Friday, January 30, 2009

I really did it this time!

Well, I've done it now.  I really screwed it up!  Yep, I was offered 4 tickets to the Globetrotters tomorrow (floor seats and my girl gets to be the ball girl) - and I took them.  Now, let's step back in time and let me tell you what is just so horrible about this.

First of all, let me say that my relationship with my sister seems to be on a rollercoaster about 72-76% of the time.  I usually do something that upsets her or I simply don't include her in my life and it hurts her feelings.  It's not intentional, it's just that I can be thoughtless at times.  To my defense, I am a pretty busy person.  I have a family, and school, and church responsibilies and I used to have a job.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just life as a father and husband.  My sister is also very busy.  She is single, but keeps active with work, friends and Lord knows what else.  Anyway, not to drag the story out too much, we don's see each other a lot and I often forget to call and check on her.

Anyway,  Holly is a very caring, sensitive and loving person.  She wants to make people happy and she'll do just about anything for her family and friends.  She has been very supportive to me and my family while I've been out of work and I appreciate it very much.  Even when I did have a job, she was always hooking us up with tickets or something that she could get through her work (she works in advertising for a TV station and used to work in Radio).  So, if a show or sporting event was coming to town, she could usually get us set up some way.  

Well, about 3 weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to take the kids to see the Harlem Globetrotters when they came to town.  When I went online to buy the tickets, I noticed that a local radio station was a part of the game and offered the tickets for 20% off.  I just so happened to have a friend at the radio station and called to get the password so that I could get the better deal.  However, before I got them, I was talking to my sister about it, and she told me to hold off on getting them and she'd see what she could do.  A day or two later, she called and said that she found some tickets for me.  Again, Holly (my sister) had the "hook up" and got us tickets.  Or, so I thought.  More on that later.

Well, as the game day approaches (actually it's tomorrow), we had planned to meet Holly before the game and have lunch with her and get the tickets.  But, this morning about 11am, I got a call from a friend of my mine who works for the radion station where I was originally going to get the discounted tickets.  He said that, he had 4 tickets with a prize that would allow my daughter to be the ball girl for the team and would let us all sit on the floor for the game.  How could I say "No"?  So, I accept them and was so excited that I felt myself pee a little bit in my pants after hanging up.  But, I knew that this was not going to be easy to tell my sister.  I had this horrible feeling that I was about to really hurt her feelings.  But, I also knew that, if I didn't tell her, it would get back to her and then I'd really be in trouble.  So, I decided that I'll go ahead and make the call.  

That afternoon,  I get ahold of her and just pray that this will be no big deal (keep in mind, I still think that she got the tickets for free through her work).  So, I tell her about the tickets that were offered to us by my friend at KLTY.  Immediately, I could hear it in her voice and could sense her of let down.  She said, "That's great - don't worry about the tickets. I'd want you to sit on the floor...".  But, it wasn't OK.  She insisted that it was fine, but I've known her long enough to know that I was treading on very slippery ground here.  I finally realized that she had bought these tickets for us so that we could go to the game.  She wasn't going to say anything about it becuase she didn't want us to know.  I don't know if I could have felt any worse or sicker to my stomach than I did at that moment.  She had gone to the trouble of getting us those tickets and I completely ruined the whole gift.  I must say that I'm quite a piece of work.

She called later and said that she was sorry for reacting like she did and that she thinks that she can get rid of them.  But, I can't really blame her for acting like she did.  That was a pretty rotten way to treat her and the gift, whether she bought them or not.  So, now the world knows (or the 5 or 6 people who read this) that I'm a huge jerk.  These are the times in life when I wished I had a do-over.  Maybe I'll get hit by a bucket of confetti tomorrow and they'll have to rush me to the hospital.  Lord knows I deserve it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The "Blue Tool".

I want to take some time today to put some thoughts down about one of the many things that really get under my skin. I've decided to vent about the people who think that walking around in public with a small device stuck out of the ear is cool and appealing to others. On behalf of the nation of "non-toothers" - it ain't.

First of all, for those people who drive around for a living, making calls from appointment to appointment, this message is not for you. I can certainly understand the need for something like this. If I had a job where I spent a lot of time driving around and unable to make calls from an office (or if I had a job...), I could see using this shiny, spectacular, wireless gadget. But for the average person who wants around the mall, grocery store, gym, walking track, or any other place where people can see you - Stop it! You look ridiculous! Can't you go 10 minutes without having to talk about your doctor's visit or what you should have told that guy in the office when he crossed you. Can't it wait?

Let's look at the "Blue Tooler" from two different perspectives - 1) The actual "Tooler" and, 2) everyone around you. First, let's look at what you probably are thinking about yourself:
  • "Man, Everyone is checking me out. They know that I'm a mover and a shaker."
  • "I think that girl over there thinks I'm making a very important business deal."
  • "I'm going to walk around the mall and act like I'm famous. Maybe someone will stop and ask for my autograph."
  • "I'll bet everyone thinks I'm a movie star/secret agent.
Next, let's look at what people actually are thinking about the "Tooler".

  • "I'm sorry. Are you talking to me? Crap, it's another "Bluetooth Idiot".
  • "Look at that guy. Who's he foolin'. He's probably talking to his "Mama".
  • "Well, well, well. If it ain't Mr. Gadget and his pacifier."
  • "For the love of everything holy - Please leave that "ear appendage" in your car!"
Well, it's official, I'll never be able to own such a wonderful piece of technology after posting this. I guess I'll have to wait until they come out with a device that is surgical implanted into my Cochlea. Until then, I'll have to crawl back into my 20th Century cave and make calls the old fashion way - from my car.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Historical Day

Today is a day that we'll always remember. January 20, 2009 is the day that our first black President was inaugurated. To be honest, I never gave it much thought until today. I do not consider myself politically minded at all. I get so tired listening to the parties fight over who is right... But, that's not what I'm writing about today. This is a huge day for the black community. They are celebrating everywhere! Even in Kenya, they are dancing in the streets because that's where Obama's father is from. What a big day for blacks all over. And, I for one, am happy for them. They have been an oppressed people for a very long time and they many have fought like crazy to bring them out of such horrible conditions. They have been mistreated for way too long and it's good to see such a huge milestone reached in our lifetime.

I never really thought of Obama as black. Throughout his entire campaign, I thought of him as a Democrat. I don't vote Democrat because I am pro-life. That is why I don't vote Democrat. See, I told you that I'm not very political. That being said, I think that the best man won and he is the best man (at this time) for the job (regardless of color). He represents change. He has some great ideas and I pray like heck that change will happen. I'm not so dumb as to think that one man can change a nation, but I do believe that he can surround himself with the right people so that change can begin to take place.

I do have one major concern with Obama as president, though. It has nothing to do with color, political party of beliefs. It has to do with the love affair the nation has with him. I feel like many people believe that he is our nation's saviour. That, he is going to turn everything around and make it all good. I hear people talk about how things are going to be great now that he is President. Don't get me wrong, I'm praying for big things from him, too. But, we have to remember that, he is human. He is not God. He is not our Saviour. He is not superhuman. He is a man. We have to remember that. It's OK to expect change and to look for good things with the changing of the President's, but we have to remember that he can't do it all. And, he can't do it overnight.

We need to pray for our new President. We need to pray that God's will is done while he is President and that our President will listen to Him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 32

Today is day 32 of the job search. Today is also the first day that I have been a little lost for where to look for new opportunities. I did sign up on a new site called . Not sure if it's any better than the others. You know, I'm always hearing how people "Re-invent" themselves when they've been laid off or want to try someone completely different. I'm not sure how that works or even what it means. Does that mean that I can now be a tall, thin, underwear model? Or, is it just job specific? Possibly, like me deciding to go from sales to being Anesthesiologist and going by the nickname "The Gasman"? Whatever it is, I'm all for a complete makeover.
I heard a comedian a long time ago say, "Well, at least I know you're not 2-faced, because if you were, you wouldn't be wearing that one." That's how I feel sometime. Like I need a new "face". This one is old and tired and has seen better days.
I never signed up to be in Sales. It just happened. I got out of the Army in 1995 and sales seemed to be the first job I took and I never could recover after that. Now, its 14 years later and I'm still trying to sell something. When I look back, I realize that the problem is that I was successful! I found a job that I did very well at and made a lot of money. But, after that job played out, it seemed like I've been chasing that "Sales High" ever since then. Sure, I've been able to have success in other positions, but nothing like what I did at first. Is that God telling me that I need to get out of sales? Am I just not that good? Maybe!
But, if not sales - what then? What else can I do? What else will provide for my family and give them a decent roof over their head? Whatever it is - I haven't found it. Others have given advise like, "Think of everything you like to do and find a job that fits it." Or, "What would you do, if you could do anything in the world and the pay was not a factor? Then go and find that job." That's great! But, I'm afraid that would involve playing on the computer and watching a lot of TV. Any jobs like that out there?
Seriously, what I love to do is help those who can't help themselves (ie. children, homeless, abused women...). I also enjoy working in the yard (ie landscaping, yard work). I do believe that I could make a living doing Social Work or starting a landscape business. But, there's a big hurdle to overcome - Debt and all that it implies. Its sad when we are prisoners to debt. The Bible tells us many times that debt is not good. But, unfortunately, "I've fallen and I can't get up." I would love a "Do over" and be able to wipe the slate clean. How cool would it be to be able to apply what I know now about money (or the lack of it) and do life a little bit differently. I was talking to Cindy the other day and said, "Why are we afraid to pray for miracles? Is it becuase we're afraid they won't happen? Or, is it becuase we think God can't do whatever we ask?" Whatever the reason, we find it hard to pray specifically for something miraculous to happen. So, I said, "What's so crazy about me asking God to wipe out my debt and start living a more frugal, efficient life?" God can certainly do it. There's no question about that. Of course, He also knows that most of us would just re-accumulate debt again and get right back into the same situation. Maybe that's why we can't ask Him - becuase we also know that we'd get ourselves back into trouble. Anyway, I'm diligently praying for God to show me how to eliminate my debt so that I don't have to be a slave to debt any longer. Then, maybe I can spend more of my life doing His will instead of the World's.
Hey, here's a great idea! I'll send out flyers and letter to everyone I know and in all the mail boxes in the neighborhood telling everyone that I need XX dollars to pay off debt and ask for donations. That just may work! Nah!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Behind every good man...

Is it just my imagination or are the wives the center of every families existence? They control the mood, the movement (either forward or backward) in crisis, and determines how the family "does life" through good and bad times. I am not saying that my wife has always handles crisis well and I don't think she'd disagree. I've become overly taxed and stressed in hard times because of the way Cindy dealt with the problem. That may not say much for my strength and leadership in the marriage, but its a fact. I don't know, maybe this is just way our house runs, but my thoughts and attitudes hang primarily on how Cindy reacts to a given situation.
For many years of our marriage, I would bump up against a bad situation and would come home and talk to Cindy about it. If she reacted with panic or have the attitude of "what are we going to do?", I would immediately go into "Panic" mode or stress out because the "air" at home was heavy with doubt and hopelessness. This blog is not to bash Cindy or wives at all. I am only making a point that the attitudes of the home hinge primarily on how wives process the good and bad things in life. Is this fair? Probably not. That's a big responsibility for anyone, let alone for someone who has the be the caretaker, the nurse, the maid, the cook...
The reason I say this is because, my wife's attitude throughout my unemployment has set the mood for the family and for me in my search. When I came in and told her that I'd been laid off last month, she looked at me with a puzzled look on her face at first because she thought I was kidding. When she realized that I was serious, she looked at me and said, "OK. It's going to be OK. We just need to make a plan. Let's sit down and cancel anything that we can. Any money we don't need to spend, let's cut it off. I'll email my friends and asked them to pray for us and I'll help you look for work." She was amazing! Immediately, I felt somewhat relieved that I didn't have to go through the crisis of a job hunt as well as trying to keep my family from thinking the world was coming to an end. What a powerful testimony of her faith.
Cindy has always been very good at putting Bible verses in front of me that were timely as to what is/was going on in our life. This time is no different. Yesterday, she handed me a note card with Psalm 33: 18-22 on it. It's reads:

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.

22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

You don't find a better partner than mine. She is with me in good times and bad. How can someone like me, be so blessed to have her here to help me through times like this? God is Good, that how.

I don't want to talk bad about how others do life or some of the wants and needs of other wives because they are no my responsibility or concern. However, I see so many wives who are always dressed in $200 jeans, $500 shoes, jewelry running out their rear ends and wonder, how in the world does the husband make enough money to pay bills, raise a family and support the lifestyle of some of these women? God bless them, they look great! But, I always realize how stinkin' fortunate I am to have a practical wife who could care less about jewelry, name brand bags, expensive shoes... As a matter of fact, she prides herself on just how inexpensively she can dress and still look good. Men, I know that the "trophy wife" is cool and all. Believe me, I thought that I would marry one myself. And, I a way I did. She is worth much more than any worldly possession I could ever want. Now, you guys who make a begillion dollars, this is not for you. You have enough to worry about with other things I'm sure. I'm talking about the average guy, like me, who has to try and keep the household running and caring for his children. Blessed are the Practical and Frugal. Amen!

Now, briefly about my last interview. It could be a great opportunity! I interviewed with a company called "Texas Driving Experience". An opportunity that is out of the IT industry which is awesome becuase I never have understood anything I was selling. It would give me a chance to actually learn about something and be able to discuss it intelligently without feeling insecure about the knowledge of the product or service.

The interview was with 3 ladies: The CEO/Owner, the HR Director, and the Recruiter. They were all very friendly and easy to talk to. My concern was that they were too easy to talk to. I may have seen overzealous and anxious to go to work there. But, I prayed before I went in to allow God to take over and to let the words flow out of my mouth as He saw fit, not me. That way, if I don't get the job, its becuase I wasn't supposed to. There is a job for me and God knows where it is - I just have to trust and follow His lead. It's exciting!

Last thing that I want to say - Go out and bless someone with a random act of kindness. It will make you feel great!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

If you're not serving, your missing out on so much!

If you are not plugged into a church and serving others, you are missing out on what makes Life great! First of all, I love people! I love to talk to them, listen to them, learn about them and help them when they need it. The Holy Spirit causes that action and reaction in everyone who has it living within them. Let me tell you what happens when you bless others (no matter what it looks like) - You are Blessed in return! Ain't that funny how that happens!
Since I've been out of work - my family and I have recieved letters, emails and phone calls offering to help. We've also recieved checks and money from anonymous people wanting to help make ends meet. CRAZY! Let me tell you about last night - After dinner, we were playing games with the kids and the phone rang. It was my pastor, Ross. He said that someone came by the church today and said that they wanted to pay for me to go back to school. (Just a little side note- I had been working on my Masters in Professional Counseling until I started the new job, but haven't returned becuase of the lay-off). Ross said that someone wants to anonymously pay for the upcoming term and to pick up the check the next day. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, joy, love and humility all at the same time. I got up this morning and immediately registered for school (as today is the deadline to register). Holy Cow God continues to bless me and my family. Lord knows we don't deserve it! To whomever is out there and sending me to school - Thank You!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Medical Update on the Harris clan

I can't seem to become a "regular" blogger. I have every intention of blogging almost every day, but life seems to get in the way.
Life has been moving along quite swimmingly since my last post. A new year has come along and with it brings great hopes for me and my family.
I am still looking for work, but know that God will put a great opportunity in front of me soon. I've interviewed for a couple of companies since my last blog. I have had to turn down a couple of them because they were not what I really wanted, they didn't pay what I needed to make and/or they were way too far to drive to each day. Does that sound too picky? I hope not. I realize that, with today's economy, it's hard to be choosy. But, I also don't want to "settle" and be unhappy. I'm too old to take any job. God has given me certain gifts and talents and I want to be able to use them in my job.
Mom had major surgery on Dec. 27th. This is the first time in my life that someone needed to take care of her. She has ALWAYS been the caregiver. She is the single most selfless woman that I have ever known. She took care of my father for many years and watched him die slowly. But, you never heard her complain or even say that she needed a break. She will have many rewards in heaven - that's for sure. Anyway, Holly (my sister) was with her for the surgery and took care of her for the first several days. I must say that she did a fantastic job caring for her. I was supposed to go and relieve her last Saturday (3rd) and stay until today. I did make it to Amarillo and helped out where I could. Holly's plans were to fly back on Sunday while I took my turn with Mom. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't do as good a job as Holly. But, was ready to give it a shot.
Well, God had different plans for me, Mom and Holly. I got up on Sunday morning and Cindy called to let me know that Scout had been up all night throwing up. She was really worried about her, but was just going to keep an eye on her. Great! Now, I'm away from home with a sick girl and about to be left with Mom not knowing how to take care of her. Holly got on the plane to return to Amarillo and was on her way back. In the mean time, Cindy called and said that she was taking Scout to the ER because the Triage felt like she needed to be checked for possible Appendicitis. So, they were going to do a CT Scan on her. I planned to just call Holly to let her know about Scout and to see if she's check on everyone when she landed. But, as fate (or God) would have it, she was stuck on the airplane in Amarillo because their was a "Weight and Balance" problem on the plane and they were asking for volunteers to get off the plane and take a later flight. Holly immediately agreed to de-plane and come back to Mom's so that I could get home to the family.
I made arrangements to fly out that afternoon. I packed up and got to the airport as fast as I could. However, when I got there, I called Cindy before boarding the plane and she said that Scout was released from the Hospital and that we needed to keep an eye on her. I was still glad to be going home. I couldn't stand now being there during a crisis. When I got home, Scout was asleep in a chair (sucking her sweet little fingers) while Cindy and Nik watched TV. I hadn't been in the door 2 minutes when Scout woke up to a Night Terror. She has had these for years, but all the trauma seemed to intensify this one. She had several more that evening and into the night. Night Terrors are horrible for a Mom and Dad because we are so helpless because it's next to impossible to wake the child up and comfort them.
The next morning we took Scout in and the doctor said that he felt like she had a bad virus that inflamed her appendix but there was no reason to take it out. Praise God! She is still recovering and very weak, but she is coming around and will be ready to play "Monster and Tickle" (a game that she and made up years ago that she still loves) very soon.
Funny how things like this happen when you don't have insurance. I have no idea what a day in the ER and a CT Scan will cost, but it doesn't really matter. I'm happy that my little girl is OK. When things like this happen, I can't help but think about the phrase "A faith untested is no faith at all." God knows my needs, my concerns and prayers. He is in control completely. He wants me to rely on him wholeheartedly. So, I do. He will provide for me and my family. God is Good! He wants me to rely on Him, to trust Him, to love Him and for Him to be my best friend. Sometimes my tiny little brain has a hard time processing that. Thank the Lord that He is patient and forgiving.
Well, back to looking for work. Be Blessed!