my dad’s passing & grief

Well, my dad passed away a little over a month ago & it’s been a weird time & kind of like a whirlwind.  Before we had his memorial service, I had a quick trip to Rome with mom & our group trip.  While I totally love Rome, my visit was a little bittersweet, as I recalled some of the times I’d been there with my dad.  After the Rome visit, we had a really amazing memorial service for my dad & we were nothing less than overwhelmed with the support, prayers, kind words & gratitude expressed during this service – completely AMAZING!!

It’s been a few weeks now since the memorial service & while I think that we (mom & I) are generally doing pretty well, there are certainly some moments when it gets difficult and sad for me.  I’m finding that these moments are really unpredictable (watching my daughter play basketball & remembering my dad watch me, driving to church to present a difficult sermon, typing this blog now, . . . .).  With all of that being said, I’m learning to value & appreciate the different ways that God is helping me and that I am not invincible nor impervious.  Jesus carries our griefs and sorrows – we aren’t designed to bear that weight.  So let’s join together & give Jesus our cares, worries, sorrows and griefs because Jesus is the ultimate Hercules 🙂

that was stupid

When I was growing up, people would often comment about how serious I was & to this day, I can still get quagmired in the intense bog.  One of the things that helps me to lighten up is to laugh at myself – to not take myself so seriously.  So from time to time, I review some of the silly, goofy & even stupid things that I’ve done just to lighten my thinking.  Here’s a sampling:

  • For Thanksgiving one year, I had heard that convection baking was superior to the regular oven baking.  Of course I didn’t get any more information & proceeded to burn my turkey, sufficient only for a burnt offering.  We didn’t eat turkey that Thanksgiving ,)
  • my first car never had an oil change in 3 years – didn’t know that was important :/
  • I used to work in a data entry position & would take messages for my co-workers.  I decided to find the phone number of a local mortuary & leave one a my co-workers a message to call Myra Mains with just the phone number for the mortuary ,)
  • I tried to toast whipped cream on a pie – we renamed the outcome to “puddle pie”

Laughter is good medicine!!

that’s impressive!!!

There are all kinds of things that can impress us: stupid animal tricks, brilliant mental feats, amazing generosity, world’s strongest iguana and oh so much more!  I just looked on youtube for the latest & greatest (something about an elevator prank in Brazil is popular today), but I was less than impressed.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul challenges us to not be impressed with amazing spiritual feats & miracles, nor should we be impressed with persuasive conversations or speeches.  He’s not even impressed with excessive philanthropic activities.  What Paul challenges us to be impressed with is genuine love.   Let’s be mindful about what really catches our attention and grabs our admiration 🙂

The path to results

Once upon a time, in an ancient & almost forgotten century, there was a movie called When Harry Met Sally.  In the movie, there are these brief interviews with couples who have been married for eons.  What has lingered in my memory from these interviews & from watching couples who are old & have been married since before time, is often the rich texture, the broad understanding & genuine respect that these relationships evidence.  There’s something very alluring & appealing to seeing these long-term relationships.  With all of this being said, I don’t really consider myself to be much of a romantic person (skip the roses, chocolate & I’m unable to muster the interest to endure watching Pride & Prejudice, no matter who the actors are). BUT, what I do like are the results from these long-term committments.

So here’s my point:  the results we often crave in our lives (significance, love, fulfillment, intimacy, satisfaction, achievement, etc) are often nothing less than the consequences of committment, a word that is often disdained in our modern culture.  Perhaps when Jesus talked about abiding in Him to bear much fruit / results, just maybe He was talking about being committed to Him in a deeply personal & daily relationship.  Just a little food for thought ,)

ever been mad at God?

In my opinion, a relationship that has any degree of depth needs to be able to work through conflict, tension, disappointment, misunderstandings, challenges, etc.  I sincerely believe that the deeper the relationship, the more we must be willing to work through such struggles & I don’t think that our relationship with God is any different.  I think that our relationship with God is as deep as we are willing to wrestle:  no wrestling, shallow depth; much wrestling, much depth.  My examples for this thinking are in Job & Jacob who strenuously wrestled with God, not without some impairment.

So with this in mind, when (not if) we get mad, disappointed, frustrated, misunderstand God, let’s not sweep these feelings & thoughts under the carpet.  Let’s maintain an open & honest dialogue with God because the depth with God is worth way more than the dialogue, conflict, etc 😀

black Friday

I’m confessing right up front that I’m not the sharpest knife in the door & sometimes things that are obvious to everyone else can be really opaque for me.  With that being said, why do we call Good Friday, “Good” & Black Friday “Black”?  It would seem to me that Good Friday is more black than good & that Black Friday is more good than black (good because we often get a day off of school & work).  Now that you could possibly be super confused, let’s simplify this whole conundrum.  Let’s be thankful that each & every day is a gift from God – this is the day that the Lord has made so I will rejoice & be thankful 🙂

Today is a good day because we have another chance to grow in our awareness of Jesus being present with us in our daily living.  So with this in mind, you could call today black, orange, green, pink, blue, yellow or even mauve – whatever you chose, may your day be filled with “God awareness” – aha moments that spring up for you throughout this day!! 😀

Is there a problem with Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow is our wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving, the day when we do some of these activities: overeat, watch football, enjoy or tolerate family & cook boatloads of food, among lots of other things. Generally, Thanksgiving is perceived as a nice holiday & to be really honest, I’m close to deciding that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
With all that being said, here are a few problems that we can work on to make this an awesome holiday:
*culmination rather than celebration: lets aim to make gratitude a lifestyle rather than a 1 day event
*just like turkey & stuffing make a nice complement, so do thanksgiving & forgiveness 🙂
*fellowship trumps football – ‘nuf said ,)