Life's Journey

Headlights

 

Have you ever thought about the Headlights of your car and how they relate to your life?

  • I enjoy driving; especially on long distance trips.
  • I know very little about cars and how they operate, but I’m thankful for the convenience and pleasure mine brings to my life.
  • If we are observant, we will see the lessons taught in our simple daily experiences.

Headlights are a vital part of our driving experience.

  • We CANNOT drive through the dark without them.
  • They keep our lives safe when otherwise we cannot see.
  • We may be on a dark, winding road, going through the woods; possibly even a tremendous storm.
  • In our specific experience: we have to be alert to deer jumping out of the woods (which has happened to us many times).

Each of us trusts in the Headlights of our cars.

  • We really can only see as far as the beam lights the way for us.
  • As we arrive at the end of the lit area, the light shines a little further down the road.
  • But, we fly down the road expecting to arrive at our destination safely.
  • We don’t think about the short distance the light casts in front of us or that we won’t arrive at our expected end.

This is the way we need to live our lives.

  • Not worrying about what might or might not happen.
  • Go through each day, week, month, year, the whole of your life a step at a time.
  • You might not see the vast expanse of your whole trip, or what is around the bend.

The unexpected does happen to all of us.

  • Some fear what tomorrow might bring and fail to engage life fully.
  • Too many times we say: “What if, what if, what if.”
  • The way we talk to ourselves does nothing except cripple our hopes, dreams and goals.
  • Believe in tomorrow.
  • Just, as when you jump into your car on a dark night and turn the Headlights on.

Driving a car is faith. Living life is faith. Eternity is faith.

  • We cannot see all the way to the end of our trip.
  • But, we have a trustworthy vehicle, a roadmap and those who will help and guide us.
  • Examine your life.
  • Consider the destination that is ahead of you.
  • Turn your Headlights on and you will be able to see the path ahead of you……..as far as the beams light the way.
  • If you don’t turn the Headlights on, you will always be in the dark.

“If you are the kind of person who is waiting 

for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait a long time.

It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green

for five miles before starting the trip.”

–Robert Kiyosaki

Standard
Encouragement, Life's Journey

Storms

It is now shortly after 4:00 a.m. and a STORM is raging outside of the security of my home. 

  • The winds are howling, the thunder clouds clashing, the lightning flashing, the rain assaulting the four walls that provide shelter for myself and my husband.
  • For about an hour now; this Storm has raged on and on.
  • It started with a loud clash of thunder, brilliant lightning and the sound of wind chimes working overtime.
  • Our power has jumped on and off a couple of times.
  • We’ve already had two inches of rain.
  • This Storm is coming in waves; sort of like the tides.
  • It loudly announces it’s presence, after a while it seems to silently fade away only to return again with more force.

Many times I sleep through a Storm in the night, but this one said; “not tonight, I have things to say to you.” 

  • It spoke of the security of my home….of my life, and of Storms passed.
  • I was reminded, again, of a Stormy night many years ago when I thought my heart would literally break in two….a night I might not even survive.

This Storm of nature, just like the Storms that come into our lives, arrived on the heels of a good day, a day of blessings. 

  • When we’re on the mountain top, we must be aware that the trip down can bring us into a valley.
  • Storms can do that.
  • They effect our lives for the good, and if we let it we will be influenced for the worst.
  • The out come is determined by our personal perspective.
  • Will you let your spirit drown in the Storm, or will you rise above it?
  • Your times and choices are in your hands.

This Storm reminded me of something I observed one time as I was making a drive up into the Rocky Mountains. 

  • Before our destination was reached a strong Storm erupted.
  • We hadn’t been in the rain very long when I noticed a corral with about eight horses in it.
  • What caught my attention was the fact all of these horses were tightly huddled together in one corner of the pen and every one of them had their noses pointed in the same direction.
  • This group of horses were all facing directly into the wind….they were all turned into the Storm.

That’s what a ship at sea will do…..turn into a Storm.

  • The bow of a ship is designed to cut through the waves, to give it more strength.
  • The strong forces of the waves are more easily dispersed along the sides of the ship.
  • When the stern faces a Storm the craft itself is more exposed and may take a damaging blow to itself and makes all who occupy it more venerable to harm.
  • We too have more strength when we choose to turn and stand in the face of the Storms that come into our lives.

Sometimes, as with the Storm outside of my home tonight, we have a warning of it’s approach. 

  • Yesterday the air was hot and heavy….you knew something was going to break in order to clear things out.
  • But, at other times, we are hit with a Storm we were not expecting and possibly not prepared for.
  • It can come from an unexpected phone call or just about any other avenue that you have experienced.

Tonight’s Storm told me “I was safe and secure, that I had nothing to fear. My home and my life has a strong foundation. All this uproar will pass. Tomorrow will come. The air will be fresher and the sun will once more make an appearance. There will be more Storms to come, but you have grown in strength with each one that crosses your life. You can make it through the Storms of tomorrow because you depended upon ME to make it through the Storms of yesterday.”  In Scripture there is a well known account of a Storm. 

  • I have applied this story many times to my life experiences, and shared it with others when they were in the midst of their Storms.
  • As Jesus and His disciples were on the sea, a great Storm raged.
  • Most of the time the emphasis of this account is on Jesus sleeping, His disciples’ fear, Him calling for peace and calming the Storm.
  • What encourages me is the beginning of this story.
  • In Mark 4:35 Jesus has a journey to make to the other side of the sea.
  • He says to his followers: “Let US go to the other side.” 
  • In Matthew 8:23 the Word says “When He entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him.” 

Take time to reflect on this:

  • He knew there would be a Storm.
  • He entered the boat first.
  • He was with the disciples (US).
  • There was a purpose to be fulfilled across the sea and He knew that all would arrive safely.
  • If you have a personal relationship with the Savior, you can depend upon the fact that He is with you in your Storms.

Last night’s Storm is now over. 

  • The air is cool, clean and fresh.
  • As you read these words, know that you too can have a freshness and renewal in your life.
  • If you would like to know more about surviving and growing through the Storms, please thoughtfully read my blog of this past February entitled “OPPORTUNITIES.”

“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman,

“we must do one thing; there is only one way:

we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”

(Streams in the Desert)

Standard
Life's Journey

Meekness

We pay so little attention to our language anymore.

  • My grandson recently commented to me that people don’t write like they used to anymore.
  • Descriptive words have become nonexistent.
  • Language now is limited to short characters when writing, or slang when verbalizing with someone.
  • We in many ways have let our minds become lazy.
  • Why don’t we have time for words, either written or spoken?
  • Because….we’re just too involved with me, myself and I, that we don’t have time for anything else.
  • How sad it is to live this way, when one of our greatest pleasures is the enjoyment of reading, words of songs that express emotion, using our minds and focusing on what is going on all around us.
  • It seems we live only in the moment. In doing this, we cheat ourselves and the people we care about the most.

Today’s post is a word study.

  • The first of this week I was part of a group discussion concerning the word MEEK.
  • It has been in the forefront of my mind ever since.
  • There have been many times during the past years that I have thought about and reflected upon this word.
  • It has an interesting definition that gives rise to many pictures in the mind.

The word MEEK congers up negative images which are untrue. 

  • Of being whimpy, of weakness, a mousey or subdued person; each of which is not an attractive vision.
  • (Think of Popeye’s friend Whimpy who could never give an opinion or an answer to anything).
  • Most people would be offended if you described them as MEEK; which gives evidence that they know nothing about this word, and probably many other forgotten words in the language of today.

Dictionary definition of MEEKNESS:*

  • Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding, given to forbearance under injuries;
  • Humble, unostentatious, unpretentious
  • Forbearance (a related word): command of temper, restraint of passions, exercise of patience, long suffering, indulgence toward those who injure one
  • Tame (another related word): to make gentle and familiar; as to tame a wild beast; to subdue; to conquer; to soften (the tongue comes to mind here)
  • Interesting words with cross over meanings.

Application definition of MEEKNESS, keep this in mind, because it will never be surpassed: “STRENGTH UNDER CONTROL.”

  • Picture in your mind a horse that has been gentled, tamed. What beautiful giant creatures they are.
  • It’s fascinating to watch a horse work with his owner at a rodeo or to see a thoroughbred run a race under the control of a small jockey.
  • They are powerful, but their power is put to use and under control.
  • They are both MEEK and strong at the same time.

Spend some time thinking about this meaning and applying it on your personal journey. 

  • It will help preserve you from problems with your mouth, from making poor choices in difficult situations, improve your relationships, be more understanding of others, give you less stress.
  • The list goes on and on.
  • There’s nothing wrong with being MEEK, humble, controlling your temper, exercising patience, and being long suffering.
  • A person of strong character has those attributes.
  • Put this to practice in your life. It will help you conquer fears, people and situations.

MEEKNESS: IS STRENGTH UNDER CONTROL

“The greatness of man’s power

is the measure of his surrender.”

(William Booth)

  * Webster’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (unabridged)

Standard
Life's Journey

Mistakes

 

What exactly is a MISTAKE? How often do we make one? How do we let them effect our lives, our relating to others?

  • A BIG question: How do you and I let the MISTAKES others make INFLUENCE what we may say and do?
  • Too many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves. We are offended too much of the time by others; their words or behavior.
  • Much of the time, it’s really only an action we perceive they have committed. In reality each of us look at others from our own perspective more frequently than not.

MISTAKES are errors or bad choices.

  • Some are big with larger consequences and some are small with a lesser price to pay.
  • Some of them are made instantly without thought.
  • Others are made after we “stew” about an event for a while.
  • Then we go to work to chastise another individual.
  • This may only be done mentally or emotionally, but our choice is to be disappointed, condemn and withdraw ourselves from said offender.

Everyone makes MISTAKES…….even YOU.

  • Our work associates, friends, family members, spouses, and (heaven forbid! so do Christians and pastors)
  • These last two we put on an exceptionally high level.
  • GIVE THEM A BREAK. They are not perfect; just human beings like each one of us.
  • They make MISTAKES: some intentional, but also a lot that are thoughtless human error.
  • If intentional, God will take care of it.
  • If unintentional; let go of it and be forgiving.
  • When thinking of them, we throw the word HYPOCRITE around quite freely.
  • We judge them, lose our admiration and remove ourselves from associating with them.
  • In short, we hide behind what we call a hypocrite and become one our self.
  • Let me ask you this IMPORTANT QUESTION:
  • Why do you continue to PAY MONEY to attend sports or entertainment events when a large number of those you go to see have demonstrated poor life choices and have even been found guilty of committing crimes?
  • Yet, you continue to go to these venues, but you won’t darken the door of a certain church or possibly any church again.
  • In my book….that makes YOU a hypocrite.
  • Everything is in the eye of the beholder, and most of us think we’re better than others, because of either their words or actions.
  • The truth is: none of us are. PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES, and we “are a people.”

Some MISTAKES we make are huge, and there is a tremendous price to pay.

  • In this day and in this country there is much that needs to be corrected.
  • Our society is paying a high price for MISTAKES we as Christians, individuals, or leaders have made.
  • There are things we should have done (omission); other choices made which were wrong (commission).
  • Too often we as parents see something wrong our children do (especially a very bad choice) and step in to avert the consequences.
  • WRONG. In order to learn: the natural consequences of inappropriate actions must be allowed to follow their progression.
  • It’s hard to stand by and watch this, but the results instruct them and ourselves.

I personally heard another individual relate this illustration, and since then have read of the truth of this in nature’s plan. One day as this man was hiking through a wooded area, He saw a cocoon hanging from a tree limb. The insect within was struggling to emerge. He watched for a while, but then took pity on the long and difficult struggle of the insect. He made the decision to help the birthing process by opening the cocoon himself. Then, the butterfly made it’s appearance, tried to find strength in its body to fly off. But, after a few minutes it fell to the ground dead. What happened? Well, the struggles the butterfly goes through is important to the vitality of it’s life. In working it’s way out of the cocoon (facing the consequences) a specific element flows through the body and to the wings of this new beautiful creature. Without this process the wings never develop and the butterfly never flies to accomplish it’s purpose in life.

We all need to learn more from our MISTAKES.

  • Myself, I must admit that I’ve learned from some and others I keep repeating.
  • Still, whatever stage of life is ours, we should strive to always be learning, forgiving and growing in our personal lives.
  • The process must be endured; in order to become a more mature and less judgemental individual.

Be a person of positive action not a person who only reacts. Reaction causes damage to you and others; that you don’t even stop to think about. Keep this thought in mind when looking at others…….you are not MISTAKE free.

 

“The only man who never makes a mistake

is the man who never does anything.”

(Theodore Roosevelt)

       

Standard
Life's Journey

Resurrection

 

RESURRECTION……To rise again, To reappear

Last September on a post these words were recorded on this site: “Somehow I believe the trees are alive with the splendor of color in the fall; to send a message to winter. Just wait…it isn’t over yet…I’ll be back clothed with the beauty of RESURRECTION.

Today, we are very close to seeing the truth of those words.

  • New life springing forth from what APPEARED to be dead.
  • The dull brown grass again is putting on her shades of green.
  • The barren skeletons of the trees are showing signs of budding leaves.
  • From the earth beneath us infant flowers are beginning to reveal themselves.
  • Each day we hear more and more the music of the birds.
  • Spring, RESURRECTION is almost here.
  • Warmth and color will once more defeat winter with all her cold, dark and drab days.

All through the history of civilization there has been only one true RESURRECTION.

  • The world celebrates this God given event tomorrow…..Easter Sunday.
  • The springing forth of something new which has been given to ALL men.
  • Death into a new life, sorrow into happiness, failure into success, despair into hope.
  • LOOK to this RESURRECTION, of a reborn life that lives again after death.

A different definition of RESURRECTION is a rising again; a springing forth into life or vitality; as the rebirth of one’s hopes.

  • We’ve all watched the death of dreams, plans and relationships; only to have our lives renewed probably in a way that had never occurred to us.
  • I would venture to say: “most of the time the new direction was better than the old.” 

Just as the seasons change from death to life, so do we.

  • More than once, in both my spiritual and personal life I have had to change course.
  • I remember a past Easter morning in which I got up early to do some thinking and reflection concerning this special day.
  • Our living room had windows on three sides.
  • As I sat on the couch and looked outside those windows, I immediately became attracted to the rebirth in nature.
  • The green of the grass, the blooming pear trees, the flowering bushes, the busy squirrels, the foraging birds.
  • All these events spoke about my life. I had a renewal in my heart, a time of Resurrection, a reappearance of what I sometimes neglect.

 

RESURRECTION: Life from death…..Jesus Christ 

RESURRECTION: Rebirth…..You and Me

 

Our LORD has written the promise of resurrection,

Not in books alone,

But in every leaf in springtime.

(Martin Luther)

 

 

Standard
Life's Journey

Puzzles

 

Recently I just worked a 2,000 piece Puzzle which was given to me as a Christmas gift.

  • One of the pleasures in this life that I enjoy is seeing projects come together; basically out of nothing.
  • You create a lovely or interesting picture out of a box filled with nothing more than a jumbled mess.
  • For many of us our lives are; or we have gone through times when we also are in pieces that need to be put back together again.

In life and in doing Jigsaw Puzzles you need to decide how to approach the project. 

  • You can’t just take all those loose pieces toss them up in the air and expect the end result to be a beautiful picture.
  • For myself, I see many parallels between creating a finished Puzzle and making a life that is enjoyable and fulfilling for each one of us.

Before you can get started, a choice has to be made.

  • What picture do you want to put together or how will you put your life together?
  • Once that decision has been made the process of creation begins.
  • The duplication of the picture on the box front is your goal.
  • Before you start working, a plan needs to be devised that enables that goal to be reached.

Next, I look at what is there to work with, and get the pieces organized.

  • Start with separating the pieces; which entails finding the borders, corners and separating the dominating colors.
  • The more muted colors are mixed together, and saved for when the main focus is close to being completed.
  • Take care of the big things first, and then add in the background pieces.
  • Along the way be careful that no pieces are lost.
  • One missing piece will make the picture incomplete, which means the goal cannot be adequately attained.

The border of our Puzzle represents the boundaries of our lives.

  • Wether we want to admit it or not, boundaries help us function in a better and more positive way.
  • Total freedom leads only to confusion and disarray; nothing can be accomplished.
  • In this day and age we can certainly observe this going on all around us in just about any avenue of life you choose to name.

There is an illustration about children playing in a fenced school yard during recess. They were playing ball, chase, hopscotch and all other such games; thoroughly enjoying themselves. Someone with authority decided the fence was unnecessary and had it removed. An interesting phenomena happened. The children no longer played happily, but huddled together in the middle of the school ground. The lesson learned here….the fence made the children feel secure, they knew what their limits were. The same is true for us, we all need boundaries.   

The corners of our Puzzle represents the anchors of our lives.

  • A ship drops anchor so it will not drift into danger, but remain stable in its berth or in a storm.
  • At one time there was a game called Sandlot Baseball in which none of the bases were tied down like they are on a regulation baseball field.
  • Batters would run to or slide into first base, and before long first base would be in right field.
  • Why? Because the base was not correctly anchored, it could not hold up to the stress put upon it.
  • When we buy a home or a piece of land, it is surveyed and the corners are marked.
  • These landmarks define the ownership of said property.
  • Stable landmarks define what our life consists of, and it states for all….Who we belong to.
  • The Bible in Psalms speaks of not removing the ancient landmarks.

The bold colors in our Puzzle represent the major focus of our lives. 

  • Our choices, faith, family, friends, occupation, interests, attitude, etc.
  • They are the big picture we reveal to others.
  • They are our contentment, happiness, and the foundation of who we are.

The muted colors of our Puzzle represent the shadows, difficulties and struggles of our lives.

  • If it wasn’t for these hazy, defused tones; the predominate bold colors would never be seen.
  • In life there is the good and bad, white and black, joy and sorrow, peace and discontentment.
  • The negative brings more beauty to the positive. (Check out a dark room sometime).
  • For balance and growth we need a range of colors to make a beautiful picture.

The backside of our Puzzle is grey and dull.

  • There is nothing interesting to see.
  • Who wants to observe a Puzzle like that.
  • There’s not one thing that speaks to us in any way.
  • Is this what our lives show to others?
  • Do we huddle in the middle of the school yard, and never really live the life that was meant for us?

Or, does the finished scene of our Puzzle, and our lives bring pleasure to those who take the time to see the picture in front of them? 

  • Do we provide happiness and a challenge to those we come into contact with each and every day?
  • In working your Puzzle make sure you have a goal, find the borders, corner pieces, both bright and muted colors.
  • Get to work and you will be surprised at how enjoyable the time invested in the finished product can be.

As I finish these words, I leave you with a personal experience from my life that I reflect on every once in a while. I had volunteered myself to decorate a bulletin board in a young married Sunday School classroom. Instead of purchasing supplies for the project, I remembered I had an old Puzzle (I save puzzles and rework them at a later date.) It was 1,000 pieces of a New England scene with a lovely white church and steeple in the middle of all the colorful fall leaves. The decision was made to put it together, glue it, and hang it on the bulletin board. So I finished the Puzzle, but to my dismay there was one piece missing. Time and work wasted. Suddenly I had a brain storm. Quickly I located some construction paper, scissors; went to work making lettering for the board in the classroom. The newly worked Puzzle was hung in the classroom under this inscription: “Is God The Missing Piece In Your Life?” Think about this, and if the question fits you or the Puzzle of your life !!      

 

“But in the front a picture fair

Rewards the worker for his care,

Proving his skill and patience rare.

Thou are the Workman, I the frame.

Lord, for the glory of Thy Name,

Perfect Thine image on the same.”

(Streams In the Desert)

Standard
Life's Journey

What’s The Big Deal?

 

Everyone one of us has experiences, probably on a regular basis, that are unexpected, frustrating, irritating and sometimes can make us down right mad.

  • For me, I get very impatient when stuck in traffic.
  • Somethings we encounter are larger and some are smaller events, but we still let them get under our skin and we over react.
  • Such as: we’re in a hurry to get somewhere and the car won’t start, we’ve misplaced our keys, company’s coming and the sink stopped up, the phone didn’t get charged or just as you are ready to go out the baby spits up.

The list is endless for all of us. We all have experienced over and over Gumperson’s Law.

  • These incidents are just part of living an everyday life.
  • My husband gets sooo very upset at himself when he has “an accident of life” happen to him. Maybe he’s misplaced something. He’ll break a glass or spill something that will fly all over the place.
  • I usually try to sooth his irritation and help clean up the mess.
  • While we are working to put things back in order I tell him: “IT’S NO BIG DEAL” don’t take it so seriously, nothing important has happened. Calm down, everything’s going to be ok.

I remember one time when I went to an orthopedic surgeon.

  • He had been giving me shots in my knee, but this time the pain was so intense that I let out a small cry.
  • He apologized. I remarked to him that it caught me by surprise and that this experience was “just small potatoes.”
  • He gave me a serious look and said: “you’ve got the big picture, don’t you?” 
  • I responded in the affirmative; by that time I had had many real life experiences.
  • From then on any time I met one of his collegues, he always introduced me as his favorite patient.

A while back while visiting with a friend of mine, it was easy to see that she was quite upset and distressed.

  • As I inquired about her problem, she told me her mother had  a health issue that MIGHT be cancer.
  • My friend had worked herself up into an emotional state that included losing her mother before too long.
  • We talked and I encouraged her to take it a step at a time. Wait for tests and more definitive news.
  • If the news was not good she could concentrate on crossing one bridge at a time; not all of them at once.
  • As it turned out her mother didn’t have cancer.

We all fall prey to the fear of the unknown, but that is not the place to stay even for the short term.

  • Trust that things will turn out right.
  • If they don’t, then ask for strength to face whatever is before you and get going to do whatever is required to conquer the situation and come out on the other side.

Most of the time I have learned not to let the little things get to me anymore.

  • I must confess though, when something major happens I may find myself stunned for a little while.
  • But then as reality hits, I gather my thoughts, put myself back together, look to my faith and start down the path to meet whatever situation is ahead of me.

When it comes to the various little experiences of life, stop and say to yourself: “IT’S NO BIG DEAL.” Save your energies for the things that are A BIG DEAL.

 

“Worrying is like a rocking chair.

It gives you something to do,

but won’t get you anywhere.”

 

(Response of a 17 year old boy from Firestone, CO when asked this question:

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?)

   

Standard