Tuesday, December 18, 2012

unlike my Facebook page...

The last 10 days have been a whirlwind. Everything in my world has change. Friendships have come and gone. There was a chance I was going to head to Africa for part of the winter but that fell through. I had a job waiting for me that fell through, then there was another one and that fell through. I had a place to live that fell through then I had something else lined up and I think you get the picture. Same for LeeRoy. I wanted to be close to him so I could see him often but it's not working out that way. I ran out of money and was at one point negative $50 in the bank. I have great people around me that really want to see me succeed. They have stepped up and helped me out. I now have $0 in the bank, $11 in my hand and the bills are just around the corner. All I can say is sometimes it all moves sideways on you. Honestly though, I'm not stressed about it. I like chaos. Plus, compared to the problems of my counter part in Africa (ST) and what they go through on a daily basis I feel like my life is just fine. More than fine, I feel blessed. All my problems are a walk in the park. Well, all except Mitch's death. That's has been a hard one for me.  The crazy thing is all of the drama happened while I was flying and driving back and forth from Salt Lake City to Seattle. 

Flights, driving and trains rides. . . and all my plans change by the hour. I would have a plan in the morning- "take the train to Spokane", and at the train station the plan would change again- where am I going to sleep?  By the time I get a ticket I'm headed to Portland. As of right now LeeRoy is safe and happy with other goats in Olympia. I'm in Portland for a few days, Friday I head to Spokane. I have a lot of job leads but nothing is a sure thing yet. I have an opportunity in Seattle in January but I'm not sure how long it will be for. 

I've been second guessing my decisions. For the last month they've had record high temperatures in Utah.  It makes me feel like I should have kept going. The reality is I had planned to be done around this time.. Ha! But I really underestimated so many factors.

1. If you want to keep your goat healthy and happy it's best to keep him at about 10 miles a day. Make sure you take lots of breaks and days off. 

2. Walking with a goat near any city will take a long time. Everyone wants to talk to you and take pictures. I love to tell the stories of Uzima and the kids, about my best friend ST and how he started this whole thing with Fred, and then my part of this and how the whole crazy thing came together.  It's so wild and against all olds, that the only way to explain all the crazy things that have happened is it was all put together by God.  (Side note: my mom is over there now. She is working with the kids; another God thing. She has already been there a few months and extended her stay twice. I would not be surprised if she never came back and that's cool with me. It makes me proud of her. There is a whole story about my mom and I that I will share later. 

3. I should have planned better. Like I have said before I didn't train. All I did to prepare for this was sit on the couch eating Jimmy John sandwiches and watch YouTube videos for camping trips. . . Hahaha. Just writing that makes me laugh. I made a lot of simple mistakes just because of my lack of knowledge. Honestly the combination of the Goat, me being a city kid and all that comes with walking across america there real is no way to prepare for all the obstacles.   I had no prior knowledge of goats. I never lived on a barn or around any live stock. I did have dogs when I was growing up- I love dogs - but I would say my parents took more care of them then I did. Other than cleaning up the dog poo before I mowed the lawn, all I did was share my bed at night. My dog would always sleep in my bed. . .kid heaven.

On a slightly more serious note, I want to bring up something that is interesting to me. A small detail that really has my mind twisted up. Every time I post about Jesus or scripture, a comment about Uzima and my mission, or the work that is going on over there I get far less likes on face book. In fact, when I'm bold about Jesus people unlike my page. I'm really not disappointed at all, I guess it is just a crazy fact that if I post a picture of LeeRoy I can get 80-120 "likes", but if I post a picture of the Uzima kids or some bible quote I will maybe get 30 likes. Now, again, it's not about the "likes", I'm not posting for approval. It's just an interesting experience. Either way, in all of that Needle2square and Uzima stand for God alone gets the glory! and the "LIKES". I want to end with this bible verse that just. . .gives me so much strength and joy. And makes me feel so loved by Jesus. To me these are the most important 22 verses to me. Some of the most beautiful words in the bible to me.

Psalms 103

Bless the  Lord , O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the  Lord , O my soul, and  forget not all his benefits, who  forgives all your iniquity, who  heals all your diseases, who  redeems your life from the pit, who  crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who  satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like  the eagle's. The  Lord  works  righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his  ways to Moses, his  acts to the people of Israel. The  Lord  is  merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he  keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us  according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For  as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his  steadfast love toward  those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he  remove our transgressions from us. As  a father shows compassion to his children, so the  Lord  shows compassion  to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he  remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like  grass; he flourishes like  a flower of the field; for  the wind passes over it, and  it is gone, and  its place knows it no more. But  the steadfast love of the  Lord  is from everlasting to everlasting on  those who fear him, and his righteousness to  children's children, to those who  keep his covenant and  remember to do his commandments. The  Lord  has  established his throne in the heavens, and his  kingdom rules over all. Bless the  Lord , O you  his angels, you  mighty ones who  do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the  Lord , all his  hosts, his  ministers, who do his will! Bless the  Lord , all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the  Lord , O my soul! (Psalms 103:1-22 ESV)

I would give up the goat for this child any day...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I hate this blog!

So I just woke up. I'm lying in bed in a hotel trying to figure why Mitch the guy I had met back in Glens Ferry took his own life. I hadn’t heard from Mitch for about three weeks. I’d been texting him to let him know I was coming through with no response. We had been talking off and on since I met him. I was planning on surprising him as I rolled through town. I had been anticipating seeing him. As I pulled in to the place I met him I head to the back of the restaurant where the lounge was. As soon as I walk in everyone starts yelling. “Hey it's the goat guy!!” Audrey and Jeremiah (Mitch's best friends) jump up and give me hugs. I say “hey where Mitch?” And the whole place goes silent. Audrey says: “we’ve been trying to get ahold of you buddy. Mitch killed him self.” Both Audrey and Jeremiah wrapped their arms around me... I was in shock. Doing my best to hold back the tears they told me the story. Mitch had given in to his demons. Here’s some back-story on Mitch. When I had met him we had spent the day telling each other personal stories. Mitch told me that he had met a girl and she cleaned him up. He told me he had found Jesus and that this woman helped save his life. He also told me that once he got a good paying job, he had his own money and started drinking again. Well a few weeks back this woman had taken the kids and moved back with her mom. Then from what I hear he took a turn for the worst. This is what I was told: One night he was drinking hard. I'm not sure how it happened but he got in a fight with the cops they took him to jail. Mitch called Jeremiah to bail him out of jail. Jeremiah being his best friend does his boy a favor. Mitch tells Jeremiah he's not feeling well and to come check on him in the morning. The next day Jeremiah found Mitch on the couch dead. He had killed himself with a shotgun. I had sooooo many questions but I didn't want to stir the pot. I let it ride. For the rest of the night we told Mitch stories..well they did. I only had a few. Some the stories were soooo funny and some so tragic. It was crazy ...lots of laughs and tears. Jeremiah disappears for a bit and came back with one of Mitch s work shirts and gave it to me... Oh man ... I lost it for a bit. I headed out to the truck and cried for a while. Jeremiah had called his wife. She came down and we talked for a bit. What a hard convo..she was very strong and put together. I could see through that and could tell how hard it was for her. The guilt she felt. Questioning if it was her fault. Plus Mitch told me he wasn't great at family, and I knew she had suffered the consequences of that. He was so loved by everyone including me.. But we didn't have to live with him, with all his amazing characteristics there still was a very selfish side to Mitch. The reality is that I could see the emotional marks he left one her. He wasn't a good husband or father. However she was left to console everyone around her that only knew one side of Mitch. Or more accurately only chose to see the one side. She was in such a hard place. How do you talk up a person when your in the middle of the worst part of it all.

Everyday since then I have thought about Mitch at first I was sooo bummed and sad. I felt bad for him. Then I started asking questions. Why would he do that? He didn't seem like the type. What was he thinking? He never ever showed any signs at all. Not like I would be able to tell. But you know,not the typical things you would think of a suicidal person would be like. Then.... I was mad, I was mad that he gave up I was mad he left his wife and kids. I was angry and thought that he was so selfish. What a way to leave. He left a huge mess for his wife. While all that is going on in my mind I also was questioning God. I'm not mad at God but I just wanted to know what it was all about. You see I believe what the bible says. The verse that came to my mind while i was think of all this was Isaiah 55:11 ESV version

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

I love the New Living Translation

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

When it says his word will not return to me empty. I believe it. I had shared a bunch of bible verses with Mitch on that bridge. I explained the scriptures to Mitch about freedom in Christ. What happened? Cause it feels a little like it came back empty right now. I have a real hard time seeing the fruit. I guess I don’t really expect an answer. I know God is in control and God is good. But how can I say to his wife God is good and God is in control and expect her to feel better, and yet at the same time I feel like that should make her feel better. It's just hard to understand.

I looked up to Mitch. I respected him. And this messed up my whole view. I started evaluating that. I saw something in me that I really didn't like. It was about who I looked up to as far as older men/mentor type. I made a list of older men that I trust. I was only able to come up with seven men in my whole life that I respected. Out of those seven men I respect and trust enough to be close with, two of them have died. Six out of the seven were or currently are alcoholics or addicts of some sort. Only one was a bible believing steady Christian man. Six of them had really dark sides. I mean really dark sides. All of them had things characteristics that I wanted. Three of them really invested in me. With one really being a cut above them all. We hang whenever we can. He payed me to work on a truck he was building for his son so I could pay for bible college. He has even called in sick for work to spend time with me when I was coming through town, and that meant the world to me. No man has ever done anything close to that for me. (This is going to require a lot more thought)

It is always great to feel the support of someone that gets you and understand you and Mitch was one of those people for me. I had made a really dumb decision. I was feeling so stupid. I had a lot of doubt in myself. Just before talking to Mitch a had a few phone calls with some friends and they all said the same thing. And it really didn't make me feel any better. Honestly it made me feel worse. But not with Mitch and I'm going to end with the last thing he ever said to me.

Mitch said: "F***em! You made a mistake. You are doing your best! What the F*** are they doing to make the world a better place? None of that will matter when you’re walking into Time Square and the orphanage is built. Hey I got to go I’ll call you later. But don't worry about it. I love you man."

I will miss you Mitch!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What I have learned about myself

 Are you a thinker? I’m not, I'm not the kind of person that just sits around and ponders decisions. I feel my way through things. Walking on the road I have all this time to just think, and I have to say it’s so hard to discipline my mind to just think. What ends up happening is that I let my mind wonder and daydream, I don’t really meditate on problems or decisions. Don't get me wrong, I think about things at times. In the past I tried hard to think through things and discovered it never worked out for me. I would stress and go crazy over things, and in the end nothing seemed to work out the way I planned. Plus what ever my first response to the situation was always seem to be what was best. The more I thought through things the more I kept changing my mind from my original reaction, and in the end it always seemed like I made the wrong choice. So I stopped doing that. I just went with what I felt, here's the negative side of that. Sometimes I made decisions before I had all the info. Or I didn’t think of how my decisions would affect others, and that meant some times the people I cared most about got hurt. One of the cool things is that I am lucky to be surrounded by friends that are thinkers. The best example I can give to this is Steve Turner, I wouldn't say he is a philosipher by any means but he gives careful thought to all the decisions he makes.
I think for the most part people are either thinkers or feelers. I'm not convinced one is better than the other. In fact I feel the best is to do both in equal parts.
I can't get my heart and mind to work together.
Ok let's even take it to the next level. What do you think about? Me being a Christian I understand the concept of Christ centered thinking, but I'm not so sure that is what I do. I would say about 98%of the time it's all selfish thinking. And if I'm lucky 2% is spent on Jesus. I want to love God and the wisdom and knowledge of the bible, but I am a work in progress.
Ok next thought: you know when I was in the cold mountains some crazy head games went down. It all started with being ALONE. A little fact about this trip; I did not train at all. Well not in any physical way. To me this was all about mental strength. I'm really good at not showing what is really happening inside of me. Most of the time I keep all of my emotions inside and cover them up. Then after I have taken time to process it I can talk about it... Umm ya that’s not completely true... it's a case-by-case basis... Anyway... Here's the situation: I’m in the ravine off Highway 6 in my tent in the woods it’s completely dark no moon nothing. No light at all. The mountains feel like they are swallowing me up. I'm completely losing it. I Have NEVER FELT LIKE THIS in my life!! I was having a full on panic attack. I couldn't call anyone because there was no cell service, my iPod was dead, my iPad was low on battery life and my phone was about to die. I know this sounds stupid but all those things bring me a lot of comfort. I was trying to distract my mind with music and even listen to messages or podcast but nothing was helping. The darkness, the loneliness, the empty feeling, it was terrifying. It was like I had been completely exposed, peeled back; there was nothing but a weak fragile child in the harsh cold surrounding. I know all this sounds so dumb but it's truly hard to explain. I felt like I was stripped of ... self or me I don't even know. So there I am, just me and the darkness. I started praying and found no comfort. I didn't want God to see me. I had this overwhelming feeling that he was mad at me, or this fear that HE. IS. GOD. I am still trying to put it all together but I will say this; First: So many times in the bible when people see angels or God reveals himself in some way, those people are terrified. Secondly I use social networking, calling, and texting as artificial connections, security, safety, and comfort. Third: I am not as mentally strong as I thought I would be. This happened more than once out there in the Utah Mountains. I had really negative feelings about those mountains, even fear.
With all that said I’ve been having a lot of questions on why I share so many personal life stories on this blog. Telling my story and my background seems to let people see my influences and struggles. I also think it put the way I do things in to context and helped myself and others understand my limitations. Here’s the other thing, I think that my story is more typical to what people go through in life. People don’t have a perfect life; in fact most people to some degree have messed up lives. So I hope and know that people have found this blog helpful, in some cases it gave people permission to feel or think something. For those out there that feel like they have failed or are ashamed of a mistake, my goal is to give you HOPE, hope to stand up and start again.