Monday, January 2, 2017

2,571,0793,838 miles

I suppose I can say I am well traveled.  Today is my 44th birthday and I have rounded the sun forty-four times today.  That makes a journey of almost 2.6 billion miles (give or take).  It is also the start of a new year.  2016 was a year of change and tumult for our country and our lives.  But I don't think I am going to go political in this post, at least that is not the plan.

I have spent a quiet day so far at home not doing much of anything.  Tomorrow is back to work, and the day after that the kids head back to school.  The "Holiday" season is over and now the long winter days stretch toward spring.  Already the days are starting to get longer as our orbit brings our tilt back toward the sun, but the warmth will lag behind.   The coldest days lay ahead.  And yet Spring will come, summer will come. The days will lengthen and warmth will return.  

2016 saw the death of many in "My generation."  Not people born in our generation, but people we looked up to, Heroes, inspirations, and role models.  It is a reminder that we are not children and that time passes and things change.  Perhaps it hurts because we look back on our childhood and those people as a reminder of when things were easier or simpler.  In reality it wasn't, but for many of us time smooths away the pains and we often look to remember that which was pleasant or good more than the pain so that when a reminder of those good times passes it brings home the fact that such things are truly gone and beyond us.  Only our memories remain. It is a reminder also that we ourselves are mortal. 

2017 lies before us and while there will undoubtedly be more loss we should look to the new year with new eyes.  We should look to the new year as a way to grow closer to the Lord and grow more Christlike.   Perhaps the chaos and roller coaster that was this past year will inspire us to not simply ride along but instead step out on faith and look again to the Lord and remember that no matter what happens here on Earth that God is in control.  He knows the plans he has for you.  God loves us.  God knows us and wants us to know him. 

In this new year I want to be a man who lives to the potential God has.   I have not done so and I think that I need to re-affirm that.    I am not going to make a resolution for the year.  That would be foolish since I do not know what God has planned.  What I can do is take each day as the Lord gives and seek him on a daily basis.

2016 was a year of change and upheaval.   May 2017 also be a year of change, but let that change be growth.  Let the change be growth in our relationship to the Lord.  If we focus on that then we will have growth in our relationships to each other and healing of those relationships and healing in our country.  May we look again to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness and his blessings.  Not on our riches or our country but on our families and our closeness to him.   As that heals, everything else will begin to heal as well. 

A prayer for the new year:
       Lord father in heaven. Father we come to you tonight asking you to restore us to you.  Lord We pray that we could remember to look to you, that we would seek You and your will for our lives and that we would have the courage to follow your promptings.  Lord that we would have the will and desire to spend time with you in the Word and in Prayer so we can discern your will clearly.  Father we ask that as we grow to know you that you would pour out your blessings on our families, our church, our communities and our nation and the world.  Father Only in you can we find peace.   Not only peace as in no war, but peace of our own hearts.  A peace where we can close our eyes at night and sleep without regret.  Look at ourselves in the mirror and not see the pain we have caused ourselves and others.  Lord we pray that we would see others and ourselves as you see us.  With love and with compassion. We ask that you would grant wisdom to those we have elected in positions of responsibility and power.  That they would exercise that power with grace and wisdom even for those that do not acknowledge you as Lord.   Finally  Lord we lift up your name and thank you. We thank you for another year.   Lord for the chance to walk another 580 million miles with you.   Thank you for sharing the splendor of the universe and your creation with us.  Thank you for sending us your son and thank you for giving us the gift of redemption that we can be restored to you.
We come to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quiet evening out.

I am having a quiet evening out. Sort of. I took oldest daughter and friends to the pentatonix concert. Then went and browsed the book store for awhile before having a bite of supper in the food court and reading the kindle for awhile. Now I am waiting for the concert to end in the Kroger shopping center across from the concert venue. Forgive any typing weirdness. I am composing this on my phone.
I am sitting here listening to the radio and thinking. I have stopped listening to talk radio because it was making me too angry. I am trying to listen to uplifting music now. Usually the fish or K-love.
I did take a few pictures from the parking garage at the mall earlier. The upper level was clear and I thought it would make some interesting pictures.

I don't think they are my best and I didn't want to be the only person there for long but it was nice to try. 
Anyway, just a few evening thoughts. And it is a challenge to write a lot of on the phone. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It is so clear that everything is hazy

There are numerous wildfires burning across the SouthEast.  The smoke is spreading down across Georgia as far south as Macon.  It is very irritating to the throat mostly and everyone is urged to stay indoors because the air is considered unhealthy.  There is another chance of rain this weekend, but it is fairly small, not more than 20% according to the latest forecast I saw today.  Saturday was a nice day, the wind was out of the west instead of coming down out of the north and East so the skies and air were clear.    From the last report  the fires are considerably more contained which is good, but firefighters  have not been able to put them out.  The drought in this area is fairly severe and we need the rain badly.

I should count the blessings that all we have to deal with here is smoke and irritation.  The fires themselves are not a danger to us here.   But I need to remember those who are in the path in my prayers.
The view from the office today.

The smoke hangs in the air and I noticed this afternoon at work the sun was visibly dimmer. It was some better in Oakwood than in Gainesville when I left.

 I don't have much clever or insightful to share tonight.

Thank you for reading, and may the Lord bless and watch over you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

And.... we have a winner...

In what was a surprise to almost EveryOne, Donald Trump is President-Elect and will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.  He was not my first, or second or even third choice as president, but he is who was elected.  I am trying not to worry.  Instead I should remember that God is in control.  It is his will for this country.   But he has brought to the front, the very worst elements of the Republican Fringe.  The idealogical left takes this as the final proof that the right is in fact the very worst of racist, misogynist, homophobic, islamophobic and simply the worst of humanity.  Christians and conservatives need to step up, and repudiate these views vocally and with conviction and strength.   We also must reach out in love to these groups that feel their very lives are now in danger.  The Church must in fact take the lead in standing strong morally but never forget that We must do all things in Love.  Paul warned about this.  Speaking with the authority of the Lord is useless unless we do so in Love.  

I implore the readers to lift up Trump, Pence and all our leaders in prayer.  Pray that they will receive wisdom from the Lord and they will be humble with the responsibility we the people have vested in them. The election this year was so very divisive and we need to remember that the people who are on the other side of the aisle are NOT are moral and mortal enemies.  They may be wrong morally and misguided, but for the most part they believe they are fighting for what they believe is right as well.  They are fellow humans, loved by the Lord, and are no better or worse than us.  We are all sinners all in need of grace.  It is incumbent upon us to show them the grace that the Lord Jesus has shown us and to remember that we too are human and fallible.  We are not perfect and can be wrong.  We need to be willing to accept rebuke when we are wrong and seek to make it right when we have wronged another.

Remember that no matter if you approve of who is the president or not, God is in control and his Perfect will shall be completed.  Lift up our nation and its leaders in prayer.   Keep the faith,  look toward the hope, and act in Love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Examples, Leadership and true to Who?

I posted my previous entry to a couple of different places and received the following comment in response to this line: "I pray I would have the courage to stand and that they would be proud I made that choice."
"Excellent line right there. Actions, not words, train children. Or really anyone, or so my years in leadership roles have taught me. We can only hope the eyes watching our example are seeing the best of us, and building that into themselves, not just the times we fall."

It is by Living the example that I can best teach my children. I know that I fall far short of the ideal that I should be. That I am not the man that The Lord has called me to be, The husband my wife desires me to be, or the father my children need me to be. I think it ultimately comes down to 2 things, and possibly even a single thing. Selfishness. The desire to put myself and my wants first. To live out the concept of "Above all else, to thine own self be true."

I have written on this before, and perhaps I say it again because it is a lesson I still need to learn. That there is a higher calling than being true to yourself. That is to be true to Jesus Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. " and   23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
What this means is that we, in our natural selves are selfish, and desire to put ourselves first. We want to be God, and in control, if not just ourselves, everything around us as well. We have to learn to put Him first in our lives and put him in control. That is not an easy thing. We all have our own thing, that which is precious to us. Our own private, or not so private, part of us which separates us from God and yet has to be put to death to free us to move toward a more Christ-like life. This is why we can not Judge others, because we ourselves are no different. The specific sins may differ, but we all have them, and it is a daily, even hourly struggle to put them to death and turn to God.

To be true to "thine ownself" is to elevate that very thing that separates us to a place that should be occupied by God.

This then is the example I should be giving my Children, the example of putting my own precious things aside and seeking The Lord.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Will we stand?

On January 7th, Three gunmen burst into the offices of a Satirical French newspaper and opened fire killing 12 in apparent retaliation for comics and scenes that ridiculed Muhammad. Reportedly the editor, who was among those killed said "I'd rather die standing than live on my knees."  He strongly believed in the freedom of speech, and was willing to die for it.  His blood, and the others, were part of the patriots who water the tree of liberty.

The quote, from Thomas Jefferson, is as follows:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants

All too often we focus on the necessity of making sure it is the blood of tyrants that water the tree of liberty. The question becomes, especially in these times, Are we willing to be the patriot, are we willing to stand in defiance of those who would destroy liberty even if it costs our own life? I want to say, yes, I believe in the ideals of liberty, of freedom and even more importantly in Christ himself who provides TRUE freedom that I would lay down my life. And in some ways it is easy to say that, and I think I could. But then comes the next question. Am I willing to risk the lives of my family for those same ideals? I am not a lone man, not an island. I have a wife and children who mean the world to me. Do I have the right to make that stand, if the time comes, that puts them at risk. Or do I keep my head down, do the best I can, and try to ensure their safety. I can hope that I instill in them the same belief so they are understanding of the risks of liberty and willing to stand with me. Yet, I know I don't live up to that. How often do I stay outside to keep an eye on them when they are playing outside, or tell them to not wander around, or act overprotective about things I myself did as a kid? Does that really teach freedom? How do I ensure that they grow to learn that there are things much greater than themselves that are worth dying for. That first and Foremost is living for the glory of God. That is the highest good and should be the goal of all people. They need to know that Every person needs to be free to pursue (or not pursue) God's will for their life and that Liberty is the best way to allow that. I want them to know that the time will come when they must make the decision to either stand for God, or they will have to go along. It will Cost to take a stand for Right. The cost may be as simple as disapproval of their peers, but may one day may cost them dearly. I pray my children have a life that is filled with peace, with all their needs met and blessed by The Lord. But I also pray that if the day comes they have the courage to stand. I pray I would have the courage to stand and that they would be proud I made that choice.

Are you willing to water the tree of Liberty?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Anniversary

This post is dedicated to Yvette Louise (Comeau) Patten,  My wife, My Lover, My Friend and the Mother of our Children.

Yvette, 16 years ago, at the time I am writing this it was the night before our wedding.  I had a bachelor party of sorts, (we played a James Bond game on the Super nintendo).  Then we hit the bed fairly early so I would be rested up before the wedding the next day.  I lay there in the bed at your brother's house trying to get to sleep and failing miserably.  I don't know how long I lay there unable to sleep.  I was nervous, scared, excited and ready to get through the day.  I must have finally fallen asleep because next thing I know it was time to get up, have some breakfast, a shower and start getting dressed and made presentable.

You are my beautiful bride and I admit a part of me was so relived when I saw you coming down the aisle.  A part of me kept thinking (what if she changes her mind).  I was so happy and you were (and still are) beautiful. I really didn't pay that much attention to the service I don't think.  I was concentrating on how scared I was at the new life I was starting and how often I looked over at you.  I remember saying our vows, and hoping I was heard,  the seemingly forever wait to sign the marriage certificate as it seemed like everyone else had to sign ahead of us.  Then we went over an pinned on the board on the wall of the church.

We had the dinner, the toast, our "first dance", which I think may have been one of our first dances :).  I haven't ever been much of a dancer.  I lack the coordination.  Finally getting to our room and spending the night, and morning as husband and wife before going back to your parents house where we had more partying.

That was sixteen years ago now.  Over 1/3 of our lifetime has been together.  We have been through the joys of bringing 4 lives into the world.  We have had our share of pain and heartache, blessings and trials, sickness and health, and even richer and poorer.  We are still together, still blessed and still in love.  I promised this day 16 years ago to be with you for all my life and I continue that promise to this day and all the days that follow.  I cannot and do not want to imagine or know what my life would be like without you by my side.

With you by my side, and with and by, the grace of Jesus, I have become a better man, a loving father, and grown beyond what I was then.  Some of it is just growing older, and more experienced.  But the love and partnership and sharing a life with you has helped me grow.

I love you.  I love the way you are always there for me.  I love the compassion and caring you have not just for us, but for the church family we have.  You are quick with the encouraging words, the ears ready to listen and the shoulder to cry on.  I love that you are a mother for our children.  I love to know you are by my side at night.  I love the kiss we share during greeting time at church.  It is a small thing perhaps, but it is special to me.   I love to see when you paint and the enjoyment you get from the creative expression.  I love that you chose to join your life to mine (and continue to do so) so that together we are building a family and our lives.

I love that you are willing to forgive my faults, my failings, and my absent mindedness.  I know I can be exasperating to you at times and I hate when I fail and disappoint you.   Yet you have been so loving and forgiving.  You have shown me grace, forgiveness and love at times when I have been everything from simply forgetful to cruelly selfish.  In short, you love me even through the flawed person that I am.  I thank the Lord for you and for your love.

I am not the man I should be, and I know that I have to continue to grow.  I pray that I can be the man you need and be the compliment to you, that together we will continue to grow to be the "one flesh"  that is greater than the two of us individually.

What I need to do is to learn to be Love as shown by  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Happy Anniversary Hun

Saturday, June 28, 2014

saturday Night thoughts

Just a few random thoughts for tonight

I have thought a lot about What to write for my post.  Everytime I think of writing I don't have time, and when I do have time, I don't think about writing.   Then I try to make sure that I am not simply re-hashing everything I have written already.
New content and new ideas are a good thing.  So here I am trying to figure out what to write for a blog entry.  It is currently summer vacation, which means the kids are home during the day.  I, of course, am still getting up for work each day.  It doesn't seem like it has been almost 16 years that I have been working at M3 and that Stephanie will be 15 in September.   She is starting High School this year.   She is growing into a young woman and is no longer my 'Munchkin'.   I don't think she will ever let me live down having let that slip out at Youth.   This weekend the Youth Group is heading to Panama City Beach for camp.  Yvette is going as a chaperone, and Steph and Joe are both going.  So it will be just the little ones and I for the weekend.  I suppose I need to stop calling them that since they will be 8 in August and heading to 3rd grade.

I guess the thing to keep in mind is that time doesn't stop, the days do not stand still.
It is that that leads to the next idea i have been thinking about.  That a new idea of how Quantum Entaglement allows for, or gives our perception of the passage of time.  See article Time illusion.
If I read it correctly, the idea is that quantum entanglement allows for the perception of the passage of time within the universe, but if you were to look from Outside the universe there would be no passage of time.
In ways, this makes sense.  God exists outside of the universe, and sees all of time at once.  I think C.S. Lewis called it the infinite Now I believe.  Not a perfect illustration I am sure, but an attempt to explain how we could both have free will, AND have a God who knows all things at all times.   Another explanation is that if God is Omnipresent in Space, then he will be omnipresent in Time since Time and space are different aspects to the universe.  I have to admit I had not thought of it from that point of view.  The more I learn about the Universe, the more I feel it points toward and not away from God.  And in fact underscores how he can be an infinite God.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Night

It's another Friday night.  After I got home from work Yvette and the kids, minus Stephanie who was at an FCA thing at school, went out and had supper at Firehouse subs.  Then we went and played Ingress for a bit in the area.  I do enjoy the game.  I have been thinking more about what to write here and it keeps coming back to the same things over and over.  This has been a long hard week with work and right now I am just feeling mentally exhausted.  Then at dinner Sam pointed out, oh so helpfully, that I am growing "Old hair."  Yes, I am starting to find some gray hairs in this head of mine.  Aren't those supposed to be "Wisdom highlights" or something like that?
I don't feel any wiser as yet. Tomorrow will be the first saturday in quite some time that we do not have to be up bright and early and off to do something first thing in the morning.  That will be nice for a change.

Earlier, and almost every night this week, I have had thoughts about what I should write, and how I could post more, but now it all leaves my mind.   I just feel tired so I think I will sign off for the evening.  Thank you for reading, and as always, i welcome feedback and ideas for more writing.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday night

This makes night two in a row of posting here.
I think tonight will likely be a short post.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week.
I think for tonight I will simply post a prayer for the coming week.

Lord, our Father in heaven.
Lord Tonight I pray first to simply thank you for the blessings seen and unseen you have poured out on our family and myself.  Lord I thank you for the gift of your son Jesus, and Lord I want to just give you Glory.
Lord I ask for the forgiveness of the sins of the day and the past week, and I thank you for that forgiveness.  Father I ask that you give me the wisdom and the desire to seek your will and your direction.  I ask Lord that you help me to be the best Husband, Father, Employee and man that I can be.
Lord I pray for your blessings and protection for Yvette, Stephanie, Joseph, Samuel, and Jenna.  I ray Lord that you will guide their hearts, minds and actions to glorify you. I pray Lord for their safety as they go to school and that their minds will be open to learning.  I pray for Yvette and I that you will bless us and our marriage.  And Lord Finally I ask that you would give wisdom to our leaders, National and local, that they will seek your will and that by doing so will bring your blessing to our country.

Father I pray that my heart would be open to you and Lord that I would learn to listen first to you, and then to those around me.  that Lord I would, as your Word says, be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Lord I come to you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.