The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz


The harsh reality.


As I walk alone with no hope and no light in my life, I begin to wonder where is my life even going? For I can see no great purpose, I see no achievement, all I see is darkness and loss. I am a nomad wondering in an endless wasteland of blight starved of the faintest glimmer light. Have you ever known the feeling or are experiencing the feeling now?

The isolation can be deafening, yet if you have never experienced this you will not understand. We can never truly walk a mile in another's shoes, but the mutual understanding of shared experience is close. The key to understanding another human is communicating with that person, true and honest communication. If we break the silence, we can also break the darkness.

A lot of times in life people are afraid of honest communication. We do not like dealing with the harsh realities, we much rather like dealing with cupcakes and rainbows. Yet, to truly deal with the self, you must honestly communicate. Because if you are not honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

You may want to deal with truth, like you want to eat a bowl of nails for breakfast. The truth is tough, harsh, and full of love. Parents do not tell their child that a hot stove is cold just to watch the child get injured. The truth is there for our benefit. If you are struggling in the darkness, I hope that you find the truth and the peace that comes with that.

In Christ,

Red Beards


The Art of Teaching?

     As I enter my fourth year of homeschooling one of our daughters and the third year for our other daughter, I do not feel as if I have the "Art of Teaching" down. Children all learn differently and at their own pace. Our girls are no exception to that rule, as they each have different learning styles. Which makes teaching  both of them very interesting.

I treasure the time that I get to spend with my daughters and the chance that I have in helping out in their education. Yet, I find that at times I struggle with changing hats back and forth for each girls. The girls also have different levels of achievement. Although, I find myself sometimes expecting the two to be at the same.

We have developed a very good communication system for the girls to help me out. For the times that I am struggling or am not teaching in a way that one of the girls can understand, the girls will plainly look me in the face and tell me, "Dad,  I do not understand what you are trying to teach me." That is my signal to change the way I am communicating the information. We really struggled for a semester trying to work out this communication pattern.

There is definitely an "Art to Teaching." Yet, I think the 'Art' is constantly changing and developing. If you do not work at developing the skills or keep up with the times, the 'Art' you have will be out of touch. This is going to be another great school year at Gramling School of Learning!

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


A Success by Error.

Thinking Man

I have competed in many sports throughout my life. I have had a lot of coaches through the years. One of the most important lessons that I ever learned was from a bowling coach. "Never think the success of an error is a good thing," Coach Donnie.
Coach was helping me get ready for a tournament and I was struggling to through strikes. Yet, on one shot I missed my point of aim and threw the ball wrong,but I got a strike. I ask Coach, "What about switching too that point of aim or way of throwing the ball?" Coach Donnie's response was very simple and is terrific advice. "You did not hit where you were aiming, nor did you throw the ball how you were suppose too. How do you think you can repeat that? Never think the success of an error is a good thing."
As I have become a fan of soccer or watched basketball games throughout the years. I have seen players fall into the trap. Well, this one time, in this one game, I made this kick or hit this shot. So the player in soccer will take a shot at the goal from 30+ yards away or a player will shot a 3 pointer that does not need too.
In a moment of error the player had success. Yet, now the player thinks of the success as a new skill set. When the normal outcome of the process in a loss of possession for that players team. The player is depending on a past error to create future success.
I am not saying show a lack of creativity or willing to try something. But to understand the limits of ones skills and how they affects the team. There is freedom to be had in staying within and fully developing your skill set.

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


Hold My Place in Line Please!


While I served in the United States Army, I graduated Basic Combat Training as the Soldier of the Cycle or the Number 1 Soldier. During Advanced Individual Training, I earn the Soldier of the Cycle Award again and graduated with honors. I also earned the right to attend Airborne training and was selected for attachment to an Elite Unit. I thought that I had done some pretty good work while being in the Army. The only problem with my thought process was me, I was only thinking "I."

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18 (NIV). I set myself up for failure with my thinking. The Lord was the one who had been guiding me all along, I was only riding His coattails. Yet, here I was out in front claiming these great abilities and skills. So the Lord took care of busy in March of 2007 and let me fall. I was so full of pride that I was in for a large fall that hurt bad!

I thought I was in the Army to do big things. Yet, my pride was a stumbling block and cost me. If I am truly to be Christ-like, I must have a change in attitude. Mark 10:42-45 gives us all we need to know about the attitude that we should have. For Christ came here to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Here I am trying to put myself in the front of the line, but Christ is putting Himself in the back of the line.

I must humble myself and serve people. I must willing go to the back of the line and allow other people to take a stop at the front of the line. Seeking greatness is not something that Christ did, so that is not something that I should do. Being a humble servant and meeting people's needs what I should be doing.


**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


Apathetic Hypocritical Christian


Apathy is the absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement, or  the lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting ( The culture of people today is full of apathy. We selective pick and choose those objects or causes which will receive our attention. Which means that we selectively suppression or show a lack of interest or show concern for other objects or causes. I am fully aware that we could not take part in every cause that is on this planet. So the question is, are the causes or objects that get our attention truly worthy of that attention?

When a person starts to evaluate their own life, one must be honest. We have to look at the different areas of our life and compare those areas to each other. Does this object deserve to be above that object, is that cause really the most important cause in my life, what about this object makes it the most import object in my life. Truthful and honest self analysis will start us down the path towards ending apathy in our life.

As a Christian how can I allow apathy into my life? I cannot, that is the simple answer. And if I do, then I become a hypocrite. For being a Christian is striving to be Christ-like and there is nothing about suppressing passions of my faith or showing a lack of interest that are Christ-like. We must not be like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46), who Jesus asked to pray with Him for only an hour. Yet, they fell asleep and were not interested or concerned for the task at hand.

I speak as a modern day example of letting everything else get in the way. If we continue to move the Lord to the back of the line, apathy will set in our lives. Yet, how do I tell someone you need to live for the Lord will all your heart when I myself am not? What kind of witness am I being for the rest of the Church? After self analysis, I realized that I am that person that I had always complained about. So the question is, how do we fix the problem? What is the solution to the Apathetic  Hypocritical  Christian?

Here are the steps that I am trying to follow. Step one: I turned to the Lord and cried out for forgiveness for wasting His time and talents. Step two: Admit to some of the people that you have hurt the most the mistake that your have made. A person must have a close group of friends to keep them accountable. Step three: start stripping away the useless things in your life that you thought were more important than the Lord. The Lord is and will always be the number one thing in your life! Step four: push hard into the Lord every chance that your get. We as humans can never full grasp or get all of the Lord, but full understand that He can have all of us. So do your best to make sure that He gets all that you have. Final step: be fully aware that you fail at some point. You will stumble and fall. The Lord fully understands that we will make mistakes. That is why Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary. When you make a mistake pick yourself up, talk with the Lord and keep moving. Do not wallow in self pity and give up.

Always remember this, "...Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more." Luke 12:48  We have all been given something and are expected to use those gifts that we are given.


**To the End of the Earth**

Red Beards


When should I let go?


Can I truly let go? When is the appropriate time to let go? Do I have the ability to see those kind of people in a new light? What truly is my problem?

I will start from the beginning for those of you who do not know what is going on. About three weeks ago there was a shootout between my neighbor and some unidentified people in his front yard. A stray round from the weapons being fired entered my house 18" from my head while I was sleeping. This has started a whole flood of emotions in my family that are hard to describe or list.

I shall stick to those emotions that only I have and that I still struggle with. After this event I felt unsafe walking around my house without an unloaded weapon on my person. One day after the shooting, our family decided that it was in our best interest to start staying at a different location. We have been staying at this alternative location too this date.

The problems that I have are as follows: 1) whenever I am near our old city I revert back to my Army training, 2) I have trouble with people who look the same as the shooter, 3) I have flashbacks whenever I hear a loud bang, 4) I almost was shot in the face and do not care about it. Upon further reflections of these feeling, I am fine with numbers one through three. I am glad that I reverted back to my Army training during the event and following. I need to remind myself that not everyone is like those people who were shooting. And eventually the flashbacks will go away, just like they did with my leg injury.

But the lack of regard for my own life is of some concern. Why would I have so little regard for something so precious? What is different about my thought process that allows me to have this opinion? In society we are surrounded by ways to stay alive or try to stay alive longer. Yet, this man has no problem walking away from this world. Please do not twist my words or mis-understand (I would never or have never thought about taking my own life).

The only difference that I can find is the comfort that I find in the Lord. I know that His hand is guiding me in all that I do. For the Lord has a perfect plan for my life even though I  may not understand it. But I will bold walk through this life not afraid of what this world has to throw at me. I have seizure, migraine, chronic back pain, a head injury, and now have almost been shot in the face. I pray that the Lord will continue to give me the ability to boldly proclaim His name and give Him the glory while doing it. If you want to find out about people really going through troubles, you only need to read the book of Acts.

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


The Struggle.

The time has come and I start to stir for the day.

I wonder if today is my lucky day or not.

I start to move around and realize that it is happening.

Things start to happen so fast.

I cannot keep up and now I am falling behind.

I can feel it pushing in from all around me.

But where can I run, where can I hide?

I must not be scared, I must not be weak.

That is it, I can stand and fight this!

I cannot seem to win.

The fight seems to never end.

I fight long into the night and as for a reprieve.

Why must you act like this?

Why must you be so cruel?

Thank you kind sir, maybe tomorrow will be better.

Until we meet again, Headache!


**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


National Brain Injury Awareness Day 2012


March 21, 2012 is the National Brain Injury Awareness Day for the United States of America. Today is meant to raise awareness about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), talk about the prevention of TBI, and celebrate the lives of those living with TBI. The study of TBI did not become prevalent in the medical community until after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought TBI closer to the front of the line in medical research. Although there are still a lot of stereo types about head injuries that are damaging.

First let's address awareness, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "a TBI is caused by a  bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain." This means that anytime something impacts your head and you lose the normal function of your brain, you have suffered a TBI. Now to the good news, according to the CDC "not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in  mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of  unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur  each year are concussions  or other forms of mild TBI."

So what have we learned from the CDC? We have learned that anything that caused you to lose normal brain function is a TBI. But not every time you impact your head do you sustain a TBI. Most people have hit their head, but have not hit their head hard enough to lose normal brain function. We have also learned that a majority of TBI related injuries are mild and have no long term consequences. Only in some cases are TBIs considered severe and have long term consequences.

Now let us move on to prevent the easiest of today's topics. Some brain injuries cannot be prevented unfortunately. For example:  the soldier who is injured in war serving his country, the person injured in a car wreck, or a person who trips and falls. Yet, too many TBIs can be prevent with just a little bit of forethought and effort. A simple bicycle helmet will help prevent a TBI, but a majority of parents do not buy or require their children to wear a helmet. In soccer, a padded helmet will help prevent a TBI for children and youth. Yet the US Youth Soccer Organization does not want to make soccer look like to violent of a sport. A motorcycle helmet will help prevent a TBI or save your life, but too often people say, "I want to feel the wind in my hair."

I do not think that people truly understand the consequences of what they are doing. All it takes is one split second to change your life and the life of the people around you, forever. But of course too many people have to learn from their own mistakes. Well, this is one mistakes that you cannot learn from because if you mess up your brain there is no getting it back. The brain does not heal like a broken arm or torn ligament. Once you have damaged a part of the brain, that part of the brain is damaged forever. Then all you can do is tell other people and hope that they will listen to you.

And finally to celebrate the lives of people who are SURVIVORS!! We have all meet people in our lives that have a TBI. The key is whether or not you noticed that person or not, whether you could tell if that person even had a TBI. Most of the scars of a TBI are hidden to the rest of the world. Today we celebrate you, Survivors. Do not be ashamed for the way your are, be proud of who you are. Never feel like you are alone, because you are not. There is always someone out there that is going through what you are. I know what I am talking about, because I am one of them. I am a SURVIVOR!

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


No Where to Turn.

no soccer

I have been without soccer of any kind since Ash Wednesday. I have not logged into check my Facebook or Twitter account. I have not been able to follow any of my soccer teams, watch ESPN or the Fox Sports channels. I was not able to watch the Big 12 Tournament because the games were broadcast on ESPN.

Lately almost every I turn I see something soccer related! I had a national news channel on the television and walked out of the room. I could still hear the television and the channel started to do a news report about a tragedy at a soccer event. Or the people who come up to check and see how my soccer fast is going. Nothing like having the fact that I cannot watch soccer being brought to my attention by a lot of people. I realize that the people are not trying to be mean by asking, they are just wanting to see if I am able to stick to the fast.

A person is able to give something up for a few days or a week. Yet to give up something for 40 days is a different task all together. I am at that point where I must pursue the end goal. I have to stay focused on finishing or I will not be able to complete my task. This past week has been very hard for me to go without soccer, but I knew that I must push on. I was able to draw inspiration from Jesus, because He spent 40 days out in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Although, that is where the similarities between Jesus and myself end.

Through the strength of the Lord, I will be able to complete this task. I put soccer aside to become a better person, husband, and father to my daughters. The Lord is using these 40 days to help build better habits in my life. The more seeds I sow and the harder I work the ground, the better the crops will be at the time of harvest. You will only receive that which you have invested.

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards


In the Middle of the Storm!

    My 40 day fast from everything soccer is going well from my point of view. Although, some two weeks into this adventure the 'screws' seem to be tightening more each day. On Friday, I was simply watching the weather on a local news channel and then come on a traffic report. During the traffic report, the gentleman dropped a soccer bomb on me with information about a local soccer team and their playoff situation. I was not ready for the traffic guy to give me a soccer update. Which means that I did not have the remote near to change the channel. I am considering altogether giving up television period.

One of my electronic devices has an application that shows scores of my favorite teams. I have four teams selected that are soccer teams and I have to be careful looking at the device. Because at any moment I could get an update from the application. I cannot go into the application and turn off this feature, because of the soccer information that is in the application. I need to find someone that is willing to turn off this feature. There is also the problem of my selection of clothing. Half of my clothing choices are soccer related and so my options are limited. I feel like there is no variety in my choices.

Yet, the benefits are already starting to out-weigh the cost of this small investment of time. I have started to spend a lot more time with my family. I have found television shows that I can enjoy watching with my children. Instead of me wasting time in front of the television at night we plan family game nights or outings. The fruit is already starting to be harvested from the seeds that are being planted.

One very interested questioned was brought up by my seven year old daughter, "Daddy, are you going to go back to the way you were after Good Friday? Because we like you the way you are." Such powerful words for the mouth of a child, but those words could not be farther from the truth. I selected this area of my life to draw closer to my God and my family. After this 40 days I do not want to go back to the way I was, I want to continue acting the way I am. I may be able to watch soccer and follow soccer, but soccer will not control me. I am taking 40 days to start new habits in my life and the life of my family.

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**