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Showing posts from June, 2015

Ready, aim, fire!

The beginning of "doing" something may actually begin in the "wanting" of something bad enough we start to make a movement or two toward whatever it is we want.  In everyday life, we "want" certain things and then we set about "doing" things to get or accomplish whatever it is we want.  Recently, I have been working in the backyard to add some raised beds.  It began about a year ago when I shared my vision with my son and he set about to make the first "addition" to the yard in the form of three nice tiered raised beds and a small deck in between.  This gave me the start for what became the next extension of the deck and a cover to shade me while I barbecue under it.  Now, I am collecting old pallets (with the help of my sons).  I am busting those apart and seeing what I can create from them.  The latest addition to the yard is about a 10 foot long diamond-shaped raised bed about one foot high.  It was totally reclaimed wood (with the …

Not just another scavenger hunt!

Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt?  As kids, we did this once in a while as a "group activity" when we'd all have to work together to find all the items on a list.  We'd make our way through the neighborhood asking the neighbors if they had a blue button, yellow tissue paper, one sock with a hole in it, etc.  As our bags filled up we'd become more and more excited because we planned to be the ones to finish our hunt the first, returning back to "home base" with the "loot" of our hunt and being declared the winners.  There was always that one item on the list which no one had!  It was something absolutely weird and almost impossible to find.  It was like we had to go to exactly the right house to find it, but who knew exactly where that was.  It could have been a broken Timex watch, or a cooking pot with a hole in the bottom.  They weren't things people would keep around because once it was declared to be "not useful" anymore…

Source + Means = Outcome

Gain:  To get, usually as the result of your own efforts.  There are a lot of ways we "gain" in life, but the common thing is that we are the ones "doing something" in order to realize that gain.  Even if you consider weight gain, we are doing something to cause it - overeating, making poor eating choices, and/or exercising way too little for our body's metabolism.  We can gain from saving and structures spending - living within our means, methodically putting away small sums of money into savings, etc.  In the end, we gain a little wealth, nice things to wear, comfortable things within our environment, etc.  Seriously thinking on this, we might think of gain as that which we accomplish ourselves - there just isn't a whole lot of reliance upon anyone else to provide what it is we are seeking to gain.  To "have" is a little different because it might also lean toward this idea of receiving something from another.  Gains can be quickly there and alm…

Good friend or acquaintance?

I don't know how easily you make friends, but it is not something which comes easy for a good many of us.  We find ourselves wanting those close friendships, but actually getting past the "surface" of acquaintance-type relationships is something which is much harder for some than others.  What some might call being "extroverted" makes it look as though those individuals who make friends easily are "really good" at making friends.  In other words, we associate the sheer number of friends they have with some kind of "successful" friendship-making ability on their parts.  I have met many an extroverted person, surrounded with a good many "friends" who have pretty close to no one to stand with them in the hard times!  The sheer volume doesn't guarantee anyone to come alongside in the moments of testing and trial - it just means we have a "gaggle" of guys or gals who all enjoy a good time with us!  
Good people are careful …

Just thinking

We encounter all kinds of "thinkers" in this world.  Some are "deep thinkers", always into the "heavier" matters of life, mulling over the greater or harder philosophical questions and "weightier" matters.  Others may be a little bit of the "dreamers", constantly thinking about how things "could be" if we just did this or that.  Still others are kind of down to earth and pretty "practical" in their thinking, but may get labeled as a little too "dull" by the dreamer and a little too simplistic for the deep thinker.   Does it really matter what kind of a "thinker" you really are?  If you get down to it, you will soon see the advantages the "practical" thinker has over the dreamer or deeper thinker.  The practical thinker tends to be able to see a little bit of a bigger picture, but isn't so caught up in the thinking they cannot put into action what they are thinking about!

Intelligent …

Don't just stick your finger in the leak!

In high school, one of the offered extra-curricular activities was debate team. You could join a group of other boys and girls who liked to present the arguments to a particular topic - some pro and others con to whatever the topic might be.  In a short period of time, you were presented with the subject and then you needed to be willing to take to the podium to present your side of the argument.  In reality, we don't always "think on our feet" all that quickly in most of the real life situations, nor are we given any real chance to prepare for whatever argument we are faced with.  In debate team, they taught you to not spend a great deal of time researching the topic and preparing your "outline" of responses, but you could perhaps write out a series of 5 one word "points" you were going to make in response.  For example, if you were asked to stand on the "pro" side of charter schools, you might write 5 one to two word "prompts" to…

Where do you find your source of wisdom?

If you are even a little like me, you might have a bit of trouble just hanging around people who are always talking "nonsense".  You know, the kind of talk which is just trifling and most of the time is just unimportant - like they are just talking to hear themselves talk.  I like to be engaged in meaningful conversation, either because it unburdens my soul, feeds my spirit, or lifts my emotional well-being.  You are probably the same way - you want to walk away from that conversation with some "meat" - something which actually mattered to have listened to.  Lest you think I am some kind of major scholar, engaged in these deeply philosophical discussions all the time, think again!  I enjoy just unwinding from the hectic day with a few stories which elicit deep laughter, learning about the weekend of a good friend, or just listening to the present struggle of a companion in this walk.  There is something healthy about these times and they bring us closer together or…

Making memories

You are probably not unlike me in that you put things away "so carefully" on occasion, and then you cannot remember where you put them when you need them.  Right?  Then there are times when you think this present thing you are engaged in will live on for eternity in your memories, but in a matter of time you have the hardest of times recalling the details of the event or activity you were engaged in.  Why is that?  Didn't the event or activity have enough "meaning" to form a "lasting" memory?  It was probably because other stuff crowded out the detail of that memory, causing it to fade into more of a vague recollection. I have to ask a question this morning:  What are the memories you are leaving in your "passage" through this earth?  We are all "passing through" on this journey into eternity - either into eternity with Jesus, or a not so enjoyable one in the presence of Satan and his host of demons.  On our "passing through&q…

Telling and Trusting

Yesterday, we explored the importance of just calming down long enough to recognize God in our situation - to really just settle our emotions, physical movement, and mental chaos long enough to realize we cannot bring everything that is needed into play in the moment.  We need God to do it for us - and he cannot do it until we give him room to do it.  As an important part of giving God room to work in our lives, we also come into the place where we just need to unload our problems.  Whenever we God enough room to actually take control of the circumstances of our lives, we find ourselves being more willing to "unburden" ourselves by sharing our problems with him.  As long as we think we have it under control, we don't usually "spill the beans" about the pressures which are mounting, the problems we are being inundated with, or the pressing demands of everything all at once.  An important part of trust is the ability to tell the other person almost anything - if …

Not just a weekend

One of my Facebook friends posted a cute thing the other day:  "Chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men - it fixes everything" (a quote advertising Cafe Escapes).  It kind of caught my attention and immediately made me chuckle, simply because all of us women know this is so true!  Some weeks we just need a little more "duct tape" in our lives than others!  If you study the effects of chocolate on the human brain, you will find it releases some type of chemical akin to the one which makes us feel "good".  Some think this is caused by a release of "endorphin-stimulating" ingredient which causes our brain's receptors to just "perk up" and release the "feel-good" chemicals in our system.  I don't know what receptors chocolate reaches in your brain, but it works this way for me!  Maybe this is why we turn to chocolate when we are not feeling "good" for some reason - either because the stress of the day is …

A colony of families

There are times you just read over stuff in the scriptures and totally miss what is being said.  You can do this year after year, without even "getting" something. I kind of think this may be on purpose because God has a season and a specific time for certain things to catch our attention.  In those moments, he pours something into our lives by sometimes even the shortest of passages. What we do with what God gives us is ours to determine - he can provide the feeding, but he cannot force feed us.  He can spoon feed us, but he doesn't cram it down our throats!  One thing is for sure - remain open to what he provides and you will have your "fill" of good things and "stuff" you can actually use in your own life!  Did you ever stop to consider for just a moment how much "scripture" is declared in the things around you, not just in the written words between those leather bindings you call a Bible?  It is true, for even the heavens tell of his glo…

Just praying

I am not an alarmist, nor am I one to live with my head in the sand, either. I just find myself wanting to avoid the newscasts each night these days because they are filled with all manner of misbehaving people everywhere.  The media makes their money and wins their Pulitzer's on the hype they can muster around certain media topics.  Race riots, wars, and terror plots seem to abound, so there is no lack of "fodder" for their fancy.  In fact, if there isn't really anything much behind some story, I honestly think they find ways to blow these little stories into bigger ones and then before long, the whole thing gets really out of control.  I can recount a couple of times in the past year when a simple action gets huge hype.  The mother who left her kids in the car so she could go to a job interview and then when arrested, despite her wrong action, the media made it possible for the world to begin to send her money in the form of donations for the "poor mother forc…

More than a hug

I just want to pause for a moment or two today to take a little time for those who are caregivers of one or both of their parents.  In today's rush-rush, get it all done world, we sometimes work ourselves to a frazzle and forget about the many blessings taking care of this loved one actually places in our lives.  I know there are moments when mom, with failing eyesight can't see what she cannot see, creating a little more more work for me in the long run; and her hearing becoming less and less acute, that I just want to throw up my hands and get a little frustrated when I have to repeat what has just been said not once, but multiple times until she gets it.  Yet, in the moments in between those moments of seeing the little extra work, or repeating the same things again, I relish the times we spend just hanging together as companions.  To those who are caregivers, I salute you.  I reach out to you with a heart of understanding, knowing full-well that your life gets a little &qu…

I choose gate number 1

If you have ever pondered some of the meaning behind the illustrations given in scripture, you probably are like the rest of us - wondering why Jesus or the disciples just couldn't come to the point and be all out forthright in what they said.  One such method of providing an illustration was through the method of comparing one thing to another - such as a narrow path against a wide path.  We all can see the reasonableness in this illustration - the wide path may look more inviting - but just because it is "well-traveled" doesn't make it the right path for us to follow.  The narrow path may hold the greatest scenery and the most awesome outcome!  Being savvy about these choices is what Jesus had in mind when he presents the comparison - knowing the way of the "crowd" may not be the easiest, but not always give us the greatest reward is important for us to grasp.  The comparing of the two is something designed to give us just a moment to consider where it is…

Clearing the land

When I first moved to my neighborhood about 26 years ago, I was surrounded by cotton fields on the north and south sides of the subdivision, equestrian property to the east, and a newer subdivision to the west.  Today, I am surrounded by all manner of growth, from houses to shopping centers and even a new fire department building.  The last of the open lots has just been subdivided and it will soon be occupied by shiny new houses.  As they were plowing up the land around me in various phases of development, one of the things I noticed was the increase in ants, those really big and hairy spiders, cockroaches (those big ones which come out of the storm drains), and even a few rodents here and there.  Field mice were almost never seen in the housing area, but they had no where to go but find a new home while all that heavy equipment plowed up their happy haunts.  Unplowed fields have a tendency to be the gathering places for all manner of disease-carrying, rather obnoxious things.  Even …