Archive for Life Lesson

Moving Into The New Season

What a beautiful day, here in Florida.  It’s warm, sunny and in the 70’s.  It has been some time since we have seen our typically enviable weather.  Just last week, the winter wear came out again.  The strawberry farmers had sprinklers ready as the temperature dropped back down near freezing.  And houses adorned their crowns of white frost.  This has been a particularly abnormal season of lower temperatures.  Those sustained lower temperatures have played havoc on my vegetation located in my yard. The plants usually withstand the cold in their dormant state and then perk back up.  This season, some yards resemble a nuclear holocaust as Christmas palms stand waving their dry, drooping, brown, dead fronds in the breeze.  Many people began working on reviving their yards a week or two ago, only to be hit with this recent cold snap.  Today, I attacked.  The warmth of the sun beating down, breeze gently blowing, pruning shears and tree saw in hand, I methodically moved from one planting bed to another.  Cutting back yellow shrubs turned brown, cutting the heads off of the bird of paradise with a guillotine type action, stripping fronds from the palms, and leaving a pile of debris spread across all areas of my yard.  It was time to move into the new season.  Yes, there is a chance of another cold snap but not likely one that would take out the plants.  In moving across the yard, I examined each type of plant for early growth, past growth and potential for new growth.  The formerly yellow bushes and crotons now resemble brown sticks protruding from the ground.  The queen palms with their lower fronds cut away now stand as if stretching to touch the sun.  Each will now survive, thrive or die.  In some cases, the cutting was done in an attempt to save the plant. The hardest part about pruning was now at hand. It was time to gather the dead. Standing and looking from the center of the yard now looked like a war zone.  Gathering the remains was a delicate job as Washingtonian Palm fronds are lined with a row of thorns that could outdo any shark mouth. Roebelenii Palm fronds could be used a blow darts with their needle-like piercing ends.  Just when you get them all carefully gathered and stacked, the wind blows and the debris scatters.

All of this, because we are moving into a new season.  The safe thing to do would have been to go inside and leave the plants to their natural course of action.  Some would die, some would not grow, some would not be worth having in the yard.  To reach their fullest potential for survival in this new season required of me to make a move.

Our lives are this often this way.  The season in your life is changing but you might have to trim the dead away.  You might have to cut some things back to nubs.  You might have to take something that was looking right and cut it back for it to grow to another level.  Then there is the debris field.  Cleaning up what you trimmed in your life.  Some of those friends that you cut away, may be like thorns as you try to shape up your new season.  And even when you get the debris stacked, bring a little wind of change sometimes stirs those old, decaying, growth stopping pieces back up, only to cause more work.  You could leave everything to progress on its own but will most likely see poor growth, no growth or death in areas of your life.  It will be a good place for those weeds in your life to choke the life out.  But make a move into the new season and see what begins to bloom and grow.  Move now and see results that will be lasting.  Move now and with your help, others will be motivated to begin the pruning process to advance growth, life and fulfillment in their lives.

Traffic Report

The kids that I carpool to school in the morning love the listening material on my radio.  I bounce between 3 stations so I can hear the traffic report for my 1 hour drive to come.  I listen intently and visualize where each incident is located.  Will it delay my finely timed drive?  Should I plan to travel an alternate route?  Many times I have taken another route and bypassed the headache of being stopped in traffic.  I heard the warning and took action.

I sometimes turn the radio completely off.  The silence is refreshing.  Taking the journey as it lays out just ahead of me until the glow of little red lights begin lighting up on the backs of vehicles ahead.  There we sit and poke along, awaiting our chance to cast a long gaze at the twisted wreckage of the one who has delayed the commute.

Do you have your radio on to the traffic report?  Maybe you are radio silent, only to express your outrage at being delayed. Are you tuned in to what is going on in the world around you?  There is a delay coming for those that don’t or can’t hear.  Hear what you are clearly being warned of.  Listen to the report and take action.

This traffic report brought to you by…..

Testing

I recently commented in an email that after the statement that I made, I would now be tested.  Thinking more on that word “Tested,” caused me to realize that I am already responding to that test to come.  When I taught school, the test would be to see how everyone understood what we had already been covering.  We most likely would have had 2 -3 quizzes along the way and quite a few daily assignments.  All of those assignments had bits and pieces of what the test would contain.  So when your test comes, realize that you were already given pieces of it along the way.  How did you respond to those pieces?  Your Test will quite often have the same results unless you cram.  Look for those pieces today.  Respond to everything in the right way now and when the Test comes, you’ll do just fine.

Grooves

Rabbit trails, as Pastor Scott Thomas calls them.  I find that my mind takes me down these rabbit trails from a main point that I have just heard, seen, felt or experienced.  I believe that God orchestrates most of these hmmm moments.  The latest came as Pastor Scott was concluding his message on “Hijacked Hearts.” He started relating about a story that he had watched about a craftsman building a boat.  At the point that the boat seamed perfect, the craftsman began rough sanding (this is where I jumped on the trail and took off while hearing the rest of the story) so as to hold the finish that was to be applied.

Now, my rabbit trails aren’t always complete pictures from beginning to end but just enough to make the hmmm.  Pastor Scott also mentioned, “grooves” (I think, like scars on your life) in this segment of the message.  Grooves came to mind.  I also thought about scrapes and holes in the walls at the house.  Neither grooves or small holes in the walls are to be there.  They occurred due to unwelcome events occurring in our life.  A door stop bends too far and the door knob puts an indention, a nail pops through the sheetrock, a misplaced foot on the stairs puts a knee into the corner, exposing the metal.  Most of these occurrences are relatively easy to fix with some spackle and paint.  Left to it’s own progression, the hole will become larger as the door continues to make contact at that point.  The nail pop will be unsightly.  The sheetrock will continue to fall away, exposing more of the metal, corner piece.  Your walls may have other life stories.  The scrape of a chair against a wall, numerous nail holes where a picture was to hang, or even the result of rage.  Left unchecked, these occurrences will be constant reminders of what took place to create it.

Driving down the road I have often noticed gouges or grooves in the blacktop covered roadway.  How did they get there?  The road was fine the day before and now you can follow a groove as it crosses one lane, to another, disappearing as it leaves the roadway.  I can only imagine what could have left such an impression on the road.  Maybe a vehicle pulling a trailer or boat hit a bump, causing the trailer to bounce from the hitch only to skid to a stop but leaving evidence of the occurrence.  Maybe a family driving  to the beach had a tire blow, leaving only a rim to guide them to the safety of the roadside but gouging into the blacktop along the way.  I have driven by many accidents that have damaged the roadway.  These grooves in the roadway, they cause an imbalance to other drivers as they attempt to navigate the roadways.  My first car was a 69 Barracuda.  It had air shocks, glass pack mufflers, and wide tires on the back.  Those wide tires on the back would hit those grooves in the roadway and cause me to drive defensively as it shifted back and forth on the road.  Grooves made by something or someone caused my travels to be more difficult.  Grooves left to their own will become larger.  Pieces of blacktop will chip away from these miniature canyons as they cut through to the bedrock and eventually turning into a pothole.  The groove needs to be repaired.  Some grooves are repaired by simply putting fresh blacktop in and packing it down (one of my many jobs that I have had.)  Other times, a repair calls for many machines, workers,aggravated drivers, and money.  The good blacktop as well as the groove, are ground away as the machine cuts the roadway down sending chunks and pieces up a conveyor and into a truck.  A particular liquid is put down on the fresh cuts to allow for new blacktop to adhere to the old surface of the past.  A new layer of blacktop is added and pressed down to form a brand new surface.

What of the people who know the whole story of the groove?  What impression has it made on their lives?  Were they set back financially?  Did the inconvenience and delay to their day linger and have a chain reaction to their week?  Does the groove represent tragedy?

What has happened in your life to leave a groove on your heart, your mind, your body, your spirit?  Do you continue to see the groove everyday?  Did it create a financial tidal wave in your life?  Does it represent tragedy in your life?  How long will you leave it in disrepair?  Has it actually become a trophy piece to why your road isn’t smooth?  Fix it!  Your groove may be what throws someone else off course as they navigate the same path where challenges came into your life.  Fix it!  How?  The only way is through Jesus.  He will fill those cracks, repair the grooves, create a brand new surface.  In some cases, a large section may need to be removed in order to properly repair the groove that winds across the many lanes of your life.  Start the repair now, before the groove gets larger and turns into a pothole, crumbling all around.

Grooves.

Cracks

Just home from church where Pastor Scott Thomas’ message was, “Cracks.”  During, I took a little sidebar for this.

Be sure to take time to check your house.  Life can slip by and you won’t even notice what is going on around your house.  Here is Florida, most of the houses have block and stucco.  After some time, the stucco will crack along the block touch points and make a nice little stair-step crack on your exterior.  This besides being unsightly creates entry point for water, termites and other insects.  Anything that gets in the crack, has access to what is inside.  Some of the invaders are satisfied hanging out in the walls.  There they multiply and destroy the exterior from within the wall.  Left unchecked for a longer period and the crack will become a gap.  All sorts of creatures can now infiltrate the barrier that was to keep you safe.  Take some time and check your house for cracks.  Check that house called your life.  Do you have cracks appearing?  Fill and repair them now before the cracks leave you an empty shell.

It All Started With Sandpaper

My pastor was talking today and I then began seeing that little sidetrack.  It all started with – sandpaper.  Well, building around that, came this and I have to write before it leaves.  It may not all fit smoothly but here you go….

We have never really bought furniture for our home.  We have added a few of those, “no payments until the year 4028” pieces but not a whole room with all of it’s end tables and all.  One of the items that was in our home at one point was a little antique telephone chair thingy made of wood and a cloth padded place to sit.  It kind of resembled a bench that was rounded on one end with a cove to put the phone.  Anyway, had a dark stain and some trim work done to it.  It had been through some life but was and is in great condition.  Some of the new furniture that is out, the stain has a clear coat and shines like glass and is sooo smooth.

Have you ever thought of where the furniture started?  I’m not talking of what store or even what state.  I mean STARTED.  The point that the seed fell to the ground, embedded in the dirt, popped through the shell casing, roots attached,bursting through the ground cover,growing to be a sapling,weathering the seasons to thicken and grow tall, standing majestically waving through the breezes,holding on to the ground through the force of wind,enduring times without water in droughts,surviving during fire,tolerating the bugs, providing comfort and shelter for the life in the area.

All of this only to be cut down in it’s prime. Dragged off and put on a truck or sent down a river with others like it. The processing takes it through the stripping off of the protective bark and then cut into many different sizes and lengths.  Loaded back up, it is sent to various places where it is bought up for specific purposes.  Some are used in building homes.  There they give structure and support.  They carry the load.  All and more but never to be seen.  Drywall that is then coated with paint covers the inside, while brick, block or siding surround the outside.

Some wood though, is hand picked by a craftsman.  The craftsmen take time to look at the shape and cut of the wood, determined from the processing that it went through.  The craftsman also will look at the grain.  The grain is actually the indicator of what the wood went through.  The alternating dark and light colors representing a year’s growth and if that year had drought or fire or pest.  All indicated in the grain.  The grain is the beauty in many works.  The craftsmen will take the wood and shape it.  Balsa wood is good for bending and shaping, pine wood is soft and cuts easily,oak is a hardwood that makes good sturdy pieces.  Once the piece has been created, it will be finished, painted or left plain.

Before the piece can be finished, the surface must be prepared.  Imperfections will be sanded off with course sandpaper.  The piece will get its shape from the course sanding.  As it gets it’s final shaping, a fine sandpaper will be used to smooth the piece like silk.  The years begin to blend together creating an artistic piece in itself.  The piece is ready for a coating.  The coating will sometimes bring out the art of the grain, and others it will completely hide.  After the coating, a sealer will make it shine like glass.  If the sanding was not done and done properly, the coating will have imperfections,bumps and uneven coloration.  The coating may have to be stripped and the sanding continued.

Once finished, the piece will be bought, used, be a part of the life of someone, out exist those that saw it’s beauty, be passed on to the next generation who decide whether it is a keepsake or a relic to display, to use or pass on.

Where did you come from?  You exploded on to this scene and grew,were handled, processed,shaped,sanded,coated.  God knows where you were planted.  He knows what life challenges that you have gone through.  He saw when you were cut and processed.  He knows how life has shaped you and coated you.  Now let the master craftsman strip the coating away.  He will need to sand the imperfections with a course grit that may go deep at times.  He will work it and work up to the fine sanding, which actually more grit per square inch. What you went through will still be there as the grain is.  He will make it shine and tell a story so that you are a life that is passed on to generations.

And So It Begins

Delays, Detours and Dump Trucks

6 years ago, I had no intentions of moving further south than Brandon, Florida.  It was in July that we moved to South Hillsborough.  The house was a fantastic deal for us.  We had a couple of gas stations near our neighborhood in those days.  Now, 6 years later, subdivisions, shopping, grocery stores, restaurants and schools are being or have been built.  During this time of GROWTH, there has been construction at a constant pace.  The roads are full of cars coming and going.  Our main intersection has gone through at least 4 upgrades.  The road that I have traveled for so long is now lined up to get on the interstate.  With more expansion and construction, there is no less than 15 dump trucks in the same line to the interstate.  With so many road changes there has been delays and barricades to route you around hot zones.  I was driving the other day and thought that, life is like this too.  You get used to a particular road, a familiar path when growth causes a change in our usual and familiar path.  Construction begins and causes us delays to where we were going in life.  You know where you should be but now the way is bogged down.  It is just a delay.  There will be detours, delays, and dump trucks during this time of Growth.  When it’s done, everything will flow much smoother.

Second Round Draft Pick – Batterson

Well I can’t get this link to hypertext so copy and paste

http://evotional.com/2009/02/second-round-draft-pick.html

Try, Fail, Learn, Adjust, Try

Hot Water

So I am coming home from a Saturday event at the church.  It was Southeaster University’s Graduation in our building.  I had my khakis and a button down shirt to run the bookstore for this long event.  I headed to the in-laws place, where Sharla, Savannah and the boys were at the club house pool and beach area.  I got out of the car, leaving my shirt and shoes, intending on changing to my beach trunks, of which Sharla was to have held for me at the pool.  I open the gate and see Sharla and Rhea at their loungers.  The boys come up from the beach, which is down some wooden steps.  Skyler is the first to come through the beach gate.  He looks like he stubbed his toe or stepped on something by the way he walked on to the pool deck.  About the time he gets to where I am standing in front of the girls, he starts to cry, sits on the pool deck and says that something bit him.  I look to the bottom, middle part of his foot just off of the arch to where he points at what looks like a blood blister.  It now begins to bleed and get on his swim trunks.  I ask for something to put on it to compress it.  Skyler says again that something bit him.  Was it a rock, a crab, a piece of glass?  He says it was soft when he stepped on it and then a prick on the bottom of the foot.  I think a STING RAY.  It wasn’t until the streaking appeared accompanied with his writhing(sp) in pain that we decided to get to a doctor.  The walk in clinic was just up the road.  I picked him up and headed to the van. Sharla got in the back with him and we took off.  I was following most traffic laws until a red light where there is no traffic decided to slow us and Skyler began to say that he couldn’t see straight anymore.  Through the red light we go.  Sharla says she’s not feeling to well now and my history with 2 other events put me on the floor (read about the string in the archives for one).  I turn right into a strip mall with a grocery store.  To get to the clinic you have to cross the grocery store doorway.  Of course, everyone walks slow at that point.  There is plenty of room still to drive through, so I glide through to the shagrin(sp) snarls, yells of some lady.  Oh GREAT, this isn’t the strip with the clinic – it is across the street – yes I have to cross in front of the same grocery.  As I swing the van around, I am headed back across the entry way where apparently the same lady is waiting for me to yell at me.  Uncharacteristically and in a deeper voice, I stick my head out the window and yell “We’re trying to get to the hospital!” to which she says something like she is too.  I go on across the road only to find that the bank lot doesn’t open up to the parking lot. After jumping the curb it on to cross the grocery store that is in this strip.  Slow walkers but no trouble here.  I pull up to the clinic door and carry Skyler in.  The receptionist immediately gets up and disappears.  So I inform them through the closed door that he was stung by a sting ray.  After a minute they come back and take us back.  They ice it, prod it and xray it.  They say to wrap it and take tylenol. Are YOU KIDDING?  He is calming but starts wailing again.  They give us a scrip for an antilbiotic and tylenol 3.  After getting home, the internet shows that the pain would have subsided quickly if the foot was placed in as warm water as he could stand.  A sting ray has a protein in the sting that will gel up and come out when exposed to the hot water.  The antibiotic was listed 3rd and considered fairly useless.  So learn the sting ray shuffle and remember – Hot water – not cold doc.

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