How We Role

The gate has fallen and the outer wall is breached, my friends.  We have been in a desperate war against evil in this fallen world since time began, and the enemy has broken our defenses.  Today’s society is the product of my own generation’s sad misconception of ‘how’ to raise your children.  Now those children are almost grown and preparing to take key roles in running our great nations and they have a skewed sense of what is right and what is wrong.  Respect is an old fashioned way of thinking; an idea that really has no meaning now what so ever.  Oh, there are still a few small bastions holding out, but even in those the poison of the enemy has seemed deep into the veins of our families.  I think that is exactly how it started too; with disposable families.  I’m not sure exactly when, but somewhere along the line family became a ‘fad’ or ‘fashion’ instead of a ‘responsibility’ and ‘privilege.’  There are kids out there now, as I write this that have no role models, and have no idea of how or even why they should show people respect.  And it is all of our faults.  We let it happen.  We are still letting it happen.  I think we may still have a slim chance to force the enemy back.  There is a slim ray of hope that still glimmers in the dark.  We have to lead by example now.  Show people respect, because little eyes are watching and learning from your actions and reactions.  They will remember how you treated others and they will emulate that as well.  It all resides with us, so do what’s right.  Be a role model.

It’s Never Bad To Do Good

Has anybody ever seen the movie “The Langoliers”? It was based off of Stephen King’s story. It was about these people in an airplane that slip sideways in time to yesterday, only to find out that yesterday was being ‘erased’ by these creatures. The premise of the story was that there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, there is only today. Time was just ‘now’ and all that happened in the past and all that was yet to happen didn’t exist. I don’t agree with the story on that point, but I do try to live like that. The Bible clearly states that we are not promised tomorrow (Proverbs 27-and to clarify the verse refers to tomorrow in these earthly mortal frames that we inhabit). Life is a fleeting thing, and we need to do all the good that we can while we are here. There is more than enough evil and sorrow in this fallen world, we need to stand fast and be bold in helping our neighbors. Tomorrow we may be gone and it may be our neighbors who are left to save those of our loved ones that come along after us. Just one act of kindness could mean the difference between a strong, joyful life and one lived in darkness and despair. It is never a bad thing to do good.

Hidden Talents

I remember back when I was growing up how I used to sing with the radio a lot. For a long time I never realized I had a decent singing voice. I would sing while I was driving, and while I was working, but I was usually by myself when I did it. Well, by myself or with people who would rather take a beating than give someone a compliment. Wouldn’t want to give them the big head now would we? Anyway, it was a long time before I realized it. Then I had to sing with a bunch of my classmates for Class Night. I remember the song was one of Journey’s, and I knew it pretty well. I used to sing along with it every time it came on. So while we were at rehearsal, I noticed one of my classmates staring at me with her mouth hanging open. It took me some time after the rehearsal was over before I realized why. Apparently I had been singing loud enough she could separate my voice from the others and she was amazed by what she heard. My point in relaying this story isn’t to brag, but to encourage. You see I didn’t know I could sing at the time and nobody told me. If you see someone doing something amazing, tell them about it. Who knows, they may not realize it either, and you just might make someone’s day.

Maybe We’re Pearls

We had a visiting preacher where I attended church at this last Sunday. His name was David Marshall. He preached on heaven and it was a huge dose of encouragement for me. One that I badly needed. Too much has transpired recently that seemed to be conspiring to steal my joy. Anyway, as I listened to him preach, something he said shot my mind off on a tangent (a writers mind has a tendency to do that(a lot of times without warning or provocation)). He was talking about an oyster making a pearl. It was that reference in context with heaven that answered a question for me that my mother had asked me years ago. She asked me why God made this world and all of us people if He knew how bad we were going to mess it up. I don’t pretend to know God’s mind. He gives us examples of what He is like in the Bible. I know the things He does for me and my family, but I know that (as a mortal) I can’t possibly understand the workings of His mind. That being said I have come up with a theory of ‘why’. People say that science and religion are mutually exclusive, but I don’t believe that is true. I think one walks hand in hand with the other. They compliment each other and one is proof of the other. That is a whole different blog post though. I mention the science to give the example of the oyster, which I believe is a perfect example of why. The why is to create a pearl. In order to create something as beautiful as a pearl a process has to be started. The inside of an oyster is extremely sensitive. So when a grain of sand or some other particle gets in there and irritates that lining, a process is started to ‘fix’ that irritation. The oyster starts building around the irritant a crystalline coating called nacre. Over time the oyster completely encases this irritant in this beautiful coating. The result is this beautiful gem that is coveted by most of the human race. I thought about that and I realized that that is exactly what we are to God, a beautiful gem, precious to Him. So I asked myself, what makes us so? What qualities is it that He loves? He names them all in the Bible at one point or another. To make a pearl, you need to start with an irritant. God did the same thing. To make us into gems, He had to place us in a unique environment, an environment where all the things that He loved would be an irritant. We either become the gems that He wanted us to be, or we turn away from Him add to the environment, which in turns makes others turn into the gems. All this was a flash of insight that God granted me during Brother Marshall’s message Sunday. I’m sure that there are problems with my comparison. If there are, it is the fault of this simple wordsmith’s inept attempt to explain something that is beyond Him. I kind of like thinking that He is turning us into something so beautiful.

You can find out more about how a pearl is made at; http://www.americanpearl.com/historyoyster.html

Just A Coffee

I took my son to the airport for his flight back the army yesterday. I truly enjoyed his visit. He has matured in so many ways, and I am proud of the man I see that he is becoming. As we waited for his flight we stopped by a coffee shop and I ordered the equivalent of a frozen cappuccino. They usually come with whipped cream on top. I don’t like whipped cream on my coffee so I specifically asked for them to leave it off. During the time that it took the girl to take our order one of the employees either came in to work or came back off of break. Apparently he missed the ‘no whipped cream’ order and I received my frozen treat with globs of the stuff on top. Yes I said something. I didn’t get irate, and I didn’t take it back, but I did say it loud enough that they could hear (It was a small shop, and there was only a few customers, so loud enough for them to hear was a normal speaking voice for me). My son thought I was being rude (he was paying so I guess he had that right) and said as much. This did annoy me a little bit. I rarely ever raise a fuss over orders gotten wrong at fast-food places. I totally understand that things can get hectic and people make mistakes. So I felt bad about it. I kept the coffee. I drank it all and threw the whipped cream away with the cup. The point of my little story was this; during the conversation the statement was made that we as Christians must set an example all the time, not just when it is easy and comfortable for us. I do agree with that statement, even if I don’t always set a good example. I am human, and as a human I make mistakes. I caution anyone who looks at a Christian and thinks that they are looking at a ‘perfect’ example of Christianity to remember that. Regardless of who it is you are looking at. It doesn’t matter who they are or how big their names are, they are only human and prone to human mistakes. They may do the right thing 149 times out of 150, but if you only see that 1 time they mess up, does that negate the other 149? There was only one perfect Christian that has ever walked this Earth, and He was the one that started it.

Some Assembly Required

I have tried to instill in my children a sense of ‘family’. What is that?” you ask. It means different things to different people. Sometimes it depends on the situation. To me it means ‘safety net’. All my children are very independent. They have shouldered their responsibilities and tried to do it all on their own. They haven’t always succeeded, but that is all part of life. If you’ve never failed at anything, then you’ve never attempted anything. I don’t look at as failure as much as learning a way ‘not to do something.’ But family is my fall back. Regardless of what happens, I know I can always come back to family. That includes extended family, adopted family, friends who share a bond deeper than words can convey. I find it sad that there are people out there that the word family means absolutely nothing. Any endeavor you undergo requires a solid place to launch from. I have worked hard to make sure that the word family means that my kids will have that launching point. Just as my parents did for me. All that I have and have accomplished is thanks to God for placing me with a loving and caring family who support me in all that I do, and are always there to catch me should I fall. Can you make it in this world without family? Yes, but I don’t envy the person who attempts it. If you don’t have a family, maybe you need to start building one of your own. It doesn’t require being married, or having children. All it requires is unconditional love and being there for the people you choose to make up your family. Life is soo much easier when you share it with family.

Reminding Us

Just a few moments ago I saw a thundercloud headed my way. The sun was going down and the cloud was between me and the horizon. It was beautiful. The rays of the sun spreading out from behind the dark thunderhead creating an almost magical picture of stark contrasts. If only I could have captured that moment in a picture. Yet, without the rain cloud, the rays of the sun wouldn’t have seemed as magical. Without the sunlight the dark cloud wouldn’t have seemed as powerful and ominous. Life is full of ups and downs. Dark days will come, but rest assured they will be followed by bright ones. This is the magic of Life. It was how God planned it. There is beauty in it all, we just can’t always see it. A lot of the time it is our attitudes that color the way we look at the world. And blessed be the person who can shift it at will. It takes work, and constantly reminding yourself that there is a bright side even when you are choosing to look at the most negative part of whatever the situation is. It is a skill I hope one day to master, but until then I’ll just have to keep reminding the both of us.

Zoom In

I like change.  As a result my laptop background usually doesn’t stay the same for very long (it’s a good thing I’m an artist-endless supply of them).  Same goes for my phone.  I am constantly swapping the background picture on it as well.  I was doing that today.  Looking through all the pictures stored on it, and I came across a stock picture of a field.  It is one I am familiar with, I’ve used it a few times.  Anyway, it is a beautiful picture of a field of gold, lined with trees, with storm clouds rolling overhead.  Now when I went to set it as my background, it gives me a few options.  You can zoom in or out, and move the picture to only display whichever part of that particular picture you want.  I usually leave the whole picture, but I was craving a bit more change so I played around with it a little.  I found I could zoom way in, where all you could see was either the field and trees or the storm clouds.  As I messed around with it, the thought occurred to me that it was a lot like life.  Our everyday existence is determined by what exactly we choose to focus on.  You can look at the beautiful field, ringed with trees, or the coming storm.  I try in my own journey to acknowledge the storm, but I don’t let it ruin my appreciation for what is right in front of me.  Yes the storm is coming.  There is ALWAYS a storm coming, but if you focus on that too much you will miss the beauty of life itself.

In Honor Of Robin Williams

I remember growing up and seeing Robin Williams playing Mork from that T.V. Show Mork & Mindy.  He was always acting so goofy and making people laugh.  He was a truly talented and amazing actor. He fooled the world.  Even those close to him had no idea how bad his depression was. They didn’t know that it was that bad.  Perhaps it didn’t seem that bad to them.  Sure, he had a little problem over here, or that was going on over there.  The truth is we may never know ALL of what someone is going through.  Chances are, if you see someone going through a difficult time its just the tip of the iceberg.   The part that we see is just a fraction of the whole picture, because we are only brushing up against it as we pass by.  Barely glimpse it as we hurry on to our next appointment.  You never know how close someone is to the edge.  Maybe  yours could be the hand that pulls them back.  Perhaps that one smile or pleasant “good morning” you offer them could be the anchor that keeps them from taking that last step into oblivion.  Robin Williams will be missed sorely.  He was loved by millions, but he just couldn’t find that balance that everyone needs to make it.  I will mourn for him, and hope that he found the peace at the end of the journey.

I Win Regardless.

I really like video games. They work out your mind with their puzzles while improving your hand to eye coordination. What I don’t like is video game deathmatches. These are competitions between players to see how many times one can defeat the other. I know I’m about to make a lot of football fans mad with my next statement, but please read on anyway. Competition is over-rated. I would rather play a game in Co-op (Cooperation) mode any day. Why? Because I don’t like being mad at my friend for beating me a gazillion times, or for him to be mad at me for beating him. It does nothing but promote hard feelings between you and your friends. Now, I know all you football fans are saying it pushes you to become better. It gives you something to make you push yourself harder. I dunno, maybe. In my case, I try to do my best at whatever I’m doing. Competition doesn’t drive me. Bettering myself and helping my friends and family drives me. When I was growing up, I was always living in the shadow of my older brother. He made better grades, was popular and had a lot of friends. And he seemed to do it without even trying. I was always comparing my accomplishment with his, and I was always coming up short. Then one day I realized it wasn’t a competition. I didn’t need to compare myself to my brother. He had his accomplishment and I had mine. I can be happy for him in all of his accomplishment as he is in mine. I am proud of him. I am proud of all of my family, and I really don’t want to play a game that is going to pit me against them and possibly stir up ill will. So you see why I think competition is over-rated. I drive myself to become better so that I’ll be a better person, not because I’m trying to beat someone else. This is why I win… regardless.