A HOUSE FULL OF PETS

 Living with the symptoms of PTSD and trauma is like living in a house full of pets.

Over the years we have accumulated a number of pets. At last count we have 3-cats, 4-fish, 1-dog and 1-bird. We never sat down and discussed how we wereIMG_0669 going to accumulate such an assortment of pets. It just short of happened over time. Now you would think having such an assortment of pets would result in a house full of frenzy disarray and chaos. But somehow our pet population has found a way to get along. That is not to say there are no pet conflicts, but somehow it stays pretty peaceful.

Most of the conflict comes between the cats, as they tend to be pretty moody. Most of the time all three cats: Natasha, Bullwinkle and Zika the Angry Cat live in a precarious truce and co-exist in relative peace. Sometimes my dog will get a bit spirited and chase the cats around the house to demonstrate he is still the boss. Then we have the bird that belongs to my daughter, the bird is old and grouchy. If she does not like what is going on she will squawk loudly until someone pays attention to her. Then there are the fish, they are always quite, don’t complain and pretty much swim in circles all day long.

Even though they get along pretty well they are still animals with natural instincts. I’ve caught Natasha sitting on top of the fish tank looking through the opening of the tank lid. No doubt dreaming of the day when the fish will swim too close to the surface and she will finIMG_0701ally get to enjoy a good fish snack. We have observed both Natasha and Zika the Angry Cat, crouching behind the couch in the best tradition of Sylvester the Cat, waiting for a chance to eat the bird. Then we have my service dog Delrin, who out of nowhere will jump up and chase the cats just for the fun of it. From time to time Gracie the bird will get upset at something and let everyone know very loudly that she is unhappy. Usually she does this when she is out of food, being ignored or her ladder is disconnected from her climbing tower. Living with the symptoms of PTSD and trauma is like living in a house full of pets. The potential for conflict is always there, in an instance a peaceful moment can explode into a major conflict.

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Resource Page

Finally added some resources to my resource page

I have finally added some resource links to my resource page, I did not realize it would take me 3-months to add links to the page. But in my defense it took a bit of learning on how to add links properly. Also its was one of those things I kept saying “I’m going to do it tomorrow”.  Then I forget all about it for two weeks or so until I noticed on my stats page someone click on the resources page. If anyone has any suggestions for links please pass them on to me.

“DO”

“Doing” is not living in the control of our trauma or the symptoms of PTSD, “Doing” is going out and moving forward!

I am at a significant turning point in my life, one that will make all the difference in my future. I am at the decision point of either living the way I have in the past or moving forward. I have mentally made the decision to move on and start living my life again and return to full-time ministry. However, just making the mental decision and commitment to move forward does not equate to actual action. Actual action only takes place when I’m actually “doing” something.working-in-the-dock-1530932  It is all good and well to dream, think through, plan, talk and write about what I’m going to “do”, but until I “do” I’m just sitting around. I will not move forward until I “do”. Whether it’s looking for and applying for a job, improving my website or simply getting out and interacting with people. None of this will happen until I actual “do” something. I have had a desire for a while to minister to my fellow veterans. As a chaplain I’ve asked myself what needs do veterans have that I am able to meet, and how can I use my experiences to meet those needs. With talking with veterans and especially the veterans I have gone through treatment with there is one overwhelming need they present to me. That is “what do I do with God?” I have had veterans tell me their stories of going to war believing in God only to return questioning or denying the existence of God. Their stories are disconcerting. However, it’s more bewildering for a chaplain to return from war having those same questions. It is this need of my fellow veterans that I believe I have something to offer.

One of the reason’s I started this blog and website was to address some of the spiritual issues and questions. Since I started my blog in March, I thought at this point I would have hundreds of people reading my posts. However, I quickly realized developing a following as a blogger takes time and a lot of work. By writing and posting I am “doing”. It would be easy to be happy with my “doing”, but my blog is not my entire vision, it is an important part, but only a part. I must continue to “do” or I will find myself hiding in my house behind my computer “doing”, but not really achieving my vision. For me, my vision is not accomplished until I expand my “doing” to actually meeting with and ministering to veterans face to face. This is the scary part; actually leaving the safety of my home to reach out to other’s who struggle with the question of “what do I do with God?” My next step of “doing” comes with holding veteran’s symposiums, where we deal with the question of “what to do with God?” we explore what moral and spiritual injury means and we look to the Scripture for the answer to these questions. The first symposium will be held on Saturday 29 July at First Baptist Church in New Braunfels, Texas. Where we will discuss moral and spiritual injury, watch a DVD and look to the Scriptures to find answers to our questions of “What do we do with God?” This is what “doing” looks like for me.

If we miss out on our freedom because of our war trauma, then the enemy has won.

My question for you is simple, “what are you “doing”? “Doing” is not living in the control of our trauma or the symptoms of PTSD. It is not living in fear, anger, resentment, or refusing to “do”. “Doing” is going out and moving forward despite these feelings. The thoughts and feelings will never go away, we will always struggle with them. However, it is not an excuse to not “do” nor is it justification to simply hide and avoid. If you are not “doing” you are not living, you are missing out, your own prison that you have made for yourself traps you in doing nothing. I certainly know that “doing” is so much harder. I understand the fear, the anger and the resentment, I understand what it is like to hide and avoid. I understand the distress that is felt when faced with the thought of venturing out of our comfort and safe zones. We must not allow ourselves to be controlled by our trauma! We cannot live a life with no joy, no happiness, no peace, and no relationships. We have sacrificed too much and given too much to this nation, to stay defeated in our trauma. We cannot miss out on what we have provided for others and that is freedom. If we miss out on our freedom because of our war trauma, then the enemy has won. They have not just taken out one service member but have taken out our families, friends, spouses, children and grandchildren. If you don’t “do” then what you fought for and sacrificed for is in vain. Don’t live in defeat, Go out and “DO”!

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The War Within Streaming Video

The War Within is a wonderful documentary of two Vietnam War veterans who return to Vietnam for the first time since the war. It is a rich, emotional and at times a difficult journey. As they share their experiences from combat they also share how God has brought healing to their lives and to the lives of their families. You can stream the entire video from the Day of Discovery website. If you follow the link below it will take you to the video page. It is well worth the time to view this outstanding video.

The War Within: Finding Hope for Post-Traumatic Stress Thousands of coThe-War-Within-Part-1-300x169urageous men and women risk their lives in combat. But few of us understand the private inner battle they bring home. For many, it is an ongoing personal struggle that continues long after the war is over. In The War Within: Finding Hope for Post-Traumatic Stress, you’ll find encouragement for veterans and their loved ones whose lives have been drastically changed by war.

Follow the link below to stream the video

The War Within

God Our Refuge

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

While not my favorite genre of movies I do enjoy a good natural disaster movie from time to time. I think the last one we watched was San Andreas and to be honest we basically went to see it because of the cruise ship scene. Being that we love to cruise, we were eager to watch a cruise ship get carried away by a giant wave and end up in downtown San Francisco. At least for me that was the best part of the whole movie.Cruise ship wave

Almost all of the natural disaster movies I’ve seen are basically the same. Someone has the inside scoop of an upcoming disaster and although they try to warn every one of the impending doom no one is willing to listen. As the impending disaster finally occurs it is left to the one who gave the warning to save all mankind or at least their family from the devastating tragedy that is accruing. The majority of these movies depict building crashing down, dams breaking, and massive fires rising from the ground. There are always people running everywhere only to have buildings fall on them Lavaor overtaken by a mile high wall of water or worse yet a rapid flow of hot scorching lava. The movies seem to always end with the one who gave the initial warning surviving with their family, while countless thousands of people perished in the midst of this unprecedented and unparalleled disaster.

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GET A JOB

JUST EXISTING IS NOT LIVING LIFE, IT’S JUST PASSING TIME UNTIL ONE DIES

My 50th birthday is coming up in October. So I’m contemplating what the second part of my life is going look like. I have three different pictures of the direction of my life. The first one is to keep doing what I’m doing now and what I’ve done for the last three years, just staying home and existing. Existing as in not really doing anything important, significant or meaningful. The thought of doing that for another 20 or so years does not seem very appealing. Just existing is not living life, it’s just passing time until one dies.

I’ve thought about selling our house, all our stuff and heading out to the open road with our 5th wheel trailer. Stopping to flip a quarter at every major intersection to determine our direction. We have seriously considered doing this and were pretty close to actually making it happen. The excitement of traveling, going where we want to go and doing whatever we want to do seems very attractive. But eventually the traveling will get old and we would have to ask the question “what we were actually doing with our lives?” Do we really want to spend 20 years or so living in our 5th Wheel? Going place to place without any real purpose or direction? Establishing short-term relationships because we know we were only going to be around for a short period of time. Then head out again and show up somewhere different to start all over again. While on the surface it sounds great, it lacks purpose and significance and in essence is still a form of just existing.

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