I still get to…

With one kid already a grown-up and 2 more just about to enter their teens, I am milking up the moments I have with them in this stage of their lives. I recently went with my ladies to the closest beach to catch a sunset. As I watched them let the end of the shorebreak touch their toes, I realized that I still get to the watch them play.

I was formulating my list of “still get to’s” to maintain a thankful heart. I don’t know of any scientific studies to support the benefits of being thankful. I just know from experience that having a grateful heart is good for the soul. I know you have experienced the same thing.

I still get to see my children play at the beach. I still get to sit with my wife and talk about a tv show. I still get to drive a car that works. I still get to eat a couple of fish tacos with a co-worker because that means that I am employed. Since I do have a job, I get to get ready for work and take a shower as warm or cool as I want it.

You get where I am going with this? Having a healthy perspective of your life means you’re likely to have a healthy soul. A healthy soul contributes to your overall well-being. God’s Word says so in 3 John 1:2,

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Now it’s your turn. What are your “I still get to’s?”

Let God’s promises shine on your problems

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” ~Corrie ten Boom

Corrie and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust by hiding them in her house. Corrie actively helped refugees in the Dutch underground until she was eventually caught by the Nazis and imprisoned for her actions. She survived a depth of darkness at the hands of other men that few of us will ever experience.

Here’s one excerpt of Scripture that comes from the songbook of David, who was no stranger to challenges. He wrote in Psalm 103:2-5,

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

I can only imagine that these words may have been some of those promises Corrie shined on her challenges as she risked her life hiding refugees, including the time she spent imprisoned in a concentration camp.

Take some time today to look up some promises to shine on your life today. You already have a few to start with. We may not be destined to hide refugees in our home, but there are people you can bless today with kindness and generosity.

Feel free to add your own promises that you think will help other readers in the comments below.

Embracing The “Bad” Words

This year is all about embracing the bad words. You know like “self-discipline” and “consistency” and “follow-through.” Yeah, those are all bad words to me. Yet, I am embracing them and not letting go until they become part of me.

What is it for you? Exercise? Eating? Money? Relationships? Work? It’s probably all of those things for me… and them some.

I’m starting with my private devotional time with God. I figured if God gives me 24 hours in a day, I can give Him 24 minutes of my undivided attention. More on that later. I figured that I need to get this part right before anything else.

If you have been following my blog I apologize for the long layoff. I’m back and planning to be “consistently” posting at least twice a week. Stay tuned!

Aging Well

John proudly has his birthday on his chest when he surfs, 2-2-30. He’s aging with style. I am considerably younger, but am I aging well? I want to. Do you? Are you? I’m sure there’s more, but there are questions to ask because I want to enjoy my family as long as I can. I know you do too.

Question #1. How long can I go eating like crap? Recently, I chose not to anymore. When the doctor said I have to go on medication indefinitely I realized changes have to be made. I believe his analogy was something like, “You wouldn’t put soda in the fuel tank of your car because it wouldn’t run right.” I got the picture.

Question #2. How do I play? That play should lean more on doing something instead of sitting and being entertained. I remember the last time my wife and I binge-watched a TV drama on Netflix. It was a great series, but I got seriously tired for weeks. Apparently, the folks back before cars were tempted to stay sedentary as well. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

Question #3. Who am I sharing life with? The person missing in this picture was John’s son. John was 80-something surfing with his 60-something son! Life was not meant to surf alone. Make time with family and friends as much as possible. I read somewhere that pets help too.

Living with purpose changes everything. We weren’t put on this earth to just take up space. Why live that way? We all have a calling to do something for the Creator who knows us personally and I’m 100% sure it will benefit this world. Discovering what that something is make sense of all the do’s and do not’s and turns them into what you want to get out of life. It makes the “good” food taste better. It makes the hard work not feel so hard. It makes playing a lot more fun. It makes our relationships with our family and friends sweeter.

That’s the short list. Thanks for reading it. Do you have anything to add to it?

The Life Equation

A couple of years ago, I injured my shoulder surfing and was not able to surf for several weeks. I continued going to the beach and took photos instead while my body healed. I remembered watching the local high school surf team this day as they shouted, laughed, and scored really great waves during a winter swell. What stood out the most was watching some students stylin’ on cheap foam boards that are sold at the local Costco.

I heard a preacher on the radio say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I have heard this saying recycled and re-quoted many times in different forms like, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but is it not true? Anything “awesome” or “epic” usually depends on how you participated in it. The kids who surfed with the foam boards were carving out waves as good as the other kids who had boards that cost 10 times more.

Times have changed and now people reject sound wisdom and will react with, “What if I don’t like lemonade?” and “Why am I getting lemonade when those people get Arnold Palmer’s?”  The victim card is way overplayed nowadays. It is time to put that card down and take that 10% of crap that has been thrown your way and turn it into fertilizer for the 90%. Grow something. Change something. Overcoming obstacles in life is not easy nor comfortable. Stop wasting energy on leveling the playing field and just play. If all you have is that cheap foam board, then use it and make it awesome. The 90% is yours.

Advice for Hearts

A word to the young,

Yours can be fooled

Usually when you’re foolish

Wreckless and never ruled.

A word to those who are gray,

Before you lay to rest

Stop pining for yesterdays

And make today your best.

A word for the lonely,

Don’t be offended by my tone

Sharing your journey is a choice

So is staying alone.

A word to the lost,

Open your eyes

And commit to find your way

Instead of living on lies.

A word to those who are filled,

Help us sift the truth from the tales

Warn us about chasing after empty dreams

And remind us that love never fails.

Aging Well

imageI got to meet John a few years ago and was immediately inspired. John was born on 2-2-30 as his wetsuit proudly states. Most folks born around 1930 walk around this break watching the surfers. John is one of the surfers.

What makes this more amazing to me is that he didn’t pick up a surfboard until he was well beyond 70. I was inspired as much today as I was back then to not only hope I age well, but working on aging well. What is your approach to aging well? Have you even thought about it?

Check out my visual essay on Steller.

Hummingbirds and Hawks

Version 2

I took this picture of a hawk on my roof just moments before it joined two other hawks as they battled crows in the air across the street from my house. Their cries were so high pitched and loud that they wouldn’t be ignored this day. My family and I studied these predators and were amazed by their power and ferocity. My wife noticed, amidst all this action, a hummingbird nesting in the very same tree where the hawks stayed.

Being the researcher that she is, my wife web searched this living arrangement and discovered that a certain type of hummingbird strategically nests next to hawks knowing that the hawks will eat the animals who pose a threat to the hummingbirds. I’m thinking of something very philosophical about this coexistence, but the simple truth of it all is that this hummingbird is one smart creature.