The words I would say

I’ve been reading lately from Bob Goff’s book “Love Does”.

It has inspired me to look at life, and people, in a different frame. It is challenging to live differently, maybe even with more “Whimsy” than I’ve added in years of later vintage. We’ll see. It has challenged me to live love more intently, as well.

It is also prompting me to think about writing a book, or maybe even two.

The first has been on my mind and heart for a while now. It would be a narrative faith history, a collection of short reflective essays maybe, on how God has been at work in the history of my employer for 3 or 4 generations, in both the good and the bad moments of life. The title would be “God is faithful, and we are thankful”, and even that title has a story behind it. I’m not sure it will ever be written, or even if it is, if anyone would ever want to read it, but my goal is to give writing it a try.

The second would be more personal, but hopefully more practical, as well. “Headgear: what a 40+ year collection of hats has taught me about life…”. Still a thought in progress, but it would have a “full armor of God” theme imbedded in it, as well. The draft alone could have 50 inspirational themes, but I digress.

For today, I have a job to do. I have kids to raise. I have a charge to keep, and a God to glorify.

So, for today, as the song says, these are the words I would say:

It’s Three in the morning
and I’m still awake
so I picked up a pen and a page.
And I started writing
just what I’d say
if we were face to face

I’d tell you just what you mean to me
Tell you these simple truths

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

Last time we spoke
you said you were hurting
and I felt your pain in my heart
I want you to know
that I keep on praying
Love will find you where you are

I know ’cause I’ve already been there
So just hear these simple truths

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

From one simple life to another
I will say
Come find peace in the Father

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
Thank God for each day
His love will find a way
These are the words I would say.

Writer(s): David Frey, Ben Mcdonald
Copyright: Dayspring Music LLC

Higher Ground

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”

Lyrics by Johnson Oatman Jr.

I’ve given up…

I’ve given up; stop. Don’t come around here no more…

Those words were penned by a singer named Tom Petty.

I’ve been reading some more, recently, and not just just bad song lyrics.

Don’t laugh. It’s stranger than it may sound, at least for me. At least, of late, that is.

You see, I haven’t been reading much, lately. I have plenty of good books, and good articles, piled up on my nightstand, my desk at work, and even on my closet shelf. And, of course, I’ve got my Bible. I haven’t been reading much of that, of late, either. Just a fee snippet verses from my calendar or my email have been my sustaining nourishment for far too long, and that needs to change.

I have enjoyed writing in recent years, but I’ve arguably done too much of that and not enough of the aforementioned reading. I’ve enjoyed exercise, as well, but that too has been lacking of late. What have done to fill all of its place, you make ask? Worry. Wonder. Wander? Maybe so, at least from the place of my heart, that being the place of my faith.

So, what changed, you might ask? Well, I’m not sure. Maybe things have just gone too far. Maybe things went just so far for God to come near, or at least to be reminded that He is.

How does the old phrase go? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?

Maybe the old is my faith. I need to exercise it more, to make it stronger.

Maybe the old is my father, my earthly father. He is dying. There, I finally said it. It shouldn’t be as shocking as I was fearing it would feel to say. Truthfully told, we all are. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But, we are dying. It is only a matter of time. For my father, his earthly body is ill. Disease has taken a toll on him, robbing him of probably 35% of the body weight he had a little over a year ago, and strength to go along with it. And yet, from what I hear, he finds joy in the little things, in the everyday, like going to breakfast, or sitting on the back patio, or having a surprise visit from an old friend. He told me a few months ago from his hospital bed that he’s led a good life, and I believe. it. I vow to do the same, for so long as my earthly lips (or iPad typing thumbs) exist to express just such words.

But, what is the new of which the old phrase speaks? Maybe this line of thinking. Maybe giving up. Stop? Maybe necessary endings. Maybe having the courage to plan, and to speak, and to boldly go.

And, what is the borrowed? A book, to be exact, which has me examining, and believing, and appreciating, and trying to change. Thank, Jason, even though you didn’t intend to hand me your copy of Bob Goff’s “Love Does”. I picked it up a few days ago, and now it is hard to out down, even at 1:00 in the morning.

And now, I find myself intentionally writing handwritten notes to people a time or two each day. I find myself on my knees in prayer. I find myself reading other things, as well. I find myself listening to the entire Gospel of Mark during a 5 mile walk.

And, I find myself attempting to steel the courage for necessary endings, some of my control, others not, some of my initiation, others not. Some within my control, but most, not.

My dad is still sick. My kids are still about to be grown and gone, and I wonder about the places and ways that I have failed to prepare them better for life than I have. The world is still changing. The industry I help lead an organization in is still in decline. The level of resources available to fund the work of my organization is arguably lower than it has been in years. My bosses question how we are where we are. Truthfully, I do the same.

Is there blame? Is there shame? Is there failure? Or, are there simply opportunities? Do I stop singing the old Tom Petty refrain of “don’t come around here no more” and simply allow God to come near, to come alongside, if you will, and to take over the reigns.

C.S. Lewis is quoted with saying “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I don’t suffer from many vices. I don’t drink, I don’t chew, and I don’t look a naughty pictures of girls who do. What I do is worry. And I get angry. And I question.

I recently listened to a well known speaker, Jerry Rushford of Pepperdine University, give his well known “With Christians on the road beaten hard” speech. I was so moved, I found a way to listen to him present it again the very next day. He spoke of a man in his late 40’s who had been fairly successful in life. He succeeded in business. He had a good family. But, things in his life were getting difficult. His business was struggling. His relationships were suffering. His health was in question. While on a business trip, he found himself taking a walk and winding up in a small country church building. There, in the front of the building, he found a simple framed verse “lay down your burdens”. He was relieved. God was speaking to him. It was just what he needed to hear. He would do just that. Feeling refreshed, he turned to leave the building, only to be confronted with another framed verse, this one with Christ’s exhortation from Mark 8:34 “If any man would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”.

I do need to lay my burdens down.

I do need to exercise courage, and push for necessary endings, in some of the models of my business, in some dealings in my family, in some dealings with myself. I need to trust more in God. I need to be able to speak, and to not worry, and to be ready to say goodbye when times call for it, and so on, and so on.

I do need to lay my burdens down. And I need to take up my cross, daily, and follow Him.

He did. He does. He loves.

Love does. So should I. Thanks, Bob Goff, for your words to help me pay better attention to that reality. Life comes around, daily.

So should I.

I wont give up.

Stop. Come around any time you like.

Jealousy

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I’m not the jealous type, generally speaking. But, I must admit, that changed tonight.

I was enjoying the old movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with my Little Frau, and then our eyes met.

Audrey Hepburn’s? No. Paul Varjak’s (aka, George Peppard’s) closet, and me. We were made for each other.

But alas, ’twas not to be. The image I was attracted to was recorded in Technicolor, and the real one’s been gone for years, if it was ever real to begin with.

It’s alright. My closet has some wooden hangers. Well, that’s one thing we’ve got….

I think I feel a lyric vault moment coming on….

Ever ever after…

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Ever have “one of those days”?

How about “one of those weeks”?

You think things are going your way, when suddenly, unexpectedly, they’re not. And, you can’t quite understand why. Maybe you were banished to another realm by some evil power, or maybe that other realm is where you need to dig deep to find what you are truly made of. Nobody said it was going to be easy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be great.

I found myself searching for a brief escape from reality this evening. I settled on the 2007 Disney classic “Enchanted”. It is enchanting, indeed. By the end, my Little Frau was accusing me of being a sentimental romantic at heart. Guilty as charged. Maybe I like Idina “defying gravity” Menzel, some as well, but I digress.

Little Frau told me last night that I needed to start blogging again, but with “my words, not song lyrics”. Touché?

But, I must confess, sometimes the best thoughts and personal words are spawned from encountering music bearing said lyrics. The same is true here, and I know a little couple that might exhibit just such a storybook ending. And, they’re even dressed in green. Stay tuned…

Storybook endings, fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside we want to believe they still do
In our secretest heart, it’s our favourite part of the story
Let’s just admit we all want to make it too

Ever ever after
If we just don’t get it our own way
Ever ever after
It may only be a wish away

Start a new fashion, wear your heart on your sleeve
Sometimes you reach what’s real just by making believe
Unafraid, unashamed
There is joy to be claimed in this world
You even might wind up being glad to be you

Ever ever after
Though the world will tell you it’s not smart

Ever ever after
The world can be yours if you let your heart
Believe in ever after

No wonder your heart feels it’s flying
Your head feels it’s spinning
Each happy ending’s a brand new beginning
Let yourself be enchanted, you just might break through

To ever ever after
Forever could even start today
Ever ever after
Maybe it’s just one wish away
Your ever ever after

(I’ve been dreaming of a true love’s kiss)

Oh, for ever ever after

20130923-213158.jpg

Ever ever after…

20130923-212128.jpg
Ever have “one of those days”?

How about “one of those weeks”?

You think things are going your way, when suddenly, unexpectedly, they’re not. And, you can’t quite understand why. Maybe you were banished to another realm by some evil power, or maybe that other realm is where you need to dig deep to find what you are truly made of. Nobody said it was going to be easy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be great.

I found myself searching for a brief escape from reality this evening. I settled on the 2007 Disney classic “Enchanted”. It is enchanting, indeed. By the end, my Little Frau was accusing me of being a sentimental romantic at heart. Guilty as charged. Maybe I like Idina “defying gravity” Menzel, some as well, but I digress.

Little Frau told me last night that I needed to start blogging again, but with “my words, not song lyrics”. Touché?

But, I must confess, sometimes the best thoughts and personal words are spawned from encountering music bearing said lyrics. The same is true here, and I know a little couple that might exhibit just such a storybook ending. And, they’re even dressed in green. Stay tuned…

Storybook endings, fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside we want to believe they still do
In our secretest heart, it’s our favourite part of the story
Let’s just admit we all want to make it too

Ever ever after
If we just don’t get it our own way
Ever ever after
It may only be a wish away

Start a new fashion, wear your heart on your sleeve
Sometimes you reach what’s real just by making believe
Unafraid, unashamed
There is joy to be claimed in this world
You even might wind up being glad to be you

Ever ever after
Though the world will tell you it’s not smart

Ever ever after
The world can be yours if you let your heart
Believe in ever after

No wonder your heart feels it’s flying
Your head feels it’s spinning
Each happy ending’s a brand new beginning
Let yourself be enchanted, you just might break through

To ever ever after
Forever could even start today
Ever ever after
Maybe it’s just one wish away
Your ever ever after

(I’ve been dreaming of a true love’s kiss)

Oh, for ever ever after

20130923-213158.jpg