A Free-Flying Kite


I told you about a book that my wife is reading entitled Reunion.  In the very first part of the book Bruxy Cavey tells about his experience with his dad flying a kite.  He and his dad got it up in the air and then his dad went somewhere else, leaving him alone to fly the kite.  “As a boy I had a vivid imagination, and I often personified my toys.  To me, my new kite was a person, deserving of the freedom to explore its own potential.  It seemed to pull away on purpose, struggling to be completely free of the constraints of the sting and my guiding grip.  (Ya, I was a weird kid.)  I felt I was holding it back from flying as high as it could fly and going wherever it wanted to go.  So I let go.  At first there was a flutter of freedom and flight.  But is was short-lived, and the maiden voyage of Bruxy’s first kite ended with a nosedive into dirt.”

The kite in some respects is typical of our journey through life.  We are tethered to our parents during the early years of life and begin in the teenage years to want to be free from their control of our strings.  We think that being free of those constraints of our parents will give us the freedom to fly wherever we want.  Once that freedom is given, we find out rather quickly that freedom carries its own consequences.  What we thought would bring us fulfillment only brings disappointment.  Broken relationships.  Worn-out-cars.  Our income not going far enough to meet our expenses.  Jobs that lack enough challenge.  Broken friendships.  Death.  The list goes on and on.

There was a song sung by Peggy Lee entitled Is That All There is  It’s a song about life from being a little girl to the point of being old and standing on the edge of death.  When we are free and untethered, we find that what seems to be of value in this world fades over time and we continue to ask the question, “Is that all there is.”

We have the opportunity in this life to become retethered to the One who brings purpose and meaning to life.  As Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.” John 10:10.  On this journey, if you find yourself untethered and floundering through life, it might be advisable to retether yourself to the God of this universe that does have a purpose and meaning for everyone walking on this earth.  We only have to recognize that our freedom has led us down the wrong road and ask to be tethered to the One who can give life and give it abundantly.

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The Sharpening Process


I got up this morning and had a desire to go and work out.  I don’t always get that desire, because the comfort of the bed at 5 am is more of a draw than getting out of bed, walking to the closet and putting on my workout gear to drive 12 minutes to get on the rowing machine and sweat for 30 minutes.  But this morning I had the desire.  It didn’t seem like I was there for an hour, but I was.  I lifted some weights after working on the rowing machine and finished by putting some hand sanitizer on before walked out to my truck to drive home.

What happened next is what I want to talk about.  I came into the living room from the garage and there Nadine was, sitting in my red chair and reading a book.  She had her coffee by her chair and seemed in a very upbeat mood.

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The book she was reading was entitled Renuion written by Bruxy Cavey.  She was excited about what she was reading and began to read some excerpts that touched her soul.  I found myself being sucked into her enthusiasm and began to be hit by the same material that touched her.  Her learning was rubbing off onto me.

I was reminded about Solomon, the wisest person on earth, who wrote about this phenomenon.  He says, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Proverbs 27:17.  When iron hits iron, two things happen.  There are sparks.  There is heat.  There is a sharpening process whereby one piece of iron causes the other piece of iron to become more sharpe.  That is what was happening this morning.  As Nadine began to read to me, I was becoming enlightened by the passages she chose to read.

On this journey we will come in contact with people that are close to us.  They may cause some sparks to fly.  They may cause some heat to produce in our interaction with them.  Or they may cause us to become sharper in our understanding of life and how to grow.  Make sure that your mind is opened when the interaction occurs to become sharper.

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A Brother’s Love


Easter has come and has gone.  The beautiful dresses have been put away for another occasion and the Sunday shoes have been placed back on the shelf.  The scales if we are brave enough to get on them tell the tale of that extra piece of cake or the 10th peanut butter cup.  Hopefully in the midst of the glitter, we all had the time to reflect on the theme of Easter, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What happened though yesterday with my grandsons caught my eye–really my ear.

DSC_0235  Brayden (8) and Keaton (5) were in the backyard playing hockey and running around like kids are supposed to do.  It was quiet inside the house as the adults were busy in conversation when all of a sudden a blood curdling scream came out of the little one.  It got everybody’s attention and in he came.  It was a cry that you know is serious as he couldn’t catch his breath to cry some more.  He couldn’t tell us what was going on as he was in severe pain.  There didn’t seem to be any obvious blood coming from his extremities (thank God for that because I faint at the sight of blood).

What had happened is that Keaton was on top of a scooter train he was supposed to be sitting on, but was standing on this train.  He was in the process of skateboarding on this train when it hit a concrete crack and stopped abruptly.  The action of the train caused another reaction and Keaton took a head dive right onto the concrete–a head plant bottom line.

What ensued was the interesting point for me.  Brayden first wanted an apple because that is Keaton’s fruit.  He then came close to Keaton who was still crying and tried to make him laugh.  He was telling him a story of a friend who did a face plant and acted it out which began to cause Keaton to smile.  He continued this behavior until Keaton stopped crying entirely and began to laugh at his brother.  Brayden was so concerned about his brother and wanted to show him love by comforting a brother who was in much pain.

It reminds me of Paul when he talked about comforting others.  “Praise be to the God . . . of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive From.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” II Corinthians 1:3-5 When we are hurting, God wants to come along and comfort us, so that we can come along and comfort others with the comfort we received from Christ.

Brayden was a great example to me of a brother’s love in coming alongside his brother and comforting Keaten in time of need.  On this journey, there will be plenty of times we encounter those who are hurting.  We have the opportunity like Brayden did to comfort those in need.

 

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CHRIST IS RISEN


Nadine and I went to the early sunrise service at our church.  It was beautiful outside as we heard again how Christ Jesus reconciled us to God by dying on the cross and resurrecting 2000 years ago.  The passage below is a beautiful message for each of us today.

“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”  2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:16-20‬ ‭MSG

Have a blessed Easter

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Simplify, Simplify, Simplify


We are bombarded daily with advertisements of stuff that “We need.”  Cars.  Trucks.  Clothes.  Homes.  Food.  Alcoholic beverages.  Digital games.  Services.  Get away cars.  Get away hotels.  Get away islands.  Get away cruises.  Furniture.  Glasses.  Shoes.  You name it, we got it.

When we are young, we are tempted to think that new cars or new clothes, or new shoes will change our present situation.  We are saturated with messages that more is better.  When we latch on to some message that tempts, it is difficult to let go of that temptation until we finally purchase the item and think that we have finally arrived.  We realize only too soon that what we thought would satisfy begins to tarnish and lose it’s initial appeal.

Hopefully as we grow older we realize that stuff can never satisfy and we begin the arduous task of decluttering our stuff.  Nadine and I are doing just that as we have become serious of selling our house and downsizing to 1/2 the present size or smaller.  The garbage can has been overflowing over the last month with stuff we are consciously choosing we don’t need.

Nadine got in the swing of the experience when she decided to declutter her shoe store.  I do mean a shoe store.

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51 pair of shoes that have been decluttered from her closet.  As you can tell she is very organized and lined them up according to color and style where the exercise shoes are all in one place, slippers in another place, and strap shoes in a section of their own.

I am really proud of her because she has begun to choose to declutter and simplify her life by getting rid of shoes she wouldn’t wear today.  Choosing to simplify is a day to day exercise of removing stuff in our lives that tempt us to stay connected with the lie that things can ultimately satisfy our lives.  Whether it be shoes, or shirts, or bolts, it is a conscious choice of ridding ourselves with things in our lives that keep us wrapped in the cocoon of desire.

Simplification involves changing the master of our lives.  Mark 10:17-31 is a story of the young man who was rich and wanted to know how he might inherit eternal life.  Jesus told him about the commandments of not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not giving false testimony, not defrauding others, and honoring your father and mother.  The young man responded by saying that he had done all of these things.  He was a good man, one you would want to be your neighbor.  Jesus then said to him, “One thing you lack.  Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  He walked away as his face fell.  He had a lot of money and was unwilling to simplify.  He couldn’t get rid of his stuff.

I am so proud of my wife as she has begun to do what I have been doing for awhile.  It is a process of letting go as you can see her closet now.

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They fit now on her shelves, but she is not done yet.  On this journey when God calls you to simplify and sell the stuff to follow him, be encouraged that He doesn’t give up on us and is waiting for us to simplify, simplify, simplify.

 

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A Grandmother’s Love


When I was growing up, I lived next to my Grandmother Gorton.  I vaguely remember her taking care of me when my dad went to work and my mom was teaching school.  What I remember the most were snow days.

On snow days when the roads were too dangerous to drive the school buses, the schools would call off school for the day or two and I would be thrilled.  I didn’t have to go to school, but more importantly, I would get to go over to my grandma’s house and have her dote on me all day long.  I mean all day long.

I would get over to her house early in the morning for her to squeeze me a fresh glass of orange juice followed by Swedish pancakes smothered in maple syrup and crispy bacon. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I didn’t have to clean up as she did that chore.  Then came the best part.

We would play games all day.  Monopoly.  Canasta.  Hearts.  Spades.  You name it we played it.  ALL DAY.  She was not one of those grandmothers who would let you win.  I had to win fair and square.  She treated me like a king and I loved it.

An incident a couple of Sundays ago reminded me of my memories of my grandmother.  We had gone over to my daughters house to cook them a breakfast and as I turned around I saw Nadine interacting with our grandson.

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She was working with Brayden in having him stir the eggs and fix scrambled eggs.  She was valuing him just like my grandmother did to me.

In II Timothy 1, Paul communicated the importance of family in developing our perspective in the world.  He was indicating that Timothy’s faith was developed in the interaction he had with his grandmother as well as with his mother.  “That precious memory triggers another:  your honest faith–and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you.”

We as grandparents and parents have the privilege of positively impacting our children and grandchildren every time we interact with them.  It is a real privilege of affecting the next generation with principles and truths of God and His love.

On this journey, be aware of the people you come in contact with today and see that interaction as one that could change the direction and mindset of the person we touch.

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Lego Mania


My oldest grandson is into legos.  I mean big time legos.  He loves to play legos.  He wants others to play legos with him.  Unfortunately at the age of 8 he has a limited concentration span for putting Lego models together.  The other day I was over at his house visiting with he and his family and he showed me a picture of a lego model race car he wanted to build but had never done it.  I love putting legos together and said that when he came back from his trip to Virginia, I would come over and help him build it.  I am a person who like to be true to what I say and so yesterday was the day we were going to build this car from scratch.

One of the first big challenges we had to face involved the mixing up of the car parts that had been separated previously with all of his other Lego parts–1000’s upon 1000’s upon thousands of parts mixed up with all the other legos in one big plastic container.  This was going to be a long process I began to realize.

The first step was to separate the legos into different containers based upon their color.  The car was red, so we began to pick out all the red parts to build the car. There were red legos, blue legos, gray legos, pink legos, yellow legos, orange legos, green and brown legos, black legos, etc. legos.

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There were big pieces as well as tiny pieces.  My wife Nadine as well as Victoria, my daughter, and Parker, her fiancée, realized I was in trouble with this enormous project and pitched in to begin to help in the process.  Slowly we separated all the pieces into bins and began the process of building the race car.  It took over 3 hours from start to finish to separate the parts into color bins and take the needed parts to build the car.

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The finished product rested on the carpet where we all created the production line to bring piece by piece together to form the anticipated race car.  There were some valuable lessons learned in the process.

  1.  A community is essential in nurturing the needs children growing up today.
  2. Patience is key when tackling a difficult project.  Brayden was called upon to find pieces in the bins and it took some patience in fingering through the bins to find the right piece.
  3. Developing endurance is an important quality to have as we grow into adulthood.  Brayden was ready to give up in the first hour, but was encouraged to continue to work on the project and see it through to its ultimate conclusion–the finished car.
  4. Putting all the legos in one box only multiplies the time necessary to complete a project.  Organization is a key ingredient to becoming more efficient in accomplishing tasks.
  5. Working with an 8-year-old can be a very frustrating as well as a very rewarding experience, depending upon where you put your focus.  If you put your focus on accomplishing the task, it will be very frustrating.  If you put your focus on what you can teach a young boy, it will be very rewarding.  I experienced both yesterday.

On this journey, God will have some tasks for us to work on that don’t seem to be teaching us much of anything.  Opening our eyes and hearts and asking God what He wants us to learn is the key to learning on this journey.

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