Monday, July 31, 2017

What we fail to see

As the master grew old and infirm, the disciples begged him not to die. Said the master, “If I did not go, how would you ever see?”
“What is it we fail to see when you are with us?” they asked. But the master would not say. When the moment of his death was near, they said, “What is it we will see when you are gone?”
With a twinkle in his eye, the master said, “All I did was sit on the riverbank handing out river water. After I’m gone, I trust you will notice the river.”

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

we are probably ok

This is probably not going to be a very popular post.

We are probably ok.  I listen to people all the time that are worried about America.   They watch the news and worry about everything.  The news makes one want to worry about everything. They enver tell the good stuff.

 Yes I know that this is where we live and it is our home, but it is no more important to God than Ireland or Egypt.  I will bet if Jesus walked from France into Spain, he would feel the same.  No different.  The earth is the Lord's.  I wonder if some people love America more than they love God.

No nation has lasted longer than the Roman Empire.  Depending on how you count, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire lasted about 600 years.  If history holds true, and it usually does, America will not last forever, but will someday morph into something else.

Another thought about Rome... they are thought of as the greatest empire in history, yet during a span of 500 years, from 91 BC to 398 AD they has 18 civil wars.  Entire armies, legions turning against one another.  They survived them all.

With that knowledge in hand, we, we Americans are probably ok.

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

sore head

Sore head, forehead.

So I was looking for a lost cat.  It was probably in the house somewhere.  I looked everywhere.  Then I thought I would go check the shower.

You can see that the entrance to the shower is behind the bathroom door- you shut the door and step in for a shower.

  So I walk into the bathroom, look left and lean over the half wall.  I was in a hurry.  Moving fast.  Take a quick look.

Boom!# Bash!$#! Bang Batman- I crashed my head into the glass.

Now here is the funny part.  I built the half wall.  I tiled the half wall.  I installed the glass above it.  I knew it was there.  But I was just gonna take a look over that wall and pop!  That glass is 5/8 inch thick and let me tell you, it did not move.  I did.

So I have a sore forehead.  If you are having trouble seeing the glass in the picture, now you understand my problem.

Moral of the story:
#1  Pay attention to what you are doing.  Pay attention to life.
#2  Just because we think we know something does not mean that we will remember the required knowledge at the right time.
#3 Cats should live outside.

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

to see

I have decided that simply seeing other people is one of the most spiritual things that we can do.  I don't mean looking at people, I mean seeing the value inside of them.  Really looking at them and valuing them as God does.

We sing, Open my eyes that I might see.  But do we really see?  Do we see the poor?  Do we see the hungry, dirty people who sleep in the park?  Is the server at the restaurant someone who better help us well, or is the server a human being?  Do we treat others the way that we would want to be treated?

We find awakening when we SEE others.  Stop.  STOP.  Stop your life long enough to encounter them.  Ask their name.  Shake their hand.  Always leave a tip.  Give grace in the measure that you would want to receive it.

I see you.

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Resentment is a prison that holds you more so than the person you resent.  They may not even know that you harbor ill will, but your life will be dominated by pain every time you think of them, until you release them.  By holding onto resentment, you give them power over your life.  Only you can change that.

Loving your enemies isn't just  good for them.  It's good for you too.  Release them and in so doing, free yourself to live and to love.

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

understanding those who hurt you

those who threaten the status quo
 have always been eliminated.
So from time to time I think of those who hurt me in this life.  I don't allow myself to dwell on the situations.  I don't relive the pain.  What I do is think of why they did what they did.  Why they felt the need to say those things and behave like that.

In every situation, whether it was my mother, a parishioner or a staff person, there is a universal thought that they shared.  They were protecting something that was important to them, and in their mind, I was a threat to that thing they were protecting.

My mother was protecting her idea of a perfect child.   My mother was protecting her self image.  Too bad that she thought she was defined by the actions of her children.  the few staff people that hurt me were usually protecting or defending their egos or their sense of power and control.  Parishioners were almost always defending their understanding of the orthodox faith.  I was a threat to their ideas about faith, a heretic to be burned at the stake.

The point of this post is this.... if I can understand the actions of those who delivered hurt to me, it takes away some of the pain.  They were actually trying to do something that was important to them, even religious.  Hurting me was an unfortunate byproduct.  When I understand the actions of others, it takes away the sting of how their behavior hurt me.

Life is too short to dwell on the hurt.  Understand that those folks that hurt you are probably protecting themselves in some way.  Release them from your resentment.  You will be glad that you did.

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

change the world

The following story is found in many different sources of wisdom literature.

I was a revolutionary when I was young and my only prayer to God was "Lord, give me the energy to change the world."

As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to "Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me.  Just my family and friends, and I shall be satisfied."

Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, my one prayer is, "Lord, give me the grace to change myself."  If I had prayed for this right from the start I would not have wasted my life."

The moral of the story is that I am my biggest  issue.  I am my biggest challenge.  If I can make progress on me, the world will begin to look much brighter.

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

a knock at the door

A man is sitting at home reading the paper one night.  There is a knock at the door.  He goes to the door and opens it.  No one there.  Then he looks down and there is a snail on the mat.  He almost missed the little guy.  Annoyed, he picks him up and throws him out across the front yard.  He shuts the door and goes back to the newspaper.

Six months later there is another knock at the door.  The man opens the door.  It's the same snail.  The snail says to the man, "Hey! What was that for???"

I hadn't thought of that joke for a long time.  I love it.  Every now and then we just need a good laugh.

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

the easy way

Staples introduced the easy button.  I wish everything was easy.  Great things rarely come easy.
The line of least resistance is rarely the direction that leads to success.
The easy thing and the right thing are rarely the same thing.

People who live on farms know this.  If you always take the easy way, pretty soon you don't have a farm.  People who own businesses know this.... if you keep taking the easy way, pretty soon you are bankrupt.

Successful people make decisions in their life that is best for the overall mission, regardless of the amount of work that it places on themselves.  Successful people understand that the mission is always bigger than my preference.

That reminds me of one of my favorite old sayings.... Spiritually developed people are those who have learned to set aside their comfort and preference for the sake of the mission.

It is not an easy day, but it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

retirement thoughts part 2

So here is one thing I do not miss from my working days:  the pressure.  As a pastor there is a lot of pressure.

Parishioners have expectations......

  • The sermon better be good.
  • You better come see me in the hospital.
  • You better make good decisions.
  • You better not lose that family.
  • you better get along with everyone
  • don't lose that staff person
  • don't upset that person

The Methodist bosses have expectations.....

  • You better keep the church growing.
  • You better pay your apportionments.
  • You better come to all of the meetings.

I don't think most people realize the kind of pressure that is on a pastor.  You enter this job because you have a calling, and then suddenly people and systems are piling on the pressure.  Maybe there is nothing to do about that, but I have to tell you I do not miss the pressure of keeping it all going.

God bless and guide those who are still working to make the churches great.  It is hard work.

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

retirement thoughts part 1

So, on the one hand, this is a lot of fun.  I wake up in the morning when I want to.  No pressure.  I say to myself, "What will I do today?"  My self answers, "I don't know, what day is it?"  I talk to my kids and they can't wait for the weekend.  I ask myself.... what is a weekend?

My typical day consists of working around the house in the morning.  Painting something.  Building something.  Trimming palm trees.  If I have handyman work for someone else, of course that takes precedence.

In the afternoon I swim and read.  At night I watch movies.  Sometimes we go out for dinner.

Honestly I am having a blast but I feel kind of guilty.  Should I?

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

was it?

A friend sent this in about something that they learned in their home growing up.

Was it???

Many days I realize that I am just a composite of all that I’ve learned from other people (parents, teachers, pastors, friends, and of course from God.)   Here’s one on the long list of how others have influenced my life.   If your home is like ours, you say things among family members, that you wouldn’t say to others.  Sometimes unkind words, opinions of others, or judgement of others just kind of slips out.  You know how it goes.  Someone at church, at work, or in the neighborhood says or does something that irritates you, and your family finds out how you felt about it.

We learned something valuable, from a pastor’s sermon one time, that we still say in our family, to challenge each other to have good attitudes toward people.  The pastor gave an example of something someone said about another person, and then he said “was that true, necessary, or kind?”  That has become kind of a catch phrase in our home.  One family member will say to the other “was that true, necessary or kind?

Well, was it???

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

do it anyway

There is another wonderful song that came to my mind the other day. Cindy Harris used to sing it in church and oh my could she knock it out of the park. It is a Martina McBride song.

You can spend your whole life building something from nothing
One storm can come and blow it all away ... build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way ... dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway ... I do it anyway

This worlds gone crazy and it's hard to believe,
That tomorrow will be better than today ... believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away ... love em anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway ... yeah, I do it anyway

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway ... yeah, sing it anyway yeah, yeah

I sing ... I dream ... I love ... Anyway

Here is a link to the song

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

That's the way I feel about you

Early in 2004 I got an anonymous hate letter from a member of the congregation.  One of the lines in it said, "if your preaching ever had any significance, it is totally gone now."  Church folks can be so nice sometimes.  Receiving that letter crushed me.  I remember sobbing and sobbing.  I looked for a counselor.

I was fortunate to find a wonderful counselor who I went to see for the next few years.   A year after Katrina hit, she left KC and moved to New Orleans to help people there.  Losing her as a support piece in my life was pretty tough, but she helped me so very much.  We never had lunch or anything, but we had become friends.

At our last meeting, she gave me a copy of this song.  It brought me to tears.  From time to time I think of those whom I love that I don't get to see very often.  I think of people who I looked out and saw in the pews every Sunday.

I think of how much I love you and miss you.

Here is the link to the song.
That's the way I feel about you by Jana Stanfield

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Democrats and Republicans

Are you a Democrat? Congratulations.
Are you a Republican? Congratulations.

As a Christian, we are called to love one another. Do you shame the opposition party on social media? Is this what Jesus would do?  Do you have ill will towards the other candidate? The other party? Do you pull up behind a car with a bumper sticker for the other side and feel ill will?  Is this what Jesus would do?

What ever happened to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness and self-control?

Jesus calls us to something higher.
We are called to love each other.
Even those of the other party.  Especially those of the other party.  Love your enemies.

It is time for Christian people, for Methodist Christian people to stop posting hateful things about the other party.

20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.  
     1 John 4:20-21

This is God's world, and he cares little for our petty differences. He calls us to love all. Period. Let's do it.

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

faith and knowing

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is believing and holding to something, precisely when you don't know.

Too many Christians have turned this upside down.  To some, their faith has made them "know it alls."  Attacking others with doctrine and beliefs, they have become those who "know."  The problem with this is that true spiritual knowledge comes not when we know, but when we realize how much we do not know.  Spirituality is emptying myself of the notion that I know it all or I have it all together.  Spirituality is not about knowing, it is about loving and trusting.

And so we have faith in a God that is bigger than us.  A God who loves us and forgives us.  A God that does not need us to have all the answers.  Faith - it's not about what you know or what I think I know.  It is about leaning on the God whose ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

failure to thrive

I was raised in a home where there was no joy, no hugs, no kisses, and no I love you's.  Maybe that is why I have been wanting to write about the concept "failure to thrive."  Although it can refer to many different circumstances, I read about it somewhere and it was described like this..... a lack of growth or development, a decline in health in a child or adult, for no presenting reason.  In other words, someone is clearly not doing well, and there appears to be no medical reason why.

One study suggested that failure to thrive comes from a lack of physical touch.  Babies not being held.  Older adults losing loved ones and living alone.

The point of this post is this:  pet the cat, scratch the dog's belly, hold your children, your spouse and those you love.  The warm fuzzies that come from your kindness may just drive away the blues and fill a person's day with joy.

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sunday's Sermon

Rembrandt's Prodigal Son
[smug Elder son to the right]
I think that this is going to make Sunday's sermon.  We shall see.

It is a thought about the Prodigal Sons.  I am pretty sure Richard Rohr is the source for this thought.  Prodigal sons, not son, but sons.

When we hear the story of the Prodigal, our brain tends to think that he is the bad one in the story and the Elder son is the good guy.  But they both have it wrong.  The Prodigal thinks that he is too bad to be loved by the Father.  The Elder insists that he is good enough to be loved by the Father.  Both wrong.

We are loved.  Period.  I love my kids so much.  I welcome them, I hug them, whether they are being good or not.  SO DOES GOD.  There is no losing his love, and there is no earning his love.  You are simply loved.

That my friend, is Good News!

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

the boulder

In Pastor Tim's sermon on Sunday he mentioned the Albert Camus story about the man who is pushing a boulder up a hill.

Camus believed that life was void of meaning.  He said it was like the character Sisyphus from Greek mythology who spent his life pushing a boulder up a mountain only to see it roll down again.

Pastor Tim said that this is what life is like for those who are trying to earn their standing with God.  Those who are trying hard to be good enough.... it's like rolling a boulder up a high hill, when you get to the top you lean on it to rest for a moment, and the boulder rolls down the other side.  No matter how hard you work at trying to be good enough, it never works.

This is not bad news.  This is good news.  Really good news.  We cannot earn the love of God.  We have it already.  Stop the mental and doctrinal gymnastics of trying to be perfect.  Just enjoy life.  Celebrate it!  Live it!  God loves you.  Stop pushing the boulder.

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I love jokes and I have a million of them.  Most are clean, except the ones that I learned from Ben.  Anyway, I love jokes.  I always have.  Since yesterday's date prompted a joke, I thought I would post a few today, just for fun.

What do you name a dog with 3 legs?

What do you name a dog with 3 legs, and one eye?

Where do you find a dog with no legs?
right were you left him.

What do you call a cat with no legs?
dog food.

So the library here in Vero Beach was having a contest to see who could come up with the best pun.  There was $100 prize to the winner.  Since I don't have a job I thought I would enter the contest.  You were allowed to offer up to ten puns.  Weeks went by and I finally got a letter.  It said that all though we know you made your 10 submissions hoping to win the prize, unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Damage.  I was talking to a friend about writing some stuff for this blog.  He mentioned that he could not imagine anything damaging our relationship.  I think what he meant was that if I didn't use everything that he sent me, he would be ok with that.

I love this guy.  When the phrase "damage our relationship" came up, it brought me to tears.  Not just for him, but for any of you.  Whether I have met you or not, I don't ever want our relationship to be damaged.  For any reason.  Life is too short, life is too good.  We have all had enough fracture in our lives.

No worries ever.  No damage ever, only healing.  We are good.  Always.  Now on to some Jeff Brinkman humor.....

The owner of Quick Trip hates today.

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

[The owner of QT hates today because it is free advertising for his competitor.]

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fast Forward

One of my friends sent this in.  I thought it was excellent!!!

When I was in elementary school, I attended an after-school program at the church. I would count down the minutes until 5 p.m. when my mother would pick me up. I’d rush to the car, toss in my bag, put on the seatbelt, and dig through the plastic container in front of me.

In it were tons of cassette tapes. Okay, maybe not tons. But at 10 years old, it seemed as if there was every tape imaginable at my fingertips.

I had a couple favorites—Matchbox Twenty’s Yourself or Someone Like You, Eve 6’s self-titled first release. But my favorite tape to pop in on the ride home was U2’s The Joshua Tree. I’d remove it from its case, flip to side B, and push the fast forward button as quickly as possible.

I’d stop and start until I got to that familiar intro I knew all too well…drums and harmonica.
When the song was over, I’d push the rewind button and play it again. And again. And again.

My mother was probably sick of that song. But she let me do this five days a week for as long as I could remember.

Now we all know The Joshua Tree is one of the greatest albums of all time. And after the recent announcement of U2’s return to Kansas City almost 16 years after their last visit, how appropriate it was for me to play the album on repeat on Spotify.

I double-clicked on track 8, and that familiar intro began. But then I did something different. I scrolled up and double-clicked “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the first song on the album.

And listed to the album straight through. Eight times in a row.

In life, we are constantly pushing the fast-forward button. When you're in high school, you can't wait until college. And in college, you can't wait to start your career. If you're single, you can't wait to be in a relationship. If you're dating, you can't wait to get engaged. And the list goes on and on.

So slow down and enjoy the life God has given you. Don't skip ahead to the “good parts.” You never know what gem you might find on that album if you listen from start to finish.

Jacob’s Ladder

Sunday, July 9, 2017

sermon preparation

A pastor friend wrote in and asked me some questions about sermon preparation.  Since I am filling in next Sunday for a pastor that is on vacation, this is a good time to share this process.

Here are the questions that he sent in-
     What is your process for sermon development and writing?
    What are your rituals/routines/habits for sermon development and writing?
    What is your process for feedback following your sermon delivery?

Sermon Preparation
1.  Pray.  I don't mean pray for a good sermon or pray for good ideas, I mean stay in touch with God on a regular basis.  Keep the lines of communication open.  A prayer for inspiration for a sermon is fine, but it should be a regular part of the flow of dialogue between God and human.
2.  Look constantly for ideas.  Read the Bible, read everything you can get your hands on.  Find a speaker that speaks to you and devour their material.  Anyone that talks for a living needs to keep their eyes open for thoughts, stories and illustrations.
3.  Organize thoughts.  I like to think of a four burner stove.  The closest burner is for this Sunday.  The burners farther back have pots that are simmering with ideas for the coming weeks.  I usually collect about four weeks ahead so that hopefully by the time that Sunday arrives, we have a pot full of good stuff.
4.  Make sure that you can relate to it.  Make sure that it strikes your heart.  If the content does not strike your heart, if you don't have a heartfelt affinity with the material, neither will anyone else.  Without that heart connection, a sermon becomes a nice talk or speech.
5.  Write it out, move it around, massage it.  Take all of those thoughts out of the pot and line them up in a way that makes sense.
6.  Practice delivering it.  Actually stand up in front of a counter, set your notes down and go through it audibly.  Often, things that looked good on paper, do not sound as good when delivered live.  Often something that looks like a good transition does not work at all.  A person can learn a lot about practicing their sermon live.  [the first sermon I gave in 1977 I had set up chairs and was practicing for the sermon in the basement and the family cat came down, curled up on a chair and went to sleep!]
7.  After you have made all of the adjustments and you think you have it ready, don't be afraid to change it again.  You know when something feels right, and you know when something feels forced.  When you stand up to talk to the folks, it should feel as comfortable as possible.
8.  Love the people.  A successful sermon will only fall onto the ears of people that you love.  If they don't like you, if they can't relate to you, they won't listen to your stuff.  Spend the time to build relationships with the people in your audience.  We listen to people that we like and we also give them a pass when a weak sermon gets through.  Love the people.

My friend also asked about how do you get feedback.  Well I never had an organized group that had the job of advising or critiquing a sermon after the fact.  There were always plenty of folks that would chime in with their opinion.  I always welcomed the feedback because constructive criticism can improve our efforts.  In every church I was at, I had a couple of close friends that I would routinely ask for feedback.

So I am working on a sermon for next Sunday.  I am filling in for a friend at the Ft. Pierce UMC on July 16th.  If you are in the area, you are invited to stop by.  Service starts at 9:30.

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Why??? We like to ask why.

Why is my face getting wrinkled? Why do I have car trouble? Why do I have to wait so long in the doctor's office? Why did my kid move away?  Why does so and so hate me? Why did I not get that promotion? Why did God let this happen to me? Why do I have this chronic disease? Why? Why? Why?

One of my favorite movies is the 1990 Robin Williams film Awakenings. If you have not seen it, please go watch it. It is a great movie about seeing the good in life. Anyway, in the movie, Leonard Lowe comes down with a disease that leaves him in a catatonic state for 25 years. When the doctor, played by Robin Williams goes to visit with his mother, this is what she says:

"When my son was born healthy, I never asked why. Why was I so lucky? What did I do to deserve this perfect child, this perfect life? But when he got sick, you can bet I asked why! I demanded to know why! Why was this happening?"
                  Ruth Nelson as Mrs. Lowe, Leonard's mother

Yes we do ask why. Why is this bad thing happening to me? Now without denigrating the problems that people have, [and let me be clear, my life has had and does have it's share of problems] without denigrating the problems that people have, what would happen in our world if we started asking these questions......

Why was I born in America?
Why do I have people that love me?
Why did I get to live this long? [the average life span in Mozambique is 42]
Why can I see when others are blind?
Why do I own a car?
Why do I get these blessings?
Why do I get all of these things that so many in the world will never have?

Dear friends, sometimes the ability to see the good is simply the choice to change our focus from what we don't have, and see instead what we do have.

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

used to

I used to have this.  I used to have that.
You used to have this.  You used to have that.


Maybe you used to have a better house but now you don't.
Maybe I used to have a cooler car, but now I don't.
Maybe you used to have a better job, but now you don't.
Maybe your new boss will never measure up to the old boss in your mind.
Maybe you look back at a former relationship as the be all to end all.
Maybe I used to have a better figure.
Maybe you used to have more friends.

Maybe I used to.... Maybe you used to....

Let me make a few observations.
1.  We tend to romanticize things.  Over time, we forget the struggles and remember the good old days.  Sometimes it is only fair to remember that the thing in that past wasn't as perfect as we have made it in our minds.
2.  It is no disrespect to our old friends, our old job, or our old anything, to try and appreciate what we have now.  If we try to make the future work, it does not denigrate the past.
3.  Maybe today is a struggle compared to yesterday, but there is still good to be found in today.
4.  It is totally unfair to hate today's car, today's spouse, today's boss, today's income simply because it is not "yesterday's."
5.  If we are stuck in yesterday, we cannot celebrate today.  Today will never return to us.  It is our responsibility to give our lives to God, day by day.
6.  Maybe that car will come back, maybe your friends will come to visit.  Maybe that new person will respond to new kindness from you.  But no matter, we must live in today.  We must love today.

Our old life would want us to enjoy today.  God wants us to enjoy this day.  Live in the present- it isn't the past, but the present is a gift.

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

common sense

My friend Susan shared a comment with me recently. It is a helpful thought to put in play when people annoy you. Here is the quote-

"Common sense doesn't grow in everyone's garden"

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 5

Today I am 60 years old.

On January 24th, 1982 on the occasion of his 50th birthday, Henri Nouwen, wrote, "Within a few years [5, 10, 20 or 30] I will no longer be on this earth.  The thought of this does not frighten me but fills me with a quiet peace.  I am a small part of life, a human being in the midst of thousands of other human beings.  It is good to be young, and to grow old and die.  It is good to live with others and to die with others.  God became flesh to share with us in this simple living and dying and thus [his presence] made it good.  I can feel today that it is good to be, and especially to be one of many.  What counts are not the special and unique accomplishments in life that make me different from others, but the basic experiences of sadness and joy, pain and healing, which make me part of humanity.  The time is indeed growing short for me, but that knowledge sets me free to prevent mourning from depressing me and joy from exciting me.  Mourning and joy can now both deepen my quiet desire for the day when I realize that the many kisses and embraces that I received today were simple incarnations of the eternal embrace of the Lord himself."

Henri Nouwen died on September 21, 1996 at the age of 64.

Today I am 60 years old.  I would like to write something profound....  ha ha ha.....

I look back on every day that I have lived and they are all a treasure.  I remember running track in high school.  In my mind, in my soul, and in my dreams, I still run with the track team, but the body has moved on.  So I am the same as I used to be, but also very different.

I think of every person that I have loved, and oh I am so blessed.  I cherish every hug that I received from you and I hope to receive many more.  I think of the friends that we have made, the broken relationships that have been healed, and the amazing power of love.  I don't know how many days that I have left but I am going to take the advice of Ruth Gordon from the movie Harold and Maude.  She told Harold, live, LIVE, L.I.V.E. LIVE!!!

What a joy.  What a miracle life is.  Thank you all for being a part of mine.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Die a happy man

Thomas Rhett sings a song, Die a Happy Man. It's a popular love song on the country circuit.

Here are some of the words.............

If I never get to see the Northern lights
Or if I never get to see the Eiffel Tower at night...
if I never get to build my mansion in Georgia
Or drive a sports car up the coast of California
Oh, if all I got is your hand in my hand
Baby, I could die a happy man

So on the eve of my 60th birthday, I want to let you know that I can die a happy man. [not that I plan to die soon]

I have done so many things in this life. I have seen so much.
I have been to every National Park west of the Mississippi.
I have stood by the ocean and listened to the waves.... in fact I can do that any day now.
I have owned beautiful homes.
I have birthed and raised wonderful children.
I have snow skied at 20 different resorts.
I have made the beer circuit at Epcot Center.
I got to be a part of some great churches.
I played softball with great guys for 15 years.
I ran, I jumped, I caught, I dropped, and we all laughed.
I have learned some jokes.  lots of really good jokes!!!
I have enjoyed working.  
I have made homes more beautiful.  I have painted, tiled, and fixed them.
I have been to Canada, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, Greece and Aruba.
I have driven a sports car on the coast of California.
I have basked in the Redwood forest.
I have had the best friends that anyone could ask for.

But most of all I can say this to you.... I can die a happy man, because in this life, I have loved and been loved.  It doesn't get any better than that.

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

Monday, July 3, 2017


I have friends that worry if I am ok.  So they text, email or call to ask if I am ok.  I am also concerned about folks, if they are ok.

I am ok.  But I am more ok if I know that you are ok.  I can deal with me and my life much better as long as I know that you are ok.

I am much more ok when I know that you are ok.  OK?

If you are concerned about someone, check in with them.

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

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Miracle of Pain

That is an odd title to a blog post.  The miracle of pain.  We generally don't consider pain to be desirable much less a miracle.  We Americans particularly do everything that we can to avoid pain.  We even act like it is our God given right to be pain free and we can end up mad at God when life gets too painful.

But what if [as Laura Story suggests] our blessings come through raindrops?

Think of it.  When we have no troubles, we tend to go on about our lives.  We don't talk to God so much during good times because we don't feel the need.  Oh, but bring on a little difficulty and here comes the prayers.  As if prayers were in existence only to remove our pain.

Think of some of the most spiritual people that you know.  Don't they face pain and deal with it gracefully?  Don't they let pain teach them?  For me, it is in times of loneliness and pain that I am closest to God.  It is because of times of difficulty that I have learned some of life's lessons.

A life without pain would be much like being raised with a silver spoon in your mouth.  Although I have every empathy for your pain, may we all recognize that pain plays a role in getting our attention.  And when life has our complete attention, we tend to see more of the miracle of God.

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

Saturday, July 1, 2017

One of these days

I heard a song the other day by Neil Young called One of these days. I was not familiar with it, but some of the lyrics stuck with me.  Here are the lyrics:

One of these days
I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I've known

And I'm gonna try
To thank them all for the good times together
Though so apart we've grown

One of these days
I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I've known

One of these days
One of these days
One of these days
And it won't be long, it won't be long

And I'm gonna thank
That old country fiddler
And all those rough boys who play that rock 'n' roll

I never tried
To burn any bridges
Though I know I let some good things go

One of these days
I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I've known

One of these days
One of these days
One of these days
And it won't be long, it won't be long

From down in L.A.
All the way to Nashville
New York City to my Canadian prairie home

My friends are scattered
Like leaves from an old maple
Some are weak, some are strong

One of these days
I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I've known

One of these days
One of these days
One of these days
And it won't be long, it won't be long

So if you are reading this, you are probably my friend. I want to write to you today and thank you for the time, the relationship, the love. There is a house for sale across the street from us. Do you want to come look at it? I miss you and I love you.

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