Tag Archives: life

Love & Life – In a Mad Mad Mad World

Two positive and interesting stories in the midst of a world gone mad. 

One comes from ABC News. A young couple, in love, had planned on getting married in May. They had arrangements at a location on a terrace overlooking the river. But this couple, these residents of Kyiv, realized that there plans had been completely disrupted when the neighboring country, Russia, invaded Ukraine. 

So they moved the date up. And on the day the Russian bombs were raining down on their home town, the couple shared their vows inside a monastery as the air raid sirens were blaring outside.

They knew that in the end, their time together may be short, but they “just wanted to be together.”

Love – in the middle of madness.

The second story is a little closer to home. But it too is a wonderful story in a world gone mad.

This morning, when our church was in the middle of the service worship the life giver, the creator of the world, a new life came into the world.  One of our church family was having a baby whole we were singing songs.

A little girl, Tatum Jo, came into the world a little early … but just as welcomed. This child is a bit personal to me, not because I am related to her, but she was due about the same time my first grandson is due – three weeks from now. She’s healthy and the family is extremely excited.

Two stories … two great stories. 

At the same time, we have war, madness, invasion, bombings, Putin, a world on the edge.

What do I focus on? The world may same out of control, but …

If all you see is what can be seen physically, then you are not seeing all that can be seen. For there is so much more than what eyes can see.  The world may seem out of control, but God is always in control.

What do I focus on? The love between a man and a woman. What do I focus on? The beauty of new life, the preciousness of a baby.

What do I focus on? God’s blessings even in the craziness of life.

What do you focus on?

A Picture That Pierces The Soul

Have you ever come across a picture that just grabbed you? A visual expression that pierces your very soul? Here are a few that grabbed my attention this week — The religious leaders of eastern Ukraine kneeling together in the snow praying for their nation … a mother embracing her new born … a family circling a bed saying goodbye to their elderly mother. Heart tuggers. Tear makers.

But this week, I came across this picture …

Of all places, I discovered this on Twitter. No Artist was attributed. No source was mentioned. Just a picture with an attempt at humor. But I saw something else.

Out of the old – something new. From the decaying, dying corpse of a tree no longer viable – life.

Maybe it’s an organization that seems to be at death doors. Maybe it’s a dream that seems shattered. Maybe you have a relationship that seems beyond hope. Life is often this way – brutal, harsh, broken, messy, muddy.

Hiking the trails, I’ve seen many trees that are fallen … broken … dying … rotting. I’ve never seen one like this. From the very image of hopelessness, life!

This picture reminds me what God does in our lives. Here takes the ugly, broken, dying, dead and brings life. He regenerates.

This picture reminds me what God did and is doing in my life. Here is a second part to this picture. The new tree has more to grow. God’s not done with me yet. I still have more growth ahead of me. You do too.

Don’t forget – Many things seem impossible. And with man, things often are. But with God , nothing is impossible. Nothing.

I Didn’t Have a Car – 48 Hours of ?

In my tiny little corner of the world – there are no buses, no Uber, no Subway (except the one that serves my 12-inch rotisserie chicken sub.) I’m not even sure that a taxi could be found. I can’t get Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or even Dominos Pizza to deliver. We have a Walmart and they will do curbside pick-up but not delivery. It’s not as bad as when I lived in way-rural Louisiana where the paper USAToday always got delivered a day late (kind of a USAYesterday – thank God for online news.) I don’t live in San Francisco or Portland or DC … the top three places to live without a car. The train goes through our town – but I am not sure it even slows down. We built a tunnel under the tracks for cars and tractors, and originally for cows. The tunnel even gets tagged with art ever so often.

I have plenty of neighbors that will see me walking somewhere and force me into their car … in a good way. I can walk to the office or can work from home. That’s not an issue. One time I was walking and the fire chief put on his flashing lights, pulled off the road, and gave me a ride. Small town America is great.

So, this week, my car started having some front end vibrations at higher speeds. I took it to the tire store and had them balanced, aligned and a rotation done. I walked to and from the diner to eat while the shop worked on it. Still had issues, so I took it to my mechanic to go a little deeper. 48 hours later, I got it back. This article isn’t about the car, its about the 48 hours.

Many authors have given benefits to not having a car. There are the savings (no insurance, no gas, no repairs, etc.) There is the exercise. I can get into this – I love to walk – bit I prefer mountains and trails and wildlife sounds … not asphalt, and car fumes and honking of horns. Another benefit is it slows down life in this fast-paced world. Another reason, you never have to worry about parking. I don’t get this in my town where bad parking is having to walk a 100 extra yards away. Even Walmart’s parking lot is rarely full. Here’s a few more … going green (reduces pollution) and never having to wait at the DMV and not worrying about riding on snow.

These are all fine and good if you had to adjust life and lived in a metro area. But I don’t. However, I did take advantage of the past 48 hours. I had some wonderful benefits that I think many of us could use …

  • It gave me some forced mental downtime. Often I just drive looking for something to do or somewhere to go. Slowing down was good.
  • And slowing down allowed me to catch up on things I’ve put off – like laundry. I didn’t enjoy the laundry, who does, but I enjoyed getting it done. I even got to separate and count my beanie-babies as I need them for props in the next few weeks.
  • It gave me appreciation for mobility, especially in a small town. Just to go get milk or grab breakfast, having independence is still something for which we should never lose appreciation. I can go a couple of days, but it would drive me crazy to be completely without a vehicle.
  • I got to read more. Reading while driving is a no-no. I can walk and read. These two days, I got to sit inside, drink coffee and dive into some printed works.
  • It created a deeper bond with my friends. I truly needed them to give me a quick ride or run an errand. I normally am pretty independent and don’t desire to be dependent on anyone. And we need to have relationships that we know we can trust to be there in good and and bad.

Hurrying kills the goodness of the moment. We need to enjoy the basics more with joy and appreciation … shared with people.

So, don’t wait until you have to put your vehicle in the shop to slow down a bit. Learn to pause, breath a bit and enjoy life more. Here are a few suggestions to help …

  • Put your phone away.
  • Spend time around nature – get away from concrete and metal
  • Savor a meal – stop eating in your car (oops, did I talk about myself there?)
  • Open a book
  • Exercise a little
  • Spend time with people – just hanging out, no agenda
  • Write a letter – old school, with pen and paper

What would you suggest to help others slow down? If you had 48 hours, what would you do?

Calvinball

Organized sports. I see them everywhere. Kids are thrust into them from an early age. Tiny Teeball, youth leagues, travel sports, community competitions, and more. And while these have their place, I prefer the wackiness and wildness of Calvinball.

Calvinball was my kind of game growing up. It is a game invented by the comic characters Calvin and Hobbes. There are no set rules … and the rules they do have they make up as they play. Every game is straight from the imagination of the child. And, every game is different.

Actually, there is one set rule … that no rule can be used twice and no play can be done twice. This adds to the demand for creativity and zany ideas.

Fan groups have been created. Online websites have surfaced. And though the comic has long since retired, Calvinball stays alive in the hearts and demented minds of its followers.

I want life to be like this. Creative. Mind blowing. Every day fresh. Never knowing what is around the corner.

Here are some things Calvinball has included …

  • Masks (think 2020)
  • The Opposite Pole – where when it is touched, it allows the player to make everything the opposite
  • Songs demanded by opponents – like The Very Sorry Song
  • The Invisible Sector – where if you wander into it, you can only escape by closing your eyes and finally getting bonked by the Calvinball (think Bird Box)
  • Odd scoring – like “oogy to boogy”
  • Slow motion, hobby horse, water balloons, and more
  • And The Baby Sitter Flag – where the babysitter calls the game to an end and puts the players to bed

As I ponder this, I think the people in Washington DC (aka politicians) are playing their own game of Calvinball. Rules are being made up as they go along. Change debates. Don’t change debates. Yes we can nominate someone to the Supreme Court, no you can’t. You have to vote on the bill to see what’s in it. You have to elect me to know where I stand. One side can do something but it’s bad when the other side does the same thing (opposite pole).

Does this sound familiar?

I think we should make them all play by a babysitter rule, they do act like babies some times.

Where am I going with this? Why does there have to be a conclusion? Just kidding. I do have a thought or two …

  • Life needs to be more creative and expectant of awe and wonder.
  • Though no rules sounds good, having only one rule can be good … and God gave us the best rule – Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength.
  • We should never loose our childlike imagination, it’ll make life better.

So today, play a little Calvinball at work, at school, in life.