Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Good Indeed

Near Glacier Bay Alaska, July 2010                                        photo:mine

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
                                                           Gen 1:31

Saturday, November 20, 2010

People of Light

Victoria, BC  July 2010
This morning my friend Rebecca sent me a verse, as she does every morning at 7:00.  For some  reason todays selection has stuck with me all day.  The verse is Ephesians 5:8-9, and it says " 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true." 

For some strange reason, I have always collected, sort of stock piled really, flashlights.  Not collected like coins or stamps, I just seem to always need or think I need another flashlight.  I am quite positive that at any given time I can name at least a dozen flashlights from my collection.  Each vehicle, including my bike, my nightstand, my closet, desk, office, stored with my camping gear, my kids rooms, etc, etc, you get the idea.  I have a bunch of them.  Right now one of them sits on the counter in the kitchen, not because I'm so paranoid that I might be more than a few yards from one at any given time, although I think I really am, but because when I last tried to use it, it didn't work.  Not only that, but when I opened it up, I couldn't even get the batteries out.  It seems that they had leaked their acid out, fusing all the batteries together to the inside of the light.  What a pain!  Initially I couldn't figure out how this happened.  The batteries were brand new, I installed them correctly, and I stored the light in a safe place. What could have possibly gone wrong?  Then it occurred to me, batteries were never intended to stored in a safe, comfortable place, they were created to be used.  To provide portable power, in this case for my flashlight.  I actually did the batteries harm by never using them.  Lesson learned.

I appreciate Paul's words in these verses.  As a follower of Christ, I have a light inside me that is meant to be shared.  When it's shared it produces what is good, and right and true.  It was never intended to be stored up in a safe and comfortable place.  Unlike my flashlight, this light will never fail, fade or require fresh batteries.  I'm thankful for my friend, and growth group leader who has had me thinking about the light in my life all day long.  Also for forcing me to deal with my flashlight addiction!  

The path is bright ahead, I'll see you soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A month of thankfulness

I came  across a tweet early this month from a friend named Tommy and thought it was a great idea, so I re-tweeted so that all of my friends would get the word as well.  Tommy challenged us everyday this month to tweet something we are thankful for, and to use  #monthofthankfulness so we could all follow along.  What a great idea!  A few years ago my father in law suggested a new family tradition.  Before our meal on Thanksgiving Day, he asked us all to go around the table and share one thing we are thankful for.  Initially, I had to admit with such a large gathering of family around the tables, my first thought was good grief, the food is going to get cold before this exercise is complete.  However, listening to what everyone had to say was worth any slight temperature loss.  This year I'm looking forward to going around the table once again, and I've accepted Tommy's challenge to tweet one thing I'm thankful for each day this month.  Why not join us?

A few weeks ago on Sunday afternoon with a good friend in town, we were headed to a movie.  My cell phone rang, the caller id displaying my dad's name.  A little unusual, but I didn't think anything of it.  In the next few minutes I learned that doctors in Boone, NC had determined that my mom had had a heart attack, and that the local hospital was not equipped to provide proper care for her.  My dad made the decision to transport her by ambulance two hours away to Charlotte, where the much larger hospital would be able to provide the care that would be necessary.  He was headed home to pack a bag, grab the dog and rush to Charlotte himself.  As I hung up the phone I felt empty; I was 8 hours away, and there was nothing I could do.  Suddenly, my journey down the path took an unexpected turn.

In the next several minutes all of the 'what if' thoughts poured into my head.  We began discussing whether or not we should go, could we go, how would we get there, all the details we weren't planning to be discussing on a random Sunday afternoon.  After some silence, Donnie said, "I can't tell you what to do, but I know if I went and wasn't needed, I would never regret it.  But, if I didn't go and was needed, I would always regret it."  I'm thankful that he said those words.  Within 60 seconds we were online looking at flights, calling my sister Debbie and making plans to go.  Within 60 minutes, bags were packed and we were making the final arrangements.  At 9:30 pm we landed at the Charlotte International airport.

By the time we arrived by cab at the hospital, my mom was settled into a room, hooked up to an assortment of hoses and gadgets.  My dad had arrived safely as well.   The next day was full of tests, blood work, and waiting.  Late in the morning moms doctor informed us that the first test showed absolutely no blockage.  This was good news, and we were thankful.  He also said that even though the heart was clear, he was concerned that it was weakened.  He ordered another test, and by 7 pm he returned to the room with the results, and the news was good.  Not only were there no blockages, the heart was undamaged, and strong!  We were amazed, thankful, and yet puzzled.  I remember mom asking, "so, did I have a heart attack or not?"  The doctor said there were no signs of a heart attack.  This was good news, but didn't explain the chest pain that sent her to the hospital to begin with.  He told us he would do a CT of her lungs the next day to ensure that they were clear.  By mid-afternoon Tuesday we knew the results; her heart, and her lungs were fine.  The doctor went on to explain that this could be as simple as a pulled muscle.  He is giving her something for pain, and it seems to be working.  I am praying that as each day passes she will feel better and better.  Oh, and I'm thankful that it wasn't more serious.
 October 8, 2010

As Debbie and I flew home that Tuesday night, I remember feeling a little guilty.  I was very thankful for the outcome, but in my spirit I felt a gentle reminder that regardless of the outcome, I needed to always be thankful.  It was easy this time, but what if the news hadn't been so good?  I know what my bible says, but the reminder did me good.  Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5, "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings, and I know I know that, I've just got to do a better job of living it.  I do know that when I make a conscious decision to do what God says, I always see situations from a better perspective.  When I do God's will for my life, I find it easier to be joyful and thankful.  Maybe you will too.

I'll use Tommy's challenge as a reminder to be thankful, this month, and always!  I'll see you a little later, a little farther down the path.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heading down the path

July in Juneau, Alaska
I've always loved stories, listening mostly, frequently inserting myself into the story, imagining what life would be, or could be when I grew up.  I have fond memories of listening to my pastor teach the bible in such a way that even a simpleton like me understood, or at least wanted to understand.  I'm thankful for that master teacher, master communicator, master lover of people named John Ed, who taught me how important it was to love God, and people.  He's by no means the only one, just the first I can remember.

Over the last number of months I have enjoyed following the various written stories, or blogs, of both people I know and some I'll never meet.    Beginning today I'm going to head down the path of blogging.   I don't consider myself a teacher, or much of a  communicator, and I am still learning to love God and people.  Maybe one day I'll love others as much as I love myself, I know I ought to, and somewhere deep inside I want to.  I won't shove my blog down any ones throat, and won't be surprised if I'm the only one that reads it.  But, we all have stories to tell, so for a season or two I'll tell some of mine.  At the very least it will be therapeutic for me. 

So, why entitle my blog "Snapshots along the way?"  I am an amateur photographer wanna be, well, let's just say I really enjoy taking pictures.  I'll share many of them.  {Insert warning to friends and family here.}  The one above I took while hiking with my family last summer.  Additionally, it seems snapshots is a good word to use when referring to the small portion of someones life you see in a blog.  Collect a bunch of snapshots, store them in a book, share them with others and then you begin to learn something.  Where they've been, what they're in to and who and what is important to them.  Oh yeah, the "along the way" part.  Considering that life is a journey, we're all on a path, along the way.  We were never meant to do life alone.  We were designed by God (who Himself is a group of three persons living in an amazing relationship) to live in relationship.  One of my favorite shows of the last decade was Friends, a show mainly about a group of 6 friends, who spend a lot of time in a coffee shop and are just trying to make it through.  In the 90's it was Seinfeld, a show they said was about nothing, but was really about a group of friends who hang out, and talk about meaningless stuff.  The point in both cases:  there was a group of friends; it's not what they did that was significant, it's that what they did, they did together.

Paul told a story in the book of Acts that gives us a glimpse of what life can be one day, " 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."  Acts 2:44-47

Let's do life together.   I'll see you down the path.