Reflection

“Life ascends to the heights for the thoughtful – it’s a clean about-face from descent into hell.” (Proverbs 15.24)

Too often I reflect backwards. I see the future in terms of the past, never wondering if the link I assume to be there is really there are all. I grasp at the string linking my today with yesterday and find that it is tenuous at best with little to indicate that it points in any direction that might be my future. When I look forward I see a rope hanging; much like a rock climb on Hurricane Island years ago. read more

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Conversation

One of the most blatant lies I ever told as a child went like this. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I know everyone of my generation repeated that phrase at one time or another; we may have even tried to believe it, but it is a falsehood regardless.

When I think back over great events in my life it is the words uttered in those moments that made the difference. In moments of extreme vulnerability, of placing my self in the trust of another, it is the words shared that affirmed the place of my trust. Great dinners became fantastic because of the conversations that came with them. Intimate moments were transformed into eternal bonds when the shared conversation came into the mix. Fun times caused life transformations due to the authenticity of the experience. read more

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Father

Each generation faces the uncertainty of finding the path they can call their own. Early on the challenge is merely to be recognized as being able to take a decision, strike out in ways that are different. As time passes people in your life begin to recognize the maturity that is developing in your approach and grant you the freedom that you felt you deserved long ago.

One of the more challenging aspects of this process is discovering what you need really need to treasure. I truly believe that it is not related to the quality of what is being passed from one generation to the next. The quality is usually there for everyone; the question for is how to hold on to what is both valuable and can be used. Sometimes there are gems that you hold onto for years and then they blossom in ways that you could never imagine. read more

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Competitors

I love competing with a true competitor. I enjoy being stretched to my limits in a contest, win or lose! Squash, golf, basketball, work, or even eating is fair game! The common element is someone engaged in life with everything they have. The fact is that “the empty-headed treat life as a plaything; the perceptive grasp its meaning and make a go of it.” (Proverbs 15.21)

When you find someone participating in life this way it is easy to see why they are good at what they do. The results show up everywhere. During the past few days I have met a person who specializes in painting Harley motorcycles; amazing work and a powerful witness for good. I shared dinner with a person who knows how to make a snack cake better, cheaper, and faster than any of his competitors; the quiet competitive streak comes out in his commitment to God as well. read more

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Legacy

Kids are their parent’s legacy, even though both sides often try to deny this fact. One of the fun people watching exercises is painting the different pictures of kid’s parents by watching their antics as they shop in the mall. During the past few days I have seen parents who like to cut corners and those looking to exploit the weak contrasted by patience, kindness, and unusual acts of compassion. Solomon noted the obvious; “Intelligent children make their parents proud; lazy students embarrass their parents.” (Proverbs 15.20) read more

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The Day After

The day after is always an eye opener. Most of the time one thinks of the term and reflection on the morning after a night on the town or the calm clear light of day coming fresh after a series of decision taken in the heat of the darkest night. In our home yesterday brought an experience more than fine, yet the morning still brings it icy dawn of reflection as the lull before the New Year begins.

If there is anything that strikes me about recent events, it is the power and need for friendships. Without these we lose track of what we are on the inside, hurt the very people we love, and frequently become something that even we do not recognize. Friendship’s mysterious flow of ideas, nurture, compassion, acceptance, and experience often starts with family and never really ends. We often put a fence around whatever it is however it is something that cannot be bound. Ultimately our thirst for its fullness can be found with God, but it is a thirst that is not easily satisfied. read more

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Tension

I am very lucky. In the midst of a world at war, I sit in a family wading in peace. The only tension I can find at the moment is the timing of when Christmas presents are opened. I wish I could package whatever the magic ingredients are and give it away; however, like many good things it just does not work that way. Christmas is, by definition, a time of celebration, reflection, and happiness. I look and see people afraid to travel home, a world where people cannot express their differences with the trust that the other side cares enough reach out and help, and where the most vulnerable sit where they are exposed to the world of human nature. read more

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Comfort Food

I have eaten in restaurants around the world; often with a bent towards the ones with the Michelin stars. I can think of great meals and even better deserts however, they all pale to comfort food at home. There is something special in being around family and friends, sharing a meal.

Why is it that mashed potatoes, homemade gluten, simple vegetables, and a tossed salad ranks above the best restaurants in Sydney, Tokyo, and London? Even when I think of the incredible, complex, and stunning desserts, I find myself longing to sit around the table with friends? Somehow the best the world has to offer seems second rate when compared to friends around the table. read more

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Grand, Old…

Traveling to Nashville is like slicing into a piece of Americana. You are never sure what you are going to find, but the sights are amazing! Walking through the Grand Old Opry mall was an unending experience that went on for what seemed miles. People of all shapes, sizes, and attitudes cruised, patrolled, and strutted their way through the shops that never ended (looped but never…). The crowds in many shops said that American confidence and spending habits are as strong as ever.

Something that stands out to the casual observer is the disparity in visible wealth. The occasional Paris or Milan fashion statement is overshadowed by the gaudy displays of gold, team jackets, and statements of support for America. The conversations indicate kids who know each trend, the nuances of each fashion texture, and what label is hot or not. What is also comes through is that knowing any or all of this is will not bring any degree of happiness or peace. The tension of too much shopping, not enough sleep and the uncertainty of Christmas, all plays itself out on the faces, conversations, and relationships strolling through the mall. read more

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Natural

Doctors talk of symptoms and problems. People in business refer to leading indicators. Even a child knows that what is on the outside does not exactly mirror the heart however it can be a clear reflection. There are links, however too often we chose to ignore even the obvious.

“A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.” (Proverbs 15.15)

What is life naturally telling you and me? Do we have the courage to listen, observe, and touch? Is reflection a part of the daily experience? Is there a feedback process so that we can learn from what happens? read more

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