Monday, August 22, 2016
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Hand Stamping Metal
These really are just some of things I've learned how to do over the years. People often ask me how I have learned all of these things and my answer is very simple...I just try it. And then I try it again and again and again and again....well you get the picture...until I finally get it!
PERSERVERANCE IS THE KEY!
I really don't think I'm any more naturally inclined to these things than most people, I just try it and keep at it longer than most.
One of my questions is, what keeps people from trying and learning new things?
Here's just my own personal theory on a few things that hold people back.
1. Fear - fear of failure or disapproval from others.
My take on this is that we shouldn't be afraid to fail because if we do, then we're really just right back where we started but if we succeed...we have totally expanded our whole world! Growing up, people told me often that I wouldn't achieve my goals but I just used that to drive me forward and then I learned how to plug my ears and not listen. As I continued working toward my goals,, the song of triumph became louder than the noise of their pessimism.
2. Complacency - some people don't even have a desire to try and learn something new. I think this is because they have lost their curiosity and made their world small. We settle for watching tv and pinning stuff on Pinterest that we never actually do. The world is so big...there are so many people that do so many amazing things and most of the time, they're even willing to teach you!
3. Excuses - top one: I don't have enough time. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that there are genuinely a few people that really are too busy to take on something new but most of the time there is time in everyone's day to dedicate to learning something new. You will be completely surprised at how just spending 15 minutes a day doing something on a regular basis will totally begin to add up and yield results. And guess what, most of the time you can even practice whatever it is with your favorite show on!
Life never gets old if you keep learning.
Here are more things I hope the good Lord gives me enough time to learn:
Harmonica (I stink at it right now. My dog, Winston goes and hides under the bed when I bring it out, lol, but I'll keep trying!)
Photography - all that shutter speed, lenses and aperture lingo makes my head spin right now
Mothering (don't know if I'll ever be ready for this one! lol )
And I know there will be new things to add that I will see and want to learn :)
I am so thankful for a sweet husband that not only puts up with all my new endeavors but encourages me and gives me tools to go for my dreams. He's such a blessing!
Are there things in your life that you want to learn? I encourage you to go for it! There is so much information now right at our fingertips that it makes it easy to get started. YouTube is incredible and I've learned countless things from video tutorials. In fact, when I want to learn something, that's usually where I start!
Don't listen to that voice in your head telling you that you can't, it's too much trouble, you don't have enough time, no one cares, etc. Don't listen to the people that will tell you that you can't or that it's dumb. Listen to my voice telling you that you can! You can! And our world needs you to go for it because we don't even know what we're missing out on right now!
Go for it!!
Sunday, July 6, 2014
I love everything about this day:
the weather - so hot and thick
the smells - cut grass, sunscreen, mosquito spray, cookouts and gun powder
the fireworks - sparkles, showers of colors streaming across the sky, pops and booms
the flags flying - Old Glory, our beautiful reminder of the price paid and the freedoms we enjoy
the people - everyone seems to be just fine with hanging out all day long with no agenda besides hanging out and enjoying games, conversations, food and fireworks
the memories - oh the memories are my favorite and I will camp here for a little while.
Of all the days that are distinct in my mind, I can remember so many fourth of July's from my life.
As a little girl, snaps, tanks, sparklers and the growing black snakes were my favorites. Dad would help me light them and then he would set off the ones I was too little to do yet and I would watch with delight. Then we'd head to Plainview to watch the explosions of colors in the night sky....so beautiful. Cars lined the highway and truckers honked as they passed by. We'd drive home tired and talking about our favorites.
As we grew older, we started saving money in June so that we could go to the fireworks stand and pick out some of our favorites. We had lemonade stands, pulled weeds, made friendship bracelets and anything else we could think of. It was usually Tommy, Wade, Cale and me. We would go get colored smoke bombs, lots of black cats and M-60s, bottle rockets, roman candles and a few other things that shot up, spun around, popped and had colors. We weren't really into fountains, lol...they were a little too tame for us. Then the fun began. We blew up ant beds and yes, sorry to say, the occasional frog. One of our folks would cook hotdogs and hamburgers for us and there was usually a watermelon to be had under the shade tree at Cale's. So, so fun.
One of the last times we saw a good friend of ours on this earth, Lauren Caraway, was on Fourth of July at Mama Gayle's house. She was sitting in the front yard visiting with everyone, with that beautiful smile and a ball cap. Then the boys got a little carried away and somehow started a whole bag of fireworks on fire!...people scattered as things shot out like small missiles. Lauren's Independence Day was not far away. Which leads into what I really want to talk about next. I could go on and on with memories but I want to talk about FREEDOM, true freedom.
I started thinking about independence and freedom and how we view those two words most of the time in America. I would dare say we usually think freedom means being able to do whatever we want whenever we want. I know that's part of it...but is that really it?
These verses came to mind as I lay still:
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jesus speaking) John 8:32
"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (Jesus speaking) John 8:34-36
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, live as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16
You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
The freedom we have in America is truly a blessing and like no other place in the whole world. I am so thankful for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. However, there is a freedom that no government can give or take away from us.
True freedom is only found in knowing the Son, Jesus. Jesus is the truth and when we know Him, He sets us free by making us right with God through his sacrifice, giving us forgiveness, taking our shame and bringing us into eternal life. He gives us the ability to please Him. That's what freedom is.
We buy into the lie that freedom is doing whatever we want but then something happens...we become slaves instead...slaves to - money, pride, drugs, careers, doing good things, sports, fear, anger...the list could go on and on. The very thing we thought would make us free or make us feel good has taken us captive. Instead of fulfillment there is emptiness, anxiety, fear, bitterness, addiction...
The two last verses I listed say that our freedom is to be used to SERVE in love not to just do whatever we want.
I challenge you to take a look at your life and see if what you are actually now serving what you thought was serving you...and if you find that you are in fact a slave...I invite you to call out to Jesus to set you free, set you free to serve him, please him and find fulfillment in your life. Maybe you've never called out to Him, that's okay, He's lovingly waiting for you. Maybe you know the Lord already but find you've started serving other things, just come back to Jesus. He's there lovingly waiting for you too.
I'll wrap up with this: Lauren Caraway knew true freedom, she knew Jesus Christ. She loved others and served others. Even though her life was not long on this earth, she had the ability to please God because she knew Jesus. She now lives in complete freedom and wholeness with Jesus - forever. She is completely free from sickness and the things we still battle here. Her Independence Day is every day and ours can be as well.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
I see the athletes walk through the tunnel with their big racket bags, all white apparel, sweatbands or visors and steely eyes. I wish I was one of them. Their ability to direct that bright yellow ball wherever they want stroke after stroke intrigues me. I see them battle each other but even more so, I see them battle themselves. They battle to stay the course in the midst of the electrifying crowd, the media, nerves and the opponent trying to enforce their own will upon them. All of their countless hours of training is for now, this moment. They put themselves on display for glory or criticism - most of the time both!
Such brilliant displays of grace, power, courage and brains. The ability to adjust to weather conditions, physical conditions and your opponent is a must. There's no one else to take the shots for you. You can't pass the ball to your teammate and there is no one to block for you. Winning and losing is totally on your shoulders. The ability to persevere is critical and the best have a dogged determinism that can't be equaled. And just like in any sport, any person can win on any given day so you must bring your best.
What's interesting though is that I did not grow up playing tennis or even watching it. I remembered hearing when I was little that my dad used to play and that he was very good but at that time in our little town of 2400, tennis was nowhere to be found. The only 2 courts we had were by the golf course, cracked and full of weeds. When I did get into Junior High the only sports we had were cross country, basketball and track. I loved all three.
I can't help but dream and imagine though about what it would've been like to compete in tennis. As funny as it is, I have literally dreamed of winning a big match on center court. It's definitely not in the Lord's plan for me to ever play on center court at Wimbledon but I do plan on going to watch a match there one day!
My favorite player, Roger Federer, will be playing in the semi final tomorrow (on my favorite day!) for an opportunity to reach the final. I'll be cheering him on from here! I want him to show everyone that even though he hasn't had the results lately that he's had a certain points in his career, he is still one of the all time greats and capable of winning more Grand Slams.
Why do I love Wimbledon so much? Wimbledon represents a dream to me. The dream to be great at what you do, no matter that is. It is the underdog pulling an upset and the champion executing the plan. What is your Wimbledon? What inspires you and shows you what hard work and greatness look like?
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Monday, January 21, 2013
In some ways, that's what happens with life - we set down with a pen and a paper or an open heart before the Lord and we aspire to greatness - no ordinary life for me we say and we pour out our desires to conquer through Christ all our struggles, we write our plans to live a life of lasting impact for His Kingdom, we aspire about the lives we'll touch, the relationships we'll mend, the blessings we'll share - and somewhere between the altar of the church and our car when we leave on Sunday morning, we lose focus. If I could characterize my last 10 years in any way, it would be to say that it's been a time of amazing clarity followed by moments of complete lack of focus. Sometimes when I put this in light of Paul's exhortation to "run with endurance the race marked out for us", I'm reminded that if you want to have the best "race", you need to stay focused throughout the race... but also, I'm reminded after my moments where I lose focus, that since it's a marathon and not a sprint, there's a lot of race left to focus on. I mean who remembers the person who is leading at mile 1 of a marathon or even who is winning (or behind) for the first 25 miles?
It's with that thought in mind that I think about my last 10 years - how 10 years ago in December, I was 18 years old - just finishing up my last season of high school football and thinking about thinking about what might lie ahead in life - if someone was to ask me then what I thought I would do with my next 10 years at that point in life, I would have probably stated some of these high level things:
- Graduate college
- Have a successful college football career
- Marry a beautiful girl
- Start to work
- Continue to love and serve the Lord
- Stay close to all my family and friends
In the last ten years of those things listed above:
- I went to College - played football on a scholarship, got two degrees while on scholarship
- Received a BMW - beautiful, marvelous, wife
- Started a career with Ingersoll Rand
- Continued to love, grow, and serve the Lord
- Stayed close to maybe two handfuls (at best) of the family and friends I thought I would
- Grew-up... learned how to be a husband, an employee, a teammate, a servant, a grown son
I've learned a lot about Jesus in the last 10 years, probabably more so than the first 18 years of my life put together. Interestingly, I would say that as you grow older, it gets even harder to get those learnings from your head to your heart.... and even harder still to get your hands involved. I'm nowhere close to being an expert about the Christian life, about life in general, or even about myself and the deluge of questions I wake up with each and every day. I'm certain I have much more to learn than what I know already. A few of the nuggets I've learned in the last 10 years are:
- There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going
- Is easier to never say yes to something than to say no to it after you've caved the first time
- Character is easier to keep than recover
- If you are going pray for rain, get ready to deal with the mud
- One of the biggest temptations is to settle for too little
- He who kills time murders opportunity
- No matter what your lot is in life, build something on it
- Failure is not falling down - it's staying there
- If you want to work for world peace, start by loving your family
- I'm poorest when I have more than I need and think it's not enough
- Consumption without contribution leads to entitlement
- There's a friend whose closer than a brother... she's called your wife
- Presence is more than just being there - if your absences doesn't make any difference, your presence won't either.
- It's easier to smell a rotten egg than lay a good one.
- Being thankful changes you.
- When life is sweet, be thankful and enjoy.
- When life is bitter, be thankful and grow.
- Keep running the race, no matter how far off course you get, no matter if you are running all alone, no matter if you have to crawl on your hands and knees - it's worth it, so keep running.
I don't know how close I've come to the profoundness of thought that I had in mind (or at least I thought I had in mind) when I was piecing all these thoughts together over the last few months with the idea of posting a blog on what I've learned in the last 10 years... but I'm glad I took the time and had the focus to at least give it a shot for so much of life is wasted away on might have beens and at least, this isn't a post that almost happened. However good or bad it is... it is - rather than just another one of those things on my list I'll get to some day. As I write this, I'm already at work on my next 10 years.... so far, I've come out of the gates a bit sluggish, but this introspective look is definately a kick in the pants for me. I know that if one does as he always has, he'll end up where he's always been. I don't want to do that - how often I'm reminded that his one life is the only one I get. No matter how many Stapples commercials I see, I know there's no easy button out there for anything worth having.
In the next ten years, I want to learn how to redeem the time, overcome the struggles and make the most of this vapor that I call my life - I want to keep the focus and I want to be running down that straigth and narrow path each day, I want to learn how to praise in the valley and on the mountaintop, I want to learn how to dare and dream big dreams, I want to fail forward, cause I know I will fail along the way, I want to grow-up... there's a full measure in Christ and I'm far from it, I want to find a way to love my wife more than I ever have before, I want to leave these next 10 years of life better than I found them... I don't so much care to mount on wings like eagles or run and not grow weary - I just want to learn how to walk with Jesus, day by day, and not grow faint.
What do you want to do with your next 10 years?
I'll leave you with a wonderful thought from Katie (Kisses from Katie author):
"Life is not made by lives saved or bellies fed or words written. To adore the One who created the heavens and the earth, to give thanks for who He is and all He has given, to worship and commune with Holy God, whispering in the quiet, clinging in the noise, believing in all circumstances - that is what makes a life large."
Monday, December 17, 2012
Yesterday at church the sermon really challenged each person to look at their own heart and see if they were desiring the presents of God or the presence of God.
“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” Ex. 30:3
This was after Moses had come down from the mountain and found the people worshipping the golden calf. The Lord was so angry. He said though he would give them the Promised Land but would not go with them. He would give them what they had been desiring but not Himself.
Moses and the people were so upset. Moses’ reply was the following:
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” –Ex. 33:15
Moses would rather have stayed in the desert and have the Lord’s presence than go to the Promised Land without the Lord.
The question posed to us was, if God said he would give you exactly what you had been longing for and desiring, but not himself, would you take it? would you still want it? Can I honestly say that I would rather stay in the desert (figuratively speaking – that could be ill health, poverty, estrangement from family, job loss, etc) and have the Lord than go to the land flowing with milk and honey…let’s say “easy street” but without the Lord?
I know in my own life it’s easy to focus on what I want FROM God and I too easily forget that His PRESENCE is the greatest gift He gives. I want what I want and when I get it, I think I will be satisfied…but only for a little while, then I want something else. But when I truly seek the Lord’s PRESENCE over his presents, there is such satisfaction and peace in my heart.
Christmas time is full of presents…don’t miss HIS PRESENCE – the greatest gift, Jesus.