Thomas Had Nothing On Me

Maybe you’ve heard of Doubting Thomas. How would you like that as an immortal legacy? I’ve really come to believe that doubting on God is really an extremely arrogant thing to do. In all honesty, it’s not doubting God as much as it is completely removing things from His hands and insisting on relying upon ourselves.

Not only is that foolish, it’s arrogant.

As I end the month of May and reflect upon it, I see the many blessings I received in order to make it through. The week before last was a record week in my business. How quickly we forget when it’s followed by a so-so week. As I entered this final weekend of the month, I was feeling pretty glum. I felt like after all of my hard work in May, I was entering June in no better shape than I entered the previous month.

Then I went to the mailbox. In it was a nice check I simply wasn’t expecting. With it, I was able to immediately take care of a nagging bill that was looming over my head. As soon as I saw the check, I immediately thanked God and asked His forgiveness for not trusting Him in the first place.

So, tomorrow is the first day of June. It’s a new month. Hopefully I go into it with lessons learned which will serve to remind me to remain humble and keep things where they belong.

In His hands.

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Here’s Your Sign

If you’ve ever heard any of the comedy bits of Bill Engvall about how stupid people should wear signs around their neck to forewarn others, I present to you someone who definitely ought to have a one in neon.

You’ve probably seen and heard the news about the Pennsylvania mother who faked a kidnapping of her and her young daughter, only to be found a few days later strolling through Disney World. As she was arraigned on Friday, her defense attorney tried to argue that she was not a flight risk. In doing so, he uttered this gem:

“It’s not a crime to take your kid to Disney World,”

T-Minus 29 Days

And so begins the countdown. This will be my 12th consecutive year as
part of a patriotic production known as Celebrate America. However, this year’s will be very different for me, as I will be doing a totally different show in a totally different community.

Despite the shows having the same name, and even some of the same songs I’ve been part of in the past, the shows are very different. I’m very happy because I will be reunited with a song I have always enjoyed singing. The song is called Hero For Today. The first time I sang it before an audience, we were honoring a hand full of Pearl Harbor survivors. We had a great video clip with footage from the attack from December 7, 1941, along with some interviews of those who were there on that fateful day. When the video ended, the gentlemen in attendance who we were honoring stood as they were introduced to the audience. They then stood at attention as the song’s introduction started. I’m a pretty emotional guy, and in that moment, it felt like I had a volleyball lodged in my throat.

This song has always been special to me, but because we did it so many years in a row, it got put in mothballs for the past several years. So, it will be a personal thrill to sing it again, this time for an entirely different audience.

The chills on my arm, however, will be very familiar.

The show will be on June 27 in Rocklin. There will be a full afternoon of family activities, followed by the show at 7:30. Once our show is done, there will be an aerial fireworks show for the entire city. Admission to the park where the festivities will be held is absolutely free. There will be food and beverage vendors who will have food for sale, or you can bring your own picnic basket. Alcohol will not be allowed or provided.

I’m very excited we have this opportunity. It’s a very cool thing how it all happened. Let’s just chalk it up to another one of those “God things”. There simply is no other way to describe it.

For more information about the show, check out http://celebrateamericaonline.com/

Also, the city of Rocklin has included details about the production right on the city’s official website. They tell a little bit more about how the perfect timing of our show coming along fit in with the city’s economic belt-tightening. Check it out here.

In the days leading up to, and including the day of the show, I’ll be sharing my experiences, pictures and comments on my Twitter page, at http://twitter.com/coreymatelli

I hope to see you there…or here. Either way!

Earn This

This seems to be a year, a season, of looking back at those who have sacrificed for me. I’m not sure why it’s hitting me so profoundly this year, but it is. Today is the holiday in which we pause to reflect upon the men and women who have, as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently stated, “laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

This “Memorial” season formally started Easter weekend. Of course, that was a time to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid for my freedom from the eternal consequences of sin. He went to the cross and took upon Himself the cost for our sin.

My second Memorial Day came just a couple of weeks ago as we observed Mothers Day. Having recently lost my mother in March, it was an especially significant time for me to remember the sacrifices my mother made for me throughout my life, and the final 44 years of hers.

The one common denominator in the heroes we honor is that they never complained about the price they would pay. True heroes don’t complain. When I hear stories of 9/11 and the firefighters running up dozens of flights of stairs, carrying heavy equipment as they did, as people raced down the stairs to get out of the doomed towers, I haven’t heard of a single account of any of them complaining of fatigue, of how heavy their equipment was, or “why me?”

Today is a day to reflect. It’s a day to consider those who have paid the ultimate price for the lives we enjoy. I, for one, am tired of complaining about the economy. I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of government officials who point fingers at one another, looking for someone to blame for life’s difficulties.

Heroes don’t complain.

It’s simply time to remember the examples of those who have gone before us, and honor their sacrifices by living honorable lives which were made possible by those who paid the price for us.

In the closing moments of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Captain John Miller looks into the eyes of the man he paid the price for and uttered these words: “Earn this.” It is our duty to remember those who have laid it all down for us. It is incumbent upon us to live lives which honor their sacrifices. It is our responsibility to live a life that says “thank you” to those who made our lives possible.

Thank you to all of those who made my life possible. I pray that from this day forward, my life will honor each of you as I strive to continue the heritage you bequeathed to me in your sacrifice, by passing it on to others, and sharing with them your examples of selflessness and heroism.

Lessons From My Own Lessons

On occasion, I write a post about lessons I learn from everyday circumstances, items or even domestic animals. Today, it seemed a post I wrote back in the first week of this year kept replaying in my head. The thing was, I forgot I had written it. I had to go back before beginning this post to see if I actually had written it, or if it was some kind of blog deja vu kind of thing. Or maybe I’m just getting old and can’t remember what I’ve forgotten.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah. Anyway, I probably ought to print that one out and pin it on a wall or my bathroom mirror or something. You see, the past month or so has been pretty stressful for me. OK, this year hasn’t been a walk in the park, but the past month or so has been especially difficult in its own way. But I’m reminded of my own words from lessons I’ve had to learn that God sometimes doesn’t reveal Himself until after what Hollywood would have chosen for that miracle moment. In ways which define logic and understanding, God has provided for me enough to get through the moment. Not in my timing, but in His.

If you go back and read the post to which I alluded earlier, I used an analogy of a dog left alone with several days of food. I suppose it’s possible to train a dog to only eat enough for today, and budget what was left for him in daily increments. I think God is trying to teach me the same principle. In fact, I think God may be teaching our generation this quality. We have lived in prosperous times for quite awhile. I remember the confidence and pride I felt walking into the mall knowing I could buy just about anything in the building if I wanted. Sometimes I’d just walk around with my money just burning a hole in my pocket waiting to be spent. If something caught my eye, it was mine.

These days are not like those days. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of wants to make sure my needs are taken care of. God is good to remind us that He is our sufficiency. God is good to remind us that only He can provide for us according to His riches and glory. Wall Street can’t do it. The government can’t do it. My job can’t do it.

Once again, I was chosen to lead the song Great Is Thy Faithfulness this past Sunday morning. Once again, it was at a time when, if nobody else needed the reminder, I did. I knew all week I would be doing that song. All week I prayed that I would look to Him and thank Him for His great faithfulness in my life. I prayed that through it all, I would be found faithful as well.

This week, I have been blessed. God is giving me what I need to get through this week. We’ll deal with next week when it comes. I need to be faithful to budget what God puts in my bowl so it will see me through, and not get the urge to pig out and have nothing left tomorrow.

Hopefully this lesson is truly learned, and I can trust Him without first stressing out about what I see. Faith is trusting in what I cannot see. I want to be a man of great faith, not stress.

Disturbing Things From the Past Several Days

There have a couple recent events which have stirred up thoughts in my head which need to be addressed. As a servant of the people, I feel it is my duty to share them with you.

1. The kid in Ohio who was suspended from taking his final exams and participating in his high school graduation because he attended his girlfriend’s prom. Am I the only one who thought this was a publicity stunt for a remake of the movie Footloose? It’s stuff like this which sets Christianity back for generations. In a world in which the media is looking for anything which puts Christianity in the line of fire, someone who doesn’t speak for me goes out of their way to put me smack dab in the center of the crosshairs. Frankly, I completely side with the kid. As someone who has worked with kids of all ages, there simply comes a point when you have to trust them, and yourself that you have taught them to uphold their beliefs in secular environments. We can’t keep kids in some kind of hermetically sealed Christian bubble, insulating them from every single influence the world has to offer. Is someone from a school like that prepared mentally and spiritually should they decide to go off to a secular university or the military? What about a secular job where people swear and and have office parties with (gasp!) alcohol!? What the kid does in his life away from school falls under the jurisdiction of their parents. Let the family decide what the children can and can’t do.
Good job, kid. You did the right thing. Too bad the administration of your school doesn’t trust you enough to handle a situation which will confront you throughout the rest of your life. You passed the first test as far as I’m concerned.
2. Miss California. I must admit, I pretty much wanted her to be stripped of the crown. Not because I thought she should have been, but because I think that tiara on her head may as well be a ball and chain around her leg. If she had been de-throned, she could then be free to say whatever she wants, wherever she wants. Now she is still bound by her contractural obligations and essentially neutered from pursuing her deeper beliefs publically at the height of her notoriety.
She gave the same answer that the Teleprompter and Chief gave, yet he is Teflon and she gets the wrath of The Left showering down on her as if she were standing at the base of Niagara Falls. Meanwhile, Perez Hilton, (that isn’t really his name, is it?) says the most vile and childish things, and where was the ACLU or women’s advocates? You ask for her opinion, then do everything in your power to destroy her for stating it.
Two other things I find disturbing about this are how much media attention this grabbed, and the fact that I wholeheartedly agreed with The Donald twice in the same week. He also fired Annie Duke in The Celebrity Apprentice, which pleased me greatly.
In summary, a thumbs up to a suspended teenage boy, a beauty queen and The Donald. A strange week, indeed.

Feeling Edgy

I honestly don’t know why, but I’m feeling really edgy today. I’m sure it’s a culmination of a great many things, the sum total of which cause me to feel overwhelmed.

Today is one of those days.

What is strange about it is that while I’m (mis)handling things, I can practically see myself from the outside. I can recognize and see that I’m not being myself…but I just can’t fix it. It’s weird. Meanwhile, I feel like my personal friendships are really flimsy right now. My professional life is uncertain and unfulfilling. My spiritual life is strong, but lacking the peace and joy I know I should have. Basically, I’m going through the motions. I’m faithful in my actions and obligations, but my heart is empty.

I’ve been here before, and I know it’s a temporary thing. Be that as it may, it’s my current status. I read what my friends are saying on their Facebook pages, or hearing and seeing the happiness others are experiencing around me. I don’t begrudge anyone those things. I just would like a piece of the pie. But, for whatever reason that is for my ultimate good, I’m not there right now.

In the meantime, I’m trying not to let all the little disappointments, and not-so-little ones, shatter my spirit. I feel on the edge of it, but I keep clinging to the hope of better times.