Toxic Friendship… Like Flint Michigan Water Toxic…

My apologies to anyone that lives in Flint…

I recently have been disentangling myself from a toxic friendship. In addition to emotional manipulation and verbal abuse, this individual took advantage of my financial generosity and contributed directly to the end of the business I had been running for 5 years.

It wasn’t until my life situation changed drastically last month that I realized I needed to finally exclude this person from my life, despite the fact that I felt like I should keep trying to help them. It was a few weeks ago that I noticed the only time I would hear from this person was when they needed something. However, when I would try to communicate there was no response, even when I told them that I was in the ER.

The realization was slow at first but finally it became crystal clear. I had ALLOWED this person to take advantage of me over and over again but did nothing about it. No one needed to point it out to me… No one had to convince me… I had known it all along and yet continued to allow the toxicity into my life.

Imagine knowing that the water you are drinking is poison, but yet you keep drinking it. Can you really blame the water at that point for the consequences and side effects? Not hardly. But you need water to live don’t you? Yes but you can choose the water you drink. Just like you can choose the people that you hang out with and include in your life.

Friendship is a give and take. At times one friend may be doing more giving and the other more taking. But when the taking is consistent, to the point of destroying the givers life, you’re no longer in a friendship… you’re in a toxic friendship.

At the end of the day I hope this person comes to their senses, gets help and is able to turn their life around. But until I see concrete evidence of change and progress I won’t be drinking that water again.

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Why A Lamb? – Part 2: Easter

Zurbarán Lamb of God, Prado Museum, c. 1635-1640

“Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting.”

Saint Augustine – 375

Easter Sunday. It’s one of the two days that are most attended at churches around the world. It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Just to cover the obvious implications of the resurrection: without it Christianity is nothing more than a nice story at best and at worst it means millions have lived and are living their life in vain.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 (ESV)

The resurrection is the pivot point of human history. Everything before it was leading up to it and everything after it is a result of it. No other event in human history, except for creation, is more important. In my last post I talked about the fact that Jesus had to die no matter what. But the resurrection means that eternal death has been defeated. That instead of death and separation, we have death and resurrection available to all who have faith.

Almost 3 months ago my Aunt Becky was ushered into the loving arms of Jesus. I blogged about her a lot on my old blog, especially after my Mom passed away in 2008. As I have been going through the grieving process my faith in the resurrection of Jesus has never been more important. Without that resurrection my Aunt lived out her faith in vain. In fact, my Aunt had a saying to the doctors and nurses that asked her how she was doing.

“God’s been good to me.”

The reason she could not only say that, but believe it each and every day she spent at the hospital or at dialysis or struggling during physical therapy, was because of the resurrection. The resurrection gave my Aunt hope that one day she would be given a new body with no defects, no blemishes and completely healed from pain and suffering.

The resurrection is also the reason that I have been able to walk through the driving process believing that she is safe with Jesus and that one day I will be with her again. There is nothing like the death of a loved one to truly test your faith in the resurrection. When you are standing at the grave of a loved one it can be easy to despair. It can be easy to loose hope. It can be oh so easy to forget that God is good, faithful and trustworthy. But the resurrection gives me the strength to walk through the grief, encourage my family in their grief and to continue to believe that God is good, faithful and trustworthy.

I hope this Easter that the resurrection will be more than just a day you go to church or hunt for eggs. I hope that it will be the day that you realize what the resurrection means for all of us.

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Why A Lamb? – Part 1: Good Friday

Zurbarán Lamb of God, Prado Museum, c. 1635-1640

“Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity.”

Saint Augustine – 375

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of Jesus being the sacrificial lamb. I think part of it is my deep love for the Old Testament especially the Pentateuch.

Good Friday has always been one of those days for me to calm down, reflect and think about just what Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross meant to me. I would always take the day off from work and in a previous life I actually helped to plan Good Friday services for the church I was attending. Most of the time communion was celebrated in remembrance of Jesus broken body and the blood that was shed on that truly horrific day.

Because I have a very vivid imagination my mind is usually drawn to what it must have been like to be there on that day. Most of the crowd were shouting for his execution or mocking him. Others must have been scared they were next. And then of course there is Jesus’ mother, Mary. What she must have felt on that day… To watch your child be murdered in front of you… It’s the part of the scene that my imagination just can’t fathom.

Finally, there is the matter of Jesus’ innocence. Jesus was accused of many things, none of which he was guilty of. Even the pagan Pilate recognized Jesus’ innocence.

Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.

John 19:4-6 (ESV) Emphasis added.

An innocent man tried, convicted and executed… all so that eternal salvation could be available to the world. Just as in the Old Testament an innocent spotless lamb would be sacrificed in order that God’s people would be blameless for worship. Two huge things stand out from that concept.

First, Jesus was innocent. Sinless. Blameless. Spotless. During my short time on this earth I’ve had my share of struggles. Heck, even while writing this I’m sure sin is just around the corner. But for Jesus to remain sinless for 33 years? It’s hard to grasp. Not to mention to remain sinless in the midst of being beaten, tortured and murdered. As a young kid I know asked one of my pastors, “Why didn’t Jesus just incinerate, destroy and otherwise demolish those trying to kill him?” The simple is answer is He had to die. And He had to die a blameless man.

The second concept that hits my heart and head is that Jesus did this for me. It’s the part of my salvation I most appreciate yet least understand. I don’t mean understanding on an intellectual level. I mean on a gut, heart, soul level… why did this lamb of God die for me? At my very core this ultimate sacrifice just doesn’t make sense. The often quoted John 3:16 says it was because God loved the world. If that’s the case then maybe it’s the size and scope of God’s love that makes this hard to understand.

In closing, I hope you will take this Good Friday to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice, His innocence and what that means to you.

*Part 2 of this series will be posted on Easter Sunday.

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Third Time’s The Charm!

Back in 2005 I began a blog to document the tales and stories I was experiencing in my life and to share those with friends, family and strangers. At the beginning of 2017, due to a technical glitch, I lost the main contents of my WordPress Database and therefore lost 12 years worth of posts. I have slowly been piecing those posts back together in hopes of re-posting them at some point.

However, in going through the archives I noticed a few important things. First, a lot of my posts were just a weekly summary of my Twitter feed where I was more active in actually documenting my day to day activities. The second thing that I noticed was that I posted maybe 4-5 posts of substance between 2014 and 2017 making me keenly aware that my blog was basically dead when I lost it.

This glitch has now given me the opportunity to post regularly as I will be able to curate the best of my past posts as well as post new stories when inspiration strikes. This will be my third re-start of this blog (which is insanely low for a blog that’s 12 years old) but I’m looking forward to this restart more than the others mostly because the pressure to create and post is coming from me and not from anyone, anything or anyone else.

All that being said, I hope you all enjoy this blog, it’s content and I hope that the comments and discussion will slowly return to a low hum as I travel down the Yellow Brick Road of life with you all.

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Welcome!

Welcome To Tales From The Yellow Brick Road

I love to tell stories and I have a lot of them to tell. Stories about my life, stories about the lives of my friends and family as well as stories that have an impact on us all.

My goal with this blog is to tell those stories in hopes that as we travel down the Yellow Brick Road of life we’ll have shared experiences and wisdom to make it to the Emerald City.

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