing lesson.  We never stop learning until we die, so learn from what you did.

Maybe you never intended to egg your neighbor’s house as you are a nice person.  You are anti-drugs but you did it anyways the night you got wasted.  What would your friends and family think if they only knew?  Maybe the same thing you would think if you only knew what they did. What you did is done so you might as well add it to your unplanned/accidental bucket list and scratch it off.  The thing is, a person’s worth is not judged by what they did but who they are.  I have seen pastors who were once incarcerated. Lives turned around for the better.  Don’t worry about your past, worry about your present. Did you learn from it?  Are you a better person because of it?  Then you are a success, not a failure.

As you lay dying, the only worry you should have is if your family would be ok.  Anything else is a waste of RAM.

 

 

The Eyes See What The Heart Wants To See

I really need to work on being a bit more observant especially to things happening around me as apparently I miss quite a lot! Take Superbowl 50 for example, I miss important stuff! World changing stuff! People being racist stuff!

Ok, what are you ranting about now, Carlos? Glad you asked, and if you must know, I just found out that while I was being entertained by the half-time show featuring Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars, I was also unknowingly watching a public display of racism put on by Bey.  Yup.  In a nutshell.

I wasn’t exactly a willing participant, mind you.  In fact, until the day after, I had no clue that her performance was laden with racial implications advertising her support for the Black Panther movement and Malcolm X.  Man, do I ever feel foolish! I had to find out on social media! To be honest, I also missed the guy dancing behind Mark Ronson! The thing went viral!

I enjoyed the half-time show. I saw a darn good performance by a black woman. Not that I cared if she was black or white. I wanted to see her perform so when she did, I was totally into the performance. I missed the racist allusions and in fact, didn’t even notice that she along with her dancers, were clad in bullet-proof vests! Oh my! I must be getting old. Not saying she didn’t, but I missed it!

You see, the eyes see what the eyes want to see.  Take the photo below for example.  It’s of an expired snowman in my neighbor’s yard.  If your heart is so inclined, you could see a phallic symbol. Maybe that would be reason to pay a visit to the neighbors and maybe accuse them of public mischief? Indecent exposure? If you go looking behind rocks, of course you would find all kind of nasty and dangerous things.

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What does your heart want you to see?

I looked at the half-time show with my heart set on enjoying some good performances, not too look for connotations and hints.  And that’s why I missed it!

And that’s also, MY TAKE

God’s Gone High Tech!

When my Pastor walked up to the pulpit and opened up his Ipad to read the Bible passage, I was aghast!  This has got to be sacrilegious!  Blasphemous even!  That was about 15 years ago.  I was slow to embrace this new trend.  How could the Holy Bible be traded in for an electronic device? It’s just not the same. What would people think?  What would God himself think?

I reluctantly started using my cell phone in church to access the Bible about 2 years ago.  Before using it in church, I used the Bible Gateway app for my daily devotions.  In church, I was not comfortable and felt the urge to make sure everyone knew that I was not on my phone texting but perusing the Gospel. Hello! I am actually reading the book of John here, not texting my friend John.

Last week, a friend posed the question pertaining to the above on his Facebook status.  He had visited a church and was surprised to see the elders using their cell phones instead of Bibles.  He wanted to see how his friends felt about this. Many felt that cellphones or any other such electronic gadgets had no place in a church. Although I understood the sentiments, I had to disagree.

Having the ease to access the Bible using an app on my phone has actually enabled me to become better at navigating the Bible. It also encourages me to read more often by the suggestions of devotions, geared to every life issues.  I always have my cell phone but I do not always have my bible.

Like it or hate it, technology is here to stay.  A phone is not just a phone anymore,  it’s our computer, our planner, our journal, our Bible.  It’s our one-stop shop. In order to reach out to the masses, we need to be on their level.

The world’s a changing place.  To attract people to God, we need to adapt to the changes. Music has to have appeal without sacrificing the Message. The Bible has to appeal to young readers, churches need to feel like a happy fun place.  Whatever medium it takes to realize this, as long as God is not compromised, it’s all good.

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