Random Ornaments

I find it ironic that I’m posting about Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving day (ok, ok, I didn’t actually get this up until Friday). As I watched my daughter decorate our tree yesterday, I kept thinking about the displays you see in stores or at homes fit for magazines. The ornaments all match a specific theme and are neatly placed on the tree. Our tree, however, is filled with random ornaments.
Some ornaments were purchased, some gifts, others are collectibles from past years. A few are from nicer stores, some from dollar stores, and then there’s the hand-made ones from the kids. They all make up a tree that can tell a story about our lives and our family.
I was thinking about how all those random ornaments mirror real life. We are all from different backgrounds and yet we can still come together to make something beautiful. I think about how Jesus called people from random backgrounds into His ministry to redeem the world. How tax collectors, fishermen, and other sinners helped to lead the way for the rest of us. I’m thankful for the random people God chose to speak into my life and show my His way.

Some of my random ornaments:

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Saying Goodbye to a Dead Dream

As I prepared my old Casio keyboard for sale, I felt the agony of a dead dream that I still continue to chase, in some way or another. I will never be the musician I wanted to be and though I will still write song lyrics and poems occasionally, it’s time to stop chasing that dream. I can’t play piano well enough to get the music from my head onto the keys and I will never hear any of my songs played as I imagined them. Though it’s a painful and empty feeling I’m left with, I know I need to let go and get my head out of the clouds.

Selling the keyboard and giving away a guitar I thought I’d learn to play is, in a sense, a finalization , a closing of a disappointing chapter of my life. I know I should have some kind of a God-given dream, but I have no idea what it is. I hope that with letting go of such a frivolous dream, I’ve made room for God to reveal His plan for me.

Lord, I’m ready for a new chapter, a You chapter, in my life. Please reveal Your plans for me. Amen.

Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day, for me, is bittersweet. While my father is still alive, we have not spoken for years for reasons I won’t get into here. I’m joyful that my children have the benefit of a good and loving father to grow up with. I pray today for children whose fathers are absent, no matter what the reason, and that they have others in their lives to show them the love and care of a father. I also pray for the day that everyone will know their Heavenly Father and love he has for all his “children.”

Two of my favorite Father’s Day songs come from episodes of “Jem and the Holograms” and, for the fun of it, I’ve posted the lyrics below, courtesy of Jem Wiki.

A Father Should Be:
A father should be a good man
A father should be wise
A father should be tall and strong
With laughter in his eyes

A father should be behind you
A father should be there
A father should be someone
Who always treats you fair.

I know the kind of man
A father ought to be
A shining knight, who fights the good fight
And wins it just for me.

A father should be a hero
A father should come through
A father should be someone
Someone just like you.

 

You’re Always There in My Heart:
Seasons come, seasons go
But you’re always there in my heart
Raindrops fall, breezes blow
But you’re always there in my heart

Photos fade, youth has gone
But you’re always there in my heart
Time goes by, life goes on
But you’re always there in my heart

You’re a part of me, as I am of you
I can’t leave you behind
You’re a part of me, and whatever I do
You’re always on my mind

Through the years, joy and tears
You’re always there in my heart
Always near, ever dear
You’re always there in my heart

Always there in my heart.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and may you be blessed as you continue to nurture and protect your children.

How I Pick a “Winner”

Ballot

I just spent the better part of the morning pouring over the voter information guide, the sample ballot, and various web sites for the June Primary Election. I have made my choices and will be mailing out my ballot this afternoon. One of the things I started doing over the years is to first look at which candidates have accepted voluntary spending limits for their campaigns. To me, those who can stay within a specified spending limit show an ability to budget the resources available to them. With so much government spending out-of-control, I think it is important to note who can stay within a specified limit, which hopefully translates to an ability to help manage the spending they are responsible for once they take office.

Beyond spending limits, I look at candidates’ statements both in the voter guides and on their web sites to see if they are coherent and reasonable. Candidates will make many promises, but are those promises achievable or are they just political gibberish? For example, a statement saying that the candidate would abolish all gun control laws would be gibberish and likely impossible to achieve. Whereas as statement discussing the reforms needed for our schools to bring education to the 21st century and to continue to give parents a choice in what educational avenue will work best for their children is achievable and reasonable, provided there are concrete suggestions and that it is not just a blanket statement. Party affiliations have very little to do with my actual choices because I look for those who share similar beliefs to mine, regardless of party affiliation.

Hopefully, I have made good choices and if those candidates eventually get elected, I pray that they prove to be who they say they are and that they do what they promise, to the best of their ability.

What about you? How do you decide which candidates to vote for?

Talking (Wild) Turkey

Where I work there has been some wild turkeys hanging around for quite a while – one female and two males. I’ve always thought it funny they set up camp in the middle of a city. As I was leaving today, I caught a glimpse of something in the bushes. It was the female crouched down, possibly on a nest. If so, that will be exciting to see baby turkeys, at some point. There have been days when I’ve gone out for a walk at lunch and happened upon this small flock and I just sit down, someplace safe, to watch them go about their business. As a life-time city dweller, these turkeys fascinate me and and I enjoy just watching them.

 

The Power of Words

Words have this amazing power to build up or break down, to be a source of encouragement or discouragement, to express love or hate. My church had a sermon last month titled “Loving With Words” that really confirmed my thoughts on a side project I’m now working on.

I received a crazy gift for my last birthday, it was a pack of 50 blank note cards. My first thought was what to do with them, since I don’t generally have a need for blank note cards, and I contemplated just donating them. The more I looked at the package, the more I thought about using them to send out encouragement to friends and family or other people that I know who could use a kind word.

As this “project” began to form in my mind, I decided I would share each of the cards content on a separate blog, aptly called Fifty Notes. My hope is to spread the encouragement of each card beyond the person that receives it.

I thought I’d close out with some verses from Proverbs to remind us all of the power of our words. I pray that we all choose to “speak life” into others with our words.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21 NIV)

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (Proverbs 24:26 NIV)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25 NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18 NIV)

Where’s the door?

So many Christians refer to “doors” that God opens or closes in their lives as a way to lead them to opportunities suited for their talents or lead them away from the things that are not His best for them.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m in a room where there are no doors or windows. I can’t see or move beyond the four walls around me.

Am I stuck because I can’t see the door placed before me or is it because there’s something I still need to address before I move on? Am I stuck because I’m too stubborn to follow, too busy to stop and listen, or just plain blind to what God is trying to show me?

Commit your future to the Lord ! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf. -Psalms 37:5

I was reading today and came across this verse. Maybe I just need to slow down, be patient (easier said than done), and allow God to lead the way. If God could lead Abraham, Moses, and numerous others to the Promised Land, why do I doubt he can do the same for me?

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Lord, help me to stop doubting he plans you have for me and lead my way into the future that you planned for me long ago. Amen.