Bright Lights

My son is learning to drive with his learners permit in his pocket.  A piece of plastic that gives him the right to drive on the road with an adult in the car with him.  I have always believed that permit was to learn to drive.  Now I’m seeing that it is there for his protection by forcing an adult to be in the car with him to teach him how to deal with impatient adults on the road.  (He is now the 4th child I’ve ridden with.  I don’t recall seeing so many impatient adults with the previous 3 children).

What have we become as a society?  It’s hurry here and there.  It’s hurry, hurry, hurry!  But, you know, mistakes occur when we hurry.  When you think of a hurried time in your life what comes to mind?

  • A scheduled appointment you are late for?
  • Impatient about finding a job?
  • Someone breathing down your neck to get something done… a deadline?
  • Finding that perfect relationship you will spend the rest of your life with?

We get in a hurry over a lot of things.  These four points are just from observations in life. (I could have written more…. but I’m in a hurry. Ha!… Sorry!) At some time in life we have all been in a hurry for one of those reasons or something else.  I can just about bet you that when life-decisions get hurried mistakes are made and accidents happen.

While riding down the road with my son, there was this car with bright lights on his tail.  He was going just over the speed limit.  He kept referring to the lights in his mirror and getting frustrated.  I encouraged him to focus on the road ahead and let the person deal with whatever they have going on by themselves.  We can’t control what they have going on. We can only focus on what we can see ahead of us.

Sometimes when others are in a hurry it can affect our own performance.

This conversation lead to more talk about the past.  We can’t do anything about the past in our lives.  Just like those bright lights, if we focus on the bright lights of the past we will be blinded and lose sight of what is up ahead.  Sometimes you have to reposition yourself, while in the driver seat, so that those things behind you don’t interfere with your future.

Who is sitting in your drivers seat?  Are you letting the guy behind you push you into a hurried state?  Are you getting your eyes off of the road in front of you all because you are focused on what’s behind you?

In Hebrews 12 we read,

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed- that exhilarating finish in and with God- he could put up with anything along the way:  Cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (The Message).

If you are wanting to look back, then look back to the life of Jesus.  See how he dealt with life.  The encouragement for the day is to look to Jesus… keep your eyes on him.  As we approach the final days leading up the celebration of his birth, look back over his story.  See how his story from the past can lead you on into a great future.

Look Up…

I love being outdoors!  Whether it is day/night or hot/cold outside, I’d rather be enjoying the outdoors than the indoors any day of the week!  I recently was talking with a few of my kids.  I talked about how in the evening after the sun goes down about my love for sitting on the deck watching the stars.  If you have never been out west in the middle of New Mexico the view of the heavens are unbelievable.  With no city lights around to dull the view of God’s beautiful creation.

It was another tough day.  It was one day of many that one of my children have had to walk through.  The frustration and the hurt was great.  I could see it in his face and hear it in the somber tone of his voice.  On the drive home from church, to make a little conversation, I asked about Sunday School.  He told me they talked about 1 Kings 8:56-58 and he began to read those verses in the Bible.

Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised.  Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.  The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers.  May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him. To walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. (ESV).

As I drove,I thought there couldn’t be a more perfect verse for us to discuss in light of the situation.  We walked into the backyard at our home.  We sat down on an old porch style swing and began to rock back and forth.  The swing creaked with every movement.  Moments later the old swing cracked.  Just before the swing gave way I had told him to look up.  There was one branch of this tree that had already turned to a beautiful color of red.  We talked about that branch of this tree that already turned leaving all of the summer green behind.  We talked about that branch and how we would never had seen the beauty there had we never looked up.

In the moment, I began to talk with him about God’s desire for us to seek him in all of our seasons of life.  It was at that moment the swing began to give way to our movement and weight.

The night before, our family had gathered around a small fire pit to roast marshmallows.  The chairs were still set up so we made our way to sit and talk there.  After we read the above passage, once again, I looked up and could see two trees.  Both of them are large yet one was a bit larger than the other with its limbs full all the way around the tree.  Whereas, the other tree was large its limbs reached to the sunlight that comes up from the south.

I pointed out the large tree was well-rounded and full.   We observed how it was an obstacle to the growth of the the smaller tree.  Yet the smaller tree was still full of life… even thriving in the midst of the the obstacle of the larger tree.

I reminded him of the situation that was feeding his hurting heart.  I encouraged him to keep reaching out to Jesus, the Son of God.  That as he turns his face toward the Son, Jesus would never leave him or forsake him.  Just like those Israelites came to know that God wouldn’t forsake them, my son would also come to know, Jesus will never forsake him.  That is a promise we all have.  I pray that as you hear God’s voice drawing you to himself, you will not ignore him but rather turn your face to Jesus and lean into him.

It’s finally arrived!

mythree_bw1No it’s not the latest package in the mail… no it’s definitely NOT a baby.  But rather the last day of school before Christmas break. 

For me, that means my kids will be here for almost a week.  Which means more to me than anything else that will transpire over the next week.  Well, I do look forward to Lori’s birthday… it’s on Christmas Eve.  What a day to have a birthday!  Who can compete with the birth of Jesus and Santa Claus?I guess we’ll have to celebrate it next month… that’s terrible I know.  We’ll have cake and sing… the gift will have to wait until January.

This is the toughest time of year for many!  And this year probably tops off as the toughest of a lifetime for even more.  I wish all the pressure that goes with the season would not be associated with it… We celebrate Christmas because of Jesus’ birth… the great joy that is associated with his life and the promise his life offers.

I’m thankful to celebrate His birth, to spend some time with my children, and Lori’s birthday!

1/2 Birthdays…

walker-bw-12_083I bet you only celebrate your birthday once a year!  Me too. But not my kids…

About 10 years ago or so Jacqueline started pointing out her 1/2 Birthdays.  She would turn 4 then 4 1/2 then 5 next would be 5 1/2 and so on… Well, this was a big deal for her.  So, I decided to make a big deal of it too.  I decided that on my children’s 1/2 Birthday we would go out to dinner.  Just me and the child celebrating the 1/2… a night out with Dad. 

A part of the  deal is that the child gets to pick the place to eat… anywhere!  Jacqueline’s first year was Red Lobster and got Crab Legs!  I believe she was 4 1/2 maybe 5 1/2… I’m sure she could tell me exactly.  Now it’s off to Dave and Buster’s for Jacqueline and Valerie.

Last week was Walker’s 6 1/2 year old birthday!  He wanted Chuck E. Cheese.  We had a blast!  I loved watching him run through those 80 Tokens!!  He ended up with 320 tickets to spend on prizes.  He would have come out better going somewhere else eating then letting me buy him something at Target for $10.  img00314bw

But that would have spoiled the fun!  It really was fun.  We had an incredible time and wouldn’t have missed the moment for the world.  He’s a special kid… I love him so much!

“Do you think they can pause the movie?”

We went to the movies today.  Lori and Jacqueline watched Twilight.  I went with Valerie and Walker to see Bolt in 3D.  We were about 3/4 of the way through the movie when Walker asked, “Do you think they can pause the movie while I go to the bathroom?”  Another priceless moment of Walker’s long list of quotables.  He’s such a funny guy!

I really enjoyed watching this movie with the kids.  They are for sure what makes my life smile.  They each mean more to me than I could ever express in words.  The theatre here has stadiuim seating and the arms raise up so you can sit real close.  Valerie snuggled right under my arm.  It was wonderful and I treasure the memory of our time at the movies.

I bet God treasures the moments we sit close with Him.  When was the last time you took in the scenery with Him?  The Fall is my favorite time of year.  The leaves turning colors are so pretty.  Next time you have a minute alone somewhere and you can take in the changing of the season… snuggle in the Lord and thank him for the sight.

How does God feel?

Parenting has got to be one of the hardest jobs on the planet.  Parenting has got to be one of the most joyful experiences on the planet.  At times it is a fine line between being the hardest and the most joyful experience.  It’s a job I’ve never regretted for one second.  I love my children with everything I am.  I know it’s tough at times for them to see it everyday especially since we don’t live on the same street anymore.  Although they don’t have the pleasure of seeing my love for them – they are loved – more than they can physically see and experience on a daily basis.

I was listening to a song by everybodyduck a few days ago. (Yes, the name of the band is all one big word! If you aren’t familiar with everybodyduck they are very good… Darin McWatters is a great lyricist). The feelings I am having today made me think of this song by everybodyduck entitled “8”.  The song talks about a boy at his own party and how lonely he feels… the song ends with the picture of God and all he gives and provides for us just to have us ignore him… thus his feelings of loneliness.

I wonder… how does God feel?

I had a situation with one of my children.  In my opinion it has been one of the first really trying situations I’ve had to face.  At the same time I look at this and realize they are growing up… and as a parent I must grow up.  I think I handled it pretty good… with much love, understanding, and grace.  I know I am limited when it comes to knowing all things.  I do the best I can.  I really respect, admire, cherish, love, trust, and desire to give my children all that I can give.  But do they really know how I feel about them?  After-all they don’t see me everyday.  Even when I have to administer some correction it’s not face to face… it’s over the phone.  So they don’t really get to see my heart – written all over my face.

As I’ve thought about this situation, I’ve thought about how God deals with me.  I don’t see Him.  I hear him but not audibly.  I experience Him but I don’t feel Him.  He gives me direction yet I don’t see Him point the way.  He corrects me and I experience the correction.  He provides for me and my family yet do I thank Him?  He’s there but do I take Him for granted?  I know He loves me!  How do I return the love?

How does God feel?

If you are unfamiliar with “8” these are the words of Darin McWatters as recorded by everybodyduck, 1998:

Today’s the 8th anniversary of the day I was born
I’ve been alive exactly eight years today
My name is Joey and I can’t seem to find an excuse
Not to have a wild, raging party for my birthday

So I invited all my friends to come and started making plans
For the greatest party 3rd grade’s ever seen
All my closest friends and I would go to Skippy’s Pizza-Rama
They’ve got skeeball and these dancing chimpanzees
Every person in attendance would have candy all his own
And more pizza that an army could consume

I paid everyone’s admission and I thought my heart could burst
With excitement as we walked into the room

As I turned to see the joy on all the faces of my friends
I was shocked to see an empty space where they had all just been

I’m so alone and it’s by birthday
All by myself, what is the deal
I’m the only person sitting at a table set for 12
And I just can’t help but think that this could be
How God must feel

My best friend Andy’s sharing pizza that I bought with some dumb girl
And Steven Dobbs is playing air hockey with Jake
Kevin’s paying Jr. Higher’s with my tokens for his life
And I think Jeff is selling slices of my cake

Everywhere I look I see those who should be looking at me
It’s my birthday, after all, but they don’t care
I put so much into making this a party they would like
A guess I thought they’d have gratitude to spare
As I turned…

I’m so alone and I’m their savior
All by myself , what is the deal
I’m the only one who saved them from the sins that held them down
And I just can’t help but think that they don’t care
How I might feel

Making the most of…

… every opportunity.

Sunday morning at The Church At Woodland, we had a time of worship which included the Lord’s Supper.  I like the way the Lord’s Supper was administered.

We were encouraged to partake as we felt led during the service.  My son, Walker, was sitting next to me.  And just like with a lot of things he had many questions.  This was a great opportunity for me to talk with him about what we were doing and why during the “music” portion of worship. 

I explained to him the purpose behind the bread and the wine (grape juice).  After I explained it to him he watched me eat and drink.  After I drank the juice he asked, “Was that gross?”  🙂 I had to go back and explain what I was drinking was not really Jesus’ blood and that the juice represents the blood he shed for us.