Day 1 in Tijuana

12 08 2012

I’m writing this blog so that I never forget my trip to Tijuana.  It’s my first mission trip and it was a doozy for me.  It hit me hard as I’m sure everyone that’s been on a mission trip before has experienced.  I chose this trip first of all because it was good timing for me, but also, I can somewhat speak spanish.  It’s not fluent or is it proper but I can communicate enough with people that I can get around.  So here it is, Day 1!

Day 1 was mostly traveling for us. We rode up in 2 vehicles.  There was 8 of us total including pastor Steve Doerksen (sorry about the spelling).  McKenzie is our missions leader so he was the front man for our trip.  His wife, Michelle, also went along with Dwanye and Danielle Lidster, Scott and Marita Lowe and of course myself.  We loaded up for our 6 day adventure and met at the church, Mountain Vista Community Church, and headed out to San Diego from there.  It’s supposedly a 6 hour trip or so, but I think we did it in 8 with all the stops and lunch and mexican insurance.

We had McKenzie and Michelle driving the van (later named “White Lightning”) with Scott, Marita, Danielle and Dwayne.  Pastor Steve and I were in his car.  We had 2 walkie talkies to stay connected apparently we didn’t have enough “bars” because we couldn’t get them to communicate once we crossed the borders.  Of course, that could be due to the fact that Steve immediately took a wrong turn and started heading the wrong direction.  He was in the process of telling me how he took the wrong turn the last time he went there, and apparently he found that same wrong turn again.  So we had a little detour and tried to connect with the other car to no avail.  So we started back the right direction and after a few minutes of trying to find our way we decided to try to ask someone for directions which I thought I would be able to do no problem considering my vast knowledge of the spanish language.  Didn’t work so well.  Steve on the other hand used his vast knowledge of the English language and immediately received directions from the first person he tried.  So we finally met up with the rest of the team at Costco where we were buying supplies for the week.  We met up with our guide as well.  His name was Lucas.  He met us at Costco around 5 p.m., an hour later than we were supposed to meet him, after we packed up all our goods we headed out to the dorm.  The dorm was the place where we stayed the entire trip.  It was a 2 story complex, complete with a restaurant style kitchen, tiled downstairs, and bunk beds upstairs made of crude 2×4 and plywood.  We found out quickly, from our other live in host Josh, that a big no-no was to flush the toilet paper down the toilet.  So there was a trash can in between the stalls that we had to put our used toilet paper.  I was pretty uneasy about that so I tried to hold it as much as I could.  After giving a quick synopsis of what our trip was going to look like from Josh, we all went upstairs to settle in.  Another thing we did every night was a bible study that 2 people went over while having breakfast and I chose to do the first one.

I chose to do a different verse than the suggested one because a certain story was sticking out to me.  It was the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30

14″Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another on talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also the one with two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19″After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought another five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

21″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

22″The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23″his master replied, ”Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

24″Then the man who had received the one talent came, ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.’

26″His master replied, ‘You wiked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28″ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This verse stuck out to me and hit me hard.  I concluded that we as Americans have been entrusted with much and we need to be good stewards of our masters wealth and multiply it for HIM and HIS purpose, not our own.

Here is my Journal entry for Day 1

“Day 1-July 22nd – 6:10 p.m.

     We have arrived at the spectrum household.  We are currently getting some stuff situated.  Tijuana is kind of like I expected but the feeling of insecurity and not feeling safe comes and goes depending on the neighborhood.

Steve and I were lost for a bit, I tried using my spanish to ask for directions but 2 people blew me off immediately.  After getting up the nerve to ask, twice, unsure if I was going to say something completely wrong.  Then Steve asked a taxi driver and the guy getting out spoke very clear english.  I think Steve’s expecting to get help attitude worked for him.  It reminds me of Gods word saying “Ask Boldly” came to mind.  I was timid and unsure and Steve was not.  Lesson number 1-LEARNED!

9:30 p.m.

We just got done listening to Pastor Von who is an 80 yr old man who has been doing missions for 40 years.  Most of it in tijuana, and he says that this place’s barrios are up there with the worst of them.

We are going to be visiting “The Dump” which apparently is a dump with compost and waste.  We are visiting there to bring food to the people who live and work there.  I guess people live in tents or cardboard boxes and seperate scrap metal, cardboard, cans etc. to sell it to companies.

Tomorrow around 8 we are supposed to be going to the orphanage and washing the feet and hair of the kids and feeding them at the park.”

I realize that some of this sounds broken or not very smooth.  I’m writing it down just as I wrote it while I was there.  I want to keep the authenticity of it.  I didn’t exactly have a desk to be writing at so it was uncomfortable and needed to just jot down my thoughts.  Thanks for reading and Day 2 should be coming up quickly I hope.


Fathers and Dads

19 06 2012

It is the 18th of June, and I just celebrated my very first fathers day, as a father.  Unfortunately our boys are in Nebraska right now with their Nana and Grampy.  They are having a blast I’m sure, but I do miss them.  This fathers day has brought some things into perspective though.  Let me explain.

The new Branch of the Barton Family

I always thought I would be the most amazing father.  I have so much love to give and can’t wait to share it with my children.  Looking back now on the time that I’ve had with Gabe and Finn, I feel that I haven’t been the father that I want to be.  I’ve been good about discipline and teaching them right and wrong, but I don’t think that I’ve been cherishing them like I should.  I’ve been thinking about what a “Dad” is opposed to what a “Father” is.  A Father is someone that has given life to a child.  You have fathered a child and have given them life, but a “Dad” is different.  A Dad is someone who has taught their kids right from wrong.  Someone who has shown their kids that they will love them no matter what they do.  No matter how many times they’ve screwed up or upset me, I will love them and they know that will never change.  A dad is the man in your life that you learn everything from.  How to throw a baseball, how to act at the dinner table, the man who teaches you how to play board games and card games.  The man that’s going to talk to you when your upset, and get advice from.

These are all things that my dad has taught me.  He’s always been a friend to me, but I know not to cross him.  I have a healthy fear of my father just as we should our heavenly father.  You know if you screw up your dad’s going to set you straight, but afterwards, he’s going to make sure you’re ok.  My father is now my best friend and my confidant.  I know I can go to him with ANYTHING.  He has taught me everything he knows, shown me how to play sports, cards, games, how to be a good worker, how to fix things around the house, and the 3 most important things he’s taught me…what it looks like to love GOD, how to love my wife, and how to be an amazing father.  Can you ask for anything more in a father?

So as this fathers day has come and gone, it’s now made me realize what being a father really means, with the 2 most amazing examples…God, and my Father/Dad/Friend, Rusty Barton.  I love you pops and I can now start to build my legacy as you have made yours live on through me and Josh.

My Beloved Granny

17 12 2011

As many of you may know, I lost my “Papa” in October.  It was a hard time for my family.  Granny and Papa are the glue to this family.  We Bartons/Vogans/Howarths are a strong group. We have been a family that has shared every bit of life together.

As far back as I can remember, all of our families have shared the holidays together.  I remember being a small kid living back on Union Hills and I was woke up by my mom the night of Christmas saying, “Boys come here, I heard something downstairs.”  We woke up and went with my mom and slowly we realized that Santa was putting presents under the Christmas tree.  We both got soo excited and could barely hold our excitement.  Later of course we realized that it was Papa.  The old guy had pulled one over on us.  I never did ask, but I’m pretty sure he visited a few houses that year.  What a guy.  Then of course we have Thanksgiving.  Even to this day, I look forward to sharing Thanksgiving with all my family.  Of course the highlight, besides the plethora of food, is the “tossing of the dinner rolls”.  We all know the routine of course.  The Ladies cook, and the men clean.  I’ve never really liked that rule but that brings me to my next point.  The values instilled in this family.

As we all knew, the Bartons have grown up as a farming family.  I’ve realized now as an adult, what this has translated to.  We Bartons are a hardworking family and very down to earth.  Jerry, Brenda, Sheila, Rick and of course my pop, are the most down to earth and solid people I’ve met.  I absolutely love my family and wouldn’t trade them for the world.  I’m not forgetting the spouses either, I love EVERYONE of you.  Now, when talking about an entire family being down to earth and amazing, you have to look at the parents.

Granny and Papa are the 2 single most amazing people in the world.  As far as I know, Papa was a “No Non-sense” kind of guy, which I’m sure is the reason why Jerry was their first son.  Jerry had all the non-sense in the family so having 4 more kids was no problem.  Papa reminds me of Jerry.  He didn’t take guff from anyone.  Now Papa also had a storytelling side of him.  I remember Papa telling story after story of all his golf experiences and his times on the farm and when I was a kid and I took everyone of them as fact.  Now I’m not so sure.  I think he stretched the truth a bit, but regardless, I tried to egg him on to tell more stories.  Papa and I had a bond.  We were golfing buddies.  I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to going golfing with the old man.  I learned so much from him.  Putting from the bunker, “rabbit must have taken my ball, I’ll just drop here”, and of course the infamous  the “sun city” lie.  I learned alot from the old guy.  I miss him dearly but I know I’ll see him again.

That leaves Granny, the reason I’m writing this.  This is the model woman.  As far as I know, “Oh Sugar” is her choice of cuss words.  I’m pretty sure that’s the worst thing she’s ever said.  When we all heard about someone stealing $40 out of her wallet, I’m pretty sure most of our family was ready to march down to that hospital and start interrogating most of the people there.  You might as well have stolen from the Pope.  There isn’t a more innocent and sweet person in the world than my Granny.  She’s a gem.  I know our whole family is heart-broken over the loss of Papa, but I think we all can forget about our grief, because Granny, Papa’s wife of more than 60 years, is standing strong.  She is the rock of this family.  She is a God loving, community serving, hostess with the mostest, potato salad mastering, angel on this earth.  She has set the bar high, and I think that she is what most women should strive for.  My Granny will forever be remembered in the highest respects.  I’m ecstatic to see her again, and I’m going to get a great big hug from her.  I have so much love and respect for the women, i’m pretty sure she could go rob a bank, and our entire family would take the fall for her. 

Granny, we all love you and you are the rock in which we lean on, and our model to mold our lives around.  You can do no wrong in my eyes, and I look forward to spending an eternity with you.  You will have an entire palace of jewels awaiting you in heaven when you pass 50 years from now…NO SOONER!  I praise God for the family that you have blessed us with Granny. 

Relationships! Selflessly Selfish!

22 06 2011

As anyone can tell, I am most passionate about relationships.  Most of my posts are about relationships.  Whether it’s about friends or significant others, I love relationships.  They are soo tricky though!  Everything can be great one minute, and the next, it can be irreconcilable.  So intricate.  Let me look at the friendship part first then move on to the good stuff.

Friends at a Friends wedding...and me pimping the fedora!

I have a pretty decent group of friends.  True friends that care enough about me to inconvenience themselves.  But it’s not easy.  I’ve put a lot of time and pride swallowing moments into these relationships.  I’ve had friends who’ve slept with my Valentines date…not going to mention any names, but it’s the same butthead who also pissed in my shoe and I didn’t find out until 3 months later!  Dick!  I’ve also had friends who’ve come with me on a stake-out to see if I could catch my ex-wife cheating on me.  Not something you want to do at 7 a.m. but he did it.  But these relationships are tough.  I’ve been talking to a good friend of mine a lot lately about what it means to be a good friend and it really boils down to this.  Selflessness.  It’s really easy to be caught up in your own “stuff” but how often do you stop and ask your friend what’s going on?  Not just “hey, what’s up” but “Hey, somethings on your mind, and I’m not going to have another beer until you tell me what’s up!”  Yes, I’ve actually gone that route before.  It’s these friends that don’t care how awkward or tiring it is to deal with your “stuff”, but they care enough about you to hash this stuff out.  Friends are tough to maintain, but you’ve got to decide if they are people that you care enough about, to put in the work to maintain.  Everyone thinks friends are a dime a dozen.  Not true!  Acquaintances are a dime a dozen, friends are harder to come by.  I have friends, and then I have FRIENDS!  My FRIENDS I would do almost anything for.  They are the people that I can call for a stake-out.  Can I call you for a stake-out sometime….?  Well could I?  I’m not gonna write another post until you comment on whether I can call you for a stake-out!  I’ll bring the donuts and Dr. Pepper!

Now for the good stuff!  I love to talk about RELATIONSHIPS!  I mean your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/ estranged lover/Sancho kind of relationship!  Now friends are work, but this is on a whole other scale.  At first it’s easy!  You think about them all the time, you text them constantly, you call them for no reason but to hear their voice.  I love this stage of a relationship.  HONEYMOON STAGE!  But, it gets better.  Unfortunately it’s not as easy.  When you start building on a true relationship where you are sharing your life with someone, it’s tough.  Life is tough, and that’s just living your own, now try to mix in another selfish person, and some very selfish kids.  I say selfish, because it’s not in our nature to be selfless.  You have to train yourself to be selfless.  Try waking up and living your life for someone else.  That’s basically what a perfect marriage is I think.  If both people in the relationship wake up and do everything they do that day for the other person i.e. make breakfast that they like, fill the car up before you come home so they don’t have to worry about it, and stop by the store so you can pick up their favorite bottle of wine.  It’s these kind of things that bless the other person.  If everyone lived their marriage like this, there wouldn’t be a divorce rate.  But we are sinful, faulted people.  We can’t keep that up forever…unless we ask for help.  I fully intend on making this the model for my…next…marriage.  The person that I’m with better expect to have all of me forever!  I’ll be pouring on the blessings.  You’re going to have coffee in the morning, sweet texts throughout the day, flowers once a year…(i’m romantic, not wealthy!) and so forth.  I love to love.

Communication is the key to any relationship.  Serious or not.  If you don’t like something that the other person is doing, tell them.  If you feel that you can’t, then it’s not a healthy relationship.  Both parties should be able to be completely transparent with each other.  “hey, i’m not comfortable with you hanging out with this person, because of X, Y, and Z.”  The other person can re-act 1 of 2 ways.  “Ok, I don’t necessarily agree, but let’s talk about it”, or maybe, “you’re right, I really shouldn’t, I apologize, thanks for bringing it to my attention”.  Or the other way, “You’re always trying to ‘monitor’ who I hang out with, You don’t trust me!”  This is the sign of mistrust.  I’ve actually found that when someone in a relationship accuses the other of something that is unsubstantiated, then they are usually guilty of it themselves.  Communication though is the key.  If you can’t talk to the other person, then you shouldn’t be more than friends with them.

Selflessly Selfish!  You give soo much of yourself, that there is no other option than for someone to start giving back to you, it’s selflessly selfish.  It’s a selfless way to be selfish.  Make sense?

Let me know what you think on this topic.  I need feedback.  Share what you think!

Love to Love!

1 06 2011

I’ve been doing alot of thinking lately and realizing how blessed I am.  I don’t have an easy life, I don’t have a ton of money, I have had a lot of heart breaks, but one thing I have found very prevalent in my life, LOVE.

I have loved and I am continuously blessed with the love of many.  I consider myself to have a BIG heart (which matches my big…ness)  and I love to love people.  Yes, I do some of it selfishly, but if I love on other people to get some sort of personal satisfaction, I’m not going to hear too many complaints on that…I think.  But truly, I love on people because: A) I love the satisfaction of people being blessed and B) I love on people because I know that’s what I’m called to do.

Ok, now to go in depth.  A) I love to know that I’ve caused someone joy, satisfaction, relief, and pleasure.  I’ve been very blessed in my life by being surrounded by people who aren’t afraid to go out of their way to help me.  People who care more about helping me out and showing me love than watching an extra hour of t.v.  It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy knowing that people care.  Have you ever been sitting their thinking about all the friends that have just helped you move and you think to yourself, “man I wish they didn’t help me out, I know they don’t expect anything in return which is such a burden.  I wish they had just let me struggle, alone, and I could have had a nice little pity party!”  Of course not!  Instead, “I can’t believe this person/people took time out of their day to come help me out, which I’m sure wasn’t on their to-do list, but I’m important enough or worth the effort.”  That’s just a good feeling.  Rarely do people ever express that to that person who’s helped or been helping them, but they think it, and that’s enough for me to keep helping people.  A good friend of mine introduced me to this thought that’s an amazing one if you really grasp it.  They said, “you’re not responsible for someone else’s re-action, only your actions.”  So when you help someone out, don’t wait for them to say, “thanks for the help,” just know that you did your part.  You took the right action, and they’re reaction is out of your control.  Imagine this, (as you all know, I love analogies) your friend is going to Colorado from Arizona, and they ask you, their good friend, to go with and keep them company, and he’ll fly you back.  That’s a long trip, around 15 hours to be exact.  That’s going to take some effort on your part, but they’ve already offered to pay for everything so you don’t need to do anything but keep them company and maybe drive for a few hours.  But this friend, never said thank you the last time you helped them move.  They never even helped re-imburse you for your gas.  Well you say, “No” and this friend makes the trip themselves.  They drive for hours, trying to make it there before sundown, so they drive for 12 hours straight, then all the sudden, they fall asleep at the wheel, crash and are paralyzed for the rest of their life.  How do you feel now?  Well they weren’t a good friend to me!  And how did that make you feel?  Was that a good feeling?  Did it make you feel valuable?  Of course not, it was lonely and hard work.  Well because you decided to teach them a lesson, they have to live the rest of their lives in a wheelchair and no you’re not to blame, but you could’ve helped and you might have even had fun, but instead, you taught them a really good lesson!  I always try to think about the reprocussions of my decisions and am I doing all that I can to be a good neighbor.  That’s what we are called to do.  I don’t care what you believe or don’t believe, being a good neighbor to everyone, can change the world.  It can change lives.

Now for B) As a christian believer, I’m called to do many things.  Number 1, Love God!  Number 2, Love your neighbor!

That’s kind of a big statement.  God has called us to love our neighbor as ourselves right after, we love Him.  That means, treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated.  I would hope that my neighbor would help me move a couch because I can’t do it myself.  It takes them a minute, but saves me 20.  Besides, I love meeting new people.  Think about each and every one of your friends, they were all strangers at one point, and you got to know them through random circumstances and now you’re good friends with them sharing every part of your life with them.  You never know when your next best friend is looking for a little help from a “stranger”.  My small group used to hate “multiplying” because that

means we have to not meet with some people that we’ve grown relationships with.  I keep telling people, there are 8 new “good friends” waiting to meet us, all we have to do is be open to meeting new people.  I might meet my next wife through a random circumstance.  I might not even be helping that person directly, but might run into them while helping someone else.  Or, you can be greedy with your own time…that God has granted you…and do what you want to do, which usually isn’t important, but just something that is fun.  Then, next time your turn comes around for help, you’ll have….the same amount of people not willing to help you, because you never helped them.  Am I being redundant or is this making sense?

In short…I guess long because this is a long rambling, take time out of your day to care about other people.  We are only here on this planet for a short amount of time.  Selfishly, I want a ton of people at my funeral, sharing hilarious stories of me being dumb and making them laugh.  I want THOUSANDS of people at my funeral acknowledging the fact that I was a great neighbor and friend.  I want there to be stories told of my blunders and bloopers, successes and failures, times of joy and sorrow, times of laughing till you hurt and peeing yourself.  I want people to know that I LOVED them because I was loved first by God and he took time out of His eternity to show me His perfect love.  If my broken and selfish life was worth loving, then I think I can return a little bit of that.

Unfortuneate Happenings

24 06 2009

So, I’m sure most of you know what’s going on with me by now, but I’ve never really came out and said it before.  Danielle, my wife of 4 years has left me.  It’s been hard for me to figure out why, but I think that I understand finally and I want to clear the air in general.

Danielle and ISo this is what happened.  I got off work one day and called Danielle to see what she was doing and she was very short with me on the phone.  Immediately I knew something was wrong, but had no idea of the severity.  I got home that night around midnight or so, and we started to talk.  She told me that she was unhappy again and needed a change.  After we had an hour or so of discussing, crying, and yelling, I finally gave up and went to bed.  The next morning she left and went to her parents house.  I was actually just getting ready to go to California for vacation with my family and so was she.  Turns out she still went, but she ended up staying with her parents in Cali. about 10 mins. away from us.

Well, over the next few weeks, we slowly began to talk little by little, with little bits of progress but not much.  It turns out, that everytime we would talk, she would get some serious emotions flowing and it overwhelmed her so she didnt’ want me to call or text her anymore.  Let me tell you how extremely frustrating it is not be able to talk to the person that gives you your next breath.  I felt that I couldn’t breath without her.  She was my heart and soul for 4 years and, now just like that, we couldn’t talk.  Well, God helped me get through that point.  Over the next weeks, we talked very little which didn’t help me piece together what all was going on.  I didn’t hear much from her and didn’t understand what she was telling me.  Here is what I gather though.

Danielle is a very bright and intelligent girl.  She is very driven to succeed in nursing.  I am a very driven person as well.  I am just not as driven for education and money.  I would love to make decent money, but be more active in the church and do what I want to do, as opposed to making lots of money and having a lucritive career.  Danielle says that she really needs someone who is going to pull her “up” along with them in the career ladder if you will.  And you will.  So she needs someone who is more focused on education and their career than I am.

So here is the crux of the matter.  She wants to get a divorce because I don’t have the education or career that she thinks I should have or that she wants in a spouse.  She’s told me specifically that I’ve haven’t done anything to directly push her away from me, but she doesn’t think that we can make it work because of our future plans and desires.  I think that if you find someone who wants to love you and support you and put your dreams ahead of their own because they want to see you happy and succeed, then you have found a gem!  So we just have different perspectives on marriage.  I think that marriage is about finding someone that you want to love and grow together, and she thinks it’s about 2 people working together to build their careers.  I know that this is one sided, but that’s all your going to get because like I said, she won’t talk to me.

Here’s the final bit of this.  Danielle is a great person!  I don’t have too many quarrels with her.  I also have been put on hold and put on the back burner for 4 months now and I’m about ready to crack.  I want to do my “due diligence” and work this thing out, but I’m not going to put my life on hold for someone that doesn’t give me any respect or courtesy.  It’s frustrating that it took 4 years to really build a marriage that I thought was good and strong, and it’s only taken her 4 months to destroy it.  I love Danielle very much and she will always have a piece of me, but if she doesn’t realize what she has in me very soon, she will only have a piece of me and will have thrown away a great thing.

Some Artists

24 05 2009

You know how you are really going through some emotional times and an artist comes on the radio and the words really speak to you.  Not only that, but you can feel what the artist is feeling.  They can really just cut to the core of you.  Right now it’s artists like Jason Mraz, Colbie Calliat, and now Justin Nozuka.  I remember the first time I heard his song “After Tonight” I was amazed.  He has such soul in his songs.  I know some people don’t like his “bravado” but I think that it fits him.  He does do it in every one of his songs and it does get a little old but other than that I think he’s awesome.  His heart is really in his music.  If not, then he has me fooled.  What do you think?  Do you think he’s good?  Which one do you like best?  Which one speaks to you? Comment and let me know what you think.