Friday, November 18, 2011
I’m thankful for projects. Lists. To do lists.
When we bought our house 1 ½ years ago, there were few problems with the house.
However, I took the inspection room and made a list of everything the inspector said needed a little “work.”
I prioritized the list and started tackling projects.
No urgency about it at all.
Just made a list, then worked the list.
My mind easily wraps around lists and projects.
They give me a target to aim for. And, to accomplish.
I need targets. Without them, I get lost.
Pardon me. I’ve got more items to accomplish.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I’m thankful for uncertain things.
Probably sounds weird to some.
However, I’m not a big fan of “sameness.”
No, I’m not ADD or ADHD or any of the other AD words.
Yet, I find that I get bored with doing the same thing every day.
I guess that’s why I don’t work on an assembly line in a factory. Or, do any number of jobs that involve the same tasks each day.
I think I’ll literally die from the sameness.
Nothing wrong with those jobs. They just aren’t for me.
So, I’ll stick with the unknown.
Long live the uncertain.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I’m thankful for sight!
Seeing a new day.
Seeing the full moon. Half moon. Quarter moon. It doesn’t matter.
Seeing leaves turn orange, yellow, red. Watching as they fall to the ground.
Watching a rose bush begin to bud and bloom.
I love seeing a dog wag its tail. Or roll on its belly for a good rubbing.
I love seeing an open hand being offered to a person in need.
I love seeing the smile on my son’s face when I get him out of bed or when I kiss him goodnight.
I love seeing my wife smile. Anytime.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I’m thankful for memories.
I’m thankful for the childhood memory of building forts in the woods and playing army.
I’m thankful for the teenage memory of having a paper route at 4:00 AM, delivering the Montgomery Advertiser in the rain, sleet, snow, but mostly the darkness.
I’m thankful for the memory of pastoring in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. Oh the stories I could tell about those days and the people I’ve meet over the years.
I’m thankful for a job where I can continue serving the Lord.
I’m thankful for friends who read my blog.
And, I’m thankful for you!
Monday, November 14, 2011
We’ve been in this “new time” for a week.
Funny how we complain about “losing” or “gaining” an hour. Unless you live in a few places, where they don’t participate in the time change, you’ve been adjusting your body to the new time.
I’m thankful for the time change.
Around our house, the day starts at oh-dark-thirty. Well, actually, 5:15 AM. Too often, we leave home before daylight.
Then, coming home, the sun is glaring in my eyes.
Now, we head out in the light! And, come home with the sun setting.
I’m thankful for the time change.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I’m thankful for freedom.
The freedom I enjoy was given to me.
I’ve done nothing to deserve it or receive it.
Men and women, in uniform, have paid the price for my freedom.
Others died. Sacrificed. Given so much.
All so our nation could be free.
So that people could occupy Wall Street. March on the White House. Vote. Or, stay home on election day.
Strange how freedom works like that, isn’t it?
In the United States we aren’t required to do much.
We are free to choose.
We are also free to give so that others may be free.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Today, I’m thankful for health.
After a few days watching my son suffer through a stomach
virus, I’m thankful that his health is returning to him.
We are so blessed that Evan is healthy.
At the doctor’s office yesterday, the nurse went down the
list: allergies, long-term health issues, any reoccurring problems. Thankfully,
the answers were no, no, and no.
This week reminded me again that watching my child suffer is
the worse experience possible.
At any step, I’d take Evan’s sickness upon myself.
I’d spare him of any pain.
Unfortunately, I can’t.
I’ll just love him through whatever comes.
Friday, November 11, 2011
I’m thankful for veterans.
Women and men who served our country.
Guarding our shores.
Following the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.
They seldom questioned orders. They simply did as they were
told. Boldly. Bravely. Unapologetically.
I grew up in an era where serving in the military wasn’t popular. Wars had taken a toll on the American public. Those wars caused Americans to
even turn against our soldiers. Jeering them instead of cheering.
Those soldiers came home from war, not as heroes, but as villains.
May that never be the case again!
May we honor all who serve our nation.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Today, I’m thankful for priorities.
Confession time. I haven’t always been good at setting priorities. Many times over the years, I’ve put less important things first.
You know. Things like work.
I put demands ahead of importance.
Honestly, I still struggle with knowing what’s most important. But, I’m better at it.
It’s amazing how many people don’t want you to put the right things first. Those people pull at you to choose what’s important to them. They want their priority to be yours.
Well friends. Set your own priorities.
Then, know I’ll be doing the same for myself.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Today, I’m thankful for George Hinson.
Do you know George?
Probably not. After all, he died in 2007. At the age of 104.
But, I promise you, you know something George did.
George Hinson invented the twist tie. At the age of 20.
You know that little tie that is used to close your bread to keep the air out?
Yes, that little tie.
George Hinson isn’t a household name. I get that.
But, his invention is in probably every home in America!
I’m thankful for inventors! For those men and women who use their skills to improve our life.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
I’m thankful today is Tuesday.
Yesterday was catch up day from the weekend: emails, phone calls, mail.
Oh, and there were the meetings.
Today, only 1 ½ hours of meetings. The remainder of the day I get to focus on manuscripts.
I get to read today.
I realize for most people reading doesn’t sound like work.
If you are reading for pleasure, it isn’t. However, as an editor, my reading is for work. It is detailed work.
Spelling. Grammar. Context. Theology.
Can’t miss a thing.
While challenging, work reading is good. And important.
Hello Tuesday! I’m thankful you’re here!
Monday, November 7, 2011
For some people, it seems wrong to be thankful for Mondays.
But, today, I’m thankful for Mondays.
I did say today.
I don’t know I can always say that I’m thankful for Mondays.
After the weekend with family. Doing what I want to do. Enjoying some down time. Experiencing only the stress that comes from being a husband and dad.
But, today, I’m thankful for the start of a new week.
A new week of opportunities. A new week of meeting new people. A week of experiencing new things.
Newness. That’s why I am thankful for Mondays.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Today, I’m thankful for weekends.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I work for weekends.
But, that wouldn’t be far from the truth.
For years, weekends were just another part of the week. I found myself working Saturdays and Sundays.
Seven working days a week make for long weeks.
I learned (the hard way) that plan really isn’t a good one. No matter who you are. Or, how important the work you are doing.
We need a little down time.
God knew that from the beginning. That’s why He instructed us to rest.
I’ll honor His instructions today!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Today, I’m thankful for not having dreams.
Yes, I worded that correctly. No dreams.
Over the last few weeks, due to a case of poison oak and then “almost” having strep, I’ve been on a couple new medicines.
Apparently, I don’t handle new medicines well. Not in the least.
Especially at night.
When I should be sleeping.
You know that time of replenishing your body, relaxing, rest.
Yes, those times. The rest that has alluded me for nearly a month now.
All due to dreams. Vivid ones. Frightening ones. Never-ending dreams.
The meds are finished.
So maybe are the dreams.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I’m thankful for humor.
Good humor. Bad humor. Any humor.
Humor makes the day more enjoyable.
It seems some people have lost the ability to have a sense of humor. They rarely laugh. They rarely are in a good mood.
And, often, they resent anyone else having a sense of humor.
I figure that if having a sense of humor was important to Jesus, it should be important to me.
It was Jesus who talked about a log in your eye compared to the speck of sawdust in another’s eye.
I know Jesus laughed.
I want to laugh more too.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
As an editor, I spend more time each day sitting at my computer than I anywhere else (attending meetings would be a close second).
I type and read for a living.
Sounds romantic. Reading for a living. Until you see how much.
The same with typing.
Typing isn’t rocket science. I rarely break a sweat doing it. Truth be told, I don’t even think about the keys I’m hitting. It just comes naturally at this point.
Today, I’m thankful for Mrs. Askew, my high school typing teacher.
At times, she drove me nuts!
But, she knew how to motivate!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
As November begins and attention turns toward thanksgiving and being thankful, I want to share with you a few things for which I am most thankful.
As I drove into work this morning I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful red, yellow, and orange colored leaves dotting the hillside and yards.
I love this time of year! I love the changing seasons and cooler weather.
I love the changing and falling leaves.
I love Fall, I guess my favorite season next to Spring.
So, bring on the leaves. I’ll gladly mulch, mow, and even rake.
I’m thankful for leaves.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I need to pressure wash my driveway, patio, and vinyl siding on our home.
Do you know about pressure washers?
A pressure washer is a mechanical sprayer that, depending on nozzle size, can be used as a low volume high-pressure water cleaner or a high volume low-pressure cleaner.
A pressure washer cleans what an ordinary water hose can’t.
And, from experience, it’ll even knock the skin off a finger. Or two.
There are days that I head home feeling as if I’ve been hit once or twice by a pressure washer.
Clean? Yes. However, the skin is gone.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
In the 1860s, our nation suffered a civil war. Ironic name, don’t you think? Not much civil about southerners and northerners killing each other. Cousins fighting cousins. Brothers on opposite sides of the war.
Come to think of it, are wars ever civil? No.
Yet, citizens in our nation took up weapons and killed other citizens.
Could we get to that point again?
I think as I drive. The other day I noticed the people around me. Could one of them kill me? Could I kill them? All because we disagreed?
Don’t say it couldn’t happen here. It did once.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Morning comes early at our house.
At 5:30 AM, I wake Evan, if he’s not already awake.
He’s so snuggly in the mornings.
When I come to his bedside, he grabs his favorite blanket and falls into my arms.
Feeling his head nestle against my shoulder is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
He’s normally happy in the morning, smiling and talking. Oh, the talking.
I know, soon enough, he’ll want to sleep until noon. He won’t talk. And certainly won’t nestle his head against my shoulder.
I’ll enjoy it for as long as I can.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Is it ever good?
An infant dies in her sleep.
A teenager drowns while at the beach with friends.
A young adult develops breast cancer and the battle is lost quickly.
A man retires. Within the year, he dies from suicide.
A 95-year-old has a side effect to a new prescription, poisoning the blood. She dies in the hospital.
Reports of those deaths are written about every day in our world.
The newspaper is filled with obituaries.
Unless it is someone close to us we seldom pay attention.
Death’s timing may not be good. But, it is certain.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Where do you find happiness? Real happiness?
When I was young, I found happiness in my career. I found satisfaction in what I was doing, what I felt called to do.
At times, I thought happiness came from what I owned. Or drove. Or wore. Or who I knew.
There have been times that seeing my name in lights brought happiness.
But now, I realize how finite those things are. They quickly pass. Like the morning fog or dew. Or, life itself.
Happiness is found in who I am in God. Happiness isn’t things. It’s loving God. And, loving myself.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Maybe it comes with age.
Maybe it comes with experience.
Or, a combination of both.
At some point, you must stop caring as much what others think.
As a child/teenager, I struggled with self esteem. I never saw much value in myself.
If I’m going to be totally honest, I still struggle with that.
There’s a part of me that wants to please others. To put their opinion of me ahead of the opinion I have of myself.
I have to overcome that!
I must stop sacrificing the person I am only to be what others expect me to be.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Joy comes in the morning.
Don’t believe me?
It’s right there in the Bible: “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 KJV).
Has to be true, right? It’s in the Bible! In the king’s own English!
The Gaithers sing about it. Choirs across America sing about it. Even Jimmy Swaggart sings about it.
It must be true!
Unless you aren’t joyful. Then, you find yourself asking, “Which morning?”
Hold on. Today may be anything but joyful!
God. Return our joy. Please!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Do you struggle with uncertainty?
Uncertainty about your health?
About your job?
In your marriage?
With raising your children?
We all do.
Uncertainty is like a roller coaster or waves at the beach.
Life is going fine. Calm. Still. Nothing on the horizon to freak me out.
Then, almost out of nowhere, life’s roller coaster drops 100 feet, banks hard left, and then right. I feel unprepared.
Or, the waves crashing over my head, nearly drowning me.
The key to overcoming uncertainty isn’t found in the sudden drop or crashing wave. It’s preparing ahead of time that makes the difference.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I grew up in a lower middle class family. What we were, and I didn’t know it, was poor. We raised our own vegetables. We canned tomatoes, green beans, fig preserves, and pickles. We froze everything else.
My dad had a side job of cutting meat for farmers. Instead of getting paid in cash, they gave him cuts of meat.
We were poor, but not poor enough to receive commodities. You remember those? Peanut butter? Cheese? All of which came from the USDA.
But, on rare occasions, someone would give my parents commodity cheese. We ate good on those nights!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
That word is used too much in the English language.
A terrible human being. A terrible father. A terrible husband. A terrible employee. A terrible friend. A terrible driver.
On and on that list often goes.
Do you ever get to the point where you just raise your hands toward the heavens and scream at the top of your lungs, “Am I ever not terrible?”
Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words do internal damage! Words leave permanent scars. Far deeper ones than physical wounds.
Can’t resist pointing out someone else’s terribleness?
Look first in your mirror.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
But, filled with so much meaning and interpretation.
As young children, we often received a “talking to” from parents, peers, teachers, even church leaders.
As teenagers, we were “talked down to” by bullies. Or peers.
As adults, we are sent “to” HR for a reprimand. We are “talked to” as if we are 12-years-old.
I’m not a huge Rihanna but she does have a song lyric that I like: “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid.”
I’m a person. Treat me with respect.
I’m a man. Treat me as such.
Either that or just leave me alone.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Where were you that September morn?
I was pastoring in Alabama. I was also a volunteer fireman.
Within 30 minutes of the planes hitting the towers, our fire department was activated. Even though we were nearly 1,000 miles away.
Not for service in New York or DC or even in a Pennsylvania field.
We were activated to serve our community. All flights had been grounded. One plane was unaccounted for. They feared it might be highjacked.
We were to be ready for a crash.
I’ll never forget that day.
In so many ways, it changed my life and future.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the English language is weird. Sometimes. Most of the time.
It is amazing to me how so many English words have double meaning. On one hand positive. On the other hand, negative.
Take withdrawing, for example.
If a person is withdrawing to reflect, we commend them and wish we could withdraw as well.
On the other hand, if a person is withdrawing to hide or runaway from life, we worry and encourage them to rejoin life.
I often need to withdraw.
I’ll let you decide whether that is positive or negative.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
You would think that measuring distance would be easy.
If A to B is 100 miles, then B to A should equal the same 100 miles.
I’m not great at math, but that seems logical.
However, when it comes to relationships, distance isn’t measured with logic.
In many relationships one person seems tasked with the responsibility of keeping the relationship going.
They make the phone calls. The visits. Write the emails. Texts.
The other person seems to be on the receiving end, rarely giving in return.
In truth, one person can’t sustain a relationship alone. It does take two.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Funny thing about birthdays.
As children, it seems as if 4 or 5 years come and go before the next birthday.
As we reach 30, the birthdays come 4 or 5 at a time. Before we know it, age has slipped up on us, and we realize we have more birthdays behind us than we do in front of us.
I’ve never dreaded birthdays. At the same time, not sure I like birthdays.
It’s weird to only celebrate birth and life one day a year.
Seems to me every day should be a celebration day!
So, here’s happy-celebration-of-your-life day!
On New Year’s Eve they drop a crystal ball in New York City.
In Atlanta, they drop a peach.
A wide receiver drops a pass. Cell phones drop calls. The temperature drops (not in Alabama, but in other places it does).
Dropping things is a way of life. Dropping a bad habit is good. A drop in the Dow is bad.
I hate when I “drop the ball.”
I’m responsible for something, and I forget. I miss an appointment.
Drives me crazy when I do that!
The more stressed I get, the more I drop.
Can I drop stress?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The English language is quite humorous in how we use the same word to mean so many different things.
Take the word “reward” for example. A reward can be something given in return for what someone has done.
A reward can be money offered in return for information.
Or, a reward can be a benefit obtained as result of an action taken.
So, when someone says, “I hope you get the reward that is coming to you!” that can be a good thing. Or, a bad thing. Right?
Just checking. Not that anyone has said that to me, lately.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Do you ever struggle with disappointment?
I struggle most with disappointment when I’ve put too much trust in someone.
Someone will probably say, “That’s the problem. You shouldn’t put your trust in people. Put your trust in God.”
I do. But, wouldn’t it be a sad world if I also didn’t trust people?
While God never fails, people certainly do. And people fail regularly.
And, depending upon the level of trust I’ve put in them, that determines the amount of pain their failure causes.
I’m not alone in struggling with disappointment.
And, dear friend, neither are you.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Late can be positive or negative.
Ask a couple which is it when the wife announces “I’m late.”
Late is positive if your plane is late arriving when you are in traffic and can’t get to the airport on time.
Late can be negative. The hospital calls and tells you to come quickly. The traffic jam causes you to be late. For the death. Birth.
Some people are chronically late. Doesn’t seem to bother them. They function that way all the time.
Unfortunately, their lateness becomes your crisis as they rush to pull it together.
I scream: “Not fair!”
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I’m an organization nut.
Everything has a place.
I’m that way with my tools. I like my wrenches and screw drivers to be lined up—smallest to largest.
I’m that way with my shirts—summer shirts go together, winter shirts go together—and never the twain shall meet.
I’m also that way with work.
I want my desk to be clean. I want to know where my files are, both on the computer and in the cabinet.
I’m a nut. Or, freak. Depends on how organized you are, I suppose.
And yes, unorganized people drive me over the edge.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I wonder, as I come to work each morning, if the person in the car beside me is struggling. Better yet, not if, but with what.
I wonder if the person sitting in the cubicle next to me has a medical issue, family crisis, spiritual question, or just is uncertain about the direction their life is going.
Then, there’s the person at the grocery store or the gas station.
Secret struggles. Secret hurts. Secret questions.
Embarrassed to express them.
Uncertain of what to do next.
As you look my way, know I am struggling too.
Should I admit that?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
You can be in flux.
You can apply flux. For example, when a joint is being soldered.
The dictionary defines flux as “constant change.” Another definition is “instability.”
Heraclitus said that flux is the notion that change is the fundamental nature of reality.
I don’t dislike change. Actually, I find change good and exciting.
What I don’t like is the instability caused by other people.
You know what I mean. Right? You work on something for weeks only to have someone change everything at the last minute. Because they can.
That’s the part of flux that I don’t like.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
On days like today, I struggle being Daddy.
Evan did great going to daycare. He was happy. He danced into the building.
Then, as I started to leave, the tears and the “I love you Daddy” started. Evan held on tight. He didn’t want me to leave.
I felt worse than scum. Even though I stayed and held him. For fifteen minutes.
It wasn’t enough. For him or me.
My heart hurts when this happens. I simply want to stay and hold him. Reassure him.
I called to check on him. He’s fine.
Why is it that I’m not?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
In full disclosure, I’ve never been a radical environmentalist. I recycle at home and work. I believe the saying, “Waste not want not.”
At the age of 16, my summer job was working for the State of Alabama, picking up trash alongside the highway. (They now use prisoners for that!) It was surprising what people threw out their car window.
Last week at the beach, I was surprised how people trashed the beach. Cans. Toys. Paper. Wrappers. Broken chairs. You name it. People trashed the beach with it.
Folks. Didn’t your Momma teach you to pick up after yourself?
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I’ll admit it. I’m not very good with waiting.
Just about anyone who even somewhat knows me knows that!
I hate waiting in line at the grocery store. The bank. A restaurant. The airport. In traffic.
If I had to rejoin my church, I’d probably hate if I had to wait in line to talk with the pastor!
Some delays can’t be helped.
Others can be.
Especially those delays caused by others. And their lack of decision-making ability.
There can be reasons for delays. I get that. But, often, it’s nothing more than excuses.
Help me out.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Responsibility can be given or taken.
I handle those with little problem. Most of us do.
Unfortunately, responsibility can be held in limbo as well. That’s when the struggle becomes great.
When clear lines of responsibility aren’t defined, confusion, uncertainty, and anxiety rule the day.
At that point, I don’t know which way to go. Or, what my role is.
Josiah Charles Stamp said, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”
If you are tasked with a responsibility, do it. It makes it easier on the rest of us.