Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 7)

September was a strange month for us. It began in a crescendo of awesome, then sunk, then rose again. It started off on a trip to Fredricksburg that we took one weekend. And we had an amazing time. We, as we often did, planned just about everything last minute, but we spent two absolutely glorious, drama free days there. And, it was then that I noticed a few things:

1. Our talks in the car. They were always open, free and meaningful.

2. He stared at me a lot that weekend, thinking I wasn’t looking or didn’t notice, but I did, and that comes into play later.

3. That when we were “away” from the people we both proclaimed (at the time) ‘friends’ everything was right with the world. It wasn’t ever until we came back to San Antonio that there was interference and drama from those outside our circle. 

And that was when my resentment for said people began to build. A lot.

Yet, I still attended every baseball game. I was always the first call when he would lose his keys on the VIA park and ride to the Spurs games, and he still called three times a day…sometimes more.

September also became the month that I resolved to create and work on a list of people who I loved, and to remind them every day that I loved them…him most of all. So, first thing in the morning, I would text my loved ones a personal message. Then, again, the last thing I did before I went to bed was the same.
He would rarely respond, other than a smart ass remark, but I kept on anyway.

It wasn’t until he sent me these that I realized how much he had started to count on those messages throughout the day:

But yet, always the interference from the outside that month. Too many people poking around, asking questions and inserting themselves like tampons in our business. Funny thing was, they all came from “his” side of the fence, not mine. There was a lot of conniving and manipulation and just outright deceit. Finally, I had it. I couldn’t take it anymore.

One night, as we were talking, I told him that I couldn’t take it. If I could have the fortitude to tell people to buzz off and mind their own business, so should he. But, I made it clear that if he was “with me”, he’d better damn sure make it clear to those self-same individuals, because continually living in what felt like eternal limbo was driving me insane.

He refused.

And I simply could not (and cannot to this day) understand why. I told him, “Why do you care about so many people who never have a conversation with you unless you reach out to them first, or unless they want a bar tab paid? Why do you hold on so tight to people who have already let go of you?” I remember telling him that night, breaking down into tears that I knew he was better than that, that I saw such greatness in him, and that his obsession with holding on to what was gone (and should remain that way) made no sense to me, as I watched that war within his own heart and mind tear him apart. And watching that, tore me apart. You see, I have never had any issue with cutting people out, letting people go. Not because they are bad, but because I realize that they are bad for me; that they aren't meant to go where I am going...and that's okay. I don't feel a need to collect people, to remain "friends" (Facebook or otherwise) with people who don't add value in my life. Long ago, I decided that if you aren't making deposits in my life, you're making withdrawals, and if the withdrawals exceed the deposits, something is very, very wrong. 

As someone who spent most of her life trying to "fix" the problems for everyone else, I was lied to, used and often taken advantage of. When I saw the same for him, I simply could not stand for it. I recognized those people for who and what they are, and they were (and are still all) people who continually judge others...who they, themselves, aren't even close to getting their own shit together. 

He was (is) better than that. So am I. And I had no time, nor patience, to trifle with people who wanted nothing more than to remain in the past, in their past and to bring nothing but that past to our proverbial present table. 

Not that I would ever tell him who he can or cannot have as friends, mind you. But rather, I recognized, early on those who were not his "friends" at all. People who would do nothing but use him or take advantage of his generous heart. People who would talk badly about him behind his back, but still come to him for financial assistance. No. Not acceptable. People who didn't give a shit about him on his birthdays or other special occasions. And people who I know did not, because for the past three years weren't around for a single thing, unless Jon or I paid for it. They did nothing. And those who did do something...anything at all...over the last three years? Well...they always asked me to reimburse them. And even after that caused drama. Ha. Some "friends" those are. Assholes is more like it. Assholes who pretend to be successful and "balling" on Facebook, but people who still to this day are unable to cover their own bills, whereas he and I have not only been able to cover our own bills, but move forward and become even MORE successful financially and in our relationship since they have been gone. Coincidence? I think not. 

You become like the five people you hang around with most. We hung out with losers and liars. I stopped. He didn't. He got stuck. Then, when he stopped, things began to change for him...for the better. 

Not that I ever claimed to be perfect, you know, I’m not. Never have been, never will be.

And as the middle of September bled into arguments about people who needed to exit our lives (that he didn’t see yet), at the end of September, he said, “Let’s get away from here. Let’s just go.”

So we did. And it was exactly what we needed, because it turned into the surprise vacation of a lifetime…the one that changed everything. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 6)

August was the month I grew in love, and in patience for this man. Yet, he was a hard case. I wanted to show him that friends (real ones) and lovers (real ones) didn’t exclusively distribute time. I had asked him MONTHS prior, “You play baseball. Why don’t any of your ‘friends’ come and see you play?” He had no answer. I said, “That isn’t right Jon. It just isn’t. If people are your friends, they would support you.” He said, “I don’t ever tell anyone when my games are.”

So, I took some initiative. I thought it was sad and (frankly pathetic) that his “friends” couldn’t do the same. I looked up his baseball schedule and told Jessica that we were going on a mission (to the Missions) one Friday night.

So we did. We showed up when he had a game. And never in my life have I seen a man’s eyes glow the way his did that night. Naturally, I played it cool, but he was in love with the fact that I took the time to not only go and find him doing what he loved the most, but that I also brought a cheerleading section for him. We laughed, we clapped and we had a great time. Immediately after, he didn’t want us to leave. He said, “Hey, do you all want to go and have dinner?” And we did. And these were the days that he was “playing it cool” and “not wanting to admit we were together.” And I wasn’t having it…so he spent a lot of time being mad at me. It became an interesting time….

He would say, “Shauna, I know how I am when I am in a relationship with someone. I’m a dick. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. I am who I am, and I can’t change.”

My reply was always the same, “Jon, you choose to be a dick. You said you love me. You said you respect me and don’t want to hurt me. Prove it. You aren’t who you are, you are who you choose to be.”

And, on August 19th of that year, I heard him struggle with his own statement for the first time. He began to say, “I am who I…” and then he stopped, abruptly and said, “Grrrr. You make me crazy.” And, making him crazy is my specialty. I challenged him…in a way that few people could. Often times I never ever realized how what I would say to that man would sink in, plant a seed and grow until months later. That’s just how he is.

Ah September. He was a hard case, this one. He fought me tooth and nail about being “officially” in a relationship, despite the fact that we were unofficially in one. And it drove me bonkers. One day, in September things blew up. I told him, “In or out, there is no half way. Half way, people get hurt. You need to make a decision. I’m either your friend, your lover or your girlfriend, but there is no more half way.” And man…when I stood my ground, things changed.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. He was messaging me on Facebook all day. I had a MAJOR event that day that I was working. He said, “I can’t think. I can’t focus at work. I can’t do a damn thing. This is driving me crazy. All I can see or hear is you, and all I can think about is you. I can’t do anything. I can’t function, Shauna. And that’s not like me.”

Me, resolute, said, “Good, that’s a sign you need to make a decision. If you’re coming to
me for sympathy, you’re coming to the wrong place. No more emotional roller-coaster nonsense. I have three daughters to raise, and I respect myself too much to be someone’s “fuck buddy”. You’re either in or out, I don’t care which, but you need to make that decision.” I said, “We are either lovers, friends or nothing at all.”

And oh how he “hated” me for “pushing” him. But he loved me for it all the same. And that was September…..well, part of it. 

The rest you’ll have to wait for in Part 7. 

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 5)

There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t check on me. Stubborn as I was, I went back to work too soon. He worried about me. He told me so each day. But, I will never be who I am I didn’t push myself. And I did. I pushed myself. Too hard some days. I would come home exhausted. Literally unable to function. All I could do was sleep. But I pressed on. That’s just me. I told no one of my struggle, not even him. I just did what I had to do. And every day, I got my three calls and I don’t even know how many texts.

Two weeks after I was released from the hospital, I had no idea what I was in for on my first appointment. I took no pain killers that morning (I had decided I couldn’t function while on Percocet, and surely wouldn’t drive on it). But, he knew when my appointment was, and called and texted me to make sure I was up on time to make it; even asked me if I wanted him to take me. Again, my stubborn self told him, “No.” I could handle it, “I got it,” I said. I was independent and didn’t need anyone.

Boy was I wrong.

I went to SAMMC at 9 that morning. I was there for three hours. They scraped out each burn wound on my right arm. They took tweezers and picked out the dead skin. The pain was so intense that I was sweating and felt like I was going to pass out. But yet, I powered through. I always did.

When it was over, still not a painkiller in me, I got in my car and drove to work. Everyone there immediately noticed that I was pale, shaking and in terrible pain. I was literally about to pass out. But, stubborn as I am, I wouldn’t admit it. I kept saying, “I just need to sit down.” I drank water, and knew it was only a short amount of time before I passed out. It was two in the afternoon. I felt it, I knew I couldn’t handle it, and I was trying to figure a way out to go home….without letting anyone know how bad it was.

I saw the concern on everyone’s face as they passed by me that day. They knew I wasn’t okay. And, truth be told, I wasn’t. I was light headed, I was dizzy, my arm was throbbing -- wrapped from my hand to my shoulder in ace bandages with gauze and antibiotic treatment and all sorts of tape underneath. Yet I still refused a painkiller. I insisted that I would be alright.

He called at 10 am, then again at 11, then again at 12. I didn’t answer. I didn’t want him to know how much pain I was in. At 2 pm, he called the office line. I couldn’t avoid him. He already knew. He said, “Go home. I know you, I know you are being a stubborn asshole, and you need to go to my house and rest. I am leaving work now and I will meet you there in 30 minutes. Don’t argue with me like you normally do, just go and do it.”

I replied simply, “Okay.”

He said, “Wait. What? Okay? You’re not going to put up a fight? Now I know it’s bad. I’ll be there in 20 minutes. Leave NOW.”

He knew me.

So, I left. I made the 15 minute drive to his house, sweat dripping out of each of my pores because of the pain. Totally unable to realize where I was, and lucky to have made the drive at all. I had never experienced such massive pain in all my life.

When I got there, he was waiting for me. He took me to the bedroom, and laid my on the bed. He kissed me on the cheek and told me to rest. Said he was going to go and get us something to eat and that I was not to move from that spot until he got back. He wanted me to sleep.

So I did. It was 4:30 in the afternoon. He didn’t wake me up for dinner until 8.

But when he did, he was incredibly sweet. He had gently shut the door when he left, so I could rest, but he opened it, jumped on the bed, kissed my cheek and said, “Sexy ladies need to eat. I have Whole Foods pizza downstairs.”

He grabbed my hand and took me downstairs and watched as I was only able to eat about half a slice of pizza…the pain still gripping me. He tried to get me to eat more, he fought with me vehemently to do so, but I couldn’t. And when he realized how much pain I was still in (because I never complained), he just smiled at me, took my hand, brought me upstairs and tucked me in. He never pushed me, even though I needed a good ass kicking at the time, he just made sure I was okay. He put me to bed at 9pm. He came to bed shortly after, and when he did, all he did was hold me and kiss my forehead.

And that was our August that year. That was all we did. And those are still my favorite times.
There are no photos here, because I wouldn’t allow them. He has some, in his private stash, but those are ours, not yours. At least, not yet.

And then….in September, things changed again. And that is something we will talk about in part six. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 4)

After telling the world about our house fire, the response I received from friends, family and even “fans” was nothing short of amazing. However, those who knew me were also given a very specific set of instructions, “Do NOT tell him,” I said. “He is on vacation and doesn’t want drama and he doesn’t need to know about any of this until he gets back.”

But, someone let it slip on Facebook, two days after the incident. I didn’t realize it. I thought nothing of it at first. At that point, I expected nothing from him at all. I guess that was my first mistake.

After two days in the hospital, I remember laying on my sofa, in a Percocet coma after I was released home. I was out of it. I had been out of it for days, after enduring a burn shower, physical therapy and a morphine drip…I was the furthest thing from myself that I could remember. My phone kept ringing and beeping, interrupting some very much needed sleep. On that second day home, however, I noticed that I kept missing calls from an international number. I didn’t think much of it at the time, so I continued ignoring the calls. The only thing I was interested in doing was sleeping anyway. The pain medication and neural inhibitors made me nearly worthless. I couldn’t drive, function or do much of any
thing else.

But the number kept popping up…several times a day.

Finally, on the third day home from the hospital, I answered. It was him.

His voice was fuzzy and sounded far away. He said, “I have no cell reception here. I checked Facebook the other day and heard….”

He started crying. I could hear him trying desperately to choke back tears.

“That you were in a fire. Are you okay? Please tell me you are okay….”

I told him I was fine. That there was no need to worry about me and that he should enjoy his vacation (I told you I was stubborn).

He then proceeded to say, “I don’t know what I would do if anything ever happened to you. I come home tomorrow. Can I come and see you?”

I replied, “Sure.” Thinking he wouldn’t show up anyway.

But, true to his word, immediately after he landed, he called me, picked up dinner for me and came straight from the airport to see me.

And, the second he saw me, he cried. He hugged me. He wouldn’t let go. He made sure I ate and that I was comfortable and he left saying, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

And he did call me the next day, after texted me several times that night. He said he was happy I was okay, that he could never lose me, that he wouldn’t know what to do without me.

“Finally,” I thought to myself, “It took all of this for him to ‘get it’ but he finally gets it.”
And, for the next few weeks things began returning to normal. Then again, it wasn’t the first time I had been wrong.

I was impatient back in those days, and refused to understand how it was so hard for him to be in a relationship, forgetting that he had been by himself for nine years; forgetting that I was the first person he had “let in” in a very, very long time.

As we ebbed toward the beautiful, neither of us saw what was brewing underneath all of that. At least, not yet. It wasn’t time. So, for the next few weeks, we enjoyed each other’s company. He didn’t even mind that I had no eyelashes and had lost a lot of my hair. We went right back to being inseparable. Right back to our comfortable spot. And, it was the best place for both of us to be.

And, for those of you who are wondering about the trip, the ex-girlfriend didn’t go. He invited his friend, Leonard, instead. And they golfed a lot. Even when we were “fighting”, he never wanted to let go of the idea that I would get over it and find my way back home. And, I always did.

And I always will. Which, you will learn more about in Part 5....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 3)

In April of 2012, things changed. We became more than friends. A lot more. I remember it vividly. It was April 25, 2012 when he told me that he loved me for the first time. He said, “I love you, do you love me?”

I cocked my head to the side and said, “Of course I do.”

“But why?” He inquired.

I replied, “Because you are you.

He grinned the grin that I came to crave over the next few years. And…all was right with the world.  
It was then that things got better, than worse, than much better and then much worse and then…suddenly became fantastic. But, I am getting ahead of myself…

We progressed as normal during that month. Two weeks later, he threw me a birthday party. The night before my birthday, he dedicated this song to me. Of course, I swooned.

That evening, quite the gentleman, he picked me up at 7pm, on the dot, despite much bitching about it beforehand. All night, he made sure I was taken care of, cared for, and he would often sneak up behind me and plant a kiss on my shoulder, or my neck. When we drove home that night, it was the first time I caught a glimpse of someone I didn’t yet know….the ‘scared’ him. 

He said, “I haven’t been in a relationship for nine years. I haven’t let anyone get close to me. I don’t know how you have done it, but you have, and you scare the hell out of me.”

It was at that moment, I knew I had a place in his heart….a place no one else could take away.

We carried on as normal for the next few weeks, but now there was a new element to our relationship; one that neither one of us quite knew how to handle. And I remember our first fight. It was because of that first fight that I came to realize just how deeply I was in love with that man.

As most things do, it began thanks to someone conniving their way into our relationship. Asking me what appeared to be “innocent” questions on the surface, only to find out that person was quite jealous that he chose me over her. Funny how that works.

I remember giving him a verbal tongue lashing that night that would make a sailor blush when I found out about their interactions prior, and when I found out why she did what she did. I remember hanging up on him. Then, I remember getting trapped in my own garage….and of course the first person I called was him. And, of course, he laughed at me. Which, in turn, made me laugh at myself.

It was June 12. And it was that night that I was so mad at him (for nothing) that I couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized, it was because I was head over heels for him. But, of course, stubborn bull that I am, I wouldn’t admit it.

A few weeks after that, we went to a formal event. And he, being the dunce he was, allowed himself to get manipulated by yet another “friend” and yet another argument ensued. "Hold my purse," became a joke between us years after. 

And the moment he realized I was miffed, he grabbed my hand, kissed it and said, "You look beautiful. I should tell you that more often."

I responded with a smile, "Yes, you really should."

Despite the tension, the night ended with both of us, laying in his front lawn, in full formal attire and laughing at midnight, under the full moon. It was the perfect ending to that night. As were most of our nights, despite the interference we encountered.

So, we kept on, as usual over the next few months. Although, we started spending even more time together during that time. We would see one another nearly every night. He still called at least three times a day. I could nearly set my watch by his texts and calls throughout the day and through the night.

We began getting comfortable… He would grill and leave me a plate in the microwave when I worked late. We would cook together on the weekend and I would pack enough for him to eat throughout the week – for the times I wasn’t around. We were already planning on spending the holidays together. We hosted a Fourth of July cookout, we wandered the world, and everything seemed fine…that is, until the “vacation”.

He was planning a vacation to Cancun. I had no vacation time at my place of employment at the time, so I couldn’t go at the end of July. When I found out he had asked someone else to go in my stead, someone who was an ex-girlfriend, I was livid. I was so livid, in fact, that I blocked him and deleted him from Facebook. It was July 31, 2012, at 10:42 pm. I remember, because I did it moments after his last post, “Tomorrow I will be on a beach and away from drama.”

Naturally, I gave him my final…well, saying that I use often that is a word beginning with the letter “F”.

He was scheduled to leave the county at 3 in the morning. And, while he was in line at the airport, getting ready to get on a plane, my house caught on fire at 12:42 a.m. on August 1 – that same night. And, by 1:30 a.m. I was in an emergency room getting intubated for smoke inhalation, with second degree burns up and down my arm, most of my hair gone, my eyelashes burnt off and blisters all on my face. For all intents and purposes, as he was boarding a plane to sandy, “drama free” beaches, I was dead to the world until 11 am the next morning.

To be continued in part four….

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 2)

From January of 2012 to April of 2012 there wasn’t a single day he didn’t call me three times a day. Not a single day he missed a call. And there were a million texts in between.
If I was sick, he was there, if he was sick, I was there. He had surgery, I picked him up and took him home and checked on him. I was sick and needed medicine…he was there. We suddenly became tight; the best of friends. I would take him to get his car fixed, I would drop him off, pick him up and we would just hang out three or four times a week. We became (suddenly) inseparable. Where he was, I was…and visa versa. Everything just began to click. We did NOTHING without the other. We went hiking, we went everywhere together. And even when we weren’t together, we were talking and texting all the time. The separate you and I, started to become “us”.

And even though other people outside kept interfering, even though there was massive drama from a bunch of immature asshats, we found our way back. And yes, you know who you are, and you should be utterly ASHAMED of yourselves, it changed nothing between him and me at the end of the day. Nor will it ever.

We had enough problems. I would go to his home and see birthday decorations from the year prior for some ridiculous bimbo put up. I tore them down. It wasn’t him. I was furious with him for doing it. For the two years I have been here there has been makeup and a red light bulb in a lamp that has driven me bonkers….things I won’t get rid of, because it’s not my place. Things he began to dispose of, because he knew it made me nuts. Things he put away so I would be happy. People that (he already knew were bad for him) started to fall by the wayside. Things began to change. 

Things that made me FURIOUS on a daily basis that I have let go for two years….for him, he faught with me on tooth and nail...but he began to change it anyway.This was the time we would be together and then jump in the car the next day and explore the world. We went everywhere. We went nowhere. We wasted gas and time, but we sat in the car for hours…just talking. And we spoke about everything. We talked about fears, challenges, changes, failures, success…and everything else.

We spent hours discovering places we had never been to before. We picked out cottages and houses where we want to live as we grow old one day. We went to mini Stone Henge. We ate on the river.  It was glorious.

There are a thousand places we went and found that we discovered together for the first time; places he grabbed me to start dancing with me in the middle of nowhere or places where he would just lean over and kiss me that no one will ever know but us.

There are drives at midnight where it was raining and we were listening to a CD he made for me where he pulled off the road just to kiss me as I was leaning on his shoulder.

There a million stupid arguments that ended in me siting on the end of his worn out couch, stroking his face, waking him up and him leaning in to kiss me. Nights he yelled at me, and me sitting on the porch in the backyard where he would come down and kiss me passionately. Calls in September, where he said things like, “I’m in Las Vegas with my son, and I can’t think about anything other than you. This has never happened to me before. When can I see you again?”

Among other calls while he was there…calls he never had to make, but he did…to me…calls he won’t make to anyone else. For what reasons I don’t know, but that’s the God’s honest. I guess sometimes two souls meet and just click.

When it matters, men go to the women they love, not the women they lust. But, of course, there's more....

The Greatest Love Story Never Told (Part 1)

It all began innocently enough. We became Facebook friends in 2009. We were part of the same political discussion groups. We commented on each other’s threads. It was meaningless, harmless fun. I respected him, he respected me. It was simple enough. We nearly crossed paths (in person) a million times, but missed each other at each turn. Fate, it seems, wasn’t ready for us to meet. Not just yet. He was too busy messing about with bimbos – yes, I said it.

In 2010, he began messaging me with real estate questions. I sensed that there was something more under the surface, but never pushed; never asked for more. We chatted on and off, nothing more than hellos and how do you do’s; a little political banter and a few things here and there. And it was that year that fate decided we should meet in person. Albeit a short meeting….

When we did, there was electricity. Neither of us knew what to make of it more than, “Just friends.” So we remained as such for two years, talking off and on, little by little, more and more.

I never even noticed when he started taking photos of me at events we both happened to be at when we were there at the same time…how he began making them a focal point of his life. That is, not until later in the story.

In 2011, I was in crisis. He knew it. And he was one of the few people who checked up on me every day, to ask me how I was, to check up on me, to make sure I was okay…and that was when we began talking on a level deeper than the surface. Suddenly, we were becoming the best of friends. We told each other everything and nothing. And that was when we (also) stopped talking, suddenly. Because he was dating someone else. He was trying to be good. But something always kept drawing him back to me (in one way or another, still).

Then, more of 2011 happened. It all began with a night at the Green Lantern. He had been at some Fiesta events with his son, and we happened to (once again) be at the same place at the same time. He remarked, “Oh my god, you look fantastic, I would have sex with you!” I blew him off, as I did everyone at that point, but he hung around, chatted it up a bit and then disappeared…as he often did that May. But, there was so much more to the story than that…so much more than I could even have ever seen back then.

In November of that same year, I had some major changes…catastrophic ones. Instead of running for the hills, he ran closer to me. He checked on me every day. I (as I did to everyone back then) pushed him away. But he wouldn’t quit on me. A few times a day, I would get a text or a message from him. That’s just who he is. In December of that same year, we started hanging out a lot. He would always find reasons to invite me to wherever he was, whatever he was doing…he just wanted me around. And, suddenly, I always found a reason to be there. That was when the banter began. And that banter was how everyone we came across started to ask, “How long have you two been married?” The time when we would both laugh it off and say we weren’t even together, we were just best friends. But…that was also when the seeds began to be planted. Even though I was “in to” someone else, and so was he, we both began to wonder…and things began to get even deeper.

Suddenly, I found myself getting phone calls from him on his way to work, on his lunch and on his way home. Every day. He was famous for one line, “I’m driving by your office right now and I’ve waving at you!” I’d always say, “I’m waving back.”

In February of 2012, he created a Valentine’s Day party he knew I would attend. He even pitched it to the place we had it as “Bitter Bash”. Because he knew I wouldn’t show up to any sort of “lovey dovey” event. He made an entire event palatable…just for me…just because he knew I would show up if he did. I did. And, once again, we found ourselves alone at the end of the night…just talking. Our bond getting deeper by the day.

And then…part two happens….

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When it Comes to War: How Will You Proceed?

Battles are not always fought on mountain peaks. Wars are not always waged on treacherous landscapes. Not all cannons shot across the bow are on the sea; not all conflict exists in the baby blue dotted clouded landscapes of the air. There are not always tanks rolling over sand dunes; many times there are no bombs; no aircraft or missiles showcasing a wild crescendo of explosions and destruction. In fact, most of the time, the hardest battle, and the most tough fought is the one that rages inside our own soul.

We battle with ourselves, we clash with outside forces, we crusade against our own emotions, we war against arguments and we skirmish amongst trivial daily annoyances. We fight against what we often know is best for us, warring against the bigger picture -- in a desperate attempt to hang on to the known and the normal. We argue with everyone (but most especially ourselves) because many times the quest for being right becomes more important (in our own minds) than the quest for being righteous. We fight the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. We allow ourselves to be slowly eaten alive and consumed by doubt, fear, anxiety and worry…instead of turning such things over to something bigger, all in the name of petty self-interest. But why?

Recently, I was reminded that I am fighting a battle all my own, and it’s important for me to put my spiritual armor on each and every day. I was gently nudged to remember that I am not fighting against flesh and blood, but rather, scuffling against the principalities of the midnight black forces of darkness. And that, my friends, is a different sort of war altogether – and, arguably, the most important one.

So, put your armor on. Then, rush to battle.

You see, “my way” isn’t the only way…and “my way” doesn’t always work either. But, when I self-discovered this actualization in my own life, in my own head, I realized that it’s time to do something a little different.

So, on my Evernote (and if you don’t use Evernote, you should). I craft a daily “to do” list. I pick 20 items that I need to accomplish in that day in order to be able to feel as if I did something worthwhile; something that contributes to my financial and spiritual success. Among those 20 items that are – for me – crafted in stone, exist probably the most important three: Journal, write down a list of five things I am grateful for and pray.

A wordsmith by nature, I decided to combine these three things -- for efficiencies sake. And this morning I did just that. In my journal, I wrote down a list of five things I am grateful for. Then, I wrote down what I am praying for. And, finally, when the day is done, I will write a short synopsis on what that did for my day.

All because I chose to put my armor on. And now, I feel ready for battle. You see? We each have our own hand crafted armor, we are all given the power and tools to discover what we need…precisely when we need it. That is, if we just believe.

What you choose to do each day becomes a part of who you are, and when you choose something better and higher than the mediocrity of everyday life, you are gifted with the power to do something more. And, consequently, if you choose to stay stuck, if you choose to stay trapped, if you choose to stay bitter and judgmental, you will remain in the doldrums of your own personal hell. So, when it comes to the battle in your head, in your own heart, I have but one question: How will you proceed?

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