He Is Risen

He is risen. Words that should echo through our lives daily. Today, the day we remember His resurrection, we repeat them. For a day, or maybe the weekend, we focus on the story of what He gave for us. But it is so much more than simply a man dying on a cross so that all could live their lives better and be nicer to others.

Jesus was the fulfillment of every promise that God gave to the Jews throughout the Old Testament. Prophecy after prophecy was answered by Him. But when His time came, most would not recognize Him, because they looked not for a spiritual Savior, but an earthly warrior. As the fulfillment He was everything they’d taught themselves to look for, but not the packaging they expected.

Even in His death He continued to fulfill prophecies from the prophets of the Bible. Long before crucifixion was even invented prophets of Israel described His death in that way. They also foretold that not a bone would be broken, which breaking knees was common practice for the crucified. Yet Jesus was pierced instead.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever should believe in Him may have everlasting life.” Simple words, that even unbelievers know. Jesus willingly shed His life so that we might actually know the Father. Our impure, sinful selves could not survive contact with God and His pure perfection. So Jesus while perfect Himself, allowed the evils of the world to touch Him, so that after His sacrifice we could have direct contact with perfection. He is the conduit that allows such a place as Heaven to exist.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we no longer need to sacrifice animals or have a priest work as an intermediary on our behalf. We can directly communicate to God, because Jesus took the place of any earthly thing needing to be in our way.

Today is really our spiritual independence day. It marks the day where religion no longer was the focus. O it can be important, and help build your walk with your Creator and your Savior, but it is no longer where you must start. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we became able to have a truly personal relationship with the Father. And that is what is the most important. Spiritual walks are not something you can cookie cut. Everyone is in a different place on their walk. And He wishes for us to follow Him on our walks, all the way to the Father.

What truly is more free than being able to know you walk with God, at the specific pace meant for you? That no matter what is going on in your earthly life, you are able to choose eternal freedom. And all that is possible because, He is risen.

Feeling Helpless, But With Hope

Today was a tough day. I ended up stranded on the side of the freeway, for three hours, with my fourteen month old, when our water pump went out. It was hard on me, and it was hard on her, which made it all the harder for me to deal with. I did my best to keep her happy, even in the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in, but I felt so helpless.

Helpless is not something I enjoy feeling, but it has been something I’ve felt several times. When she was sick and needed to go to the ER, was one of those times. A few years ago when I was homeless and couldn’t get a job, was another. Fifteen years ago when I was sick, missing weeks of school, only to find out about my liver disorder and lost my dream of being in the military was a huge one that still impacts my thinking.

A key thing, that keeps me going, is that I’ve not truly ever been hopeless. There have been times that I’ve given up hope on specific things. I have had to give up my hope in certain relationships, in being in the military, in playing baseball professionally, in many earthly things. But hope was never actually taken from me, I had simply placed it in something that wasn’t to be. I had to look with hope, to the future, to get to the better things. Until I got there, there were times when that hope was all I had.

Hope is what sustains us as people. The hope for something good, something better, something new. Often it seems like life is simply trying to grind us down, and we are in a constant battle against it’s oppression of who we want to be.

Day in and out we see evil around us in the world, and all too often it is winning. Whether it be through a backstabbing person succeeding ahead of us, a young child being taken from the world before they could even take their first external breath, or a government using chemical weapons against it’s own people. It can be hard to keep that hope of good and improvement in our hearts.

My favorite movie tells us that rebellions are based on hope. Living with hope is a rebellion against the darkness trying to overtake our life. Maintaining hope is a rebellion in the face of oppression, of any form. Hope is what makes us who we are. Without hope, we die. Hope is life.

Remember that the next time that you feel helpless. There is always hope.

Little Moment, Big Step

Yesterday morning, something huge happened.

When I got up to take our nine year old to school she had a terrified look on her face.

I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she had killed a spider.

Our nine year old saw a spider in the bathroom and killed it. That may or may not seem like a big moment to you, but for us it was.

Before now she would have most likely woken us up screaming about the spider. You see she has a history of crying upon seeing a spider, screaming for help, or closing a door and pretending the spider doesn’t exist until someone else finds it.

Instead, she took care of it herself and I doubt she even is aware of how big a moment this was.

In a space of heartbeats, when she took care of things for herself, she grew up. Not completely, but she definitely made a jump forward.

If you had told me this would happen, I would not have believed you. I hate to say it, but I didn’t have that kind of faith in her. She’s not usually an independent child, and sometimes struggles to accomplish simple tasks like rinsing her dishes or cleaning up after herself.

This event is causing me to have to rethink, because she showed the initiative to take care of this on her own, without having to be told to do so.

I’m proud of her, so proud.

She doesn’t know it yet, but either today when she’s out of school or tomorrow sometime, I’m going to take her out for a shake, smoothie, ice cream, or something like that to celebrate this moment with her.

Maybe she’ll never remember that day she killed her first spider, and I might not remember what day it happened on, but this is a day that will impact the rest of her life.

Not necessarily in some big way, but as a road sign/footnote that pointed her towards growing up and taking care of herself. It’s the kind of simple thing that tells me that we are raising someone to be able to take care of herself and that she won’t be dependent upon us the rest of her life.

The oooShiny Network

Back in the day, I used to be extremely active on Twitter, and as a result ended up with multiple accounts. Each extra account had it’s own purpose, with one where I shared what music I was playing and following bands and musicians, another for live tweeting movies and following actors and actresses, and so on.

At some point, I began calling my accounts the oooShiny Network, as #oooShiny had become my signature hashtag. Later, when I started TORARADICAL.com, I declared it the home for the oooShiny Network, specifically it’s entertainment area. Even with the end of that site, the network continued to exist as my various social media accounts.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I started this blog. Shortly thereafter, a series of websites came into existence, along with Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for each of them. Some were my old Twitter accounts and some had found previous existence when I was on Pinterest a lot. This time around they exist as a series of websites and a hub, all entertainment focused. So far, most of the writing is mine, but a couple of people have joined me while a few others have said they will.

The hub is called The oooShiny Network and for now is a way to link the sites together, along with my own blog, and show social media information. In the future, we hope to add blogs by other people as well as podcasts. The other sites are all titled oooShiny then what they specifically entail, for example: oooShiny Movies, which was the first site and has had the most people join me in writing. It was followed by: Music, Sports, Treats, Gaming, History, and Books. We’re also considering adding other entertainment areas, but are focused on building what we have.

Later, the goal is to get back to having a news site, as well. That one won’t be called oooShiny, as I want it to sound more professional, but it will be linked. A return to helping with missing persons is also something I strongly desire, and will see eventually.

For now, we’re looking for more writers. So I ask you this, do you enjoy writing on any of the topics that I mentioned earlier? Or do you simply have a strong interest in one or more of them and would want to try writing? If so, let me know, or message the specific site you’d like to write for.

Even if you aren’t a writer, you can help us out a lot by reading the articles on the site. Views matter and sharing our articles will do a lot to help us grow. So please, go like and follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and maybe consider signing up to receive new articles in your email.

Do You Know How To Relax?

It might seem like a dumb question, but do you actually know how to relax? Do you truly know where to find that pure relaxation that brings tranquility, peace, and fulfillment? Or are you stuck in a habitual form of relaxation that just brings momentary happiness? Do you even know how to tell the difference? Those are some important questions and ones that I believe are very much overlooked.

For many in our modern society, relaxation is found through movies, TV, gaming, watching sports, or such media heavy things. Those can definitely bring you joy and a bit of time away from reality, but they aren’t very likely to bring any kind of actual fulfillment and inner peace.

We’ve forgotten that true relaxation requires being alone and not just burying one’s mind in a screen, which really is being lazy, not relaxing. Though sometimes we need to be lazy, but that’s not what we are discussing today.

Even as much as I love books, I’d say that they too can be a distraction from true peace. They allow us lost ourselves from the world, for a time, but aren’t always the right answer.

I also want to differentiate relaxation from natural highs, caused by endorphins. Both can feel equally great, but the natural highs are caused by doing something. Whether it be running, singing, extreme sports, sex, or many other things; you feel great, but you truly haven’t let go.

True relaxation is found in only a few places, and it’s generally found when we are alone and allowing ourselves to fully stop from doing anything. When we let our minds clear, not just be distracted. So where is this “true relaxation” that I speak of? There are three places that it can be found.

The first is the closest and easiest to accomplish, in modern society. Go take a bath or shower in the dark. Maybe with some classical or trance music, perhaps some nature sounds, or just in complete science. If you allow it to, your mind will focus and then clear until you get a few minutes of pure relaxation.

The second, and possibly most obvious option, is meditation. For some people it comes naturally, for others it is a real struggle. But once you find your way there you can find that contentment. Meditation’s main advantage is that you can do it pretty much anywhere, even for just a couple of minutes.

The third, and what I think might be the most potent, is nature. Go out on your own, into the mountains, the beach, a forest, or whatever makes you the happiest. Go find a quiet place, away from any other people, sit or lie down, and just enjoy the natural world. Listen to the water, the animals, the wind moving through the trees. Let your breath and heart beat match the pace of the natural pace of things.

A final thought, for this blog. Don’t just go seek relaxation when you feel stressed. Make it a regular part of your life and it will help you avoid feeling stressed. However, don’t make it something that’s the same time every day or week. Then it becomes either just part of the routine or a tedious thing you feel you have to do. Change it up, keep it real, and remember to take care of yourself.

Birthday Music Challenge

Last year, on this day, I created a new playlist on Spotify. I decided I wanted one of just artists who share my birthday. It was easy to start with the ones I knew: Johnny Cash, Juliet Simms, Fats Domino.

But I wanted more, so I went to Wikipedia and went through the list of people born on February 26. Let me tell you, there was a lot, and it took me a while to search through and find all the musicians.

Once I had done that, I went through Spotify, searching for those who I had found. Some were artists I had heard of before, but wasn’t aware of their birthdays, like Michael Bolton, Erykah Badu, and Corinne Bailey Rae. There were long dead composers. Others were international artists who I wouldn’t normally have found out about otherwise, such as: Najwa Karam, Natalia Lafourcade, and Keisuke Sakai. And then there were other artists who fell somewhere in between.

This is a playlist I may only play once a year, but it is fun knowing that I have this connection with them, of having the same birthday. It was also great expanding my music library in this specific way.

Here’s my challenge to you, go do the same. Go to Wikipedia, search the births on your birthday. That alone could lead to some finds. After that, go to Spotify and look for the musicians who share your birthday. Find out something you might not have known. Expand your horizons. Enjoy life.

O, and Happy Birthday to all the February 26 kids!

Dreams of Bathroom Privacy

As parents, there can be a lot of things we miss, from before the time we had kids. For me, bathroom privacy is probably what I miss the most.

Something no one took the time to warn me about is that babies and toddlers can’t handle you going to the bathroom, without them in the room.

Sure, you can close the door with them on the outside, but that just leads to complete blowout crying. So unless you want that, you either bring them in with you, or once they’re walking, leave the door not completely closed, so that they can join you.

baby-in-bathroomOnce they’re inside the bathroom, you end up spending half or more of the time trying to keep them from playing with anything in reach. Conditioner, shampoo, bodywash, etc. along the bathtub rim aren’t safe. Nor is the toilet paper or anything on the edge of the sink’s counter.

The most fun is when anything but being held leads to crying. Then sometimes it’s actually worth the tears, instead of holding them on your lap while trying to utilize the facilities, which is completely awkward.

Lately, our thirteen month old has taken a lot of joys with shutting and opening doors, in any room. She’ll shut the door, up to the point where it’s about to latch, then pry it back open and giggle about it. For me, it just adds to the feel of invasion, even though I do love her joy.

I’m sure there will come a time when I look back on these times fondly, or at least with humor, but this is not that day. For now I just look forward to those blessed moments when someone else is home to watch her, so that I can actually enjoy some privacy. They are too far in between, when you’re the stay at home parent.