Categories
Adventure Dogs Perspective Pets

The Interruption IS The Plan

I have my plan to write and post a significant piece of the book every weekend and it’s a good plan. It helps motivate me and focuses my energy. It lets others know what to expect. But that assumes I was right in my plan all along, and that’s not the way the best parts of life seem to work. If I am paying attention, the interruptions are often better than the plan.

The God of Surprise

If I had everything figured out in advance, that means I know what I’m doing. Obviously, this is not the case. I have to leave open the possibility that God is trying to tell me something. I have to listen for his voice. I have to admit that I have a lot to learn. This seems like humility, and I suppose it is, but there’s something much more fun about it.

It’s an adventure. It’s a new road that appears over the hill. It’s a new book from my favorite author. It’s a surprise party. It is the unexpected appearance of an old friend.

This last one is, in fact, what happened.

My phone dinged and I checked my messages, expecting another communique of domestic bliss, like, – pick up some milk. Instead, it was a text message from the other side of the world. My friend, who shall remain somewhat mysterious due to his occupation, was going to be in town this weekend and was looking for a place to stay.

I quickly responded and all my well-considered plans were abandoned.

I have been called spontaneous, impulsive and mercurial. I made that last one up. I don’t know anyone who uses the word mercurial in real life but it sounded better than rash or flaky. I might even have earned the reputation, even though I’m generally dependable. But, for all my stalwart reliability, there is one great truth I have learned.

Good Things Happen!

While we have trained ourselves to expect the worst, good things happen all the time. And if I’m not on the lookout for them, they just slip away.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a beautiful sunset or a startling moonrise when I had other plans. When I look around to see who else is sharing this spectacle, I usually find people with their heads down, driving or looking at their phones or sitting in their offices. And then the moment has passed.

Or perhaps my dog whines and nuzzles at my elbow and, against my better judgment and schedule, I relent and take her for a walk.  This one nose-nudge sets in motion a glorious walk on a beautiful day that I had previously ignored. Think about it. How many spectacularly beautiful days does one get in life? And how many have I missed sitting in a darkened studio?

Accidental Plans

What I have discovered is that few people ever end up where they planned. Success awaits somewhere along another way. We back into it or stumble upon it or get nudged toward it by someone who loves us. A friend of mine stumbled upon his extremely profitable career this way.

His wife thrust a paper in front of him and said, “This is perfect for you. If you don’t apply for this job, I’m never cooking for you in this kitchen again!” His answer?

“She’s a really good cook, so I applied and got the job.”

Another good friend of mine changed his life, followed his dreams and started a company all because of an Uber driver he met when his truck broke down. When I asked him what was wrong with his truck he replied, “I don’t know. It was always breaking down.” But this time the breakdown was a blessing.

Someone Else’s Plan?

So maybe our best life strategy will be planned by someone else. Or triggered by a text. Or instigated by some encouraging comment.

While we have our dreams, we honestly don’t know what we easily do that’s valuable to other people. It’s not valuable to us because it’s so easy. Or we devalue it because it’s fun.

In this case, the only way to discover our unique gift is for someone else to tell us. We’re too self-focused to see it. It looks backward in our mirror.

A Great Time

I can’t claim to have had a life-changing, career-starting time this weekend but I know one thing for sure. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

We had long, rambling conversations. We ate good food. We shared old memories. We reflected on the state of the world from an expanded perspective. We had a great time.

We probably won’t see each other for several years, though he invited me to stop by anytime I’m passing by the other side of the globe. I laughed. He laughed. But he repeated the offer when we said goodbye.

Who Knows?

Until that moment, the thought had never crossed my mind. But now I know that it’s a possibility. There’s a tickling in my brain at the prospect. There’s a bit of wonder at what life might bring. Could there be more to it than imagined? Maybe it’s better than I dreamed.

My small ideas in my small room seemed to have stretched themselves and shaken out the kinks. My small idea of God might have enlarged. A beautiful sunset could be waiting outside right now.

But I’ll never know unless I go and see . . .

Categories
Adventure Blog Things I Tell Myself

Standing By – Things I Tell Myself

We stand on the teetering edge of a brilliantly glorious new dimension. Until we reach it, we get today, every hour of it. If we can but see it, there is no end of the good things we can do in Him.

If we cannot see it, then we will be left standing hard on the ground, doing only the things that are possible.

We are not short of time, only vision.

 

Photo: Looking Back Over Sunrise by Lachlan Donald via Flickr
Categories
Adventure Endurance Featured Perspective Uncategorized

The Hill

I stand wearily atop the hill and spy the hill beyond
with gratitude I’ve come this far and visions further on.
I’ll sleep the sleep of one who’s done all he can do for now
and wake to promised strength renewed and memories of my vows.

Categories
Adventure Blog Change Courage Featured

This Will Leave A Mark

The Bench Mark

Today I changed something about the way I blog, about the way I live. I’m marking it here with this post for future reference. Like a signpost. Like a dropped pin on a Google map.

The date matters because time is our most important gift, but time is slippery through our fingers and hard to pin down. We need to be reminded of its value and limited supply. So, on this date, in this place, a mark is made.

Surveyors call it a bench mark. It’s a beginning place. A starting point. A mark to show progress, should I make any. A fixed, documented reference that is set in stone and not to be moved.

Because Things Move

In this world, things that you can count on are rare. People are ripping up bench marks for sport. They do it with wild-eyed glee. As if they hate points of reference and things that stay the same.

They do it because they are on a mission to change the world and anything that does not change disturbs them. Makes them twitchy.

A bench mark implies that there was something here before them that was good and didn’t need changing. Or that they are not making progress at all. Or that they might even be wrong.

Each A Bench Mark

Today’s predictable idea is that we should be our own bench mark. We should make our own path and ignore the depth and breadth of human history. As if the problem with human history is only that we weren’t there to do it right.

I am the captain of my fate, the master of my soul. Accountable to no one.

Freedom

We call this idea freedom and if that’s all there were to it things would sort themselves out soon enough. What worked would work. What didn’t would disappear.

But Soul Captains seem to want more. They want us to acknowledge the glorious discovery of their vast superiority. Their relentless rightness, brilliant better-ness, colossal correctness.

It seems that being right is not enough anymore, nor even being superior. One must change the world.

Enforced Correctness

Political correctness leads them to believe that they should be in charge. That all who came before or who stand here now are so wrong that they must be corrected.

Old ideas that don’t conform should be hammered into place. Individual thought should be chastised. Ideas are dangerous and must be policed.

I am to be freed from myself.

Human history is a pounding repetition of this dull theme. We are not good enough. We must be brought into alignment, hammered and straightened – or eliminated.

What should be a life of glorious exploration of the magnificence around us becomes mere existence in a chain gang by the side of life’s road. We are conformed.

Long live the sameness.

The Explorer’s Heart

But we were meant for more. We know it in our bones. We feel it when we see the stars or watch a bird in flight. We feel the tug from beyond the next hill to see what’s there.

And there is something there. It is glorious. And in pursuing it we will find that there is more to us than we imagined. There is sterner stuff within than we have been told.

We are stronger than we think. We have a higher purpose than conformity. The journey ahead will show us, reveal us to ourselves.

So, A Bench Mark

Here is the beginning point, our reference for the journey, the spot where we set out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Here is where we are. Where we will be tomorrow is the most exciting question of all . . .

 

Categories
Adventure Blog Featured Spiritual

Gratitude Or Poverty – The Only Two Choices

Without Gratitude I Have Nothing

In one of the richest communities on earth, from one of the richest people on the planet, I heard this story.

He went on a medical mission trip to a village in Africa. Using his hard-earned vacation time, he paid for the trip and didn’t charge anyone a dime. They provided free modern medical care at no charge to people who were dying without it.

There he met a woman he would never forget.

She had an important job and she took it seriously. People’s lives depended on her. She worked from dawn until dark in searing heat and miserable conditions, rain or shine, day in and day out.

She never took a vacation. She never asked for a promotion. She was inventive and creative. In other circumstances and in other places she would be hailed as an artist or a saint.

What Did She Do?

She lived in a round dirt-floored hut with ten people. Every day she took whatever ingredients that could be found and cooked for them. She had a fire in the center of the hut below the ventilation hole in the roof. Each day she built the fire from ashes, hauled water and cooked for ten. She smiled a lot and never once complained.

Her stove was a large tin can turned upside down.

She was grateful for the can.

My friend said that the next time his wife got tired of her restaurant-quality, commercial-grade kitchen and wanted to change the marble counter tops, he was going to give her a brand new tin can.

If We Take It For Granted, Does It Exist?

I live a short distance and several million dollars away from the man who told this story yet I am still in one of the richest places on earth. I never think about my microwave or my Mr Coffee cappuccino maker. I do not think fondly about tin cans.

When I get in my SUV I see the wear and rust and the high mileage. I never remember that it’s paid for and that it has never let me down. It’s too easy to see the brand new model passing me on the highway.

I see what I don’t have. What can make me see what I do have?

The Gratitude Cure

Gratitude cures blessing-blindness. It allows me to see what I have without having to lose it. I’d rather see it and still keep it. I’d rather be thankful for blessings I have right here than to dream about someone else’s blessing that I don’t have.

So, why don’t I do it?

It’s because my brain is overloaded with things to do. My brain looks at the things that don’t change in my life and say,”Well, I know where that is. I can move on to more important things.” Brains are like that. Because there is never enough brain to go around. At least for me.

So, how do I fool my brain into seeing what’s right in front of me? I have to practice gratitude. I have to make a habit out of taking a moment to see the fantastic things that are here and now.

It’s a little hard because my efficient brain doesn’t want to do it. But the reward is bigger than it would seem.

I Am Suddenly Rich

Now that I can see my blessings it changes me. I am happier than I was. I don’t get jealous as easily. I don’t hunger for things I don’t have. I am set free from the power of commercials that turn up my selfishness and make me feel bad about myself.

I become a marketer’s nightmare – a satisfied man.

I can afford to be generous! I can give more of my time and talents to others instead of guarding my time for myself. I can suddenly see the surplus in my life and share it – and I’m not just talking about money.

I Am Loved

I can see the love in my life. I’ve always been loved. I’ve never been without love. This is not the case for everyone. As a result I can be more loving to others.

I can give love and you know what that means. I get more love in return. For which I can be thankful.

I Am Talented

When I look at what I can do instead of looking at all the things other talented people can do that I can’t, I see a different me. I see that the most talented person is usually not here where I am. Which means my talent is valuable here and now.

I’m not Beyonce but I can sing. I’m not Hemingway but I can write. I’m not B.B. King but I can play guitar. I’m not Frank Lloyd Wright but I can help build something. I’m not Michael Jackson but I can dance. Well, okay, I really can’t dance but you get the idea.

If I only look at what I can’t do then I’ll never see my own unique abilities and will never have the confidence to use them. I’ll never get to contribute to the world. My purpose will be squelched and my life made smaller.

I Am Tall

I never notice that I’m tall but the other day in a store a woman in a motorized wheel chair asked me to hand her something from the top shelf. She was trying to buy a surprise birthday present for her husband, so he wasn’t there to help.

I don’t normally feel tall and strong and healthy but I really am. Did I mention good looking? Maybe I shouldn’t push it.

I Am Here

Probably the most important thing I can see is that I’m here now. I look at things differently. I have gifts and talents. I am unique.

That means there’s something, right here, right now, that only I can do. And if I don’t do it then it just won’t get done. Or it won’t get done as well.

When so many people overlook me it’s easy to overlook myself. I should be grateful that I’m here in this place, at this moment. I should be thankful for the opportunities I have to make a difference.

By the way, you should be thankful too, which leads me to . . .

I Am Appreciative

When I can see the blessings I have then I’m free to look at others differently. They have blessings and gifts and abilities, too!

When I am thankful I can actually see YOU better. It makes it easier to see the good in you rather than falsely magnify a shortcoming to make myself feel better about my meager life.

I don’t have a meager life when I’m grateful. I have an abundant life.

All This From A Smile

This great change in my life all happened because a woman in a hut in a village far away smiled and didn’t complain. She was grateful enough to see her blessings. It changed one man’s life. He told me about it. Now I’m telling you.

She has no idea what she started. I’m smiling right now.

Who knows where you will take it?

 

Photo Credit: **Mark** via Compfight cc

Categories
Adventure Blog Connections Dogs Featured Humor Perspective Recovery Success

The Magic In Between

Land of a Thousand Distractions

There are great moments in life, moments they say define you, the celebratory highs of accomplishment, the heroic lows of courageous struggle. But this month I have a little different take on what defines our lives.

I say a person is defined by what they do in between such dramatic and emotional moments. When no one is watching. When the stakes are not high. When one day falls quietly into place behind the last.

These are the times that try men’s souls.

The problem is that it’s easy to see the glory in riding off to rescue the damsel in distress or wresting a continent from the hands of a genocidal tyrant. But it’s hard to see the glory in watching John Wayne shampooing carpets when the puppy threw up because she ate a sock.

No one says Winston Churchill’s finest hour was spent at Home Depot searching for a solution to his dog’s sudden urge to tunnel under fences like Steve McQueen.

Did Hemingway have to kneel by his bedside to blog “For Whom The Bell Tolls” because his chocolate Lab thinks she’s still a puppy yet takes up her master’s entire side of the bed?

Did Lincoln have a granddaughter with eyes so big and blue that they seem to hold the sky within? I think not. Otherwise his mind would have turned to mush like mine and the Gettysburg Address would have sounded like:

Four score and
Das’ my sweet sugar wuggar.
Does her wub her
Granddaddy waddy?

Look! Squirrel!

Somewhere along the way toward changing the world I have become ensnared. Pinned to the beach like Gulliver. Immobilized by ten thousand soft threads of distraction.

All of them seem to be necessary. But definitely not heroic.

I cannot, for the life of me, picture Indiana Jones on his day off waiting heroically in line at Comcast, bullwhip furled, fedora in hand, soundtrack on pause.

Dah, dah dah daaaah! Dah, dah da . . . “Please Take A Number And Wait For The Next Available Associate.”

What is an associate anyway?

Some things shouldn’t be seen.

Imagine Lucy Liu at the DMV. Or Johnny Depp at Wal-Mart picking up word search books for his mother. I can’t. Don’t want to.

These are scenes that should be edited out. Or not filmed at all. And yet, my life seems to be made up entirely of scraps from the cutting room floor.

Outtakes. An adventure-free zone. The stuff in between the good stuff.

If that’s all there were to it then life would be pointless. Tedium. But then . . .

Glimpses Of Glory

Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, like a flicker in a passing mirror, I catch a fleeting glimpse of life as it could be. Or could I be seeing life as it really is?

Could it be that what I do is more significant that it appears? Is it possible?

It always catches me by surprise. Something tickling at the back of my brain makes me look up. An instinct. A hair-raising hint.

Suddenly my eyes are assaulted with a sky-filling blaze of color, a sunset so magnificent that it stops me in my tracks.

Thundering Hooves

Or I’m driving to work with plans filling my head to the brim when a sideways glance captures a field of endless green.

There a herd of horses gallop wildly over rolling hills, manes flying, tails swishing, all for the sheer joy of the wind on their faces.

The grace. The colors. The excitement! And then they are gone leaving me and the morning traffic behind.

Were it not for these moments reminding me of the beauty of life, it would be easy to overlook.

The Moments You Fight For

During Suzie’s year and a half of fighting for life I can remember very clearly a few surprising moments that carried me through. They were not at all what I expected.

Once I was standing beside Suzie drying dishes while the kids watched TV in the next room. The afternoon sun was slanting gold through the back yard. We weren’t talking about anything but I found myself filled with an unexplainable joy.

So much so that I had to question where it came from. I had never felt joy washing dishes before. Never imagined it. It was just something that had to be doe before I got on with the good stuff.

It dawned on me that this calm and tedious moment was such a contrast from the constant shocks we’d endured. It was the very thing we were hoping to get back – a moment of peace and quiet. Something not terrifying.

Something Normal

While chasing bad guys, having hair-raising adventures and being the hero is exciting, the entire point is to get things back to normal.

We do not fight wars for the fun of it. We do not set fires for the rush of dragging children from the flames. We do not rob stage coaches for the camaraderie of riding in a good posse.

What we really want is the crisis to be over so we can get back to our lives. To do exciting things like, well, wash dishes and clean up puppy barf.

The Good Life

So, when I understand my life correctly, the good parts are not dodging bullets, saving continents, preventing nuclear holocausts or surviving tsunamis.

Instead, the good life is the part after the novel is finished, after the movie credits roll, after the treaty is signed, after the horses are back in the barn, after the pistols are cleaned, after the family is reunited, after the fire is out, after the town is rebuilt.

The good life begins after the crisis ends.

And while it may seem boring by comparison, the good life is also cleaning carpets, washing dishes and feeding the dogs. It is the freedom to have your life back, to have time to write a world-changing novel, or hold a grandbaby, or share a meal.

The good life is not being the hero, as much as we love them. It’s being there for the people you love. It’s working to pay the bills. It’s sitting in traffic. Or being an associate. Or maybe even taking out the garbage.

Oh no! I forgot to take out the garbage! I can hear the truck in the distance. Can I beat it? Will trash win or will our hero save the day? Refuse or rescue? Be the man or get canned?

Stay tuned next week. Gotta go.

Now, where’s that bull whip?

Dah, dah dah daaaaaaaaah. Dah, dah daaaaah!

Categories
Adventure Blog Change Dreams Featured Spiritual Success

The 2014 Plan

Things are going to be different this year . . . I wish I knew how.

Oh, I know my plans. I see my dreams. I have a vision. But we all know how much control I have over the world.

You too? I suspected as much.

What I Didn’t See Coming

There are dozens of year’s end articles about pop culture publicity events: who did, said, wrote, acted, danced or exposed what. I had no idea they were about to happen and it wouldn’t have mattered if I did.

Closer to reality, there were a lot of personal events last year that I didn’t anticipate either. I didn’t plan on moving back to middle Tennessee. I missed seeing the three hospital visits my family had. The job I now have wasn’t even available then. I had no idea what house I’d call home. The list goes on.

I’m sure you had a few surprises last year. The point is, we can’t see what’s coming and I, for one, am glad. I would have focused on every bad moment. I would have worried myself loony. I almost did without the pressures of foresight. Worry is easy. It’s also useless.

Good Surprises Happened

I would never have noticed that a lot of great surprises happened. I met people I didn’t know. One of my daughters is about to have a baby. The other just got engaged. I was clueless and I’m pretty sure they had no idea either.

I wasn’t on my schedule. It didn’t appear on my list of goals. No grand strategy or self-help book is responsible. They are simply blessings of God.

Thank goodness he didn’t consult me.

 

Photo Credit: Patty Maher via Compfight cc

Categories
Adventure Blog Dogs Encouragement Featured Never Give Up Pets Success

Knowing My Limitations In 2014

Nessie’s Limitations

It’s hard to know your limitations. Nessie is a good example. She is a chocolate Lab mix. We’re still debating about the mix part. Some days I think it’s German Pointer. Today I’m convinced it’s antelope.

It was a beautiful day and, at one year old, she needed to burn off some steam. She has plenty of steam. She ran circles around me, racing and leaping, smelling and chasing for around three miles before she slowed. Just in case you were wondering, I did not go that far.

For every step I took she bounded ten. She slowed to plough into a bracing stream and later a soggy bog. She frantically pursued, but did not catch, a black cat, a random assortment of birds and a large, unperturbed bull.

Reaching Her Limit

Nessie finally slowed to a steady lope and then sat down – done, over, exhausted. Or so I thought. In reality she was just waiting for me and scanning for her next target.

After a solid four count, she was off. Her exhaustion was only a fantasy on my part.

Puppies Know No Limitations

Puppies will use their last reserve. You have to watch out for them because they won’t stop until they reach it. I once ended up carrying her for miles down a mountain trail because she hit her limit unexpectedly.

But that was months ago. Her one-year-old limits haven’t been challenged by me any time recently. Now it’s awe-inspiring to watch her run. Speed with abandon. People comment on it.

Limitations Move

A dear friend of the family rescues dogs when he’s not treating cancer. He has a theory:

“People say Labs need to exercise a certain amount every day to stay calm.
I say you’re only training them for longer distances.”

The reason puppies hit their limit is because they don’t know where it is. It keeps expanding. Yesterday’s limit is today’s warmup.

A long-term, determined commitment leads far beyond one day’s limitations. The only way to find out where the wall stands today is to reach it.

False Limitations

Far too often we don’t even come close to reaching our limits. We stop before we even break a sweat and settle for last year’s limitations without thinking.

Or maybe someone else sets your limits for you, flagging you down, warning you to be cautious, threatened by the ease of your progress.

That’s not the way we do things around here. It’s never been done before. Better stop before you get hurt.

Good Enough

We stop without ever catching a glimpse of our potential, content that we’ve done more than expected, feeling like we’ve earned a break.

I do not know which is worse – letting someone else decide our potential or stopping before we can discover it for ourselves. Either way we are left with the distant hollow echo of what we might have been.

Fear Of Failure

From hard experience we know that failure hurts. It’s embarrassing. It’s hard to bounce back. We pay a personal price. But we learn from it.

The silent price of staying firmly in our comfort zone is permanent ignorance of what heights we can achieve. In the long run, this is far more corrosive to the soul.

It would be better to fear stopping one step away from success, giving up too soon, being less than we were made to be.

Knowing My Limitations

So, for 2014, I have determined my goals. I do not have a resolution but instead I determine to be resolute.

I will push until I find out where my limits are and then push to expand them, to grow bigger than my training has allowed before.

Like Nessie, I will daily test my limits to see where they are now.

Because the only way you can truly know your limits is to reach them.

Nessie’s Nose

As I hit save on this post, Nessie’s cold nose hit my elbow. Tail wagging. Eyes glowing. Ready for more.

2014, here we go . . .

 

Photo Credit: Charlie enjoying Scappoose Creek by R0Ng via Compfight cc

Categories
Adventure Blog Brain Fun Change Courage Featured Recovery Success

The Mysterious Case Of The Thanksgiving Brain

Thanksgiving always raises the hair on the back of my neck.

Not because I will have to deal with family or a belt that’s too tight or the horrors of Black Friday – a man’s worst nightmare – but because Thanksgiving opened the darkest, most terrifying chapter of my life.

Now, it invariably takes me back to the last few moments of calm that I would feel for years. There was only a hint of what was to come, the briefest icy prick walking down my spine. I was clueless of impending doom, safe in the certainty that I was appropriately grateful for my life.

Hmm . . . uh, Thanksgiving?

So, what does my family’s harrowing trip through multiple cancers have to do with Thanksgiving? It has to do with how our brains work. It has to do with the reason for the original Thanksgiving.

My wife’s brain tumor, her loss of the ability to communicate beyond monosyllables and her recovery initiated my unwanted education into how brains work. Slowly this turned to a lifelong fascination.

I learned that our brain is always overloaded with too much input: the feel of our toes in our shoes, the hum of the air conditioner, the terrain beneath our feet. Our brains are constantly looking to sort out essential information from a constant stream of irrelevant data.

Floor, floor, floor . . .

If something doesn’t move or change or threaten our lives, if a thing stays put and leaves us alone, then the brain makes a note and moves on to more important things.

This saves us from constantly having to waste brainpower to recall things like the floor. It’s just there. Floor, floor, floor. We don’t have to constantly remember it. Floor, floor floor. That would be a waste of time. Floor, floor, floor.

Our brain looks for dangerous things that threaten to end us – tiger, lion, mother-in-law – or annoying things to avoid – traffic, taxes, Lady Gaga – or essential things we need to survive – food, shelter, the NFL.

The Efficient, Ungrateful Brain

This means a normal, healthy brain ignores the good things we have. The things we possess are cataloged and tucked away, our freed-up brain now ready for further action.

That’s why when you finally get that precious thing you always wanted, suddenly it doesn’t seem so shiny and bright anymore.

Our brains don’t mean to be ungrateful. They’re just trying to keep us alive and moving forward. Which is good, right?

Enter The Thanksgiving Brain

But there are times when we are suddenly, powerfully aware of the blessings we have, like when someone gets cancer, or a near-hit accident, or a child is born.

Or say when you’ve just crossed a vast ocean in a leaky wooden boat only to nearly starve while losing many of your best friends like the Pilgrims did.

Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til . . .

This is why we don’t miss some things until we don’t have them. We recently moved and had to, like the Pilgrims, survive some harrowing times – without a washer and dryer and breakfast without the toaster, which remained stubbornly hidden in a mountain of boxes.

I knew I would miss the mountains, the river, the deep-cut, boulder strewn canyons when we moved. But I had no idea that we would miss our veterinarian so much. It seems that Riverview Animal Hospital in Chattanooga is very nearly the perfect vet and all others we’ve found are sadly lacking by comparison.

(No advertising dollars involved)

We’re Alive!

That’s why the Pilgrims had their epiphany. They understood how close they had come to not surviving. They saw clearly how much of life they had taken for granted.

They had all taken daring risks for their beliefs. They had all been courageous. Some had not made it.

It just seemed downright hard-hearted to enjoy a beautiful life without remembering those that helped them get there, without remembering that they were living the answer to their prayers.

They needed some time to give respectful acknowledgement of their blessings and publicly remember those that had not been as fortunate.

We’ve GOT To Remember This!

They thought of Thanksgiving. And it was a great idea! It spread throughout the colonies to become embedded as a national holiday.

They didn’t think of college bowl games but I’m sure they would have approved.

As we all participate in this celebration of the blessings we have,
as we rest our restless, efficient brains and consider what we’ve accomplished,
as we eat too much and watch parades,
as we bow our heads and thank God for the very air we breathe,
may we also thank the Pilgrims,
promise we will stretch this moment,
and keep our Thanksgiving Brains for the entire year.

Photo Credit: kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) via Compfight cc

Categories
Adventure Blog Change Connections Encouragement Featured Success

The Mountains Will Be There . . .

What I Had For Breakfast

I try hard not to talk here about what I had for breakfast. It would be easy to make this all about me and drown you in the mundane issues of my life.

On the other hand, if I never told you anything personal I would only be a disembodied voice wafting around the internet. It’s hard to connect with that. So, in that spirit . . .

Moving

We are leaving the mountains.

*Sigh*

The original plan was to come to the mountains, work via the internet, live simply, blog and write a book. Our youngest son was firmly in college and we were approaching empty-nester-hood so we had the freedom for the first time in a long time.

I wrote my first draft, threw it out, then wrote my second and threw it out. I wrote the outline for my third attempt and this one stuck. I’d written a third of the draft and was as happy as a writer can probably be with his own work.

While it wasn’t perfect, the plan was working, with a few bumps.

Plans Change

Then we got the call that my Mom was in the hospital. Long story short, she moved in with us and I became her care giver. Before I knew it two years had zipped by.

With resources running low I knew it was time to change plans when . . .

Family

My daughter called to let us know she was having a baby. As time went by, things were looking very good for mommy and baby. The two hours to Nashville began to seem very far away. Hmm . . .

Work

Then a friend emailed a job posting that was too good to pass up, a steady gig with time left over to write. More on this later.

I made the call and a week later I was in Nashville for a trial run. Two weeks later I was back again. You see where this is going.

Change Everything

For the past month I’ve been commuting two hours each way and making arrangements. I wake up each morning and wonder why I’m doing this but at the bottom of my first cup of coffee I always find the reason.

Morning brain hates change but coffee brain says ain’t no thang. Coffee brain talks that way. By cup number two at the Starbucks in Manchester, coffee brain thinks he’s Superman.

When I think of having to pick up every thing we own twice, I need coffee brain.

Act, Don’t Think

So this week it’s time to make things happen. The decisions are made. Re-thinking them is only backing up. There’s nothing slower than doubt.

Faith, however, moves mountains. I’m pretty sure it works on sofas, too. It also saves me from morning brain.

When I get tired and overwhelmed I just remember the decision process. We prayed. We talked to friends. We ran the numbers and possible scenarios. We felt peace about it.

Everything will Be Alright

You can’t know the future or plan for every contingency. Plans only last until they hit reality anyway. Whether plans bend or break is beyond our control. But they’re only plans. We can always make new ones.

In the end there are two things I’m sure of:

  1. The worst thing I can do with my life is nothing.
  2. God has it under control.

Whether success or failure, joy or pain, now or later, faith tells me it’ll be okay in the end.

And the mountains will always be there.

So, we’re off . . .