For a time I thought there was a thief among us

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So it’s been almost two years since I have blogged!  That is bananas!  I haven’t blogged since my daughter has been alive.  There’s been a couple times where I will write up a blog, read it, and discard it without ever posting it.  However, I am starting an English class here again soon, so I figured I’d get use to writing again… so here we are.  Lets fill you in on the last two years of my life:

First and most importantly, my daughter Lily was born in August of 2015.  Completely changed my entire world.  And I don’t mean that in some cliche way where having a child changes everything.  I mean, the way I live in this world has changed since she’s been born.  It’s hard to explain, but things that never use to really bother me, can shake me to the core now.  Maybe it’s because I always imagine “what would I do if ______ happened to Lily?”.  Maybe it’s knowing that even at this super young age (almost two as of this post) she know that she can trust me and run to me for safety and love, and knowing that one day there will come a day that I won’t be able to keep her safe, at least not the same way I can now.  I know that she will experience things you never want your child to experience.  Heartbreak, loneliness, depression, etc.  Sometimes it’s an overwhelming feeling knowing that Lisa and I can only give her the tools to deal with bad things in life, and hopefully set a good example for her to follow.  But for now, she is the happiest (and sleepiest) little girl I’ve ever known.  Puppies, crackers, and Daniel Tiger are just a few of her favorite things.

About 9 months ago, I started seeing a therapist who diagnosed me with “persistent depressive disorder” which according to google “[…]is defined as a low mood occurring for at least two years, along with at least two other symptoms of depression.”.  And this has been a struggle navigating for the last few months.  Never knowing if something I’m really thinking is something that I really think or if its my depression.  And it’s made it hard being a father and husband with it, knowing that I should be happy and sure I can fake it, but not being able to be happy is just so deflating.

About a month ago, Lisa and I purchased our first home!  It has been great, even if sometime challenging.  It’s a great little (just barely above 1,000 sq ft) ranch home in the Hilltop.  Quiet neighborhood and friendly neighbors, no crack houses next door!  Nobody on my side of the family has ever owned a home, so it’s definitely been exciting and a new experience, luckily we had a great agent and lender (let me know if you want their contact info!) who walked us through everything one step at a time.  It was also around this time that I applied for a dream job for me.  It was out of Franklinton, which is next to the Hilltop, working for a company that is all about social change and helping ex-addicts and ex-sex workers.  Such a great opportunity and a position that I was actually qualified for!  However, my heart sank when I found out that I was passed over for the actual position.

I felt so defeated.  You spend your whole life trying to get this dream job, you’re finally qualified for it, but they don’t want you.  My depression was there and was cherishing this moment, telling me how worthless I am, how I’m never going to be anything other than a call center lackey.  I have no skills and only customer service experience, which basically means nobody has ever trusted me enough to give me a real job.  I didn’t know what to do, I hated my job with passion, the thought of going to a job that I had no future and no hope in was so(ul) crushing.  You see, not getting my dream job was just the latest denial I had gotten in my job search.  Most of them didn’t bother me because I didn’t really want them, but a few I actually had face to face interviews for that I really wanted, but alas it didn’t work out.  I was angry at God, why give me a desire to leave my current job, give me a desire for one of these new jobs, give me a face to face interview, get my hopes up, then take it away.  I didn’t know why, I still don’t know why.

Kind of a spur of the moment decision, I decided to apply to Arizona State to finish my bachelors degree.  I graduated from Shawnee in 2012 with just my associates (though I had like 90+ credits) because I desperately wanted to get out of school and finally start my life.  In retrospect I wish I would have just stuck it out a little while longer.  I feel as though I have missed out on a lot of jobs that I was qualified for just on the fact that I had a two year degree rather than a four year degree.  So here I am, June 2017, anxiously awaiting the decision from Arizona State to whether or not I get accepted.  Still applying and hoping for a job that doesn’t make me hate waking up in the morning.  But having the ASU stuff to look forward to has definitely made things easier at work.

That has been the last two years in a nutshell.  Lily, mental health, house, job, school.  Some other stuff I hope to hit on in just future blog posts; becoming more Reformed (big R), why professional wrestling is the only true art form left, and how Game of Thrones points us towards Christ.

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43,800,000*

Even before I was a Christian, I wasn’t dense enough to think of the object in this photo to be anything other then a unborn human baby.  It’s not a parasite or a potential human.  It’s an actual living, capable of pain, human.  And it’s perfectly legal to destroy its life.

These last two weeks have really energized the pro-life crowd.  Between the three videos showing planned parenthood haggling over prices of harvested baby parts and the moral outrage shown against someone who killed a lion in africa, it’s made talking about the sanctity of life that much more common.  I’ve gotten in to it a few times on my facebook with pro-abortionists, including one who seemed to make the argument that I couldn’t be against baby slaughtering because I have my own flaws?  Someone else called him out on how illogical his argument was, and he stopped posting.  And that makes sense, because it’s completely illogical to support the mass murder of babies.  In retrospect though, it is also completely illogical to standby as your country commits genocide against the jewish population or enslaves those of a different skin color.  All things that we have let happen in the last 150 years.  The arguments used for abortion is eerily similar to the arguments for the holocaust and slavery.  “They aren’t human”, “It’s my life or theirs”, “The government says it’s okay”.

Maybe it’s because  I’m only 4 weeks away from being a dad to a beautiful baby girl that is reignited my love for the pro-life movement.  I know nothing magical happens in these next 4 weeks to magically transform Lily from a fetus into a baby.  Yet, if Lisa wanted, she could go kill our child and it would legally be okay and it would just be her exercising her right as a woman.  What about Lillian’s right to grow into a woman?  I’m so thankful and blessed that I married a wonderful woman who respects life from its earliest moments.  Lisa and I have talked about how baffling it is that a woman can carry her baby for 9 months, give birth, hold her crying baby in her arms and still reaffirm how it’s alright to kill the pre-born if that’s your choice.

Cecil the Lion gives us an opportunity to really sit back and see how messed up our culture is.  A dentist illegally kills a lion and it’s a national story and is forced to close his business and take his family into hiding.  Arguments against how immoral it is to kill a innocent life that was living in a habitat made to keep the lion safe.  Meanwhile Planned Parenthood  alone is slaughtering over 1,000 babies every single day.  And when you argue against that, you are a misogynistic extremist.

*Approximately 43.8 million babies are aborted every year worldwide.

Sovereign Chaos

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These last couple of months have seen to go by so fast.  It seems like just yesterday I was living in Portsmouth as a full-time college student.  Fast forward a couple of months and now I am engaged to a beautiful young woman, whom I love very dearly.    Although the first few months were hard because I saw many friends I’ve had since Freshman year of college stop texting and calling me to hang out.  It seemed almost as if they no longer wanted to hangout with someone who was in a serious relationship.  But, I was okay with that because I know that she’s the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with and have beautiful little kiddies with one day.

A few more months go by and I’ve become a college graduate and moved back home to Columbus.  I have had a couple of interviews with one of the major pharmaceutical companies in the mid-west that offered great pay and great benefits.  After I get my 3rd interview, it turns out that they decide to hire someone with more experience than I and I’m back to square one.  I have several interviews and no job.  I look into a few temp agencies and they are all real shady and never gave me a job that lasted longer than one day.  So here I am, in late July, 3 months out of college with no job, and 3 months away from being married.  People keep telling me to get a job in fast food but I know that’s not going to pay the bills and it’s not where God wants me.

Finally, I get a job working for Verizon doing over the phone tech support.  Hours suck but the pay is decent.  After 7 weeks of training, I get onto the “floor” and I absolutely hate it.  I loathe this job with every fiber of my being.  But I’m getting married in a couple of months and can’t just up and quit the only steady job I’ve ever had, so I bite my tongue and keep going to work.

On October 20th, 2012 I married the girl I waited my entire life for, a woman who I was beginning to think didn’t exist.  It was the happiest day of my life.  Although, it did sting quite a bit that a lot of people who I dearly love, look up to, and consider pretty big mentors in my faith did not attend for various reasons.  None the less, nothing could take away from the joy of that day.

The first couple of weeks and months were hard for both myself and Lisa.  My hours at work kept getting cut beyond my control.  It was bitter-sweet because while I hated my job, it did pay the bills as I was the only one working full-time at that time.  On one of the days I got sent home early from work, I basically broke down to Lisa and told her how much I hated my job and how I get physically sick whenever I even think about work.  Lisa knew I didn’t like my job but I’m not sure if she really knew how much I hated it.  To many people’s dismay, I decided to quit my job.  Let me tell you, quitting your job when you’re the only one working consistently is a pretty stressful thing.  I’m certain that it was even more stressful for Lisa.

Eventually, Lisa got a job at a high-end fashion store (where she is quickly moving up the ladder).  It took me a little longer to find work.  Again, I had several interviews and looked into several temp agencies but nothing came to fruition.  I had an interview with Ricoh USA for a position at BMW Financial Services.  I felt great about the interview and really loved everything about the company.  A couple of weeks went by and I did not hear anything back from Ricoh and I started working a seasonal job at Macy’s in the same mall Lisa worked in. After my first day, I got a call from Ricoh, they offered me a job in a different department (higher pay to boot!).  I immediately accepted the position and anxiously waited to tell Lisa the good news when she got off from work.

Fast forward two months and here I sit today, at work, writing this blog.  I really am loving my job.  I have great bosses and great co-workers.  I get paid well and have great benefits.  I have recently found out that my company will pay for me to finish my Bachelors and my Masters (in what, I’m not sure of).

It has been a whirlwind couple of months here in the Linley household, but I am certain that I am where God wants me, and I am grateful that he has provided myself a job where I can support my wife and future family with to the best of my abilities.

Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

I Don’t Need Your Handouts! I’m an Adult!

I am officially an adult”, a title I have inherited since graduating from college about a week ago.  It’s kind of funny, growing up all you hear is how you have to go to college if you want a decent job and how if you don’t go to college you are going to end up in some dead-end job where you are barely making ends meat.  Now that I am out of college and looking for one of these great jobs I was promised my entire life thanks to my college degree, I am being told to swallow my pride and take a job at a fast food company because “some income is better than no income”.  While that is true, this isn’t what was peddled to me for 13 years in public school.  I didn’t go $20,000 into debt to work at the same job the stoner from my high school has worked at since he was 16.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I went to college and wouldn’t take it back for anything.  I’ve grown so much since going away to school and actually feel like I can live on my own and take of myself.  Not to mention that I met my fiancée at school and that alone is worth the $20,000 ($37,000 including hers) that I now owe the department of education.  It’s no wonder that we see things like Occupy Wall street popping up all over the nation.  Well sell our children these lies and delusions of grandeur about this magical world that a college degree will open up to them, and then we mock them for not wanting to take a job where they can’t even pay back the debt they occurred chasing this fantasy.

These next couple of weeks for me will be spent trying to find a job where I can support me and my future wife on (not to mention pay for a wedding).  I’m pretty optimistic though, I know that God provides… so I’m not too worried.  My fiancée and Best Friend are both working at camp this summer so I’m going to be experiencing a completely new level of boredom.  I have an interview with Roxane Laboratories set up, which from what I’ve heard and read is a great job to get in with.  Good pay and good benefits, so here’s hoping that works out.  I hope to get my driver’s license by the end of the month and if I can secure this job, get a car by the end of summer.  In a 7 month period I will have gotten engaged, graduated college, got my driver’s license, get my first big boy job, and get married.  It’s like I saved all my key life moments for the same time.

In Steps Jesus

But God sees through my foolish pride,
And I’m weak life Adam another victim of Lucifer’s foolish lies
But then in steps Jesus

I wanna be like you in every way, so if I got to die everyday I will.  I’m tired trying to take the lead in this relationship, because whenever I do, it goes to hell (literally).  You created me, but I don’t want to be like you… I want to be you!  And that’s the problem.  I was created to lead, but I need someone to lead me.  More then a teacher, a savior.  Sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good, and you swift to show me that you are the one who is in charge.  How can I turn my back on you?  What on Earth could I possibly turn to that will offer me something great then yourself?  You said you came for the lame, I’m the lamest.  I broke my life, but you say you’ll replace it, I’ll take it.

These Are Hard Times for Dreamers

I hate telling people that I want to be a social worker, because everyone will give the same response.  Either they tell me I will get sick of it, give up, and do something else with my life… or they give me that patronizing “…good for you” reply.  It’s really frustrating, it’s my life and this is what God has called me to do, so everyone else just needs to get over it.  Now that I have that off my chest, let’s move on.

I’ve had some crazy writers block these past few weeks, hence why for the most part my blogs have been really short.  So how am I going to get past it?  I’m gonna write about my writers block!  I told myself that I will find my future wife this year, it probably won’t happen, but hey it’s a good goal.  All these people I know are getting engaged and married, it’s crazy!  So I’ve been reading a lot about the subject and I realize that I don’t need to pray for a wife, I need to pray to become a husband that I need to be.  There are plenty of great Christian girls out there, I just need to become a great Christian guy.

Friday night was a great night, I won a Nintendo Wii game and a stuffed puppy from that machine where you position the claw and drop it down and it snatches it.  Basically I was the boss last night.  Although I don’t have a Wii so I will probably try and return it and get the $50 for it.  So either way, it was a good good night.  I have yet to name the puppy, so if you have any suggestions let me know.

Next semester is going to be crazy!  I am taking 19 credit hours, which is the most I’v ever taken by the way, but I’m also starting seminary (which will be three classes)!  So I will be taking nine classes next semester, and I still need to find a job!  Basically, I’m going to be an adult next semester and I am not looking forward to it at all!  The end of this semester is going to be crazy, I have about 12 papers due and will be taking two huge finals.  But after that is Christmas break!  Woooo!