Just A Fetus

Yes, I am just a fetus
That’s why I need
Your love and protection
Not hate and destruction

I’m vulnerable, you see
And I rely on thee
To look after me

I have a heartbeat
And that’s no fable
But you can make decisions
While I am unable

I haven’t been born yet
I’m at a growing stage
I may be so tiny
But I look my age

You may see me
As less than human
And want to decide
That I’m not worth preservin’

I am human like you
Though not fully grown
Yet without your protection
I am all alone

You were once like me
At this point in your life
The difference between us
Is you’re on the outside

For My Father-In-Law (On His Birthday)

I mentioned previously that my father-in-law passed away earlier this year. Today (Dec 7) marks what would’ve been his 70th birthday. In honor of his birthday, I wanted to share the full text of what I wrote for his memorial service.


I’m not holding onto You
But You’re holding onto me

These lyrics from a Casting Crowns song that remind me God is holding on and not the other way around have been a comfort during this sad and difficult time; the day I learned of Jim’s passing, those words kept playing in my mind while I was driving. I don’t cry very often, and I like to think the light rain falling that day was for the tears I felt unable to shed, but listening to that song and being reminded that God is holding on allowed me an opportunity to cry for Jim’s passing. 

The day I heard he passed, I knew I wanted to say something at his service, but I didn’t know what at the time. I only knew him for not quite three years before he passed, so I don’t have any deep, meaningful, or funny stories to share about his life. In the time I’ve known him, his health limited his travel ability, so almost the only time I spent with him was when Jaimee and I would visit Denton. The most meaningful one-on-one conversation we had was the day I talked with him about marrying Jaimee when I asked him about his life, but there were things I still didn’t know about him until Jaimee and I were sorting through photos for his slideshow.

Jim, or as I had started calling him “J-Pop” in recent months, was by no means perfect; he was a man rough around the edges. He was stubborn with a sarcastic sense of humor; we connected over that shared style of humor and a love for his daughter Jaimee. There’s a special place in his heart for Jaimee, being his only daughter, his only child. Both are strong-willed people, and they had their disagreements, but at the end of the day they loved each other. I know he wanted to see her happy and was glad he lived long enough to walk her down the aisle, even if it was only part of the way. 

Before we met, Jaimee was his primary caretaker, so he came to depend on her for a lot. I never said it before he passed, but there were times I felt as if I took her away from him, but sometimes change motivates growth. When Jaimee and I first got engaged and she was getting ready to move out, Jim went into denial that his little girl was growing up, but he eventually came to terms with what was happening. Once he accepted she was moving out and getting married, he started to do more things for himself for a while, which improved his demeanor, but at some point his health began to decline again. Because he had health problems, lived alone, and was a bit of a distance from us, we wanted him to think about living in a retirement community, but being the stubborn man he was, he didn’t want to leave his house or his cats. He loved those cats and took care of them, often at the expense of himself and his health. I’m not sure if he loved Jaimee or his cats more, but he didn’t have pictures of his cats around his house or in his wallet.

Since he didn’t travel much, there wasn’t a lot we could do together, but after Jaimee and I got married, we would go to Denton to visit every few Saturdays, spend some time together, and maybe play Spades or Farkle with Jim and Janet. You need four people for Spades, and Janet wasn’t very good when we started playing, but Jim taught her to become a much better Spades player and a more-formidable opponent. Even though we didn’t do much together as a family, those visits would brighten his day.

We also liked to joke around together. While playing games, he would jokingly tell me to watch out for Jaimee as if she was trouble. As we would get ready to leave for the day, he would jokingly tell her to take care of me like I was helpless, and we would tell him we take care of each other. We shared other jokes and sarcastic quips together over the last couple years. Jim may be gone, but his sense of humor lives on through Jaimee.

God’s timing is never our timing. Jim was months away from turning 70, a milestone we would’ve liked to celebrate together. He may not have lived as long as we would’ve liked, but he lived longer than even he expected and got to see his only daughter get married. We wish Jim could’ve lived a few more years, maybe one day get to see and hold a grandchild, but God had other plans. We may never know why Jim was taken from us when he was, but I am reminded that God is still here; he is in control and has His reasons, and He is still holding onto us, and this has brought me comfort as we mourn Jim’s passing. We’re told in 1 Thessalonians – which the pastor read for us– that we who are in Christ don’t mourn as those who have no hope; hope in this case is not a wishful longing, but an assurance of what is to come, that we will one day see our loved ones who have died in Christ; though we grieve now for Jim’s passing, one day we will see him again.

We may never plan for the day we lose a loved one, but that day still comes.
We may never expect to say that last goodbye, but those words will be spoken.
We think we’ll see someone tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes alone.

If you love someone, don’t neglect to tell them so.
Always say goodbye when you leave the ones you know.
There will be a time you can’t, for tomorrow will one day come alone.

Jim, we love you and miss you. For now we say goodbye, but someday we’ll see you again.

jim

Sometimes Tomorrow Comes Alone

(In honor of my father-in-law, who passed away in early June)

We may never plan for the day we lose a loved one, but that day still comes.
We may never expect to say that last goodbye, but those words will be spoken.
We think we’ll see someone tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes alone.

If you love someone, don’t neglect to tell them so.
Always say goodbye when you leave the ones you know.
There will be a time you can’t, for tomorrow will one day come alone.

Ten Years Later…

31258_10150199602845322_617823_n

It’s been about ten years since my life first took a change for the better. I didn’t know how much could change in that length of time, but looking back I can see how different my life looks compared to what it was.

The short version is my life was going nowhere. I was stuck in empty routines and living with untapped potential. I was somewhat self-enclosed and shut off from people around me. In some ways, I struggled with depression and didn’t have much sense of self-worth. I felt as if no one knew the real me or cared. I had what I call “hello, goodbye” relationships.1

I grew up in the church, so I know what it’s like to live in a “church world” bubble and not see or understand what’s going on in the rest of the world, to not care about what’s going on around me.  It eventually became a place I went to, something I did, a mindless routine in a week of nothing. For a little over 24 years, I stayed at the church I was basically born into and the place I got saved, but I finally decided to leave a place I had grown up and venture somewhere else. By the time I left, there was a generational gap between most of the people and myself; my brother and I were the “young adults.” It’s hard to feel a sense of belonging if there’s no one to relate.2

Prior to leaving I had felt little real world connection and instead retreated into an online world where I had connected with people I didn’t know in person. Ironically, I developed some lacking social skills by interacting with people online and being part of their virtual community. I was (still am sorta) part of a LEGO forum that allowed me to express myself and connect with others in ways I hadn’t previously learned.3 I’ve since had a chance to meet some of these people and develop some friendships with them.

Before stepping out of what we knew, my brother and I were invited to visit a few church locations, one of which we chose to become members. There were plenty of people around our age, and there was some activity for such people, the first such event for us being June 17, 2009. So we settled in, though I stayed for about four years. In that time, I began to cultivate friendships with people my own age and more or less left the online forum for real world relationships. (This was also when Facebook and social media started taking off.) While I was part of this community, I did have a chance to travel to Hungary a couple of times and teach English at a summer camp, which was something I’d never done before. (It was also my first flight… two birds, one stone.) Eventually the number of young adults began to decline– along with other changes, and I again started to feel as if something was missing.

Before leaving there, I had been part of Bible study comprised of people I didn’t at first know but grew close with. It was led by a couple who became like mentors to me; they taught me things about myself and helped me grow into adulthood like no one else before. Under their guidance, I got my first “real” job, bought my first car, and moved out of my parents’ house. But then came the time the couple moved to California. It was bittersweet. We were sad to see them go but happy for their new beginning. Also, we had become somewhat insulated within our group, and after they left, the group kind of fell apart for various reasons (not necessarily all bad ones). We each branched out in different directions; some of us still keep in touch, but for the most part, people have since gone different ways.

That job I mentioned was not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it did allow me an opportunity to grow as a person and develop some work skills, but it was a night job, so it also severely isolated me more than I had been previously and made me really feel the need for other people in my life. For five-and-a-half years, I worked nights and didn’t have much opportunity for social interaction outside of work. Since I worked nights, I was perpetually tired and miserable; I learned how much I had taken sleeping at nights for granted.4

Once the Bible study group dissolved, I felt more and more alone. I was living by myself and still working nights, and there weren’t a lot of people my age around me. Several months later, I wound up at a new church community with people around my own age, which was cathartic and helpful. For a time in my life, being around older people made me feel sad and somewhat depressed. But I was able to overcome this difficulty by building that missing connection of peers. I eventually found myself having no problems with being around people of any age group. However, due to my work schedule and living arrangement, there was so much I couldn’t be a part of, so I still had very little social life.

As I mentioned, I lived by myself part of the time I working nights. I managed for two-and-a-half years, and I learned more about myself. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I opted to find a roommate and ended up in house with some other guys. Within a year of moving, my life took a few more major turns, and this was again for the better. I managed to find a job that is better in so many ways. After several years of working nights, I was finally able to work days and soon began to feel alive again.5 Soon after starting my job, I met the woman I would marry within a year’s time. : Since I began my daytime job, I was able to get better transportation (and I drove happily ever after, right?).

Aside from connecting with other people, being part of my current church community has allowed me creative opportunities like never before. During the time I felt little connection to the real world, I would write for myself in a journal because it seemed no one paid attention. Then I started relating to people online and in the real world, then began writing for audiences beyond myself. Eventually I figured out to some degree who I was as an artist and learned to write and share more openly. I’ve had some public performances, which I’ve enjoyed.

As I look back and reminisce, I see how my life is different. During the past 10 years, my life has had several changes, major and minor. There’s a lot more I could write about: of celebration and loss, of new places and experiences, of things learned, and the list goes on. But there are decisions I regret and mental reminders I’d rather forget, things I wish could’ve gone differently, but that is the past and cannot be change. 

I may not have always seen God’s hand during my circumstances or understood why at the time, but I know He has brought me through for a purpose, even if I don’t know what. I may not have always focused on God during these last ten years of transition, but I know He’s watching over me. All I have to do is look back and see how my life has changed from someone who basically wanted to be left alone to someone who is learning to love other people and enjoys being alive.

Who knows what the next ten years will bring.


The kind in which people ask how you’re doing, and you say “fine/okay” and they say “good” and move on.

There was one older guy I talked with about stuff, but he had passed away shortly before I left.

The Internet is such a wonderfully-interesting tool.

I have a perpetual reminder of my job via tinnitus in my left ear.

I still have issues with sleeping at times, but for the most part I feel more energized than I once did.

My Year in Review 2016

As another year comes to a close, I thought I’d take a look back and briefly summarize how my life has changed in 2016. 

I started this year by working a night job I’d been at for over five years. I was feeling more and more burnt out as time progressed and in some ways losing touch with reality. But for a few anchor points, I could barely keep days straight, as one bled into the next. Also, due to my awkward sleep and work schedule, I missed out on opportunities for social interaction, which helped perpetuate feelings of isolation. I felt trapped and didn’t know how much longer I could take it.

Things began to change within a few months, as I started looking for work elsewhere. In mid-April I found a different job that seemed a good fit, even though it was a line of work I wasn’t familiar. From my brief interaction with some of the employees while interviewing, they seemed to enjoy what they did. In addition, it was better pay and hours. After accepting the job offer, I soon began to feel a pending sense of freedom. I think I’ve spent the past several months still recovering from the physical and mental damage of having worked nights for so long, but that time shift alone was enough to begin recovery.

After being there less than a month, one of my coworkers tried setting me up with her kids’ former nanny. About a month later (this was June), I was meeting up with a wonderful woman for what would become the first of many dates. By the end of October, we were engaged and are now looking forward to our wedding in April.

What started out as a somewhat bleak year in my life has ended up becoming one of the best. There were high and low points during this year. Some bad decisions and some good decisions were made along the way, but by God’s grace I made it.

Onward to 2017! It’s going to be an interesting year.

First John: Poetry Bible Edition

Word of Life, from the beginning
                 We have heard Him
                 We have seen Him
                 We looked and we touched
 Life manifested to us from the Father
                 What we witnessed, we proclaim
 We fellowship with the Father
                 And His Son Jesus Christ
 This is our joy. This is our message.
                 God is light, possessing no darkness.
 If we say we have fellowship yet walk in darkness,
                 We live a lie, not truth
 But if we walk in the Light, we have fellowship
                 And Christ’s blood cleanses our sins.
 If we say we don’t sin
                 We live, though deceived
 But sin when confessed
                 His forgiveness receives
 If we say we don’t sin
                 We call God a liar
                 His word is not in us.
 Little children, don’t sin
                 That’s why I write
 But if you do sin
                 Your Advocate is Christ
 For us and the world
                 Sin is why He died
If we obey Him
                 We know Him.
 If we say we know Him
                 But do not follow Him,
                 Do we really know Him?
When we keep His word,
                 God’s love is perfected
 But when we don’t listen,
                 His word’s misdirected.
To walk as He walked
                 This commandment’s not new
 Though you heard it before
                 Yet I rewrite it to you
A new command I also write
                 To hate your brother
                 Is darkness, not light
                 To walk with hate
                 Is to walk without sight
 I write to you, children
                 Your sins are forgiven
                 And you know the Father
 I write to you, fathers
                 You know Him
                 Who is from the beginning
 I write to you, young men
                 You overcame the evil one
                 You are strong
                 God’s word is in you.
To love the world,
                 Its lusts, which are passing,
 Is to hate the Father
                 The One who is lasting
You know the truth
                 It’s to you I write
 You believe Jesus
                 Is He who is Christ
 Those who deny this
                 Deny Father and Son
 And are not anointed
                 By the Holy One
Now this is a promise
                 We have in Christ
 We’ll not end in death
                 But from the grave rise
 For God grants His child
                 Eternal life
This is a promise
                 That you can receive
 For you are His child
                 If Him you believe
How great is God’s love
                 To be called His child
 Yet the world does not know us
                 For it did not know Him
Abide in Christ
                 Then when He appears
 Your confidence assured
                 You’ll have nothing to fear
Though we know not what we’ll be
                 When Jesus we see
 We know we’ll be like Him
                 He is our surety.
 In this we hope
                 And live with purity
Sin and lawlessness
                 Are one and the same
 Yet conquering sin
                 Is why Jesus came
 Sin is of the devil
                 So don’t live as he
 Righteousness is of God
                 So live righteously
 This is how a child is known
                 Which father he has
                 Whose seed has been sown
 The seed of God results in what’s right
                 Love for one’s brother
                 Love for each other
Look at Cain
                 His brother he killed
                 The reason because Cain was e-vil
Don’t be surprised
                 By the world and its hate
 Give me a moment
                 I’ll elaborate
 Death and life are mutually exclusive
                 Hate is of death
                 Life is of love
                 Hate is from below
                 Life is from above
What does it mean?
                 Perhaps you might ask
 Let me illustrate
                 With one simple task:
 You can help someone out,
                 A brother in need,
 Yet choose to ignore him
                 That’s living selfishly
 Love not in word only
                 But also in deed
 Love is best expressed
                 When sacrificial, you see.
In this assurance
                 Our hearts can confide
 By this we can know
                 It’s in Christ we abide
 This is confirmed
                 By His Spirit inside.
Now not every spirit
                 Represents Jesus Christ
 Don’t follow the false ones
                 His humanity they deny
 They are of the world
                 They follow a lie
Love is of God
                 Let’s love each other so
 That we demonstrate love
                 Of the God that we know
 His Son’s death on the cross
                 How His love He did show.
No one’s seen God
                 That much is true
 But of this we testify
                 And pass on to you
 Jesus is God’s Son
                 Who came in the flesh
 This is a truth
                 His children confess
By this you can know
                 Your love is sincere
 When you live in the world
                 Yet without fear
 Of the day of judgment
                 As it draws near
Love casts out fear
                 And God first loved you
 Because of God’s love
                 You can love too
Now if you say you love God
                 Whom you’ve not seen
 But then hate your brother
                 How can this be
 When love’s a commandment
                 God gave unto thee?
Christ is of God
                 His life He did give
 In order to show us
                 How we ought to live
The world full of fear
                 Cannot know love
 When it denies
                 The One from above
 This is the world
                 That Christ overcame
 If you believe Him
                 You’re promised the same.
Both water and Spirit
                 And also the blood
 Testify that Jesus
                 Is man, yet He’s God
 The Spirit is truth
                 And so cannot lie
 This is the message
                 That He testifies
These three witnesses
                 They all agree
 Christ put on flesh
                 Yet is still deity
 God’s Son is the one
                 Who grants victory
These things I have written
                 To you who believe
 And know eternal life
                 Is what you receive
Since we’re God’s children
                 He hears our prayers
 He gives what we need
                 And that shows He cares
 So if you have a request
                 He wants you to share
If you see a brother
                 Who’s caught in sin
 Pray that God will grant
                 Victory to him
There is a sin
                 Which leads not to death
 But sin at its core
                 Is unrighteousness
Those born of God
                 Cannot keep sinning
 For God who is holy
                 Is the one who is winning
 And He is the one
                 In whom we’re depending
 He’s also the one
                 Who gives understanding
Here’s one last thing
                 That I wish to convey
 It’s by Christ’s death
                 Sin’s washed away
So follow the truth
                 Not that which is false
 It wasn’t the idols
                 That died on the cross.