There’s No Place Like Home


One of our favorite movies to watch growing up was, ‘The Wizard of Oz’.   Back then there were no pay-per-view services, Blockbuster video stores, or DVDs.  Nope, our favorite movies came on national TV once a year (Poseidon Adventure, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes, etc.) and, if we missed it, we would have to wait a full year to watch it again.  No VCRs then either.

In many ways, I miss those days when the whole family came together to watch our favorite movie.  It brought us all together.  When watching the ‘Wizard of Oz’, Grandma would usually use Dorothy’s journey to the land of Oz as an opportunity to teach us a few life lessons (something I learned from her and drove our kids crazy with) about how the family is most important. 

We learned many other lessons from the movie of course.  Lessons like the importance of friends, overcoming evil with good, that having a heart is more than physical, fear isn’t a sign of a lack of courage, and that the glitter of the city can’t replace the love of a home in the middle of Kansas.

With today’s commercial video world, kids can watch the yellow brick road scene until their parents break the disk and grab a bottle of wine just to calm down.  There’s a constant need for more visual sensation and many of the life lessons are buried under a pile of DVDs.

With our families so divided by distance it becomes very difficult to enjoy those times when we can all come together just to watch a classic movie or simply play games.  Our family is no different with relatives in South Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Alaska, Washington, and California, the time that we are able to have together is limited to an annual plane trip (if we can afford it) instead of the annual movie on the television.

Some families seem miles apart even though they live down the road from each other.  It’s not the distance in miles that keeps them apart, but the walls built up by bitterness, misunderstandings, anger, selfishness, and pride.  Dorothy learned that, more than anything else, her family was what she cherished the most.  Sure, it’s just a movie and maybe a little bit cheesy, but it makes a good point; that, at the end of the day, there truly is no place like home.

There may not be a way for us to click our heels together and take us back to a time when we were all together (whether physically or emotionally), but we do have the ability to pick up the phone and make a call, post a note on Facebook, or send a ‘Just because’ card to let our loved ones know we’re thinking of them.  Whatever we do to help keep the family bond together, after everything is said-and-done and we look back on our life, it will be those things we remember.  So tonight here’s to the family because there truly is no place like home…

Love always

Reflections


If you’re like me, the older you get the less you want to look in the mirror.  Some young people spend hours checking their face, their hair, their muscles, and even taking selfies in front of it.  Me, no way.  Sure, the close-up mirror is good for a few things, but there’s no need to spend countless hours looking at myself only to be reminded of how age is creeping up on me more and more every day.

Mirrors have been around for thousands of years, although not like our modern mirror which has been around for only a couple hundred years.  That fact that they have been around so long only tells me that people were the same then as they are now.  They were conscientious of their appearance.  Or, they just loved looking at themselves which is more of what we find in our culture today.

Being conscientious isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, I’m probably one of the most conscientious people I know.  There’s just something inside of me that is constantly concerned about what others around me might be thinking about practically everything.  Call me insecure or naïve, but that trait has been helpful in sales and it goes a long way in keeping the Mrs. happy too.  Just saying.

What if we could take the same conscientiousness that we feel about ourselves when we look in the mirror and turn it inward?  Meaning, what if we concerned ourselves more about how we looked on the inside than how we looked on the outside?

Over the course of my life I’ve made a habit of not only looking at my face in the mirror but looking at my eyes and my soul too.  Because the eye is the window of the soul, one can often tell how they’re really feeling on the inside by looking at them instead of their smile.  It may be difficult to do but peering into one’s own soul can be telling and humbling.

Sometimes I see vanity, pride, anger, emotional fatigue, and selfishness.  Other times, especially after praying in the morning, I can see God’s light, an aura of peace, and a soul at rest.  Looking into the mirror before prayer certainly can be a motivator for me to turn around and get on my knees to pray for sure. 

If we don’t like what we see when we’re looking into the mirror of our soul, the good news is that we don’t have to stay that way.  There is One we can turn to who will wash the stains, cleanse away the anger, show us His beauty instead of our vanity, and reveal His humility instead of our pride.  He will fill us with His peace and His light so the next time we gaze into that mirror, we will see more of Him and much less of us…

Love always

Out to Pasture


I was thinking earlier this week about what the appropriate age might be to get out of sales.  Right now, I feel like I’m more effective than I’ve ever been.   I guess there’s just something about the grey beard, and a lot more experience, that gives some credibility (along with, most importantly, God’s help). 

There’s still that thought in my head that says, ‘At what age will I either not be able to do this any longer or that I’ll be so old that I won’t even have the ability to walk into a customer’s office?’   It inspires me to evaluate my health regularly that’s for certain.  The fact remains, in order to afford a lesser paying role, or even retirement, I’ll need to have a much bigger nest egg built up than we do now.

Please don’t take me wrong, I trust God to always provide for our needs both now and in the far distant future.  Who knows what that may include when we’re in our seventies?   All I know is that those days are approaching quicker than ever and I want to be ready for them. 

So tonight here’s to not being obsessed with the day that we too will be, ‘Put out to pasture’ and focusing on the here and now.  Here’s to trusting God with our finances and our provision no matter what our age we may be. And, here’s to walking in the assurance that He will always be there with us no matter what lies ahead…

Love always

Looking Both Ways


It was one of the very first things my parents taught me as a child and one of the first things they taught me when I was learning to drive a car; always look both ways before going forward.  It seems simple enough and logical.  I mean, why wouldn’t I check to see if there’s a car coming from both sides of me before stepping out in front it?

Unfortunately, many people find that seemingly simple habit a hard one to form.  Whether they’re in too much of a hurry, thought they’d looked both directions but only glanced, or it never even occurred to them that they are sharing the road with other drivers, they just can’t seem to make it a regular practise to look both ways.  The consequences of not doing that one thing while driving, walking, or in life, could be deadly.

In California, one of the bad habits people tend to pick up is failing to stop before turning a corner.  Infamously known as the ‘California’ stop, it’s more of a slow-down, check to see if anyone’s coming and then drive right through the stop sign, than it is a stop.  I must confess, while living there, I was just as guilty as anyone until I moved to Texas and was caught by the hidden camera around the corner. That hefty $75 ticket helped me to get over the California Stops real quick. 

Just like pedestrian crossings and stop signs, in life we also need to stop and look both ways from time to time.  Those decisions to not look both ways when we are young bring with them a heavy price that, when we’re older, we don’t want to pay again.  Still, some people will look both ways in life, but because they are risk takers, they plow ahead anyway often nearly escaping tragedy or bringing it into other’s lives as well.

Whether we’re making a career choice, a relationship choice, choosing where we would like to live, or what kind of toothpaste to use, taking a moment to consider the options is a wise habit to consider.  One never knows what might be crossing our path unexpectedly just before we’re ready to move forward with our plans.

The key to developing a habit of looking both ways in life isn’t just learning the hard way, it’s practicing prudence. Instead of just saying yes (or no) to anything we’re offered, asking ourselves what potential dangers could come from our choice will help us to make good choices. Also, considering the consequences of our decisions on others around us is a good way to get into the habit of looking both directions.  It may be a good decision for me, but it may not be a good decision for the other people in my life.  

Lastly, depending on the weight of the decision, taking a few moments to seek the guidance of an all-knowing, all-loving God certainly will help us avoid getting side-swiped by unexpected or hidden dangers.  Speaking from experience, having God in the front seat of our life will only help us to make the right decisions and with perfect timing.  Besides, He also makes great company while driving through life too…

Love always