Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally A Funny One :How Not To Handle a Loaded Gun In Your Face: The Story of the Night I Got Robbed with Sawed Off Shotguns.

On June 19 1999, my beloved Buffalo Sabres lost game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They lost the series 4 games to 2 and were victims of a goal in the 3rd overtime of game 6 that shouldn't have been allowed due to an in the crease violation. Had the Sabres found a way to win that game I would have been watching a 7th and decisive game that Tuesday the 22nd. Instead I was at a park in Penfield, New York getting robbed at loaded gunpoint.

 Three of my friends ( Jim, Joe, and Josh) and I went to Linear Park about 9pm in the evening to hang out. We were there no longer then five minutes when a group of 4 guys came up to us pretending to want to fraternize. The introductory statement came in a bizarre request that I didn't understand-" Hey, you guys got any trees?" I found out later that trees was the cool way to ask if we had any marijuana cigarettes. One  friend picked up on the lingo quickly and proclaimed we were pot free on this night.

Well the boys were not happy that we weren't able to provide them with any of that "Kind Bud." So the next words out one of their mouths were "Well let's see what you DO have." Two of them pulled out shotguns and stuck them in my friend Joe and Josh's faces. Me and my best friend Jim were lucky enough to not have a shotgun in our faces. For the moment.

My friend Joe was a tough kid, who didn't put up with any nonsense. He was the type that if he wasn't on your side you better run fast and never look back. His first reaction to the shotgun in his face was to swat it out of his face. This didn't please the ringleader of the group,Michael P. Sheheen. He was running the show and he had 2 other Einstein's in charge of the shotgun's. When Joe swatted it,  Sheehan exhorted that this was " not a game" and told his cohort to "bust".

I was learning all kinds of new terms on this night. "Trees" meant weed,and apparently "bust" meant shoot the gun into the grass to show us it's loaded. When the kid tried to shoot the ground to show us the gun was packed, He couldn't get it to shoot. So Shaheen implored the other gun wielder to shoot his gun to show us it was loaded. Gunman number 2 failed just as miserably as gunman number one. Neither could figure out their guns. Apparently these hijackers didn't believe in dry runs.

At this time, I remember 2 thoughts came into my mind. One was that the gun's were indeed loaded. Two was that the guys holding them to our heads didn't know how to use them. I began to repent of my sins and prepared to see Jesus momentarily.

After a few minutes of trying to figure out how to use his loaded rifle on the grass,Shaheen told gunman number 2 to forget it and suggested that they just point them back at our heads so they could continue on with the robbery. This was the part where the gun now was pointed at my brain for the first time.

Joe had settled down a bit now that he saw that the guns were likely loaded and the gun toter's were more than likely idiots. So they proceeded to tell us to put all our money and belongings from our pocket's into one of their hat's. Between the four of us they got 48 bucks. When you count the overweight robber they left in the get away car due to his inability to run, there were five robbers. That's a whopping 9 dollars and 75 cents each. And to think, Mcdonald's was hiring.

 Well in all actuality the thieves would have gotten an extra 20 bucks and keys to a new car had my friends been honest victims............

Not to be outdone by Joe swatting a loaded rifle out of his face to try to salvage his 17 bucks, Jim and Josh decided to be cute during the string of events.

While the young men were trying to figure out how to use their guns, Jim knew that his money was soon to be at risk. He was a minimum wage "Yo-Yo" operator at Sea Breeze who's friends (me) regularly stiffed him on gas money. He decided it would be a good idea to preserve the larger bills and only give the robbers the 1's and 5's. He took the lone 20 dollar bill out of his pocket and inconspicuously stuck his 20 dollar bill down his backside and placed it on top of his posterior.

Not to be outdone, my friend Josh Demille decided when the gunmen asked for everything in his pocket that he was not giving up his car keys. Now don't get me wrong, I understand this to some degree- It was a new car and was pretty nifty looking. So afterwards when we asked Josh what he would have done if they demanded his car keys he said, " I would have let us all get shot before I gave up the keys to my new car." Brilliant. When we asked him how his dead, lifeless corpse would drive his car he had no answers but still insisted on principle he would have never given up his car keys.

After the robber's got our 48 dollars they ran off and what do ya know, Joe went after them on foot. When later questioned about his decision to chase loaded gunmen over 17 dollars, he stated " It's the principle of it. Nobody robs me."

Joe chased them across town by foot, then hopped into a  car that he stopped on 441 and told them to "Follow that car!",and finally by foot again. He swears that a bullet zoomed past his head at one point and the cops later did find a bullet in the a field. He actually called the cops as he chased the robbers and they ended up catching the thieves in a field in East Rochester.

The robbers all got sentenced to jail time. The ring leader got upwards of 20 years in prison. If not for Joe chasing them across town they probably would have gotten away with it because we couldn't see their faces in the dark and had no way of giving a proper identification.

Later in the night as we waited to be interviewed by police , three of us headed to Denny's to get some food. Where did we get the money to pay for it you ask? We had just been robbed and at the age of 18 didn't have credit cards. Well, Jim's refusal to abandon his 20 dollars paid dividends. Yes the backside 20 was put into circulation only hours after visiting Jim's inside back "pocket". That poor waitress never knew what hit her.

Life is funny. Had the Sabres not been cheated 3 nights before we wouldn't have been in that position. Had these robbers not robbed the one guy in Rochester that was willing to swat a gun out of his face and chase loaded gunmen across town on principle alone, they would have not ended up in jail.

I get flack from my 3 friends to this day for not doing anything exciting in that moment such as hiding a 20 dollar bill in my butt crack or swatting a loaded gun out of my face. I was the loser who stared at the ground in the face of a gun instead of trying to pull some against the grain theatric. 

But thanks to my irreplaceable friends, at the end of the night I was lucky enough to have a ride home in a shiny new red car, with a full belly and a story to tell. And in the end isn't every situation worth it if it results in having a good story to tell? As long as you live to tell about it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Goal we strive for is described in this song. The prayer that gets us there is below it.


"God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross at Calvary, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in Jesus' precious and holy name. Amen

The "Oxymoronicness" of Defining "God is Good" in our own terms

For years I tried to define what "God is good" was supposed to mean. I remember being alone,sick,and depressed on many occasions and cursing him for ever making me. It was only when I was in agonizing pain I would cry out to him like he was my own hired hand. I can recount years in which I only looked to God if I was in actual physical pain. "Hey God, I have no use for you unless I'm desperately hurting and need some relief." And the funny thing was, he always answered.

I was in a place for a decade or so that I used God for my own benefit. Instead of having a relationship with him or letting him use me for eternal changes, I abused him as a lifeline.

One time in 2003, I ate popcorn and it got stuck in my digestive tract making a turn in the "J" portion of my "J pouch." It was the most agonizing pain I ever felt in my life and that's saying something for someone who had a stomach ache for almost 5 years straight. I was sprawled out on the hallway floor for the better part of an hour writhing in pain. Finally I heard the still small voice of the Lord say , " How about you ask me to help?". So I did. The pain left immediately...Immediately. I thanked God and forgot about him until I was in pain again.

I was defining "God is good" in my own terms. My definition was God is good when I need him or he is good when my life is "good." I was unable to see his constant willingness to be good because I had created a man made version of God. Talk about an oxymoron... "Hey God. Come and hang out on my terms, then go away until I need relief again. Thanks man. Well done Good and faithful God,enter into the joy of my human needs."

We get in trouble in life when we have flesh driven expectation of God. Why do so many people turn from God when a loved one dies, or a marriage fails, or we are wronged by a human in some form. Allot of times I think we forget that this is not heaven. If things went "perfectly good" on this earth, what would we have to look forward to in heaven?

Last year I got transferred from one job to another after reporting improprieties at a house I was working at . It felt wrong being transferred because I didn't do anything wrong. I asked God why this would happen when he knew I was right and management was wrong. I was trying to bargain with God about what was good and what was bad. "God, Did you get confused and think I was wrong? Did you forget that I was fighting for the least of these?" My mind was playing games on me about his goodness. I was mad at God for allowing this to happen. Another oxymoron minus the oxy.

In the next year I realized why God had me transferred. I made relationships with people at my new job that were fruitful and everlasting. I saw 3 people come to Christ at the new house. After the last person whom God set me up with to witness to had got saved,I got a new job. His timing is perfect. His work was done at this house...Oh wait, God knew what he was doing when I got wronged and transferred? Really?

God put these people in my life. Then in my heart. Then gave me the ability and timeliness to help show them his love. This never would have happened had "God is good" been defined by my logic. I would have wallowed in the previous house, not sowing any seeds.

God is good even when you are being wronged by the world? God is good even when today absolutely appears to suck? It's all in your perception. And for so many years I had deception in my perception.

When someone dies before their time, or even after their time,so often people get mad at God. We forget the fact that if we had a chance to ask our loved one if they would want to come back to earth they would laugh at you and say no way. We forget that 18 years old is no different to God then 90 years old. That the stories and trickle downs of lives lived, and their forthcoming eternal ramifications, transcends time.

"Time exists,but just on your wrist's,so don't panic." God wants us to know that this earth is not heaven and he is begging us to not try to define it as such. Imagine if "God is good" translated into our own ideal life on earth. We would get to heaven and feel ripped off and confused. "Wait, I got everything I wanted on earth,so how is heaven set apart?"

If there was no afterlife I could see how we could easily get angry at God for taking a loved one from us or allowing us to be sick. But talk about oxymoron again. Without an afterlife,there would be no God to get mad at.

I have talked to so many people who try to define "God is good" in their own terms and end up angry at him. I looked at one in the mirror for 15 years. It's one of Satan's greatest weapons; Confusing the human spirit into thinking that God might only be good some of the time,or even worse: That God isn't good at all. All the while letting it take place in our own convoluted man made dictionary. Last I checked, "Webster" or "Merriam" didn't rise from the dead on the third day.

I read recently that it is better to be healed then cured. In my new reality I am healed of all my ailments. I may not be cured yet. I may not be cured on this earth,but I am healed because my circumstance lulls in comparison to what God has done and what he will do. Would I take an instant cure to all my problems right now if it meant I was not healed? Never. By his stripes we are healed. I now know why that passage doesn't say "By his stripes we are cured." We must be healed first. And healing takes place in our perception. Our true cure comes when we get to heaven and see the beauty of the face of Jesus.

I know of so many tragedies that result in either turning on God or turning to God.One extreme or another. I believe the direction people choose is primarily based on who tries to define God's goodness and who accepts his goodness has a definition Webster's dictionary does not contain. The people who hold the most power for the eternal good of God's kingdom are the people who have suffered loss. There is power in the story of your suffering that people yearn to hear.

I know of a recent tragedy that has led countless souls to Christ. The person whose earthly life has been lost is happy in his arms. Because of it and the trickle down that God has allowed,many more will join him one day. Beauty for ashes. In God's time. Because time only exists in eternity.

I am thankful God allowed me to use God for so many years. I am thankful he let me yell at him and curse him. I was not struck down by lightning. I was not banished to hell. God is good even when I am not. I am thankful that he stuck with me when I wanted nothing to do with him.

So many people ask how a good God would allow such bad things to happen to us. They hem and haw and turn to the things of the world as God sits and waits in the same place he was when things were "good." He weeps at our confusion. He yearns for our return.

I leave you with this challenge. Don't define "God is good." I have been challenged in how I pray lately. I don't want to ask for things specifically because if its not in my best interest (And only God knows my best interest), and it doesn't happen because of it,Then it would be easy to get mad at the Lord.

I have learned to just pray for his will allot more lately then specific things that the human mind defines as "good." What more could you want then his will? A job? Health? Money? Don't be silly. Don't write your own definition.

In the end the only dictionary that will exist is a book of names..In it will be names of those who have chosen Jesus. You can put your name in it today. Because God is always good and your destiny is promised the moment you accept that as fact and ask Jesus into your life. Until you see him face to face in a place that neither oxymoron's or moron's exist, we can't define "good" by human standards. One day you will understand that he is and was good all along. I only hope you can make that day today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

in practice for my book of life's short storires im gonna start writing alot of short stuff ,feel free to delete yourself now.

My first memory in life is putting a spoon in the garbabe disposal when I was 3 years old. I can still remember the sound of the grinding metal, and the fear and embarassment it instilled in me. In the midst of my tears there was a voice of calm and love to comfort me. With a laundry basket in one hand and me in the other, My maternal Grandmother held me as I cried. She told me everything would be alright. I only have a few concrete memories of her, but still to this day I recall her as one of the most gentle and loving people I ever came in contact with. I hope one day I can comfort my Grandchildren with half the grace she did on this day in 1983.

the day i started measuring my thighs on graph paper.

Unlike most people who want to be skinny, I Loathed it. I used to tell my best friend that I desired to be so fat that they would have to weld two desks together in school for my lard butt to fit in. I was very skinny in my teenage years and I was self conscious about it. I took weight gainer formulas and didn't wear shorts once in public after the age of 13. I thought my legs were disgustingly skinny. And they likely were. I remember in 8th grade walking out to the field for gym in shorts and I swore I heard 2 girls snickering about how gross my skinny legs were. Well that was it for me. My legs disappeared for about 15 years. Now to make up for it I wear shorts in the winter. I love my legs now. How am I still single with these caliber of sexy legs only God knows. But I think to make clear my obsession as a child I'll leave you with this . I used to trace my thighs on graph paper from week to week to see if they were growing. I still have the outlines. They never got wider in those days. It was frustrating. It's amazing how your mind can play tricks on you as a teenager. It's part of the reason I want to speak at youth groups to tell kids the truth about themselves and not what their convuleted minds and peers say. I think my 'skinny legs' were the start of my loss of self esteem and the subsuquent health issues. I am pretty sure I was the only one ever to measure their legs on graph paper in hopes of becoming fat though. And being unique is always fun. God bless.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I apparently am the main suspect in the theft of a laptop computer,,and God is still good.

It's funny because I have been working on an article about the potential eternal ramifications of trying to define the term " God is good." Yesterday, I also started writing about the only time I was victim of a robbery. Then today the 2 subjects assimiliated into a real life scenario in my life. I am for all intensive purposes the main suspect in a theft of a developmentally disabled man's computer. And in all honesty, if I was doing the investigation I would think I was guilty. I even told the police investigator such. Allow me to explain.

I work for Arc of Monroe County. It's an agency that supports the developmentally handicapped. It's my last week of work there as I got a job with New York State doing the same thing.

In May I had to approve my timecard electronically so I stopped by an Arc house I have never been to before. It was the closest house to my apartment so that's why I went to that one to do it. I spent about 30 second there and left.

In June I picked up some overtime in that very same house. My first shift there was a Sunday. At the end of my shift I picked up a man from his mom's house, dropped him off back at the group home,and went home.

Turns out that that weekend that same man's 800 dollar laptop was stolen out of his room. He uses the laptop to communicate as he is inaudible.

I was called down to work a few weeks ago to answer questions about this theft. I told them I don't know anything about it and didn't think about it again until today.

Today I was called down to be interviewed by a person working in between the Arc and the Police. He is working for both and is deciding whether or not to press charges.

He told me that the man from the group home has implemented that I was the one who stole the computer. This man allegedly told police the following " In May, A good friend came into my room to use my bathroom because his stomach hurt,and I saw him staring at my computer. His name was Joe and he came back in June and stole my computer. But he is a good friend."

This guy doesn't speak audibly. He also has no clue what my name is as I only worked with him for about an hour total in the 3 shifts I worked at this house. So he typed all this information out on a computer apparently?

So knowing that I didn't steal the computer and that God is in control, I decided to tell this go between investigator that it looks really bad for me and I would think I did it to if I was investigating this case.

Here are some things I told him that make me look really bad here.

-----" It was my first time working in the house so of course I look like the bad apple who came in and stole it."

----- " It's funny he said I came into his room with stomach problems because I have a bowel disease."

------ " I don't even own a computer at home because I got rid of it when I quit gambling" Hahaha. ( Hello , gambler who has no money needs a computer to gamble so he steals one from work?"

------ " I look really guilty here, this is a perfect way to end my 7 years at the Arc"

Here are some of the things I said that make me look innocent:

----- " Do you think I'm enough of an idiot to steal a computer the first time I work somewhere?"

------ " Don't you think whoever stole it did so on the first day a new staff worked there to make it look like the new staff? (The 'Commish' would be proud of me on this one)

------ " How the heck does this man implicate me when he doesn't even know my name? Somebody fed him this information"

------ " God is in control."

I proceeded to tell him about my past and how I was sick and made a living gambling. Sure it looks bad for me in the cut and dry, but I try not to live in the cut and dry anymore. I told him since I quit gambling I have seen people get saved. It was funny. I basically was incriminating myself on purpose by telling the truth about things, and then implementing God's will above all else. Ah my life is very interesting indeeed. Who says "normal" is where it's at?

Basically I look guilty, and I don't care. God is in control. Even if I end up being charged with something there is a reason. Maybe there is someone who's path I need to come across because of this. I have such apathy for life without God that I actually am excited a little bit that I'm so obviously the lead suspect in a petty larceny case. Hahhaha.Who cares what happens if it's in his hands. "Meaningless,utterly meaningless. Everything under the sun is meaningless without God"

He said to call him in 2 weeks because he is on vacation. He said there is a 50/ 50 chance they will ask me to do a lie detector test.

So I will be in limbo about this for the next month or so. I told him I start with the State In 2 weeks and really hope this doesn't interfere with my job. He made sure to point out I am not being charged or suspected. But come on , it looks like I did it. And I told him so. (haha)

I know God has his hand on my life. I know I'm protected by his blood that was shed. I know I didn't steal the computer. It feels like a type of setup because I did indeed stop in the house in May to punch my time in and I do have bowel issues. So the client's story seems to add up in a very eerie way. Conceievably I could have went into his room in May to use his bathroom. It just boggles my mind at this point to think how bad this looks for me.

Maybe I'll go to jail. . Maybe in Jail I'll fall in love with a female prison guard and get married and serve gruel sandwiches at my wedding reception. Maybe in jail I'll proclaim my innocence over an in house double feature movie of "The Fugitive" and " Shawshank Redemption." Maybe in jail God will save a soul.

Of course I'm kidding about jail. I know It's not going to come to that. But my therapy for the moment on this issue, is alot of trust in God and a little blogging.

Until this is resolved I'm just going to procaim to all that will listen that the one armed man did it. God is good all the time. I'm just learning not to define "Good."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Introspection on Inception,New Job,And Another God Sent Sign.

---- My thoughts on the movie inception. It was a classic mind screwing ,which has been done before many times. It's concept was fascinating and the the fact they made it the way they did was pure revenue genious. Basically you have to see it twice to really grasp it, and if you liked it in any way shape or form,(which seems to be everyone), not only do you have to see it twice to get it,,you want to see it twice.. So kudos from a bottom line standpoint to the creators..

----- What I really got out of the movie was my mind started working on strange levels during it. I actually came up with idea's for blog's and was enlightened by some other idea's in my life too while watching it.

I lost track of what was going on a few times not only becasue it was confusing even if you are focusing, but because my mind was in overdrive about other things. One thing I took away from it was all the events and thoughts in our lives that involve three levels..

I'm gonna try to start writing an invividual blog for things such as love, self consciousness, poker, heaven, and bowel movements; and what I believe about the leveling's involved in each of those.

One direct thought that came to mind during the move was this : YOU CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY, BUT SOCIETY MASKS IT FOR YOU IF YOU ALLOW THEM TO. I want to start writing in a way where I could care less what people thought of me. Maybe I will sound " weird" or " too open" , or " drunk on the kool-aid " or "jaded" ,,but if you think I am those things,its only because you are trying to define my reality, which is a societal curse.

If everyone walked around naked except for me ,you would think I was weird for wearing clothes. When we see someone talking to themselves, we think they are weird. What if we are weird for not talking to ourselves? ...ha..See this movie leveled me.. Just as long as I stay out of "limbo."(see the movie)

----- I can pinpoint one moment in my life where I experienced a dream that was leveled as such that when I woke up I couldn't grasp whether it was real or not.

About 8 years ago, I woke up from a dream where I commited a crime. I woke up almost sure it was real and was worried I would get caught. I kept trying to figure out if it was real or not and couldn't grasp it. Then I actually believed that I had spent months thinking it might be real, when in reality the dream just happened. It still is fascinating to think about. That's the only time I had an "inception" moment.


A Year and a half ago I was terminated(ha) out of a relationship solely due to the fact I was blinded by my own circumstance. Naturally the woman wanted me to work at gaining a career. I was so warped by the lies of my own circumstantial insuffiency that I continued making a living playing cards, because I thought my illnesses and physical maladies would make it impossible to have a full time career.

Upon the defunctment (Ha) of this relationship, I told my lovely mother that I didn't know how I could work full time gainfully the way I was feeling. She told me that she has a friend who happens to live on my street, that works for New York State and makes a decent living. She did the same thing I did at Arc ,but only with the state.(working with developmentally disabled)..

In February 2009 I applied to take the state exam. In June 2010 my name came up to take the test. Last week I got offered the job, working Wednesday thru Sunday overnights. I had to decide by last Friday. Thursday night I was telling my mom I didn't know whether to take it or not. The hours were awful and I hate change, amongst other up's and downs of taking it or leaving it.

I told her that it's frustrating because God knows exactly what he wants me to do . He wants me to say yes or no. There is no in between. One choice is part of his plan for my life. The other was missing his boat. I wanted to know which was right. I wanted him to make it clear. She prayed with me before I went home that night.

My other job has been awful lately. I am being mistreated by a manager who for lack of a better way of explaining it.. Is not even worthy of managing an empty petri dish. Also I felt led to leave because the last person God put on my heart to try to get "saved" , got saved 2 weeks ago. ( details in a forthcoming blog).

I went home Thursday night and decided to call the house to talk to a staff, just to see what the house and job was like. The staff I spoke to was very kind and friendly. As I got to talking to the lady she mentioned she lived on Smith street in Webster. She actually lives on my street , directly across the street. Turns out the lady who told my mom about the job years ago, that caused my mom to recollect about it in my time of suffering, was actually the last line of defense between me and taking or leaving the job.

She spoke with me for 2 hours about every nuance of the house and job. She told me it was the best house in the area in terms of lack of drama and team work amongst staff. I told her how amazing it was that of all people I happened to call and talk to her...My neighbor..

This was the sign that I needed from God. No way was THAT a coincidence. It was a full circle and symbolic sign . Much like the one about the warts. He allowed my mom to plant this idea in my head at my weakest moment, knowing that years later it was going to be what was best for me when my 'deception in my perception' syndrome was lifted. The inception of the idea came from the same lady that I 'randomly' called to get information about what I should do, the night before I had to decide.

I think its amazing he sculpts things out so meticulously like this. Maybe I'm taking this job to end up hating it and lead to another purpose. That's the concept of the danger of self defining "God is Good" , that I will discuss in another write up. I will call it " God is good; But don't try to define "Good" or you might end up mistakingly thinking he is a Punk. " But for now , God has made it obvious he has his hand in this job, and I know he will bless it for as long as he wants me there.

Thanks for your time

SONG: Great song by Jeremy Camp... These blogs I believe are a labor of love. I look forward to the day that someone reads this and decides to pray the salvation prayer .It's going to happen one day, whether it be today or years from now. It will all be worth it then,and is really the most important purpose of all this .(with the 2nd purpose being my own selfish therapuetic quenchings) In case that day is today, here is the salvation prayer if you are ready to accept Christ into your life as your God.

Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I ask you to come into my heart and life as my Lord and saviour. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.