Wednesday, May 31, 2017

what not to say

A friend wrote in about the comments that people make at a time of death.

Please don't ever say these things.... I have heard them all, and many more.
"I know how you feel"
"It was their time"
"you are young, you should remarry"
"don't cry"

What we should say at a time of death or at a visitation is, "I love you" or "I am sorry."  Probably both, but that is enough.  I am sorry and I love you.

Now having said these things, let me get back to what my friend wrote to me about.  She is a very bright and a very strong person.  She told me that she does not understand why people feel defensive when their friends say some of what I listed above.  She said that any comment from a friend, even if it is one of the above, is a sign of their love, and their attempt to comfort me.

I see what she is saying, and I marvel at her stable view of such situations.  Maybe we can learn from this and do both.... don't say the wrong things, and don't be defensive if others say them to you.

I love you.  I am sorry.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

take in a goat

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

"The only source of unhappiness in this life are the false ideas in your head." Anthony Demello

"You believe thoughts, therefore you become easily confused and so peace is hidden. Behind the screen of mind is the realm of unchanging awareness — silent, vast and perfect. The wise leave aside the incessant murmurings of the mind and merge themselves here in the infinite bliss of being." ~Mooji

I believe that someone should act they way I want them to = false.
I believe that someone should manage their money the way that I want them to = false.
I believe that someone should go to church = not my decision.
I believe that everyone should vote for my candidate = I have a very small worldview.
I believe that everyone should be nice to me = wishful thinking.
I believe that my life would be better if I just .......... = false.

The truth is this. My life is good. Your life is good. None of us think that we have enough money. We all wish this or that were different. But look hard and fast. See the good. It is there. Focus on the good, not the annoying parts of life.

A man once went to his priest with a problem. He said, "I live in a small one room house with my wife and four kids and they are driving me crazy!!! I can't stand it!! Can you help me???" The priest says, I can help you but you must do exactly as I say.
The man agrees.

The priest tells him to go home and take a goat into the house. Come back in a week and report to me.
A week later the man comes back and he is worse than before. He says to the priest, "Now in my small one room house in addition to my wife and four kids, I have a goat that eats everything, poops everywhere, and won't let anyone sleep. I can't take it any more."

The priest says, you agreed to follow my advice, now go home, take out the goat, clean your house and come see me in a week.

A week later the man is back and he is excited!!! Life is great!!! The goat is gone. I now have my lovely family back in my lovely home. All is well.

If you perceive a problem at home, take a goat into your house.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 29, 2017

finding God in the storm

Someone wrote in after the post about the snow storm. They said that they were having their own storm in life right now. They asked me how to find God when life gets stormy.

Let me begin with this... just because we might feel God from time to time, does not mean that he is closer than normal. He is always there, always the same distance away. Our feelings about his presence do not make him closer or more distant. He is there, all the time.

When times get tough and you feel alone, trust that he is with you. God's love never fails, God's love never ends.

When I feel down and alone in the stormy times, I like to remind myself that "this too shall pass." I have had many stormy times in this life, and they all came and went. I know that I will have others before my end of days.

Having said all of that, here are some things that I do when the storms come.

1. talk to a friend
2. go listen to the ocean or a fountain
3. read a book
4. watch a movie
5. read and pray the Psalms

Ps. 22 selected verses
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help

God does not leave us in the storm.  The storm clouds simply block our view.  He is there.  Take heart my friend.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

dealing with difficult people

I have a friend who struggles with difficult people.  I think we all have people that we find difficult.  What to do???

There are things that my wife has asked me to do over the years.... pick up dirty clothes, clean out the sink better after I shave, etc.  These things I have taken on and made the changes no problem.  You might want to talk with the person about what is bothering you.  Do it in a kind way.  That may be all it takes.

If that doesn't work, the easiest answer that I come up with is to stay away from them.  You are under no obligation to run around with that cousin, stay friends with that person, or stay in the same room at the family reunion.  Stay away from them.  Someone might say, well they need me, or they want me to be with them..... you still have the choice, and if you choose to run with them, then you will have to put up with their difficultness.  Life is too short.  Run with people that are good for you.

Now, the hard part comes when the difficult person is someone that you can't get distance from.  A boss, the coworker in the next cube, [you could still switch jobs], the best example of someone that is hard to get distance from is a member of your immediate family.  We all want to stay up with our kids, our grandkids, etc.  What do we do when they are difficult?  What if it is someone that I am married to?

If you are married to some that is abusing you, get out.  If they are annoying you, then work on it.  Work on you.  I know many people who have thrown away one annoying person, fallen for the next annoying person, and so on.  Is this a good person at heart?   Then lets work on things.

And so, this is where my brain goes..... I have tried to fix this person for years..... I have realized that I cannot do it.  They are beyond my control.  Think about that!  How funny that I thought I could fix them.  Their behavior is their behavior, their choices are their choices.  I simply must choose to not let it bother me.  They are going to keep doing that stuff and I need to find peace with the me that I am.  Anthony Demello says, "if I have a problem with someone, then I have a problem."  The point of that is that the fixing is in me, not them.  It is my responsibility to give my heart and life to God every day.  I can't control what others do.  There will always be someone who I find rude or annoying.  I can graciously encourage them to do otherwise, but I am going on with my life, living as I desire.  I cannot, we cannot allow someone else's smallness to effect us.  For more on this, get a copy of Anthony Demello's book Walking on Water.

Some years ago a person left our church and sent an email out to a number of their church friends about what a bad guy I was and how they should leave the church too.  It hurt, but I decided not to let it get to me.... and it didn't.  The more we focus on how we want to live and who we want to be, the less we are concerned with the behavior of others.

Print out a sheet of paper that says, "it's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good"  stick it up in your kitchen, and try to live by it every day.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


I have been reluctant to write about this, but I think I am ready, so here goes.

As you know, I requested a personal leave in January of this year.  When you request a personal leave, in effect you are saying something like this.....
    "I need a break."
   "I am exhausted."
    "I need to heal"
Asking for personal leave is in effect making a statement that you are no longer up to the job.  Yikes.  That is a painful thing to say, and to hear.

So, if you wish to come off of personal leave and be appointed to a church, you must show that you are healed up and back to your old self.  Maybe the reason that I can write about this now is because I feel that I am back to my old self.

Working with the Board of Ordained Ministry, you come up with a plan for restoration.  Mine includes the following:

In no particular order:
1.  see a counselor
2.  go on a retreat
3.  get away, relax, travel
4.  read

The point of all of this is to help a person, in this case me, find the joy and see the good.

I have been reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  I highly recommend it.
The ranch was a wonderful retreat.  I am also going to the redwoods in August.
I am seeing a counselor, I also have an appointment with a spiritual director.
Travel..... oh my!  Napa, California.  The ranch.  The redwoods.  Italy in November.  The Holy Land in March.

I have been working my plan and enjoying life.  Reflecting on the Ranch this last week has filled me with so much joy.  Life is not always easy, but there is so much good.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Ranch pt. 5 leaving the ranch

Leaving the ranch.

young Will finds a truck under the snow.
My friend Derek is a beast. He is only 35 but he is a beast. Truly a man's man. We woke up Thursday morning under a foot of snow, and no electrical power. Since he was not going to have our group freeze to death he announced that we were going to Laramie Wyoming [30 miles] for a generator. So Derek, me, and young Will set out in the snow for Laramie.

The first six miles were scary but we made good progress.  Trees on either side of the road helped you see where the road was.  Derek said it was kind of fun to plow thru the snow.

Then we got out on the county road. 7 miles of dirt road that was covered with blowing snow. You literally could not tell where the road was at. We were off the road and into the ditch at least 15 times as we slowly made our way to Colorado 287. Twice we hit a culvert. Once it was hard enough that we all went flying. Derek knew that we could not stop. We had to keep moving or we would be stuck.

 I'll be honest- I was scared. Finally we made it  to the town of Tie Siding, Wyoming [population 7] and the pavement. One mile down 287 the barricades were down and the highway was closed for anyone wanting to go back the way that we came.
A harrowing experience that I will not soon forget.

We take so much for granted. Fear has a way of making one appreciate the times when life is an easy Sunday drive.

Since we could not get back to the ranch because the roads were closed, we got a hotel room in Laramie.  An additional foot of snow was falling that day.  We ate Mexican food for dinner. 3 guys in a hotel room after Mexican food can be another kind of harrowing experience.

 The next morning I flew from Laramie to Denver. I spent the night in Denver and then Saturday flew home to Vero Beach.

Derek and young Will made their way back into the ranch.  Even though a plow had made a pass on the roads, what should have been a 40 minute drive, took 5 hours.  24" of snow and two days later, the generator was delivered.

We all face adverse conditions in this life. Some know how to take the wheel and overcome the obstacles. I give thanks for people like my friend Derek.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Ranch, Pt. 4 Snow

Snow is in the forecast.  Snow?  Actually they called the forecast "snowmageddon."  Tuesday it was 70 degrees.  Wednesday it was 50 degrees.  Thursday and Friday in snowed 24 inches.  It was the worst snow storm in northern Colorado in May, for 35 years.
before the snow

during the snow

12 inches so far

quite a change, and it happened so fast!
I was looking forward to this trip to the ranch.  I was looking forward to the quiet, to the get away, to the camaraderie.  I knew that memories would be made.  I did not know it would include a snow storm.

Sometimes in life we get storms that are not expected.  We did not expect them, but God knew that they were coming.  Don't despair.  He makes all things beautiful in his time.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Ranch, pt. 3 Work

 Ranch, pt. 3 Work.
original cabin - 1871

no explanation needed.

beautiful.  amazing.

What is wrong with me? I like to work. To some degree, I cannot sit still. I am not very good at resting, but oh, give me a list of things to do, and I will go to town.

At the ranch I did some random work. I laid a tile floor, installed new door knobs, cut off a door, worked on a tractor, attempted to fix a flat tire and ran a backhoe.

I love to do this kind of work and it was a privilege to be of some help to my friend.

I hope that you can find work that you love. Speaking of work that I love, several are concerned that I am not currently in active pastoral ministry. Don't be concerned. I am good. I have always loved odd jobs and handyman work. Even while in the active pastoral ministry, I built decks, built retaining walls, planted trees, did electrical work, painted, and just about anything else.

I love this kind of work. Maybe one day I will return to active pastoral work, but don't worry about me. I am doing great.

"I saw that there is nothing better for a person than for them to enjoy their work." Ecclesiates 3:22

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. Let's go get to work!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Ranch, Pt. 2 animals


An enormous mtn lion bounded across the road.

I saw lots of deer and antelope.

Several wagons remain from the late 1800's

Notice the sidearm.  After we saw the lion, everyone carried.
The ranch is the original homestead from 1870. The coral, barn and wagons are evidence of a time when cows and horses were a normal part of the scenery.

But today, the Horses and cows are gone. So, let's start with the mountain lion that ran across the road on the drive in. He was as large as me and very powerful. On the ranch, we do many things out side. After I saw the lion, I was constantly looking over my shoulder. Yikes!

Bear and moose are plentiful there but I did not see them.

I did see antelope and lots of deer.

Gods creatures are beautiful. Seeing the animals at the ranch was a blessing. Standing outside in the absolute quiet was amazing. Hearing the wind blow through the mountains was amazing.  We are all surrounded with amazing things if we but stop and listen.

It's a beautiful day in God's world be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Ranch, Pt. 1

A friend asked me to go to the family ranch with him. It is a very special place. Drive across the state of Kansas, turn north at Denver.   Then drive up 287, into Wyoming, turn off at a wide gap in the road called Tie Siding. Then 13 miles down a dirt road, back into Colorado. 
Highway 287 in Northern Colorado

The ranch is 100 acres in the Roosevelt National Forest. It is a place of unsurpassed beauty, peace and tranquility. When I arrived at this place and I saw how special it was, I realized that I had been invited into one of the holy places of my friend's life.

I felt privileged to be allowed in. Friends allow you in. It is a joy to really get to know someone and trust them.

I hope you know people that let you in. I hope you have a few people that you let into the deep, remote, special places of your life. To really live, we need to be seen and accepted as we are.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Today I am home in Vero Beach for the first time in six weeks.  I spent a month working on rental houses, and I loved that work.  I also spent a week in Napa with Cathy and some friends.  I spent a  week at a ranch in Colorado [more to come on the ranch experience.]  But today, I am home.  I spent the evening last night with Scott and Alli.  They missed me.  I talked to a couple of cats... they missed me too. Alli, Scott and I played the game of life.  It seemed fitting in some strange way.

No matter where you travel, it is always good to come home. 

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Broken Crayons

[This post is from a good friend]

Perhaps the reason lies in my defiance for rules and authority. Staying in the lines just doesn’t appeal to me.

Or maybe it’s a combination of both.

But no matter the reason, the result is still the same: I simply do not like to color.

A few days ago, I was in a store for a specific purpose (a new shower curtain) yet I found myself mindlessly browsing the house dΓ©cor section. Until I found this piece of wall art.......

Broken crayons still color. What a profound thought for $9.99.

Unfortunately, we all experience brokenness. It is human nature. But in that brokenness, God is with us. And although we are broken, we still have the opportunity to do what we are called to do—whatever that may be.

When I got home that day, I dumped the contents from the bag. Out came a shower curtain, a coloring book, and some crayons.

Jacob’s Ladder

Friday, May 19, 2017

on hearing from God

I went to Oral Roberts University.  Not something that I brag about.  Oral gave us all a black eye, late in life as he insisted that if he did not raise 6 million dollars, God would call him home.  Even with that, ORU was a great place to go to seminary.  Great professors who saw through some of the shallowness of  hyper-spirituality.

The culture of ORU was fraught with people who were always claiming to have heard from God.  They were always saying, "God told me..."  It did not take me long to get sick of such statements.  I never say "God told me."  I recommend that we all stop saying it.

Really?  God told me?  What if I am wrong?  What if  my selfish nature has snuck into my thoughts?  What if I did hear it from God, but me saying it in that way puts you off?

I do think that God speaks, and we can know that we hear him.  I am simply saying that when we tell others that we have heard from God, we are setting ourselves up for embarrassment, failure, and are very likely to become an annoyance to others.

I prefer to allow you, the hearer to decide if I have heard from God.  You know in your heart if something is good, true and right.  You know, you can sense if my words or someone else's words seem to come from God.  We don't need to advertise it ourselves.

Those who say don't know, those who know, don't have to say.

Don't claim to hear from God.  Hear from God and live accordingly.  Others will see who you are and that is enough.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The afterlife

I want to share a story today of something that happened to me in 1995.  This is the kind of story that sounds unbelievable, so read on, or don’t – that is up to you.  But what I am writing about today actually happened to me.

When I moved to Woods Chapel in 1994, the church was split, fighting over an issue.  It was rough year and I was young.  I didn't have any training in conflict management, but I had a feeling in my heart.  It was a spiritual feeling.... over and over I just kept hearing this little voice inside say, "love the people and preach good sermons."

During the first 9 months of my tenure there, my mother was giving me lots of advice about what I should be doing.  I did not agree with any of it.  I kept telling her, mom, I'm just going to love them and preach good sermons.

Now my mom was an interesting human.... very very religious, but also very manipulative.  She came down with cancer in March of 95 and died in July.  It was very difficult.  Since she believed that she was going to be healed, she refused to talk with any of us about reconciliation.  She left us to resolve our issues with her by ourselves.

After she died I actually wondered if people like her get to go to heaven.  Sure a Christian, but oh, she could be mean.

So here is the story.... one night I was asleep in bed an I woke up in the middle of the night.  I didn't have to go to the bathroom and it was not the pizza.  I just woke up.  I could sense the presence in the room and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.  I looked towards the bedroom door, and there was my mother, dressed in the golden robes of heaven.  [there are no words really to describe how she looked, it was other worldly.]  She moved without walking... gliding to the foot of the bed.  She said, "love them Jeff, just love them.  That is all that matters."  And she was gone.

That was the first time and the only time that I have had such a visitation.  I was 36 years old.

This experience told me several things.
1.  Mom was in heaven.  God's grace is bigger than ours.  If my mom gets to go to heaven, lots of people that I wondered about are getting in.
2.  All of the doctrine and ideas that we insist upon in this life, fall away, fall off as we cross over to the other side.  We are lost in God and his amazing love.
3.  Love them just love them.  Mom was in effect validating the feeling that I had in my heart that I should love the people and preach good sermons.  This was a picture of the primacy of love, that it trumps all.

So, here is the moral of the story.... If you are worried about someone who has passed, just know that God's grace is immense.  And for every day that you are here on this earth..... love them, just love them, that is all that matters.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

behind on emails

So I wanted to let you know that I am, and why I am behind on my emails.  I am staying in a lovely place in KC, but there is no internet.  So to really catch up on emails, I need to go to Starbucks or such.  Someone said, use your phone....  well my thumbs are too big to type much on my phone.  Someone else ....was concerned that I was mad at them......

No.  not mad at you.  Why do we assume that someone is mad at us?  Everything is ok.  There is a topic for a blog.... everything is ok.

I will eventually catch up with emails.   I am not mad.  Just busy with handyman work and disconnected electronically.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Normal and relevant

Sometimes pastors feel the need to be above other people.  They can get ivory towerish.  They can come to enjoy the notoriety, the pomp and circumstance, the being placed on a pedestal.

When I look for a pastor, I am looking for someone who is down to earth.  Someone that normal people can relate to.  I am looking for someone that is approachable, that draws me in.  If they welcome me, maybe God will as well.

I love to think about Jesus walking out for the sermon on the mount.  He did not dress up in fancy clothes that day, he did not put on a big cross.  He did not change his voice to preacher voice.  He stepped out in the midst of the people and said simple things like, "blessed are the poor in spirit."  People loved him [except for the pompous pharisees.]  People loved him.  Children loved him.  He was approachable, normal and relevant.

We would all do better to just relax and be ourselves.  Spirituality is not so much putting something on, as it is taking off the pretense that so easily besets us all.

No one needs to pretend.  Be you.  You are OK.  You are good.  Good enough.  God made you and he loves you.  This world needs normal and relevant people.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 15, 2017

California Trip

I recently returned from a week in Napa and Santa Rosa, California with my wife and friends.  It was a beautiful trip.....

Things that I don't like about California:
-it is too expensive to live there
-too many people there
-it's a long way to go for a visit
-I like going there too much

Things that I do like about California:
-the redwood forest
-the ocean, the waves, the beach
-the weather is fantastic
-the foothills and mountains
-my sister lives there
-I lived there, age 12-19 and it still beckons to me

Here are some pictures from the trip.  I hope you enjoy them.

TArmstrong Woods State Reserve- Guerneville, Calif.

DeLormier Winery- Alexander Valley

Coastal Scene - Jenner, California

Ferrari- Carano Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day to all of you wonderful ladies and friends. God bless you for all that you have done for your biological children and for all of your other children.

My Mom went to be with Jesus on July 17th 1995. Some years ago I found this quote in her Bible:

"In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus

I had never heard this quote before. My mom knew it, but never shared it with me. I find it to be very profound. You may not need my explanation of the quote, but here goes:

At night, my true thoughts and feelings flood my heart.  Sometimes the thoughts drip beautifully, but all too often there is worry, concern, even despair.  I sometimes wish that things had turned out differently.... Then an amazing thing happens.... the grace of God reaches me and I am healed.  Healed from a broken heart and healed from dashed hopes.  My heart turns again to the joy of life.

Thank God for the wisdom and grace that can make life beautiful, still.

May all of the mothers in the world find the joy and the grace and the beauty of being a mom today.   God bless you. Happy Mothers Day.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


When I was a kid we were poor.  My dad had trouble holding a job and we moved a lot.  My parents had cars that did not run all the time.  There was no such thing as a vacation.  There was food on the table, but it was pretty basic and we ate what mom cooked for days, until it was gone.  Nothing was wasted.  Nothing thrown away.  When I was a kid, I thought we were poor.

When  my mom was a kid, they were poor.  They lived in a small house in Kirkwood, MO.  Her parents raised 6 kids on the intermittent income from work as a mechanic.  Mom's parents spoke German.  If a rabbit came into the yard, it was dinner.  Mom was routinely sent into the yard to dig dandelion greens for their vegetable.  I heard stories of my mother's upbringing and I thought they were poor.

Then I went to Nicaragua.  My mother was never poor.  I was never poor.  We have so much.  We always had clean water.  We always had a flush toilet.  We always had warm showers.  There was always food on the table.

I should never allow myself to feel that in some way, I had it rough.  I know nothing about being impoverished.

May we all feel grateful for what we have, and do all that we can to help those who do not have the same blessings. But for the grace of God go I.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, May 12, 2017


chicken wire keeps dogs off new grass

Life does have it's embarrassing moments.  So I was looking a someone's deck that needed repair.  They have a dog, and part of the yard is cordoned off with chicken wire because they are trying to keep the dog off of new grass.  It has rained a lot lately and the ground is wet, muddy and mushy.
It didn't look that tall

So the lady of the house is up on the deck and we are talking.  She is in fact, asking if I am a Christian.  As we are having this warm hearted conversation, I step over the chicken wire, or should I say I tried to step over the chicken wire.

Stepping mostly over chicken wire does not really count as stepping over it.  The heel of my trailing foot caught the top of the wire and I was stuck. Frozen.  In an odd moment of everything coming together in the worst way, I could feel myself going down.  As if in slow motion, my old carcass was falling towards the ground.  Gravity was going to win again.

body shaped indention
There was a loud thump.  Cars stopped to see what was happening.  A news helicopter flew over.  Was that an earth quake?  The lady of the house gasped, "OH MY!, are you alright?"  Yes I was alright, except for a deep bruise to my pride.

Wet and muddy, I slowly pulled myself back up into a standing position.  Sometimes we have to laugh at the things that happen to us.  I think when I was younger, chicken wire fencing was shorter.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Help Wanted

I am looking for help with this blog.

As you know, my dear friend Dan Horn passed away suddenly.  He was my back up.  He posted for me for ten years when I needed a break.

I need to find someone who would like to submit some things for my blog so I can have a break from time to time.  Here are some of my rules.

1.  No guilt, only grace
2.  honest, sincere, and raw if need be.  I am looking for someone who thinks hard about life.
3.  you must learn to read, and like Richard Rohr
4.  you can't be offended if I don't use all of your posts.

Let me know if you think that you can help me with some posts.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our Narrative

816 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.  They all had the same story, but they also had 816 different stories or versions of the event.  

When we have a life experience, we each have a tale to tell.  I have mine, each person has their own, and each person is entitled to their own story.

We need to be open to understand that our version isn’t always, or probably isn’t ever without our perspective, our spin.  Some need to tell the story in a negative way; others will find a positive way to tell the very same story.

I encourage everyone, no matter what is going on in their lives, to find a way to tell the story in a way that emphasizes the positive and sees the good.  Life is too short to carry a narrative that hurts others.  Part of forgiving someone is agreeing that we will no longer tell the story of “what they did to us.”

Sure the Titanic sunk, but we are alive and we have a chance to live on.  There is always a positive way to look at a story.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

True North

I have a long time friend who likes to use the phrase "true north."   Jon says that people need to identify what their driving life principles are and stick with them.

What is your true north?  Have you identified it?  What have you been taught that is good?  Is right?  These are your true norths.  In a world where so many things pull on us, wouldn't it be nice if everyone worked diligently to stay on track in life?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Several have asked about international trips that I will be leading in the future.

The Italy trip is scheduled for November 7-16.  At present, 10 people are signed up to go.  I would love to have you join us.  Here is the link to the Italy trip.

Italy trip brochure

I am talking about a Holy Land Trip in the spring, probably March.  If you have not been, I will tell you that a visit to the land of Jesus will change your life forever.    Click here for the full itinerary.

Holy Land and Jordan

Some are asking to go on an Ireland trip in October of 2018.  Here is a link to that trip.

Ireland Trip

My participation on such trips in the past has been a wonderful experience of connecting with friends, making new friends, and enjoying Christian fellowship.  I have loved celebrating the spiritual and religious nature of many of the places that we have visited, and I have loved being amazed at the incredible places that exist in God's world.

If you have any questions about any of these trips or for more information, please feel free to email me at

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

spoiling spirituality

eventually it's coming down
Again, I am going to reference my pastor....  he was talking about how we spoil spirituality by making things too religious.  Too pious.  Fraught with traditions and doctrines.

We make it wear funny clothes, we write long prayers, we think that it has to be complicated to be spiritual.  We build 10 story houses of cards with our spiritual life.  It is unnecessary and unsustainable.

We make it too complicated.

What if we remember that spirituality is simple.  Wake up in the morning and say "thank you."  There is no better prayer.  Step outside into God's world and say "WOW!"  Feel the thank you and the WOW.  Reach into the life of every person that you meet.  Thank you.  WOW.  Love.  God expects no more of us than this.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


plumbing access hole

So I am in Kansas City doing some handyman work.  I am at the Sherwin Williams store on 7 highway in Blue Springs when the call comes in.  I look at my phone, it is my boss, the man that I am working for this particular day.

Me:  Hello.
Boss:  Jeff, we have an emergency.  The tenant that just moved into the Westminister unit has a problem.  Her cat has somehow become trapped inside the wall of the utility room.
Me:  I'm on it.  Bye.

I rushed out of the paint store and fired up the ambulance.  I flipped the siren on and tore out heading south on 7 highway.   I made a beeline for the feline.  Traffic parted, and I arrived at the site in less than 3 minutes.

scaredy cat inside wall
The panicked tenant met me at the door.  She was beside herself, sobbing uncontrollably.  I reassured her that we will save the cat.  Secretly, I am worried that the animal may be in shock... maybe even catatonic.

I take my tools into the laundry room.  It seems that the cat, being curious, climbed on top of the washer, looked into the access hole for the water shut off, climbed in, and fell 5 feet down inside the wall.

happy cat
I took a picture of the inside of the wall to make sure that I would not be cutting into electrical or water lines.  Then I pulled out my surgical grade sheet-rock knife and went to work.  I opened a hole in the wall and we reached in and pulled the cat to safety.  The kitty was hungry and thirsty, but otherwise unharmed.  Eight lives left.

A day that darn cat will always remember.  For me, just another day in the life of a handyman.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, May 5, 2017

When is Cinco de Mayo this year?

Today is Cinco de Mayo. Cinco = five. Mayo = May. The fifth of May. I love to ask people, "when is Cinco de Mayo this year?" Many people recognize it as a holiday but do not understand that it is date specific. Much like someone from another culture might hear that we celebrate a holiday called July 4th. If the words July and fourth don't translate well into their language, they might not know it was a specific day.

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated very much in Mexico? It is also not the Mexican day of Independence. That is September 16th. Cinco de Mayo celebrates a Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, May 5th 1862.

Anyway, today is Cinco de Mayo. When is it next year?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Today is Star Wars Day.  It's a new national holiday.

May the fourth be with you.


It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Brian Flower

I miss this guy a lot.  He and I were becoming friends in Cape Coral when I left there.  He is bright and funny.  He has an ornery way about him.  No wonder that I like him.  He is a deep thinker.  He is kind and generous.

Hug your friends.  They are a gift from God.  If you see Brian Flower, hug him for me.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


An interesting thought that I ran across on grief and pain.

"Real grief is not healed by time... if time does anything, it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who she was for us, and the more intimately we experience what her love meant for us. Real, deep love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted. Therefore, it is only in retrospect - or better, in memory - that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain."
Henri Nouwen

I think that this is why the loss of someone so close to us, like the passing of my father in 2002, can in time morph from deep grief to a savoring. As time has gone on, I realize how much he meant to me.

I love you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day

Today is May Day.

May day is a spring festival day with origins in Europe.  On May Day,there is dancing and singing and the eating of cake.  Mmmm.

When I was a kid, we put flowers on the door of someone that we liked and we danced around the Maypole.  When I was in third grade,  I was chosen to be in the group that danced around the Maypole for the PTA.

We were supposed to skip around the maypole.

My teacher was quite surprised to discover that I did not know how to skip, I galloped.  So she told me to go home and have my mom teach me how to skip.  I still remember being in the basement with my mom and sisters and them trying to break me of the habit of galloping and learn to skip.

It took a while, but I finally learned to skip.  πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜πŸ˜

Happy May Day.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.