Our Worth

This morning I had our windows open to let in the cool morning breeze.   Now some of you that are reading this will wonder why that is so unique especially those living north of Scottsdale, Arizona.  You have experienced cool nights and mornings all summer and will experience even more extreme temperatures as you head into fall and winter.  But for us, October is a time to open the windows and doors to let the outside air in.  It is our summer that is coming and will be here for 7-8 months.  It is a time to move outside and enjoy Gods creation.

When I opened the windows and doors I heard kinds of sounds outside that had been shut up for 4-5 months.   I’m talking about birds.  All kinds of birds.  Happy birds.  Birds that were singing for joy.  Morning doves.  Pigeons.  Barn swallows.  Sparrows.  You name it.  They were out singing and having a great time.

I was reading in my quiet time this morning about sparrows that Jesus talked about.  He talked about how important they were and then compared them to us.  He said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:29-31

He knows when one sparrow dies.  Of the millions of sparrows let alone all the other kinds of birds, not one of them falls to the ground without His  knowledge. Of the billions and billions of birds on this earth, He is aware of their death–each death.  He then turns the focus on us and says that He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads–and knows the number that fell out this morning.  He knows us better than we know ourselves and values us highly.

This morning on our journey it’s wonderful to know that we are highly valued even if we have lost some of our hair.  It’s nice to know that we have someone who notices us today and is intimately aware of our present situation.

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Not Enough

Have you ever experienced a lack of fulfillment in life?  It seems that whatever you are experiencing it isn’t enough?  How about getting filled up with food.  The ice cream that you ordered wasn’t enough.  Or you go to a restaurant and you order your meal and find that what you ordered didn’t fill you up.  You make a meal for the family and after everyone has eaten the food, you find your stomach wanting just a little bit more, but it is all gone.

What about feeling cold and not having enough clothes to get you to a warm body temperature?  I know that in Arizona, that usually isn’t a problem as it has been in the triple digit numbers for the last 4-5 months.  But I know of people who have lived here all of their lives and need a sweater when it get’s below 90.  Have you ever wanted to be warmer, or colder, and felt inadequate in getting to the ideal temperature that you wanted to be at.

I have wanted to plant a garden in Arizona, but to no avail.  What I planted didn’t amount to much and the harvest was so much less than the energy that I put into cultivating my garden.  It may be the energy you put into a paper or a work project and find that the result you expected is much less than the end result you received.

What about the amount of money you receive in wages trying to cover the expenses you incur on a monthly basis?  It seems that whatever you make isn’t enough.  We find ourselves wondering where all of our money went.  It’s like we had a hole in our pocket and we have lost money that we thought we had.

It seems that life is defined by not enough.  Not enough money.  Not enough food.  Not enough time.  Not enough resources.  No enough.  This morning I was reading and found the answer to the not enough dilemma.  “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. . . .“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.”  Haggai‬ ‭1:5-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I hear the answer to not enough is the placing of our priorities in the seeking the stuff and not putting priority on prioritizing God in our lives. We are so focused on taking care of our own houses and stuff that we have forgotten to put God first in our lives.

This journey can only be successful when we turn to the One who has the power to fulfill our needs and erase the NOT in our lives.

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Waiting for Her Return

This morning Nadine and I went for our 4 mile walk. It takes us about 1 hour and 10 minutes from start to finish. There was a light breeze with scattered clouds which made for a comfortable experience. When we got back to the house Nadine decided to add some exercise in the form of a run. With my blessing (she doesn’t need it) she took off.

I made myself a cup of pumpkin spice coffee (it’s fall even though it will be in the 90’s today) and sat down to read. It had been about 15 minutes since she left and my eyes looked up to see the following picture.


Monty, our cavalier King Charles spaniel was sitting on the rug looking at the door that Nadine left as she went on her run. He had been sitting there since she left and hadn’t moved. He would occasionally look to his left and then to his right, but he didn’t move. At one point he laid down, but his gaze was on the door looking with expectancy for Nadines return.  He wasn’t distracted by things around him. He didn’t allow sleep to divert his attention. His desire to eat was put on the back burner. His only focus was on her return. What a loyal friend.

It reminds me of several passages in the bible in which Jesus encourages us to keep watch for His return. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”Matthew‬ ‭24:42-44‬ ‭NIV

There are so many reminders throughout the day that can encourage us as we journey through this life. This morning that reminder came through my dog. Maybe he can be an encouragement as you take your steps on your journey.


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Driving Mrs. Marjorie

Most of you if you are close to my age have seen the movie Driving Miss Daisy.  It’s a story of an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta determined to maintain her independence.  Upon crashing her car, her son Boolie gets an African-American chauffeur to drive her around.  It’s a wonderful story of two individuals growing in their respect for one another.

I tell you this story because a month ago I had the privilege of  being my mom’s chauffeur  on a scenic car driving experience in Colorado Springs where she now resides.  It was a beautiful afternoon so we took the direction of driving into the mountainous section of Colorado Springs where a terrible fire occurred a few years ago and damaged many homes.  It was a very destructive fire, but new growth is beginning to emerge slowly.


There is a retreat site known as Gleneagles on the western side of Colorado Springs.  We decided to drive thru the beautiful location and were stopped by a security agent.  I had been there before as had my mom years ago and we asked him if the longhorn sheep were still grazing in the retreat facilities.  He told us that it was too hot and that we wouldn’t see any this time of year but we could take a look.

As we drove through the campground, I looked to my left and to my amazement were longhorn goats.  Not sheep but goats.  I found out that longhorn sheep have the curved horns that go round and round, but goats have straight horns.  I also found out that wild longhorn goats are very rare to see in the mountains.  I guess not this day.


It was a splendid day of being with my mom and driving her to places and experiences that both of us will remember for a long time.  On this journey through life, experiences with those you love are priceless.  I have found that these experiences I can have with my mother create a legacy that we will share together and that I can tell stories to my children for years to come.  This experience only happened when we got out of your daily routine.


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Taken For Granted

I was reminded of the title of this JLOG a few weeks ago when Nadine and I went downtown and saw the street in front of the Flagstaff Orpheum Theater blocked off.    Up and down this street were classic VW bugs and VW busses.

I remember the year they came out and didn’t give it another thought about buying one. They had no sway of attraction for me and I never gave it a thought of going into the dealership to test drive one. For so many years I took them for granted and had no thoughts of appreciating  the technology or the importance they played in the auto industry. It wasn’t until three weeks ago when Nadine and I looked at the VWs’ sitting on the street and were lured into the Orpheum (it was celebrating 99 years of existence).  We watched the creation of the VW bus from a platform that was made to move industrial parts in a German factory.  I began to appreciate what I had taken for granted forever.

It made me think of what else I often take for granted that is all around me. How about relationships? We think our loved ones will live forever until one of them dies. Regret may come when we think of the things we could have said to them but we just took for granted they would be there.

What about possessions?  As long as we have our possessions we don’t think a thing of what would happen if they (our possessions) were to vanish. It’s only when they are gone or go missing that we give those things a second look.

What about our Creator?  When things are going well it’s easy to take for granted who God is and what He does for us  but what happens when things aren’t going as we planned?  What we took for granted-that He would always be there for us-is put into question.  It’s not that He left us, but that we left Him and put our focus on other things.

You could fill in the blank of what we have now that could go missing.  Child. Wife. Mother. Father. Friend. Job. Employer. Employee. House. Car. Etc.  I could go on and on.

On this journey we have the opportunity to erase the “for granted” mentality and replace it with a heart of appreciation for who we are what we have been given. Living as if today were the last day of our life can transform the “for granted” mindset.

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I have a problem.  It’s an irritation that was built in the early years of life.  My mom never threw any food out.  Never.  Left-overs.  Left-overs.  Left-overs.  She would cook a meal and we would eat the meal with left-overs coming on the next meals until they were gone. She taught me the value of eating all the food that had been prepared, even if it meant that  the liver and onions would be eaten the next time that I was hungry.

It caused me to never throw any food out as I grew into an adult and started cooking for myself.  I hate to see food thrown out.  A problem had arisen in the last few years where most foods have an expiration date.  With the mindset I was taught, I have never looked at the dates because I don’t throw out food.  Never.  Unfortunately I am living with a new generation where those dates are very important and are abided by.  It kills me that my kids and my wife look with reverence to those dates and don’t budge on disposing of food that has moved past the expiration date.

The other day, I had the same feeling as I was observing the chick-a-dees feeding at my bird feeder in Flagstaff.  These birds are so hungry that oftentimes there are 3-4 at a time on different rungs of the feeder.  In their frantic nature to get the seeds, there is spillage on the ground that seem to be wasted.


It was an irritant to me until I looked on the ground yesterday afternoon in the rain and observed the picture below.  What seemed to be spillage and wastefulness turned out to be birds on the ground rummaging through the pine needles and leaves searching for the dropped seeds to eat.  No spillage.  No wasted food.  All gone.


This picture reminds me of the passage in Matthew 6:19-34 where Jesus is talking about worrying.  He says that we shouldn’t worry and compares our needs and issues with that of the birds.  He says, “The birds don’t sow nor reap nor gather into the barns, yet your heavenly father feeds them. . .I was somewhat concerned about the spillage of the seed, and didn’t realize that God was in the process of taking care of the spillage.

How often do we become frustrated over spillage in our lives and never see beyond the spillage to what is going on behind or under the spillage we are focusing on.  If only we saw beyond the problems and irritants to see a bigger picture.  Maybe our worry and concern would melt away.

On this journey there are going to be times of spillage that can be turned into opportunities for new perspectives if only we open our eyes to those perspectives.

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A Do Nothing Day

Today in Flagstaff it’s raining.


Last night it was raining.  It was raining in Flagstaff yesterday and the day before and the day before that.  I ran into the individual that takes care of the golf course up here and he said that he hadn’t watered the course for over three weeks.  Rain stops you from what you want to do outside and forces you inside to slow down.  Yes.   Slow down.  Read a book.  Make some hot chocolate.  Take a nap.  Stare out the window and watch the rain.  Look at the raindrops fall from the pine needles.  Or make a fire and watch the dance of the red, yellow and blue streaks of fire.


Maybe today as I am forced to do you can choose to do.  Slow down.  This journey is a marathon and not a sprint.  Today take some time to enjoy the environment that surrounds you.

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