Tag Archives: love

New Tires

New Tires

They are essential. We all need them. Well, everyone who drives, rides, or abides in vehicles with round, rubber, steel or kevlar belted donuts needs them. We call them tires.

I have heard the world’s rubber supply is limited. I guess that means prices will continue to climb. But everything continues to climb in price, doesn’t it?

But, tires are essential. And good ones are highly essential.

Last week, my wife hydra-planed in s bad down pour. Yes, the back tires needed replacement. $600

Today, my son needed four new tires on his Rav4. Okay, he is married with a kid so he probably should buy his own. But he is my only son … and my only grandchild rides on those tires. $1000 (you are worth it Sammy)

I hate to see the price tag when I have to replace the tires on the FJ Cruiser.

As I think of on all of this, I think about fear. Fear is a big sales tactic. Insurance companies get you to think about if something should happen, fear. Sales Force Training web site says this …

“Fear is often used as a sales tool, albeit in a subtle way. Have you ever seen the Michelin tire TV ad, the one with the baby floating around in the tire? Did you think they were selling babies there? Of course not. What they are doing is using fear (the fear of losing a loved one) to sell tires. After all, you wouldn’t want your family driving on inferior tires that may blow and cause an accident.”

Even those that share the gospel might use fear. I mean, spending eternity in Hell is a pretty scary thing and it should invoke great trepidation. But the greater emotion shouldn’t be fear, but love. Love is greater than fear.

After all, the Good News isn’t be afraid – it’s you are loved.

As John tells us in his letters … perfect love, complete love, His love, His provision … cast out, overpowers, is greater than … fear!

Today, I chose not to live by fear. And the world has a lot of scary things, places, people. But … and this is a BIG but … God’s love is greater. That is my focus.

And I love how good it feels to be driving on new tires.

Knocked Down but Not Out

These words can empower. These words can comfort. These words can make the difference. But not just the words – but the actual actions behind the words.

His name is the epitome of boxing. Yet he isn’t even real character. He is the rag to riches story that makes every one cheer for him. He rose to fame, he lost it all, yet he was true to himself.  And now, a new generation’s story has taken his mantle and moves forward.

Rocky Balboa

Just saying the name makes me start humming the famous movie tune and has me looking for stairs to run up (not that I run up stairs much anymore!) A scene from Rocky 5 crossed by desktop today and it got me thinking … It is near the end of the movie, Rocky is back where he started … the streets of Philadelphia. He tried to help an up and coming boxer, Tommy Gunn; but Tommy got too big for his britches and tried to move on – yet Tommy couldn’t do that without tearing down Rocky. And in the bar, where Tommy yells down at Rocky, and eventually hits Rocky’s brother-in-law, Rocky tells Tommy that he will fight him … but his ring is outside (the streets!)

Like all the movies, Rocky seems to be beaten and not getting up. But as his brain is rattled and memories flash like a horror movie scare reel, Rocky hears Mickey Goldmill yelling at him – that cantankerous old trainer who saw in Rocky something great, something deeper, something more. Mickey yells for Rocky to get up – one more round – get off the mat you bum (though he doesn’t use the word ‘bum’) … Get up. But the last thing Mickey says before Rocky’s memory fades and the now famous fight music starts is “I Love You.”

I LOVE YOU!

These words can empower. These words can comfort. These words can make the difference. But not just the words – but the actual love behind the words.

I don’t know what you are going though. I don’t know how hard life is. You may feel like some prize fighter has pounded on you and you are in the gutter wondering if there is ever a way up. But you need to know … God truly loves you. He sent His Son to pay the penalty, to take the true beating that you (and I) deserve.

Hear the words today … right now … God is saying, “I Love You!”

And maybe, just maybe you might be the person to say it to someone else that really needs to hear it.

Be that someone today – say it. Tell someone you love them and God loves them!

These words can empower. These words can comfort. These words can make the difference. But not just the words – but the actual love behind the words.

I Love You!

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?

Haters Gonna Hate

History has no shortage of hatred. And it’s so deep you can’t just shake it off.

You can go back to the earliest days with Cain and Abel. You can see it in every continent on this globe. And as “enlightened” as we think we have become, we have not eradicated or learned the lesson.

I’m not referring to hatred in general, but hatred of our fellow man/woman. Yesterday (January 27) was Holocaust Remembrance Day. The darkness and evil of mankind it’s real. The efforts we make as a society need to be serious and relentless.

When hatred goes unchecked, and when the checks and balances in government and society that protect fundamental freedoms are lost, violence and mass atrocities can result … We are committed to helping build a world in which the lessons of the Holocaust are taught and in which all human lives are valued. (Whitehouse statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day)

I think we have a responsibility to shine the light of love and compassion that confronts hate. We should do everything we can to shape a future where the darkness is driven out.

But in everything we do, it will not be enough. Yes, we have a responsibility to choose love over hatred (see yesterday’s entry) and we can make a difference. But the problem is our hearts. Our very inner being. And that my friends is broken and wicked. Oh, we can do some things, make great strides, and do decent things. But it’s like trying to jump from California to Japan. The span is wide and our efforts, as noble as they may be, have us land a few meters off the shores of the Golden State – wet and still a long way to go.

The only remedy is a heart transplant. Not a patch, not a bypass, nor a stint. We need a new heart. And that’s what God does.

So remember and learn from the Holocaust. Strive to help your fellow man.

But if you want to make an eternal and deep impact – share the message of love and hope from Jesus.

The Love Won’t Last

They call it the Itty-Bitty Farm and the big blue house. It’s right at the railroad tunnel in the downtown of the thriving metropolis of Evergreen Va (population 102 I think, if that). It’s at the corner of Old Evergreen and Friendship.

I’ve met the new owners. A great little family with three kids and some new chickens. Recently they posted on social media that farming would be easier if it wasn’t for keeping the weeds out. That could be said of life as well. But let’s move on. Someone did a unique act when mowing the yard this month.

In a world where words are plastered on to monuments, painted directly on to the city streets, and seen showing up all over the globe – words that used to get our mouths washed out with soap – this creative yard mower made a special endeavor to put a four letter word in his yard.

He mowed – LOVE.

This gesture – this powerful reminder – this declaration that love is more powerful than hate – this proclamation that this is what makes our lives richer, fuller, and better … this gesture is temporary. As the grass grows (or dies in this heat), we will see the love fade. Already, as I drove by today, the word is getting more difficult to make out.

The reminder is love is not a one time event. We don’t say we love our wives once and expect that is enough. We need to constantly keep investing in love to those around us.

Jesus said to love the Lord our God with all hearts, souls, mind and strength. We are to love our neighbors as ourself. This action is continuous, perpetual, and non-stop.

If the Itty-Bitty Farm wants love to be seen for more than a week, efforts will have to be made. And if we want to show the world we love them, efforts will have to be made. And I believe the efforts will be worth it.

I love my Evergreen!

My Best Valentines – Ever

Dating. If there ever was an adventure in life, dating would near at the top of the list. The emotional rollercoaster. Love bombing. Becoming vulnerable. Stashing. Ghosting. Benching. Breadcrumbing. Catfishing. The DTR moment. Lockering. And so much more.

And yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to deal with any of this – unless you count having to explain all of this to my lovesick puppy of a son when he was wooing that princess he just got hitched to.

But looking back, there was one VDay I remember, and it took place while I was dating the last person I would ever date. I had laid my cards out too early – I dropped the L word before she was ready. But then, bam, she returned the action a few months later – on Valentine’s Day.

She shot my heart on VDay!

She loves me. She wants to kiss me. I was king of the world and flying high. She also gave me a stuffed bear – which I still have. Val is his name. And not because she thought Val Kilmer was hot (which she did/ does/whatever). She was my California Girl – and I’ve been hooked ever since. And I had found the one I want to date forever.

But I also know my identity is not found in her – and hers is not found in me. Our identity is not about the here and now but the hereafter. It’s not about temporary but the eternal.

Single? that’s okay, truly wonderful. Married? Absolutely great, but doesn’t mean God loves you any more or any less. Dating? I’m sorry. Just kidding. But best wishes.

Your identity can only be of worth if it is found in God. An identity that is not achieved but is received.

And if you want to know real love, Jesus is the one you get to know.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

John Denver Was a Prophet

Almost heaven, West Virginia. Blue Ridge Mountains. Shenandoah River.

I love my home state. Virginia. History. Mountains. Beaches. Country. City. Good folks from all walks of life. But years ago, there was a little spat between the North and South that caused the western part of the state to break off and form their own state – West Virginia (originally, it was going to be called Kanawha, but that’s another story.)

Now, 150 later, Virginia is in another spat. The nation is watching us closely. It’s not the same spat as that one years ago, but some people are just as riled up. This time, our state government is making bold moves that is pitting gun control vs gun ownership. This issue is huge right now and maybe I’ll touch on it another date, but right now I will return to John Denver.

You see, in 1971 Denver released his signature song that went to #2 on Billboard … Take Me Hime, Country Roads. It is said to be about West Virginia. But is it? I give that the mountain range goes through multiple states, but the river is in Virginia. Did Denver get it wrong? Many have debated his original intent. Maybe he was prophetic.

There is a little humorous story brewing on the sidelines during this little squabble going on in Richmond, our state capital. Almost 100 counties have declared themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries. But the state government is ignoring that, increasing budget with an expectation of larger prison population, and moving forward on extreme gun control. And because of this, WV has invited any and all counties that desire to go ahead and secede from VA and join them as part of the great state of WV.

You Gotta Love Virginia Politics!

I live in a county that declares itself as the place “where the nation was reunited.” Maybe it will also be the place “where the state was divided, again.”

I am not sure what will happen. Not sure where the line will be drawn (on gun issues as well as state lines). But in all of it, I will focus on loving people and sharing God’s Grace. I will be content in whatever state I am in. I may be wearing a VT or UVA shirt … or maybe a WV Mountaineer hat. I am just glad it’s not one with a Kawahna Kollege logo.

Kingdoms come and kingdoms go, but God’s Kingdom is forever. Praise the name of the Lord.

The Princess Danced

She is a free spirited joy to her parents. Strong willed (much like her mother I hear) yet with a spirit that is tender in a way that most don’t see on the surface. Life had been good to her in so many ways … a family who loves her, a big sis that taught her, and a few animals that bring her joy overflowing. She is one that loves her God and walks in His way. But this princess has felt sorrow too. Pain that no one should have to endure. She turned that into a service to others going through tough times … just one of the ways she has been used by God. But she also took that pain and decided to stay in her castle, safe and secure as she snuggles with her royal protectors … two dogs that bring great joy just with their presence.

But no … a traveling soul, a naive, dorky, goofy, yet lovable cavalier (defined as a dashing and attentive man, especially one acting as a lady’s escort) would enter into her life. He too has had a good life. Parents that treasure and love him, raising him to be a cavalier of integrity and honor, teaching him the ways of the Lord. They had no real castle. They traveled the countryside, ministering to those around them, sharing the hope and grace of the Lord. He did sit still for a while as he resided for a time in a land called “the 804” where he was blessed with friends and family. But his soul still drew him to wander. This cavalier … never having a single place to call home, never having siblings, and never sure where the nomadic life would take him … returned to the land of his birth, a land of cowboys, longhorns, and patriots – away from his parents. But as the Lord would have it, in to a close proximity of the princess who was safely and snuggily secure in her world that was about to be rocked.

They met at the royal ball wearing boots and denim. And as fate would have it, this princess asked the cavalier to dance. Silently, scared, and overwhelmed by the beauty of the princess, he said yes. It didn’t take long. He was smitten, bad … real bad. I mean really bad. The night ended, the princess left with her friend and the cavalier with his entourage. But he had something. He had her digits . All ten of them. It was as if she left her glass slipper at the ball … he knew to whom it belonged, but it would take a while for the princess to admit it was her slipper.

Days, weeks, and months, he would work to win the heart of the princess that already had his heart in her hand. He patiently, prayerfully, and nobly wore her down. Oh she tried to keep the drawbridge to her private castle up, not letting anyone in but her dogs. But this cavalier was persistent. No gun toting father would deter him. No being defeated by the princess in the sport of which thought he was master would do it. She tried to run him off. Oil over the castle walls, arrows from the fortified castle towers, and so many other acts of war. Her sister begged her to cut him lose before she broke his heart.

But that is not the way this story goes. He won over the parents, he befriended the canine protectors, and he kept at it … and it happened. Her shell cracked just a smidgen. Her inner soul had opened up and through that little crack came pouring in a love that has overwhelmed her – and would rewrite the story she thought she controlled.

Yesterday, the princess and the cavalier stood before family, friends, canines, and the Lord. They committed their life to each other. They made vows to each other. They shared tears. And they became one.

The festivities will be sung about for generations. The bus that brought delights. The cakes of cheese that melted on the tongues of attendees. The dances of so many young and old. And the blending of families. Yes, poets and bards will write … and the story will be told and the songs sung.

But as food was gone, the delights were all eaten, and the music was ended … all waited outside for the couple to exit heading to the beginning of the journey called ‘together forever’. But inside, on an empty dance floor … the two stood. The only witnesses were the parents of the two. And a song was played. And the two ended the night the way the journey began …

They danced.

The last dance of the celebration, but not of the journey.

They danced … eyes only for each other, the world spinning around them, yet all they saw was the one before them. Arms around each other, smiles with a depth of love that only days like this can produce, he thought only of the princess, she thought only of the cavalier. And …

They danced.

Never stop. Keep on dancing.

Nike Pulls a Shoe

I don’t know where I ripped this … but it has little to do with today’s blog. I just thought it was funny now that I am I the heartland, farmland of Virginia.

We live in a land of political and personal land mines. Say something just wrong and “blam”. Disagree with something, or someone, and explosions start to happen all around you. I don’t know if it’s about having PC police, mind control, lack of tolerance, inability to communicate with grace, or simply we just demanding our way.

Nike pulled a shoe line that was attempting to be patriotic by putting the original Betsy Ross Flag (13 stars in a circle in the blue space) on it. I’m not saying Colin K. was the only reason they did it, but who knows what goes into corporations making decisions.

I saw a vid this morning on how changing the name Latino to LatinXm … in order to avoid the masculine. I’ve read about banning the name ‘freshman’ for it promotes rape. Then there is the removing the famous MLK I have a Dream Speech from a display for it doesn’t include fluidity in gender identity representation.

This isn’t new nor exclusive to cultural debates. Even in recent Bible translations, pronouns and masculine use of God has been debated. I get it … I’m a white male … so I am told I don’t get it. Even worse, I am a southerner – and an evangelical. I am surprised I am allowed to do anything these days.

Yes, mistakes have been made in our nation’s and world’s history. And yes, more mistakes will be made. We live in a broken world. So I ponder how do I move forward in this minefield we call life. I want to be more like Christ. I want o be known for what I am for, not for what I am against. Sooooo … I will …

Live in Grace

Show Love

As Bob Goff says …

The way we love people we disagree with is the best evidence of what we really believe.


If you want to read an article on the Nike decision, go here.

Parent-Child Lessons Flow Both Ways

A moment in time with my son … oh how things have changed.

It was a moment in time that changed every way she viewed her mother. One author wrote that she remembers the exact moment she realized she had changed roles with her mother of caretaker-nurturer. She was driving and her mother was in the passenger seat. At one point, the daughter had to brake suddenly. So she instinctively stuck her arm out to prevent the passenger, her mother, from flinging forward into the dashboard. The daughter looked at her mother and realized the roles of their life had changed. She never looked at their relationship the same again.

It was so much more than just this small incident, but it was that exact moment it really hit her.

Lesson One … Selfies with Granny

This past week, I had interactions with both generations that came before me and the one that follows. Let me begin with the former – my mother. It has been tough on her since Blandy, her husband, went home to the Lord. I know she misses my father, her first husband, who died over 20 years ago. But Blandy’s death hit her harder for multiple reasons. She struggles with grief, and her early stages of dementia make it difficult for her to get past even the beginning of the grief process … pain of loss begins anew repeatedly. Her loneliness and heartbreak repeats its pangs of despair over and over. I love her and call her (not enough according to my secretary). Now, not to be too sober here, she still has strong long term memory, she reacts well in conversations, and remembers all of us. She even remembers I am her favorite, well, maybe I remember that more than she does. I realize it can be so much worse. So I still know she is so blessed.

In all this, I am reminded to treasure the moments with people while we can, to never pass up moments to share love and make memories, and to take pictures capturing moments we share. For this I love the iPad and the apps that help share pictures. She can’t figure out the tablet she has, soo reading this wise and witty blog I write is out of the question. But showing her pictures while there is such a blessing to her.

Lesson Two … Swapping Spit

Calvin came in. And he taught me a lesson. Yes, the lesson was a bit gross and I had to put up with some bleckness. To what am I referring? All the spit swapping, suck facing, and over exaggeration of young love between the two engaged that were with us. Please. But you know, it was a delight to see the love these two shared. I hope he never stops opening her door, putting her first, and expressing his love unashamedly. I don’t know how her parents take it … but I don’t care.

The lesson hit home. Do I continue to show that love to my wife? Do I unashamedly profess and demonstrate my affection? Lisa was kind. She said she didn’t know of anyway I could show I love her more. I am not sure if that was a statement of affirmation or a command to please stop. I’ll take the affirmation point of view. But I do need to step up my game.

The son taught the father a lesson. Keep it up Calvin. I am eager to learn more.