Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do It Anyway

People can be the worst, can’t they?  We do our best.  We try.  We reason.  We go out of our way, yet sometimes we get sand kicked into our eyes. 

Sometimes, we do a thing simply because it needs doing.  This is a fundamental principle of living.  Nothing happens until someone steps up and finishes the task.  

This poem based on something Mother Teresa wrote once is perfect for our thought today.

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
Give the world the best you’ve got and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

Go and live your life.

Dream your dreams.  Give them feet and wings.

Give a helping hand to someone in need

Read and study in your area of interest.

The world is waiting for someone just like you who will dare to make a difference.

Do it anyway!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carolyn Left Me Today

Carolyn Left Me Today

Now before you go off on a tangent keep reading.  Carolyn did leave me today; only to fly to Phoenix to visit her parents. 

Shook you up there for a moment didn’t I? 

I just wanted your attention.  I’ve got something kind of important to say.

As we were nearing the airport, having light conversation, Carolyn turned to me and said.  “One thing I know as I go on this trip is that my emotional cup is very full because of your love and the way you care for me.”

What an incredible thing to hear.

We both happen to believe that we are in a blessed marriage where love, trust and esteem reign.  We fill each other’s buckets; and often. 

We talk, we listen, we take time for each other; we frequently call in the middle of our day just for no reason, except to say three bucket-filling words.  “I Love You.”

How did I get so lucky in finding a soul mate like my wife?

I’m not a trained therapist, nor a marriage counselor, not even a relationship expert, but as I think about this blog today, some things come to my mind that I believe make a huge difference in our relationship.  May I share them with you?

  1.  We love.  We find ways of loving each other.  Sometimes it is a phone call.  Sometimes it’s a $5 bunch of flowers from Pike Place Market.  Sometimes I make Carolyn breakfast or she’ll surprise me with a special meal.  All of those things say “I love you.”  “I cherish you.”  “I adore you.”  And we say the words too, every day – several times a day. 

  1. We play.  We both carry a heavy work schedule, but we live for Thursday and Friday.  Those are our days to spend together and we pack a lot into those days.  We do some “on-purpose” living on “our” days.  Sometimes it’s a trip to a museum, or to the beach, or playing with grandchildren.  We’ve caught more sunsets during our nearly five years of marriage than I’ve caught in all the rest of my life put together.  We plan and we play on our days off together.

  1. We talk.  No, seriously – we talk.  At meals, in the morning while getting ready, and any other time we are together, there is conversation.  And especially at night, when I come home, we make a point of stopping what we are doing; we embrace, we kiss, and before I begin working on my blogs and other writing projects, I push the computer aside, Carolyn stops working on whatever she is doing, and we sit on the bed and talk about our day.  Sometimes it only takes five or ten minutes.  Sometimes we need thirty minutes.  Regardless, we focus on each other, we make eye contact, and we are in the moment…together.  This is huge! 

  1. We laugh.  During our phone chats each day I always look for something to say to crack her up.  And I’m getting pretty good at it!  We laugh easily together.  We enjoy life, together.  And we love, together.

All of these points simply add up to this:  we fill each other’s bucket.  We don’t dip into each other’s bucket with hurtful, sassy, demeaning comments.  We esteem one another.  We look for the good.  We try to say words that heal, not words that hurt.  What a way to relate, not just to each other, but to anyone we encounter. 

Our buckets are very full.

Okay, that’s enough.  What about you and your relationships?

Hope you will look for ways to fill the buckets to the brim of those you love.

Now, when is she coming back?  I miss my best friend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Day You Were Born, God Said "Yes"

Don’t we all love being approved of?  What a nice stroke to our self-esteem when that happens. 

I believe that on the day you were born, God said “Yes” to you.  He approved of you just like you were.  You may have had a bald head, diaper rash, and maybe you were wrinkled and red, but God said “YES” to you.

And then you cried.  We all do. 

I can imagine God seeing you and saying,

“You are beautiful.  I have loved the idea of you from day one.  You are special and unique in my eyes.  I have a future with hope all mapped out for you.  Let’s laugh and cry and play together as you dance through this life you’ve been given. 

“Always remember, I’ll never leave you or forsake you.  I’ll be by your side.  I’ll love you through thick and thin.  I’ll watch as you sleep.  Your name will always be on my lips.

“You are my child.  I cherish you.  I value you.  I will always hold you close.”

WOW!  Those are powerful thoughts. 

I happen to believe all that I’ve written above.  I believe it for you and I believe it for me.

We are precious in His sight. 

Explore the wonder of God today.  He wants to dance with you. 

Who leads in a dance with God?

You’ll figure that out.  After all, your greatest power is the power to choose.  He gave that to you too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shay's Homerun

(I wish I knew the source of this story.  If you know, please let me know.  Thanks)
What would you do?  Would you have made the same choice? 
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
“'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?”
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled, comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.”
Then he told the following story: 
“Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'
“I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
"I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'
“Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
 “In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
“In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
“In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.
“Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
“At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
“Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
“However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
“The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

“The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

“As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

“The game would now be over.

“The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

“Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

“Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

“Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!  “Run to first!'

“Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

“He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

“Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

“Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

“By the time Shay rounded towards third base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

“He could have thrown the ball to the third baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

“Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

“All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

“Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third, Shay, run to third!'

“As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

“Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

“'That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.”

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten about the day he was a hero.  And he cherished coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

What a demonstration of kindness and grace!  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Every Life Has a Story

Carolyn and I attended a memorial service today for the mother of a good friend.  The mortuary in which the service was held had this motto; “Every Life Has a Story.”

During the memorial service, Steve and his family shared different aspects of his mother’s life.  I kept thinking about this quote and reflecting on her story.  She lived a full and vibrant life all of her days on this earth.

Tell me your story.  I would love to sit down across from you and marvel at your story.  You have one.  You have good days, bad days, sad days, happy days.  You have funny moments, revelations, insights and experiences that I would listen to in wonder and awe.  Your story is speaking to people around you every minute of every day. 

What is your story?

Are you realizing your dreams from childhood now that you are older, or have you created new dreams?  Have you uncovered some new skills at this point in your life?  What story are you telling with the hopes and dreams you now hold?  Your story is the sum of your gifts, your interests, your code of ethics and your life experiences. 

-Are you thinking good thoughts?  Are they changing your life? 
-How is your God concept? 
-How is your relationship with those close to you?
-What are your ethics all about?
-Are you consistent in all areas of your life?
-Are the statements you make about your life true?
-Are you making good choices in life?
-Are you reading anything of value?
-Are you leaving good and lasting impressions on anyone?
-Are your footprints marking a clear path for someone else to follow?

Life is simply a matter of time invested, and those seconds and minutes turn into days and weeks and months.  And sooner rather than later, we see the end of our lives on the distant horizon and wonder at where we are compared to where we want to be.

All of this is adding to the story of our lives.

I am reminded of a Bible story.
“The master of the house called his servants together.  He was going on a long journey and he wanted to entrust some of his wealth to them. 

To one he gave five talents.  To another he gave two talents, and to the third he gave one talent, each according to his ability. 

And then he went on his journey.

Time passed.  When the master of the house returned he called his servants in for an accounting of what they had done. 

The one who had been given five talents reported that he had turned those five talents into another five talents, which he laid at his master’s feet.

The one who had been given two talents reported that he too had doubled his talents and he laid four talents before his master.

The one who had been given one talent hung back.  He didn’t want to give his accounting.
He said, “I know you worked hard for this money and I didn’t want to waste it, so I buried it in a safe place so that on your return I could give it back to you whole and complete. 

The master was not happy.  He said, “The least you could have done was invest it in the banks and let it draw interest.”  

The master wanted his servants to write some new chapters in the story of their lives.  He simply offered them opportunities.  Opportunities to add to the story of their lives.

We are writing our own story.  Every experience in our lives adds to this story.

Every life has a story. 

What a concept. 

I could tell you about all of my life’s accomplishments, but you wouldn’t be impressed.

Rather, I want to encourage you to discover or rediscover your dream, your passion, your life’s ambition, and complete your own story. 

I will share with you one part of my story yet to be fulfilled.  I dream that one day soon I will write the blog heard round the world. 

You read that right.  I want to write something that so resonants with people that they in turn will share this blog with relatives, friends and co-workers, who in turn will share it with their sphere until this yet unwritten blog goes around the world. 

Let me be quick to add this.  I don’t desire this for selfish reasons, but for the good of mankind.  My mission statement is this:  “Offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time.”  This is my desire, my passion and my focus. 

Now, that is a part of the story of my life.

What is your story?