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A Merry Heart

September 5, 2018
"Angelo Rules" by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

“Angelo Rules” by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

 

One of the things I’m grateful for is a “merry,” or cheerful heart. My wife woke up one morning to this scripture she shared with me … Proverbs 17:22 …

A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

It has been days since Rachel and I read that scripture and discussed it in length. We know that there’s a lot going on in the world, our culture, our own life and our family and it can be kind of tough to actually be “cheerful” or “merry.”

It has actually been really nice that she’s been reminding me of how cheerful I always tend to be. In fact, the running joke is that I don’t really need too much more caffeine because of how cheerful I am most days.

Usually you have to wait for the holidays for that, right? A dozen or more genuine “Merry” Christmas responses should do it, right?

But, what if it was a choice.

What if we chose to see the blessings that God has given us. I woke up that morning because the Lord so willed for me to be up and alive that morning. I have a sound mind. I have a portion of health and strength. But, more importantly, I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And that’s enough to be cheerful about.

But, note the wording in the scripture. “A merry heart does good, like medicine….”

The world is full of things in front of us by which we can medicate ourselves. But, the end result will only be an artificial cheerfulness, an artificial and temporary “merry” state, a temporary happiness.

“A broken spirit,” sadness and desperation is draining. It is completely opposite of being cheerful. As the text says, it “dries the bones.”

But, when we find ourselves in God’s Word, spending time in prayer and consistently focusing on Christ in our circumstances, the real medication for our ailment of sinfulness, we can have a “merry” heart, which does good like medicine.

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Usually when people ask me what I do, I answer with a generic “I work at XYZ” or “I do XYZ.”

But, my background is way more extensive than this.

I’m a writer. I’m an artist. I’m a licensed and ordained minister.

I also have a background in Broadcast Journalism and have spent a lot of time in videography and photography.

As my interests and passions changed, I learned to give more simple answers to what I do versus who I am. I’ll never forget the time I mentioned what I did when someone asked me only to berate me for having such an extensive line of things to mention from my previous career experiences.

Haters gonna hate, right?

So, over the years, I have given my answer a 3 word response as far my background:  Author, Minister and Cartoonist.

Boom! Done!

I say “author” because I’ve been published and am publishing. But, I suppose the more accurate title would be “storyteller.” In fact, storytelling is something that has fit my overall experiences as a Journalist as well as a writer and media guy.

And, between you and me, the term “storyteller” is something that the Lord kept bringing up to me over and over again to this day.

While all of this is well and good, I’m actually desiring to make a point here.

Sometimes we get everything in our lives confused as it relates to what we do and who we are. While yes, you are a writer, a cook, a minister, a doctor, a lawyer, a construction worker or whatever.

But that’s just right now!

You’re not your job!

Your job or career is what you DO right now! That could change at anytime!

And for some people, that is horrifying! For others, it is a welcome opportunity to embrace and experience the other many activities that you might not have known you’re good at.

This is a scary reality for many.

A lot of people base their whole lives on a job or a way of life and are left devastated because they have centered their whole identity around said career choice.

So many people try to chase after a career or a pathway to success but forget that they should focus on what kind of person they should become or are becoming.

My personal faith in God and my relationship with Christ keeps all of this in perspective for me.

I’m first, a Christian, before anything else. I’m a follower of Christ before I’m a doctor so-and-so or reverend whomever or lead whatever. From that relationship, my identity is shaped. And, I learn of my greatest strengths and my greatest weaknesses from that.

What I do is what I do today. It could change. In fact, I anticipate their to be some change.  And it is okay!

Love Goes With Trust

April 11, 2017

 

I was working in a cubicle at a major bank doing home loan underwriting. While there, I met an older gentlemen, whose name I won’t mention here.

Fast forward a few years later and he’s now my best friend and mentor. He’s like a Father to me.

Well, a few hours ago, just before writing this blog post, he shared something with me via the phone that was so important and so key to relationship building. It is something I know I’ll be keeping in mind for the rest of my life…and that…is the issue of real love.

In his own words, as I listened to him over the phone, he told me this:

Some people never get to experience real love. In order to truly love the way you’re supposed to love — where you give all of your love instead of holding back out of fear — is to be filled with God — because God is Love.

Some people will never know this kind of love — the love that says that the other person with you is free.

Even now, Kendall, you only know of a certain level of love. But there is a type of love greater than where you are, Kendall, that you know nothing about

Wow and double wow.

And he was right. Being single (at the time of writing this blog post of course) and writing this article, it is true. I do not know what it is like to love a spouse. But, I should know what it is like and what it means to love a person.

1 Corinthians 13 is the scripture that often reminds me what love is and is not and my friend continued to explain what He had learned and large amounts of it were very Biblical.

If you truly love someone you will trust them. Some people have zero trust, and therefore, can’t love that person fully. Because they can’t learn that person fully, it is evident that they do not have real, true and genuine love. At least, not enough love that person, regardless of how they may have treated you or regardless of what you may think is in there heart.

Imagine what could happen if we actually opened up, loved more and genuinely cared and trusted one another.

We just need to get over our fear.

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Joe “Crazy 8’s” and I did these sketches during one of our meetings at a coffee shop! 

When I first started drawing I was by myself for the most part. I would post some of my work online and I would create with hopes that I would get some kind of input or advice or compliment.

Sure, at one point I was a member on DeviantArt and then later I connected with others on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It helped quite a bit.

But, I wanted even more!

Then, Instagram came in to the mix and I was fortunate to team up with other cartoonists…one in person and one from Canada.

walter bill and crazy 8

On Instagram, I often connect with Joe, the creator of “Crazy 8s” and Dave from Canada, the creator of the Instagram comic called “Kid and Mouse.” 

crazy 8s

Joe and I have constantly meet up to discuss our passion for comic strips, discussing and analyzing the works of people like Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and names that some might not know and independent artists.

I’ve learned a LOT from both Joe and Dave. We’ve done crossovers and collaborations together and they have shared their own tricks of the trade in comic strip creation. But, this couldn’t be if it wasn’t for the idea of connecting, networking and building a community.

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Characters from my webcomic, “By and By,” Walter Ayo and Ace Fox meet Bill and Carl!

When times get rough and we get a little down, Joe, Dave and I often will connect via the web and chat and encourage one another! This is a HUGE investment!

Every bit of that moment and time matters!

Every artist needs a community in which to connect and learn from. It’s not recommended to go it alone in a field or area of interest no matter what it is you’re studying or practicing. You need others to come alongside you and help you. You need people in which to grow with and learn and share with.

I’m fortunate that Joe and Dave are a part of that with me! And, I’m grateful for the other great cartoonists that I’ve connected with both independent and syndicated. And I’m looking forward to connecting with many more artists.