Thursday, June 24, 2010


As the FIFA World Cup Soccer championships take place in South Africa this year, I have been keeping a not too serious eye on the games.  However, I have been paying more attention to the reactions of the fans.  I have been amazed at the fanaticism of some fans and even countries about the whole game of soccer.

I have not been a big soccer fan except when my nephews were playing.  Although I did a lot of cheering for the boys, I'm afraid I would be a very poor example of the fandom compared to what the world is seeing on their televisions and hearing on their radios.

This soccer championship has the whole world watching which is amazing.  I think the only thing that would compare to the world wide audience would be the Olympics and then we are talking about a number of different sports disciplines.  But the World Cup concentrates on only one sport - soccer.

What would capture my attention so fully and cause me to become as fanatical as the fans of soccer we see each day on TV.  I should say that I'm that fanatical about being a Christian (or a follower of Christ).  But to be totally honest with you, I'm not there yet.  I don't fly the Christian flag from my balcony.  I don't paint my face with Christian symbols.  I don't wear shirts advertising my church or my Christianity.  Do these things make me a bad Christian?  I don't think so.  I think my Christianity should be shown in the things I do to help my neighbor, sponsoring a child in need, and the poor on the streets of my city, even when doing them is not evident for anyone else to see.

If you are enjoying the FIFA World Cup Soccer I hope your team is doing well.  If you are helping your neighbor, sponsoring a child in need, or contributing to your local food bank, I hope your fanaticism is just as high.

Cheer on!  Cheer on!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Last night I was able to do something that reminded me of how much I enjoy being a part of the lives of my nieces and nephews.  It reminded me that encouraging them in their various pursuits in life is something I can do to help them grow and mature - physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally, whether they take only a few steps and realize that's not for them, or they dive right in and make it work.  I want to be there on the side lines cheering them on with all I have.

Last night I was given an opportunity to encourage and play cheerleader for my thirteen year old nephew.  Braden is in the process of writing a story/book, including drawing the illustrations.  He read a few paragraphs to me and he got me hooked.  I wanted to find out "what happens next."

The more we talked about this project the more excited I became.  Suddenly it dawned on me that, even if it doesn't go far, I want to help Braden publish his story.  That may mean doing a self-publication of the book by just going to a copy shop and running off a couple dozen copies of the book but this book needs to be in print.

I was able to encourage Braden that I would walk with him through this process and that I'd be the first one to buy a copy of his book.  Who knows where the book might go from there.

I was so pumped when I got off the phone thinking about the possibilities ahead for Braden.  I think he is even more excited about the book and seeing it in print now.  Yes, there is a long ways to go before the book is actually printed but I think both Braden and I have joined together to see this through.

I am excited that Braden shared his dream with me and now I can help him where he needs help and encourage him when he needs encouragement.  I look forward to holding the final product and sharing that special moment with Braden.

Write on Braden!  Write on!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Being Led

This past Sunday at church we sang a song that I have heard and sung numerous times in my life. But this time it was different. The name of the song is "I'd Rather Have Jesus". It is a song that was made famous by George Beverly Shea.

As I sang the song two lines grabbed my attention like I had never seen or heard them before.

"I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hand" comes from the last line of the first verse.

"I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead" comes from the last line of the third verse.

Why did these two lines grab my attention? I think that one reason is that I have become more interested in allowing Jesus to lead me on the path he has set out for my life. And those two lines were my declaration of my intent to go wherever God leads me.

For me, following the leading of God is going to help me mature and grow into the person God destined me to be.

So today I choose to take the hand of Jesus and go where he leads me, wherever and however he deems best for me.

Be blessed today my friends as you are led by "his nail pierced hand."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Unexamined Life

This week I have been working my way through a book by Julia Cameron called "The Right to Write."  I have been enjoying the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Last evening as I was reading I came upon a dialogue Julia was having with a friend.  They were talking about being so busy they felt they didn't have time to do the type of writing they needed to put things into perspective.  The friend said that he felt "unexamined" when he couldn't write about his feelings on things he was involved in.

As I read that sentence the phrase "the unexamined life" popped into my mind and struck a particular chord.  I find that there are times when I don't want to examine my thoughts and feelings because I'm just too afraid to go there.  Other times I dig so deep in my examination that I come away feeling raw inside.  But I know that there has to be a happy medium between the two extremes that will be beneficial to my maturity and growth as a person.  I just need to slow down a bit, find that happy medium and go on from there.

I believe that the "unexamined life" is a stunted one where there is little or no real growth or maturity.  I think a "shallow life" is the result of an "unexamined life".

So I am making the choice today to live an "examined life" in a way that will help me become mature and the person I am meant to be in this world.

Are you living an "unexamined life"?  Think about it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Arrival

Today I am doing the dance of joy as I celebrate the birth of my first great-niece Sara Elizabeth who was born yesterday weighing in at 9 pounds 3 ounces.  In a family that consists of mostly boys, it is exciting to have a girl born into the family.  Sara Elizabeth is the first girl born into our family since my youngest sister was born 48 years ago.  I do have a niece by adoption who is just as much a part of our family as if she had been born into it and I have five nieces by marriage, but Sara has presented a new perspective to our family.

I now have seven nephews (one by adoption), six nieces (one by adoption and five by marriage), three great-nephews and one great-niece.  I also have three more babies due over the next six months.

Regardless of how my nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-niece have become a part of our family each one of them is special.  I love them all very much.  I enjoy watching them grow and mature and make lives for themselves.

Thank you God for the safe arrival of Sara.  I pray that you would bless her, watch over her and help her to grow up to become the person you have destined for her to be.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Regrets

In a few days my youngest niece will be turning 15.  Since she became a part of our family (through adoption) I have tried to be there for her as someone, other than her mom, to bounce ideas and thoughts off.

Last week as we talked Allison expressed excitement about attending a Youth Conference (YC).  One of the things she was most excited about was the chance to see friends that live in various parts of Alberta, Canada and the United States.  One of these people was a teenager named Darcy (who lives in California) that Allison had met over the Internet through some other mutual friends.

Allison was questioning whether or not to make an attempt to arrange a meeting in person with Darcy during the weekend at YC.  She was wavering back and forth on the subject.

As we discussed the situation I asked Allison if she didn't attempt to meet up with Darcy during the weekend, would she go home feeling disappointed.  She decided that yes she would be disappointed.  So I gave her some advice that I wished I had been told about when I was a teenager.  I told her to go ahead and take the chance of meeting up with Darcy and if it was something that was supposed to happen it would.

I emphasized that if she didn't make the attempt she would always have that feeling of regret about the situation.  I told her that I had experienced regret over many situations where I didn't step out and take a chance at something that could have been a very positive experience.  I also told her that the times I did step out of my comfort zone and took a chance I was really glad I had done it.

Yesterday Allison told me that things had worked out for her to meet Darcy in person and she was very happy about that.  Of course there was a bit of awkwardness that comes with two teenagers meeting each other for the first time, but she was so glad it had worked out for them to meet.  I told her that it was obviously something that God had wanted to happen since it worked out in a way that neither Allison nor Darcy had really planned.  But it was good that it happened.

I was speaking from experience as I talked to Allison about having regrets.  If I look back over my life I see many times when I chose not to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I didn't want Allison to turn 53 (my age) and look back at all the regrets she had from not taking those steps and try something new or different.

As I look back over my life I see that there were times when I did take that step out of my comfort zone and tried something new or different.  Those are times I can look back at with positive feelings and remind myself that taking chances can be very good things that have positively affected my life.

My challenge today and tomorrow is to try to take as many of those steps out of my comfort zone as I can and look at them as positive learning experiences.  Taking those chances can help me grow and mature into the person I am destined to be.

Living with regrets is not an enjoyable life.  So today I choose to stop living with them and move on and take new challenges as they arise.  I may be 53 years old but I can still learn new things and make positive impacts on my life.

I encourage you to stop living a life with regrets and move into a life full of new and exciting challenges and activities.

Be well today.