Thursday, December 29, 2011
There is an old song that says, "I am kind of homesick for a country, to which I've never been before..." Now, I am a selfish & willful child. And I've never been one to wish for the Rapture, or death to come quickly, because I love life. I love living life... and there are some many wonderful things to experience and see and do in this life...
However, I'll be honest, and it may just be the passing years or my age - but I can see how my grandmother prays for the Lord to come. There comes a time when you are just "tired" and wouldn't mind hanging out in Heaven. So, that's my proverb for today: "I'll Make It Home Someday"
Exodus 12:25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
Joshua 22:4 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.
Psalm 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
There is another old song that gives me chills and comfort and something that I can cling to on days where I am just "homesick". This has to be one of my favorite songs ever... It's an old, OLD choir song. I think Jackson did it in 1977. Oldie but a goodie... Hope to see you in my "other" home.
I'm climbing higher and higher.
Day by day, getting closer to my goal.
With the Lord Jesus as my lead, my guide and my keeper,
I'll make it home someday.
I'll make it home someday.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
2011 A Year in Review – Part Two:
Reflection, Renewal, Resolution: Become Whoever You Want To Be…
“Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
That passage is one of my favorite songs. I could hear Madonna Massey sing this song every day and I would never run out of chill bumps. ...Or tears. The full song is so beautiful and powerful. But it’s also one of my favorite scriptures. Ever. Literally.
Lamentations 3:21 – 24 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
And what a wonderful thing to do: Remember that God has unfailing love and mercy for his people. For as sure as the world turns, and the sun comes up, God is all we have and hope is sometimes all we have as a people.
I know that many times, I feel like everyone else is gone and I am all that is left… and that may be true, but it’s God… God in us, God around us, and God through us that allow us to keep moving, to keep going, and to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it seems like you have reached a dead end, and have nothing else.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that just means something to me. It actually makes a super duper powerful statement and can be one of the most comforting things for people like me. You know the kind, people that mean well, but don’t always succeed in following through or sometimes just “mess up”. It’s a great comfort to know that even when I am not faithful, God is Faithful. Even when I am not perfect, God is perfect. Even when I am not as loving, giving, or understanding of people, that God is loving, giving, and understanding of me.
I am not sure where life is beginning to take me anymore. I love my job, and I love my life, but I am feeling change again, I feel growth again, and I feel like I am moving into unfamiliar and deeper territory again... I am not sure of my plans and what I want to happen, but I am sure that God is there. And I am so gonna blow this year up.
Watch. Hide. See.
But this IS me we are discussing. And a self produced and published blog is kind of a personal conceit anyway. Seriously, like people are interested in what I have to say. Well, I mean… they are… but to KNOW that seems pretty conceited, no?
I often wonder aloud WHY I do this? Why do I write these little columns and give myself these projects? I have plenty to do. I already have a pretty schedule-packed life. Sometimes I think it is for my own self reflection or study. I like looking inward and seeing myself. Sigh, even the bad. I’ve gotten pretty good about being horrifyingly honest with myself.
But...beyond myself…me, and my own narcissism; who is this for? Is there anyone actually out there? I remember The Michael Chronicles circa 2003 with tons of people and April Perry and Rachel Busler and the infamous Mood Meter…but that was a lot of child’s play and drunken storytelling. So, again…WHO is this for? Anybody out there?
It IS amazing therapy. But, are there any other insights, dear readers? Since I can’t literally hear you, I will assume it is just crickets chirping and this might be all there is to it.
I guess, then, this is my brain dump. This is my Where-I-have-been-where-I-am-going blog to put out there publicly. Maybe it’s good that I DON’T know how many people read this stuff. I might be tempted to censor a lot more, and that ISN’T what I want. I want a writing outlet where I feel no shame, no judgment, or anything. Just to be living, experiencing and writing with no, uh…awareness of others. That is the ultimate goal. So, where to begin this blog??
Well, the year was challenging. That is a nice, pretty way of saying that the majority of it was off in some way for my normally charmed life. [read: It sucked.] But that isn’t the whole story. Or even just a part of it…Also: It rocked. It was amazing. I saw some good times, some hard times, some fun times, some sad times. I made some new friends. Lost some old friends, was engaged and seriously near marriage with someone. And, ultimately, the failure of that made me single again. And now there is dating. Falling in love. I had money, made tons of money…lost a lot of money. I gained some insights, let go of some beliefs and I am finally….ready.
But, srsly… what exactly am I ready for? Ready for what? Ready to do what? Ready to be what?
Ready for the next step? Ready to face up, own up, and be an active participant in my life again? Although, it isn’t like I wasn’t active…I just felt like I wasn’t for a while. There was a depression-like period that made me feel impotent and not in control of things as they happened to me. However, I am ready to move on. Ready to change. Change me. Change the world….make a mark. Leave a legacy.
One of my favorite quotes is from (shock!) BTVS. It’s at the end of Season Two when her dead lover is trying to kill her. He says, “No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?”
She says, “Me.”
I like that. No, actually… I love that. I love it. At the end of the day, I have me. Me to depend on. Me to lean on. Me to believe in. I was busy, lazy, super busy, healthy, sickly, drunk, sober, and ultimately…
Seitan: 1-1/4 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup of chickpeas
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
10 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1. Seitan: In a bowl, combine wheat gluten and nutritional yeast flakes; set aside.
2. In a blender, combine remaining seitan ingredients; blend until smooth. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix well. Let the wheat gluten mixture rise for a few minutes.
3. Broth: In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth and soy sauce. Mix. Do not turn on stove yet.
4. Form the wheat gluten mixture into a log. Cut this log into three equal pieces. Put the seitan into the pot and now turn on the stove to medium heat. Place pot cover on, but allow some room for the steam.
5. Simmer for 2 hours, rotating the seitan occasionally. To store, keep the seitan in the broth mixture and refrigerate.
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
dash of salt & pepper
1/2 cup soy milk flour (enough to coat all the steaks)
1/2 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups soy milk
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
1. Prepare the seitan steaks according to the recipe you use (there are several great recipes on this site to choose from).
2. While steaks are boiling, prepare the breading. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, basil, and oregano. Add salt and pepper if you wish. Then, pour soymilk into a second bowl, and place flour into a third bowl. I like to have these set up right next to each other, to make breading simple.
3. Once the steaks have absorbed all of the broth, remove them from the pan. One at a time, coat each steak with flour, then dip the steak in the soymilk, then coat it with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until all steaks are breaded.
4. Pan fry the breaded steaks in vegetable oil over medium heat until brown and crispy. Place the fried steaks onto a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Reserve the frying oil when you are finished to make the gravy.
5. After frying all the steaks, add onion to the pan, and fry in remaining oil over medium heat until soft (you may want to add a little more oil if there is not enough left). Add 3 tablespoons flour and stir until mixed. Slowly add the 1-1/2 cups soymilk and 1 tablespoon vegan margarine to the pan, and stir well. Cook and stir until gravy bubbles and thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over steaks.
Sides of mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans all go wonderfully with this dish.
Serves: 2 to 4
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sometimes, you just want to eat a crab cake. You just do. Now, I am very picky about the seafood I will eat. I am spoiled, growing up near the Gulf Coast and being used to FRESH and available seafood. Also, due to work travels, I have had the PRIVILEGE of eating at some amazing seafood restaurants on the lovely Inner Harbor of Baltimore, MD. But, generally, the food is very rich, usually fried, and it can become unhealthy. So, what are some alternatives?
Trying to eat healthier, and to really watch what I put in my body, I loved some of the healthy alternatives that High Noon Café and Rainbow Natural Grocery offered me. I love the fact that it can be completely organic and/or vegan. If you substitute carefully and watch how you make it, it can be gluten free! Thus, this recipe for Seaside Cakes, which is really a vegan version of a Crab Cake.
"Side Note: These are NOT the Seaside Cake recipes from Rainbow High Noon Cafe, but they are similar, with my own twist… and I love the tartar sauce recipe."
You will need:
~.25 cup oil (I use either EVOO or I will use grapeseed oil. It has a lower fat content and higher burn threshold.)
~1/4 cup unbleached white flour (you can find great quality in a local health food store.)
~1 cup non-dairy milk (please use what you can with your specialty needs diet. I like soy milk, or rice milk.)
~1/2 teaspoon salt (this is for the sauce, and not for taste.)
~2 Tablespoons onion, minced (fresh onion is best for this, because it just adds something, but you can use dried in a pinch!)
~1 pound tofu, crumbled (just regular tofu. I get the refrigerated kind, but personal preference should drive you to get what you want.)
~1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
~1 teaspoon sea salt
~Dash of cayenne (dash here means a generous pinch)
~12 to 16 soda crackers, crushed to crumbs (you can also you panko, or a GF cracker or flatbread)
~1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
~Extra-virgin olive oil, just enough to brown the cakes (approximately 2 Tablespoons)
~Lemon wedges, tartar sauce (see recipe below) for serving.
First, turn on your burner. Get a small saucepan and get it heated up. Don't go in cold. Once the saucepan is warmed, add oil and flour. Heat, and let bubble over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the non-dairy milk and salt. Stir in the minced onion and continue cooking until very thick.
Second, in a bowl, combine tofu, dry mustard, sea salt and cayenne. Add the flour/milk mixture to the tofu. Mix well. Chill 3-4 hours.
Third, use your hands and scoop and shape the chilled mixture into cakes about 1/2" thick. Then dredge the cakes in a mixture of soda crackers and paprika. Chill the crumb-covered cakes about 1 hour.
Fourth, fry the cakes in a little hot oil. Turn them gently, browning on both sides.
Lastly, serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. Garnish with parsley.
Yield: 10 large cakes; Per Serving: 210 Calories; 15g Fat (63.8% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 470mg Sodium.
Vegan Tartar Sauce
~1/2 cup vegan mayo (I like Vegenaise the best.)
~1 Tablespoon sweet relish~
~1/2 Tablespoon minced onion
~1 teaspoon minced garlic, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or garlic powder
~1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
~Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate unused portion.
Prov27.2 Let other people praise you—even strangers; never do it yourself.
I personally love this Proverb. Don't let yourself come across as conceited or foolish. And we all know those folks that don't mind telling you just how good they are.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Let me be perfectly clear up front: You will probably be offended if you are either too far right, or too liberal. I am pretty middle of the road.
Why, Michael? Well, for one, I am very, very liberal on human rights issues. And I am very, very conservative on other issues. Mainly fiscal stuff and basic constitutional and religious rights. I mean, srsly... why can’t I as a gay man, be free to be openly Christian and proud of that, when most gays are shunned by churches and religious folk in America? No, not everyone that goes to church is hypocritical or homophobic, and not even that many that I personally know… But the media and extreme religious right think that I am surely hell-bound. Or why, as a gay man, can I not get married in a country that I was born in, and that I pay taxes in.
And why can’t the fact that I have Mexican-American grandparents that came to this country legally and through proper channels bias my view of people of any nationality coming here illegally? My family had to do it the right and proper way, why can’t everyone? I want people to be free to express any religious views they want to. I want people to be equally represented for the taxes they pay. I want immigrants to come to our amazing country and become citizens and follow their dreams. Just like the principles this country was founded on when the original settlers were fleeing persecution in Europe. Just like when their issues weren’t being represented and they were being taxed, just like the dreams they had for a better life and equality for themselves and their descendents. Of course, when that didn't happen quite that way, the Revolutionary war happened…
I digress; this isn’t a book or blog about politics (there will be some politics). It is really more social commentary and my views on the world (note: MY views. Get your own blog for YOUR views). For some reason, from the time I was little, people have always asked me for opinions or advice. And I like talking about my opinions. Go figure!
I will give you a HUGE spoiler up front: most of this is pretty funny. Well, it’s funny to me. But, only selfishly and in my head can I honestly say that it’s because I am really funny. I can’t fully or wholeheartedly take credit for that. Aside from genetics [and a hilarious family that I draw from]; It is truly, only because everyday truths and observations tend to make us laugh. The sad, droll, everyday life of almost every human (no matter how interesting they seem) is really funny. The news, even when it pisses me off, and makes me frustrated and want to effect change, is funny. Stereotypes are funny. Parodies of current news, events, and scandals rock the airwaves of radio morning talk shows, television talk shows, and even nightly talk shows of all genres. Some people get offended, some people laugh. Eh, what can you say? It’s just humor…most of the time.
Yep. Life can be pretty hilarious.
Conversely, life can be pretty tragic. Friends can come to you in confidence about a real or perceived problem. At that moment, sometimes, you need to drop what you are doing and ensure that they are okay. Make sure that they feel loved and secure. Make sure that they understand that you can stop the comedy and actually care. People don’t feel that enough these days, in my opinion. It’s hard to see where anyone cares very much about anything that isn’t directly related to them. It’s a delicate balancing act for everyone. What do you do when something is funny, or comically funny; and what do you do when it’s time to put that aside and help someone?
Well, that’s exactly what I try to figure out every day. I try to be the best friend I can to my friends and family, while still being true to myself and finding a way to laugh at life. Overall, I can honestly say that is probably why I feel schizo somedays. One thing I can say is that this is not a spoof. This isn’t politically charged, even though there are tons of politics in it. This isn’t religious, even though there is spirituality and religion in it.
Honestly, this is not meant as ANYTHING other than one verbal, talkative, loud, conservative, liberal, spiritual gay’s opinions. K?? Good.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
~1 cup heavy cream (or soy or vegan based creamer if you prefer. Silk coffee creamer is a good substitute)
~10 ounces dark chocolate (or carob or cacao nibs if you prefer)
~4 ounces blanched almonds, crushed (there is no nut substitute)
~1/2 cup of heavy cream (or soy or vegan based creamer if you prefer. Silk coffee creamer is a good substitute)
~10 ounces white chocolate (I am not aware of a good substitue of white chocolate. But there are some good organic/fair trade chocolates available at reputable local health food stores)
~12 ounce package of bacon, pan fried, and finely chopped (there are bacon substitutes available that I like. The vegetarian bacon is good for flavor. It is crispy, and while it looks like a cartoon cutout, cooked and then chopped it shouldn't matter)
~12 ounces of semisweet chocolate (or carob or cacao)
~1/2 cup of vegetable oil
#DailyProverbsNow, I have heard this my whole life. Momma and Mamaw were big on the Bible, and on doing "right by folks". That actually doing the right thing, is better than doing the wrong thing and then having to make up for it, apologize for it, or repent for it. Now, that's not always the fun thing, or the popular thing... But it makes life a lot easier, in the long run.
21:3 Do what is right and fair; that pleases the Lord more than bringing him
If you don't get so drunk, you don't have to send apology texts the next day.
If you don't get so mad, you never have to make ammends for things said or done in anger.
If you don't gossip, you never get caught talking behind a friend's back.
If you don't lie, you won't ever have to lie to cover that one up and you won't have such a hard time telling the truth.
This isn't necessarily just a Christian value, or something because God will "get you" if you do something. It's just good, basic life skills on being a person of good repute, of keeping unnecessary stress and drama OUT of your life, and of just being a person that can be counted on to do WHAT they say, WHEN they say it.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Prov20.7 Children are fortunate if they have a father who is honest and does what is right.
Omg, how f'n true is this statement? How easy would life be if we didn't have confusing role models? If our dad's were bastions of "right" and didn't hit us, or scare us, or disappoint us?
Cheers to all the kids with good dads.
No, seriously. Srsly. SRSLY!!!
I don’t mind being single. I don’t even mind being asked constantly if I am single. But lately, everyone seems to want to set me up with someone (generally, I don’t like this). Or people constantly ask me if I like it versus being in a relationship. (I do.)
If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be (wink).
But I genuinely like and enjoy being single.I like having people to date, and maybe even someone that is special and consistent, but the main reason I truly feel that I can survive “alone” is… Well, I am the best boyfriend I ever had. Trust me, there is a reason I am single. I have picked some crazy ass boyfriends, and I realize that the “picking and dating” are all my fault. I own that. I have taken it in, and realized that I have a pattern of dating down. That I have a pattern of dating people that need a savior, or a caretaker, or a mom… And I am more than aware of my own faults that contributed to breakups… So, no surprises there… But I do think that the main reason is just that I enjoy being single and free.
I had decided a long, long time ago after someone didn’t treat me particularly well that I would never allow myself to be devalued or underappreciated again. And I have tried to hold that pact with myself. Now, I haven’t always been successful, but I haven’t just allowed it and gone along with it. But what I can say is that I will never be in such a position again. Why? Because. I am the best for me. I know what’s best for me. I love me. I will take care of me. I will fight for me. I will fight BACK for me. I will respect me. I will cherish me. I will never give up on me.
Plus… It never hurts to have a list of awesomeness about my relationship with me:
I never fight with me.
I always let me have the remote.
I don’t argue with me over the thermostat. In fact, I love how in sync I am with me over temperature.
When I buy myself a surprise, I always love it. Generally, I am good to me.
I have never missed my birthday.
I have never missed my anniversary.
I have never stood me up.
I have never made me feel ugly.
I have never argued with me over where to eat.
I love the restaurants I pick out for me to go to.
I know my favorite color.
I know my favorite drink.
I can answer how I take my coffee.
I have never had to wait on me to get ready for a date.
I love the same movies as me.
I know that when I need a bottle of wine and a blanket to watch sad movies, just let me run with it.
I know just how to turn me on.
I know just how to get me off.
I never tell myself I have a headache.
I am hilarious. I always laugh at my jokes…
I don’t think my mom is interfering in my relationship with me.
I won’t let me get too crazy.
I love my circle of friends.
I am not jealous of me and the time I give to others.
All in all, I think I am pretty kick ass boyfriend. And I am a pretty good date for myself. I crack me up and I like to spend time with me. I think we are getting pretty serious. Maybe I’ll even marry me soon. Or at least pop the question and get some nice jewelry out of it for me!!
Monday, December 19, 2011
The holidays are here.
Decidely here. And I have been trying to avoid them. With fervor. I have not really been in a holiday mood or spirit at all. I am sure that you could tell. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I am just not feeling it. Luckily, Maureen’s wedding provided a much needed distraction and event during Thanksgiving, but Christmas is still looming. Closer and closer, it is stealthily creeping daily. Never stopping. And that has made me think. Think about family, about friends, and about relationships. Now, y’all… this isn’t a blog about my family…or something that has happened. This is really more of just random musings that have been in my head as of late. Well, I guess it’s about time, really. That and about priorities… and what is important in my life. Truly important.
I mean, it’s no secret that I work a lot. Of course, I wouldn’t say too much, but I do realize that I work more than your average person. I didn’t think anything of it for years, until I realized that everyone made a face or kind of recoiled. No, seriously… everyone visibly blanches or makes some type of face when I explain what I do, how much I travel and how much I work. I never understood it, and I’d be like “But, why? I like to work.” And that’s just the truth: I like to be busy. I like to always have something going on. (I have no idea where I get this gene from… My mother is not like that and requires down time. My dad is the same way. So, siblings, cousins, etc… Where did WE get it from?)
Anyway, work. Lots of it. And this, in turn, breeds people I need to see, and places I need to go. Which in turn, breeds required travel. Apparently, this requires lots of travel. Sooo, that in turn provides alone time. (I am sure there is a diagram for this. Or I’ll need to create one, but yeah…)
Part of me realizes that there is a need in me for companionship, friendships, and relationships in general. I DO need people around me. I like familiarity. I love my friends and family and I like them close and around. Generally, I have kept my work and social lives in balance. But traveling has altered and tilted that balance I had carefully cultivated and created. It has made my life where I have less control of my alone time. I am a very social creature. I am not one that likes or loves to be alone for extended periods of time. And I know that. I don’t see it as a weakness or a crutch, and more importantly… I am perfectly okay with that. But, the social aspect is that for weeks I’ll miss my Jackson friends and miss out. And then for weeks, I’ll miss out on my Tampa friends. And both will require weeks of social catch up and endless events and appointments. That can become tiring after about 2 or 3 days back in a location where you just want a fluffy robe, a couch, some wine, and a movie.
OR, then I’ll have weeks of travel and I’ll have extended amounts of time where I am in a different city and know no one. And have lots of time to myself. This is great for a day or two, because I REQUIRE some amounts of alone time. I like to focus on things… and I need time to organize, time to study, time to reflect. I need time to plan and recharge. Time to focus and make sure I am following the right path. In those lights, I intellectually understand that. But I don’t require LOTS of time like that. The benefit is that I get to be with my thoughts, but after a day or two by yourself in a hotel, you are willing to sit in a hotel bar and make friends with strangers, staff or drivers. Since I am not a dull person, I am always meeting new people, and being “Michael K”. I am always getting myself into some type of situation that usually ends up with a funny story.
I do realize how this can read, and I am not “complaining” about either situation. I love my life. I am very blessed and have no reason to bitch or moan. And truthfully, neither situation is a bad thing, per se, but I generally like to be in control of my circumstances. (I am sure those close to me are nodding heads and rolling their eyes) So, while some alone time is needed, how much is TOO much? I mean, I don’t think I feel lonely. But there are days where I do feel left out. When friends don’t invite me places because they don’t think I’ll be around to go anywhere. And it happens in both cities. I mean, I realize that people are not required to keep up with my schedule, but geez... I wouldn’t mind a text or message sometimes reminding me that you know I am alive. Or when it comes to events and invitations, as a result, I am either invited last minute, or not at all… To be perfectly frank, I think it contributed to my last break up mainly because I am so independent naturally and it just promotes me being in my own head, with my own ideals and not really bonding closely with the other person.
Reflecting on some of this and on the actions of others lately, I think I am going to have to start more closely paying attention to social activities vs. quality time with real friends. And making sure that I pick the right one with the right one! (Now, don’t get your panties in a wad: If you don’t make the cut, then you are probably not going to miss me anyway.) If I never see you, never hear from you, you never respond to text, twitter or facebook… Then WHY would I put in extra work or more work than you to maintain a friendship?? Doesn’t mean I am not your acquaintance or “friend”, it just means that I got the hint. Friendships and relationships take work, and sometimes it’s apparent when you are the only one texting or calling when you are available. Now, trust me when I say that I am not one of those poor souls that simply MUST have company every second of every day. But I do enjoy a full social life. I like it. AND I like my solitude just as much. It’s my Gemini nature. So, yes… I am definitely going to have to start more closely paying attention to how I allocate my time with friends and family to ensure that I am getting "quality vs. quantity" with my time.
Oh, and Bah! Humbug! and all that...
Friday, December 16, 2011
Or maybe I am just feeling too warm and fuzzy today. But, let’s hope it sticks. I think I’ll like the me I am becoming. I'm pretty sure I will...
How are you, Gentle Readers? How’s your fall holiday season been thus far? How was your Halloween? Your Samhain? How was your Thanksgiving? Do you have big plans for Christmas and New Year’s?
I will be honest, Life has just been so... busy. I have barely had time to tweet, and update Facebook; but I have been a woefully lazy blogger. I have lost almost all of my followers. Which makes me sad, but to be honest… It was probably for the best. I am revamping. I am reformatting. I am changing the way I blog.
I have taken some great advice and looked inward. And it was just about time. I had gotten into a rut with my life. My love life, my work life, my social life, and that crept into my social media and just my... existence. However, my situation has become so, so, SO different lately and being newly single, traveling more than ever, and being busier than ever with work and projects… Well. It’s time to dust off laptop (or in reality, probably my tablet and smart phone) and really seriously blog again.
I have noticed that I tend to go through cycles. In the late 90’s and early 2K’s I blogged furiously. And then I have off and on and with the advent of advancements in social media… it’s made it even easier. But it makes it easier to not take the time to properly do it. To really think about what I am putting out there and what I want to be or represent. I miss it, for sure. But I want to track some of the things and happenings of my life. I want to make sure I capture and share it. Use if for education, inspiration, and maybe even just good ole fashioned entertainment.
In fact, I decided right here and now that I’ll be changing the name. Oh, it’s still me. Michael. Michael K. MK, and the moniker that just stuck the longest: JustBeingMichael. So, iIt’s still Jus’ Bein’ Michael. Homespun southern charm. Witty repartee and good ole “horse sense” wisdom. But, I am going back to my roots. The southern ones. The ones where I try to find the good and not just the obvious snarky, deconstructive in everything.
So, I’ll just go by JustBeingMichael now. No more Michael Chronicles. No more glorified tales of drunken youth from years ago and how we taunted others, embarrassed our mothers, drank mercilessly, or just plain acted a fool. Like it was staged, or like we didn’t have anything to live for. I won’t shy away from the funny, and obvious, but I don’t think I am going to actively search for the snark anymore. I want my life to mean more. I want to make a mark. I want to be a helpful mentor. Or just a shoulder. Maybe just someone that is funny. Or entertaining. Or even just… there. Besides, I think that a gay, spiritual, professional that travels constantly has lots to offer in funny stories alone. My life is practically a reality show sitcom.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I’d like to take a moment to share with you that Divine Inspiration has struck!
Naturally, I was taking a small nap after a pretty intense “communion” session; and I was awaked by what I can only call “The Lord”. I was given a clear vision of what to do and the folks that could make it happen. And that involves YOU!
Get ready for it: Pentecost… Annie… And then put them together. That’s right! Together!
I know, I know… I told the Lord that it was crazy, but there it was, like small bush set aflame. And it’s pretty exciting that we’ll be doing a full Pentecost version of “Annie”! I know I am WAY psyched for all of you. Now, time is scarce, and since the reunion is obviously the place to do it, I’ll be casting for the roles in Annie for those dates. We’ll do a surprise flash mob to a revamped and Godly inspirational medley of songs… Please be honored to be included. You should be.
Logistics being a necessary evil, and aware that God may not email you your own part, I’ll need to be organized. You’ll receive your labeled cassette(s) with your part played by me in an old carpeted piano room on a “slightly” tuned piano for you to learn and be ready by the deadline. These are hard deadlines and not the kind that “you thought it was due for next practice”. Obviously NMMC has taught us all who those people are. I won’t call anyone out, but I am looking directly at you, Tonisa and Wade. I will thank my company in advance that they “donated” teleconference lines and WebEx sessions for our “ministry”. We can practice via conference calls until the big day! Preferably prepared and in tune, People!!! Also, and last, but certainly not least… there WILL be a Prayer Phone Tree associated with the cast list that can be used for excused absences in an emergency. Otherwise, the PPT is just for prayer (abusers of current PPTs know who you are… DeAnna!) I have travailed and interceded for the right person to pass such a responsibility off to for this project and I feel that they have shown admirable qualities to take the reigns.
Now, BREAK A LEG!
Hard Knocks Lives Can Be Changed and ReArranged
Candi Merriman Davis; Understudy: Jeremy Smith (he can hit the notes…)
Muzette Krebs; Understudy: Rhonda Fleming (she knows the part…)
Lisa Douglas Fitzwater; Understudy: Dana Mounce Bowman
Punjab – Warbuck’s faithful bodyguard. Sometimes, It just takes a miracle or two (or a turban) to get a move of God falling from the pulpit to the pew! And Punjab is a character than can call down a move of God! Glory! Whostola MyHundai Nowanna Daewoo!!!
Rooster - Miss Hannigan's no-good brother, out for the quick buck. Every pack of disciples has a Judas, and every On Fire Revival church has a pack of deacons! In a crucial and telling role, this character is there to show us that without the rain, we might not enjoy the sun!
Lily St. Regis - Rooster's girlfriend, is smarter than she appears. Because even the devil needs a cheerleader! Rooster just needs that love and reassurance. It might even be the love of a good and Godly woman that brings him back to an altar of repentance and grace. Might…
Stacey Douglas Branham
The orphans at the orphanage, ages 6 to 13. Timid and helpless creatures. Obviously forgotten by the world and the church. These rascals are there to help Annie along in her journey, but would they lend her their Hot Sticks or Rave Number Four during Youth Camp on Cute Evangelist Night? Probably not…
Molly Tracee Clouse Bowles
Pepper DeAnna Sibley
Duffy Melody Krebs Connell
July Jennifer Ethridge
Tessie Teresa Spencer
Kate Jennifer Williams
Franklin D. Roosevelt - President of the United States, he aids Warbucks in the search for Annie's parents. Every group has a Bishop and this ensemble is no exception. Full of charisma and charm, this character is as endearing as he is mischievous. One day, with enough faith, he’ll be able to walk again as well.
Louis Brandeis - Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he is called upon to assist in Annie's adoption. This is a role that proves that God wants his people in Politics and Positions of Power! Or, if I misread the Spirit… then it proves that God can use people in politics in spite of themselves and through their corruption and ignorance.
Bert Healy – Radio announcer who agrees to broadcast Annie's search for her parents. One might equate this crucial role to a Jeremiah or that guy from a book in the OT that broke a pot and made echoes. Even God needs a mouthpiece and someone that knows how to keep the feedback and interference out of the message. This is that guy. Break a pot and tell the story guy…
The Boylan Sisters - Singers on the Bert Healy Show and hope to be famous someday. These are the girls that love to sing and love their family. The casting for this choice was obvious. There were enough Dominguii Sisters to have lead roles and understudies. God truly moves in mysterious ways. But sometimes, God moves in pretty obvious ways, too…
Sylvia Dominguez Montoya & Sarah Dominguez Murane; Understudy(s): The other two Dominguii…
Lt. Ward - A policeman sent after Annie, finds her at the Hoovervilles. So you think that Jesus came to erase the “Law” and give us complete freedom?? Not so, poor uninformed masses… He came to fulfill the Law and that is where this character comes in… The Law.
Cecelia Holley (if you could bring your bike as a police motorcycle…that’d be great.)
Sandy - An abandoned mixed–breed dog that Annie rescues, he becomes her faithful companion. Sometimes, a dog is just a dog. There is no reason.
Holly, the dog; Understudy: Andrew Roemer in a dual role if Holly is unavailable. She probably has a very busy schedule.
Drama Directors/Choreography – Kristin Clark Andrus, Katherine Stuckenberg
Musical Director – Michael Kennedy, David Scott
Piano - Nikki Copelin, Susan Ware Hill
Organ - David Geri, Doretha Bourn, Shaun Smith
Bass - Wade Haskins, Jarrett Humpries
Drums - Jarrett Humpries, Dale Cole
Keys/Synth - Cynthia Dominguez
Guitar/Sax - Nate Lawrence
Back up Singers or “Praise” Singers - Melanie Sullivan Rutland, Stacy Hyatt Lawrence, Tonisa Bourn, Josh Glick, Steven Andrus, Gina Yohe Hill
Prayer Warrior and PPT Activator/Administrator - Kelli Linkinhoker, Gina Yohe Hill
…Or maybe you should be more talented. …Or give better tithes. …Or get the scissors untangled from your hair. Whatever the reason, in your heart and of course, Jesus, already know why, M’okay?? If you have questions or seek answers, well… Just pray about it.
Yours in Jesus,
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Basically, Proverbs 7 is about staying away from slutty, enticing women. Basically... but what a huge lot to hang on girls.
Obeying this... and really delving into the literal nature of this chapter is 'No problemo' for me. I am not likely any time soon to be led astray or enticed by a girl, lady, or aduteress. I am strong. I am manly. And I am a big ole girl... But, seriously... that doesn't help me in my quest to read Proverbs every day and glean some type of wisdom from Solomon. This project is important to me. So, what does the text actually say and mean for me? My son... blah blah blah, stay away from sluts, married women, and fancy beds of whores. Mm'kay....
Now, granted, in today's society, that's kind of misogynistic to assume that the woman is who leads men astray and that the man plays no part in being "enticed". I could insert a joke here. One about how true this is. A joke that men are generally thinking with the wrong head. (they are...) Or a joke du jour about how they (we...) are all like boys or children that ARE easily led astray. And those jokes would be true. Sadly, sadly true. Even the most tried-and-true-blue-blooded-good-as-gold-guy will be, at a minimum, visually stimulated. At. A. Minimum. And the flip side of this coin... the other side of the joke is that he will be enticed and lured and stimulated by gorgeous, but skanky woman in a push up water bra asking for another round.
Don't believe me? Hit the 'Bulldog' on a Friday or Saturday nite... Everyone is out doing eeveryone else. The girls are dressed to impress and the guys are strutting around like peacocks vying for the attention. It is really something. Everyone is out for a reason... And it isn't for the cuisine of a chain restaurant... But, there is more, however; Much, much more to all of this. The game. The chase. The wanting... I think this is just an old fashioned way, or parabillic way of presenting information. I think the "she" here is proverbial. Like a boat, or a car...
And for the next section, I think that just might be apporpriate: The "She" is someting you want. Something that you want to have. Something you want to want you. Something you want to be yours. Sarcastic Newsflash: Men are competitive. Men are aggressive, competitive, and possessive. We like to conquer and then own. We are childish, and don't like to share. We don't care for CO-anything. There is one boss. One leader. One... To quote "The Highlander"... There can be only one!
I don't always understand the nature of man. I dont understand the need for One... but I have to admit: As the writer, I have it. I am that way. There is a core drive inside me to win. To be the best and to conquer. That leaves me vulnerable to be enticed...
By "her"... "She"... "She" can entice you beyond your comfort, and eventually hurt you. "She" can make you want things that you never wanted. Need things. Need them in a way that doesn't make sense or let you sleep. "She" can make you work a second job and leave spending time with your family just to have "her". "She" can make you steal. "She" can make you lie to your family. To your friends. To your lover. To your boss. To yourself.
Good lord, who the hell is this bitch? I am reading back what I wrote and she sounds either super powerful and awesome... Or she sounds manipulative and awful. And the fact is: "She's" both... That is just the truth. Like you and me, "she" has both good and bad. That is a truth we can all relate to. The "she" of the American Dream. The "she" of keeping up with the Joneses or Smiths or... Kennedys. It's that "she" that makes you spend an extra 20K on a house mortgage you shouldn't. "She" makes you trade your car in to impress your neighbors, and family. When you are loved as is, your old car ran fine, and you are worried that you cannot afford a new car. Maybe "she" makes you pull out a credit card for a frivolous purchase during a recession and damn near depression in our economy.
Clearly, the underlying message here is an overarching one in the chapter: Beware of things that seem too good to be true.
Beware a deal, a job, a car, a mate, a home, or anything that makes you compromise too much. Beware. Think some of these things through? Is a new experience with a lover worth losing the respect of a partner? Is the rush of owning a new object worth the stress of overtime and paying late credit card fees? Is the joy of enjoying lavish food worth the next day's shame and next year' waistline? Can you justify the money spent on "good times" and wine and frivolity, when your car needs a taillight and you need a new computer? Is drinking that third, fourth, and fifth drink worth the stress on your partner, and the disappointment felt by everyone later?
All of this is something I definitely need to be on a continuous look out for in my life. People offer fun, fame, and good times. But at what cost? People offer love, friendship, and adoration.... but at what cost? What is "she" costing me? What is the cost sometimes of being MichaelK? I think that might be, or should be, one of my next blog series. To do the analysis and analytics of what I spend to be me. And what could I spend to be just as happy and healthy and settled? Not just the money... although, believe me honey... it takes a village. But, seriously, what does it really cost me in myself, in my wallet, in my integrity, in my heart? In my relationships? What is it that I give up to have my job, money, lover, house, friends, and life???
What does "she" cost you? What does your life cost you?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Interestingly enough, I keep up with my proverb readings every single day. It is something that even if I do it super early, or late in the day... it just helps. I have tried to "reuse" ones from the past: be it a past year or a past month...and it just never exactly fits like it does when I read it that day, in that moment, for that time.
Proverbs 21:2 KJV: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.
No one likes to think they are a bad person. No one likes to think they are wrong. No one likes own the bad stuff... But God knows. Your confidants know... People that truly love you....already know.
Proverbs 21:2 GNT: You may think that everything you do is right, but remember that the LORD judges your motives.
Regardless of what you think about your fellow man, or God for that matter, try to ponder on the good. Try to do good. Try to focus your energy and your ability on the positive and on the good...
Monday, July 25, 2011
Horrible beeping. Groggy. Blurry. Warm covers. Cold floor.
Late. Snoring lover. Twinge of annoyance and jealousy.
Rushing. Water. Sigh of...relief? No... Sigh of comfort/contentment. Hot. Steamy.
Packing. Driving. Parking. Running. Security. Unload. Scan. Reload. Waiting.
Every other Monday, I fly. For work. Different cities. Different airports. Coherent... Sane. Different... Same.
. . I usually forget to look out the window and see how pretty the world is. I am usually the guy with a hat, sunglasses, and earphones. I am trying to ignore you, your stories, and your child/friend/parent/partner rambling. I have been conditioned to get in, sit down, and get where I am going. Preferably with as little hassle as possible.
As I said, I fly almost every 2 weeks (sometimes more frequently...), and it is way too easy to take the experience for granted. Every one has a story. Every airport has some point of interest. Every local restaurant has some dish that you just gotta try. We just get... distracted. Well, I don't want to be that way anymore. I don't wanna be that guy anymore...
Today, I hope I learn never to take such a view for granted again.
It can be very difficult to find people you can trust. In this day and age when anyone can publish just about anything they want... Well, it can be nearly impossible to hat you can count on someone. It can be hard to have employees, friends, family, and partners that you have absolute confidence in. Confidence to be honest, to not betray you, to take up for you behind your back, and not just in front of you.
Proverbs 25:13 A reliable messenger is refreshing to the one who sends him, like cold water in the heat of harvest time. 14 People who promise things that they never give are like clouds and wind that bring no rain.
It can be incredibly frustrating to have someone in your life that you don't trust. Or feel you cannot trust. Lies, secretive behavior, mis- or non-communication. Not listening. It all boils down to trust and credibility. People that continually promise "to do better" and have to apologize for the same behavior over and over, eventually become untrustworthy and lack credibility.
Be careful out there...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
This is a very good proverb to go with in your daily life.
Don’t worry about what may or may not come.
And certainly don’t tell your friends or frenemies about what you are hoping for: it just may not happen. Then you look stupid. Or like a liar, which can really hurt your reputation. Strive to do your best, make it happen, and then be gracious when the hard work pays off.
“He gets it honest.”
And they would be right. Both of my parents were spectacularly attractive, stylish, spoiled, and selfish. And they made a very nice representation of their love. In little old me. I have tried to carry that banner with pride.
I should have known I’d be in for a lot of conflict in life when my mother first told me the story of how I acted as a baby. Not even 6 months old and home from the hospital. According to LaNita, I was a willful child. Hyper. Excitable. Loud. But mainly, the story I love the best is the one where she tells me that I would hold my breath. Not for a while. Not for minutes. I would hold my breath until I turned blue. Purple. “Dead lookin’” is how she described it in her lilting, cultured drawl. Also, according to her:
- I would hold my breath for attention.
- I would hold my breath to be left alone.
- I would hold my breath to be held.
- I would hold my breath to be put down.
- I would hold my breath for food.
- I would hold my breath to have her stop trying to feed me.
I, of course, have no real memory of this. [NOTE: In full disclosure, I must say that my older sister has corroborated this story.] My father has said it was true (eh, less able to take everything he says to the bank). And my grandparents assure me that while I was a precious gift from the Lord Most High, himself… It is sadly, very, very, very true. If you could hear that, my grandmother’s voice would drop two octaves and her “soft-r’d-dulcet-old-south” accent would sound like a baritone’s “ver-uh”. Naturally, as I retain no actual memory of the accused actions, I refuse to acquiesce to the allegations.
The first time this happened (again…ALL of this is hearsay up to this point) my mother called my grandmother, cried hysterically, and prayed. She said she threw me on our tasteful davenport (pronounced in the south as dah-vin-po-aht) and ran from the room. Then she heard me cry. (I am assuming the feeling of falling, or hitting the couch, jarred me and woke me from my “sleep”). Now, if you like coincidence, irony, or any dark twists in old Southern Gothic stories, THIS is where the story gets complicated. I would LOVE to take credit for being this mischevious, but you just can’t make this kind of true life mess up! I was born almost 2 months premature, and was very small. If you see my massive frame today, I know…you wonder how in the world I survive (being so frail and thin. ;-))But, I was a tiny, tiny, small thing that came to the party too early and my lungs were moderately underdeveloped. Later in my like, whenever she was angry with him, my mother would say it was due to my father’s smoking around her. I think it’s because she liked her glasses of “tea”(bourbon and water mixed to that lovely shade of Southern Sweet Tea). Anyway, there I was: a weak, mewling thing that was recently born too early with bad lungs. And I would just “suddenly” stop breathing and turn that frightening shade of blue and purple. She took me to the Doctor, but he told her my lungs were coming along just fine. Obviously, in her mind, he was incorrect as the same occurrence happened over and over. She was afraid I was allergic to different foods, that the sheets on the crib were wrong, that I would somehow starve if she couldn’t get me to eat or sleep or rest. She took me back to the Doctor, and I was still fine.
“Okay then”, I can hear her drawl, “I’ll just take him to someone that WILL help me fix this mess.”
She took me to a different doctor. Still fine. This was getting awfully frustrating now. Okay fine, then. She took me to a preacher. I was fine, but at least well prayed over and annointed with oil.
Unfortunately, my mother did eventually (after months…
“Oh, honey! He’s not dead… He is just playin’ possum!”
Then this obviously-too-good-with-children-overtly-pious-snitch proceeded to smack my legs with the palm of her hands!!! Can you believe that?? Someone spanking a willful child? In America? In the 20th Century? Well, gentle reader, calm down. Take a moment to let it all sink in, and after you catch your bated breath, and realize that I did, indeed, live through this heinous and most hateful of ways to get a child to behave, then go on and believe it. It happened.
My mother learned a new skill that day. Not just the one that gave her permission to spank me or discipline me. She learned a little more about the tiny person God had given her to deal with. Armed with this new knowledge and a little more confidence, said I only tried that about twice after that day. Also, and more than she could ever guess how prophetic and right she was, she told me that she learned that we were much, much more similar than she had earlier guessed.
Later on in my life (and not so long ago), she confessed that her pregnancy with me had been a surprise pregnancy. [NOTE: Interestingly enough, my own father had drunkenly beaten her to telling me that story. Good times, Dad! But luckily, her presentation of this information was much more subtle and becoming of her social stature.] And it had been a hard pregnancy on top of that. Allegedy. She said for the last six months of her natal stature, she cried every day over silly commercials and craved a box of banana popsicles. Really, Mom? Every day? Well, LaNita, I guess that’s a small price to pay (a pittance, even!) to deliver a treasure like myself to this world! Of course, I like to think that even in the womb, I would hold my breath for what I wanted.
Of course, I am assured that once I have children, MY precious angel would never do that to me. Right??
Monday, January 24, 2011
Everyone seems to want to be friends with the most powerful, meanest, outrageous people. And to be honest, sometimes I am not always proud of my own actions in regards to running my mouth…but I do *try* to put my best foot forward and watch my mouth. Or at least, I always try to be truthful so I can own up to what I say. :)
1 Don’t be envious of evil people, and don’t try to make friends with them.
2 Causing trouble is all they ever think about; every time they open their mouth someone is going to be hurt.