This first post starts with something I wrote in September 2009. Unfortunately, much of it still holds true.
Have I over-committed myself? Why can’t I do what I know I should do? Why does it seem like staying home and watching football on Sunday is better than going to Church on Sunday? Clearly, that wasn’t true yesterday. The morning games brought the Redskins losing to the Lions, and I didn’t stay on any other one game to enjoy any of them. I bounced between New England/ Atlanta; San Francisco / Minnesota and Washington / Detroit. I even missed Farve’s game-winning TD in the final seconds in the Viking win over the 49′ers. A win the Seahawks needed, based on their loss in the afternoon to Chicago. I basically slept through the game between the Colts and Arizona, because I have turned my hours upside down during the work week. After it was all over, the excitement of football, was empty, compared to the emptiness of missing another Sunday of attendance at my Church.
Can I call it my Church any more? Really? I haven’t attended in such a very long time. The event that always brings me back in touch, going to American Indian Fellowship (AIF)
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summer camps were not to be this past summer. It was the first camps I had missed in eight years. Even in going to the camps though, I had feared what I had become what I had accused me of becoming, a “Camp Christian.” A Christian who gets all fired up just before, during and after camp, but goes into hibernation for the rest of the year. A time when even lukewarm would be a step up.
Let’s go back to this past week — I am doing stats again for the Neah Bay football team. I started doing this for the team in the 1977 season and continued for 28 years until 2005. I was forced to take off for 2005, 2006 and 2007 before beginning again in 2008 for the last five games of that season and now this year, 2009 for the whole season. I say forced, but it was by my own doing, a bad decision I made and it was costly to my family, friends and loved ones. When I make bad decisions, they never seem to just affect me. As I write this we are now four games into the new High School football season. Last week I was trying to get caught up with posting game stats and getting year-to-date stats for all games played. Football stats are a lot different from Basketball stats, I do basketball stats too, and I missed one more season of Basketball then football over the past 30 years, again, due to my bad decision making. Football stats during a game are a matter of who’s carrying the ball, how many yards were gained or lost, and when the other team has the ball, who on your team has made the tackle. Recording the activities of a game reach close to 150 plays per game. After the game, you have to take the game stats and turn them into individual stats and also meet newspaper deadlines. Postgame work can take up to 90 minutes, but I love every minute!
In the past, I have put my game and season stats on Turbo stats for both football and basketball the years just before I took a couple seasons off. I found my software for Basketball, but the software for football seems to have disappeared. Therefore, I’ve had to put the football stats in Excel, and now I need to develop a year to date spreadsheet. It is work I really enjoy doing, but it’s time-consuming and takes me away from computer time, where I have another passion. At least this is a decision that one cannot consider a bad one. I had a card table out with the football stats on it, with the great new book that the McCaulley’s bought me for this season and took three evenings to get all three of the first games completely computerized. I could have done it faster, but I have had the propensity to stay up until two a.m. and three a.m. a couple of nights last week and I was sitting there dog tired trying to get a meticulous task done. Kenrick is constantly on me about the stats, and why not, he is an assistant coach and he does have two sons on the team. Of course, he wants to see how they are doing and he wants to correct any mistakes I have made. I still have last years stats for the five games I did to complete the team, and when I get them done I will be out of debt to Kenrick. Ah, that’s another story and another set of decisions I have made, though not necessarily bad, were certainly juvenile.
Ever since I found MySpace I have tried to post a daily blog called “Before, After and Between Camps”. http://www.myspace.com/budbud1957 This refers to the AIF camps I mentioned above. I have helped my wife co-direct Junior / Kids Camp for the past five years, and have worked in the kitchen at Teen Camp for the past eight years. My wife has cooked with her Mom for a few years longer than that before she finally got me to go. I took a year off and then couldn’t stay away after that. You just know when you have been called to do God’s work and it is where you belong. We take vacation time from our jobs to be at camp, they last a week at the end of June, then we have a week back at work and then it’s another week at Junior / Kids camp. Vacation time! Ha! We get up earlier, work harder and go to bed later while at camp, but it is such a refreshing time, the work is all worth it.
You feel like you have only a week to show the campers God’s love, to give them the love you have through Jesus for that week. While the work is hard and Friday comes too fast, you wish you could stay and take care of all of them all year round. Some of them have such difficult lives at home, that sending them back to it is hard to do. Most of the campers have access to computers somewhere, somehow, so I began a daily blog of devotions I receive by e-mail and I re-post them to MySpace to remind them that every day, God is still there with them, that every day they can turn to Him in prayer. We keep our doors open to all campers, our phone lines open and welcome them into our homes when they visit our village.
To post this MySpace blog I weigh through my incoming e-mail, re-posting the devotionals, quotes and a daily prayer to the MySpace blog. Getting through my daily e-mail can be time-consuming and at times posting the blog takes me late into the night. Now I have MySpace, Facebook, facebook.com/BudDad this blog site and numerous others. Checking them all, keeping them all up to date can be time-consuming. I refer to this as my “computer time.”
I have many friends, many good friends through camp, through MySpace and came late into the “IM” generation. Texting and IM-ing seemed so foreign to me. Now I am just as bound to text or IM as anybody else. When I was banned from taking stats and doing the Basketball score-book, my wife also had me cut back on IM-ing. I had been into e-mailing and forwarding jokes, inspirational stories, devotions, but I also was forwarding stuff that was considered R-rated. I tried to keep that stuff to a minimum, and I did it as a matter of acceptance. That’s my excuse anyway. I made a bad decision that cost me my job, I was fired. I went to Church the next Sunday and asked the Pastor to take me through the sinner’s prayer once more. I felt I had a need to start over. No more off-color jokes or adult emails.
My wife asked me twice to move out over the period of two weeks after I was fired. I agreed to do so, and even arranged to move back in with my parents if I needed to; though when it came down to it, she really couldn’t let me go out the door. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife. My kids were against my moving out and we sat down one night and talked our way through it.
While seeking God’s forgiveness once again was the right thing to do, the hardest lesson I always have is forgiving myself. When it seemed all that I held dear to me was taken away, God still stood by me, my wife and family still stood by me and now we are reaching a point where I am feeling restored again. It’s been a long road, but with God, by my side, it has been the right road. This doesn’t mean I’ve made all the right choices since then, but it does mean that when I fail when I fall, I don’t mind looking for that hand to help me get back up again. God always provides a hand, from family or friends with outstretched hands to bring me back to my feet.
Using MySpace to get stay in touch with campers was the what I used it for initially. Through it, I have found three very good friends. Through it, I have found people looking up to me as a “father figure”. When I started going to camp, I felt that one of the callings that God has given to me is to work with kids, especially young men, who didn’t have fathers or male influences in their lives for one reason or another. I tried to provide an ear, to listen to them. If they had a father, I never tried to replace him, I just tried to be the male mentor they could turn to. Most times that is all they needed. In many ways, “one-click” caused me many heartaches… the sending of that e-mail and it tested my ability to work with those I felt called to work with. The restoration period is long, and I still am careful how I work with, talk with youth. Making sure that no accusation of impropriety can be made. On the positive side, one click led me to Drew, and his friend Ryan. One click led me to Brady. Brady is a young man who lives in Texas, is planning to get married in January 2010. For the past few weeks, we have almost communicated on a daily basis. It’s a friendship that spans age, I’m 52, he’s 19; distance, he’s in Texas, I’m in Washington state; and culture; I’m native American, he’s white and he’s described himself as a “red neck”. lol. In any case, what we have in common is our faith; our similarities in our high school years are interesting. We agree on a lot, disagree on very little. We do enjoy communicating with each other and we’ve come to depend on each other for prayer, advice and agree that this “one-click” that has meant a lot to both of our lives.
I stay up late reading e-mails, posting blogs, and chatting with Brady. I stayed up late one night kicking myself for yet another set of bad decisions I made in my life, and the disappointment it brought to certain family members. Brady helped me see that it was okay to forgive myself. He had the outstretched hand God had provided to pick me up this time. Ryan was the other outstretched hand. I talked to Ryan after Brady signed off, (after all he is two hours ahead of me in time, though he assures me he would be up anyway.) ONE should never get used to failing, but in this case, I thank God for Brady being there to help me when I did fail. Brady wrote that many go to him when they need help, and he has no one to turn to when he is in need. I made sure he knew I would always be there for him. Problems or no problems I am here for him.
We promised each other we would hold each other accountable for going to Church. Brady has moved recently, but I have no excuse. We haven’t been very good at doing this. Why can’t I get myself back to Church is the real topic of this blog. Watching football has been fun, entertaining, but when your team loses, it leaves you empty. Even when they win, it’s not as fulfilling as going to Church always is. In the end, football, as Solomon would say, is meaningless. Church, faith, God is far from meaningless, and I need to get back to the work God would have me do. Brady, you need to remind me to do so. And Brady, you have your own work for God to do, and I shall be here to help you find what it is and to help you do it when it gets tiring, burdensome, or even boring. God Bless you, Brady, He has blessed me with your friendship.
Now there is Twitter. I was on twitter and followed so many that my timeline took forever to read. I spent a lot of time going through it, reading stuff from people I didn’t even know. I got tired of it, after posting over 1000 twits. I deleted the account and stayed away a WHOLE WEEK. I opened a new account @Bud_Denney and have posted 23oo twits under it. I found twibbons for this account and getting a Seahawk twibbon led me to Alex Bussani, born in Seattle, living in Fairport, NY. His classmate is Zach Mentz, and in following them both I was led to the world of blogs, blogging, and Iowa. Many of Zach’s followers are from Iowa, and followers of followers…. etc. I followed Zach’s blog on blogger.com and he moved over to WordPress.com with another blogger classmate Andrew Kristy. Together they developed A – Z Sports Blog. I follow Sentrix Nation on blogger.com. This led me to develop this blog myself. I will go back into the history of my college days. And do some sports for Neah Bay. This is about life, my faith, and trying to live as I should. It’s about the connections one can make online and the richness of those connections when learning how others are living in settings you know nothing about. The world online is bringing us closer together and gives us a chance to meet people we never would have without Social Networking.