Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Latest Pillow...Enjoy!

Whew! Another pillow pieced, sewn, stuffed and finished! I had a lot of fun making this one for my best friend here in Indy. I have another one in the works and more ideas in my head than I can get out! :) No tellin what's next...hope you like 'em!

This week has just flown by! Can't believe tomorrow is Friday already! Wade and I will be spending Friday and Saturday at a homeschoolers convention telling people about Gospel For Asia. We are so excited to share what God is doing in Asia and how we can be a part of it.

Here today, gone tomorrow...

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”
   - E.B. White

 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.’
     - Job 37:6

 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
    - Psalm 147:16

Last night I stood outside for a bit just watching the snowflakes falling… they were the big, beautiful, fluffy kind that fall like white confetti from the sky. I couldn’t help but think about all the times I had been in East Texas growing up and prayed that something frozen would fall from the sky just once during the winter. I’ve probably seen more snowfall and more days of snow here in one winter in Indy than I have my whole life growing up in East Texas. The interesting thing to me is that I think there are many who live in the north (and probably the south as well after this winter) who are ready to see winter come to an end… enough of the snow seems to be a common mantra. I will gladly welcome spring and the beautify of it all as well, but I’m not in a hurry to see another season come and go. As I stood outside watching the flakes fall, I was reminded again of how fleeting our days really are.

I stood outside an extra bit last night just for the pure and simple reason that I didn’t know if I’d get to just stand outside in the snow and watch it fall again for a while… I was reminded of how many things we do for the last time and how sometimes we know it and sometimes we don’t. For example, I can flashback to the last college football game I suited up for… I remember watching the clock wind down and knowing in my heart that it was the last competitive game I would ever suit up for… the last warm-up, and ( the way I spent the last game) the last time I would sit the bench and watch my teammates play (lol). I also think about the last time I saw Granddaddy on this earth… it was a July morning – Jacqueline and I had come in from North Carolina to celebrate July 4th with my family. Granddaddy stopped by that morning of our departure and brought some fresh cucumbers that we cut up and ate while we visited. It was just a simple thing really… he had probably stopped by 100’s of times in the course of my life, but that one will be forever etched in my memory. Jacqueline and I were off to the airport to fly home in a few hours – little did I know it would be the last time I would see him on this earth. I don’t think it would have changed anything had I known it would be the last… I really enjoyed him stopping by – he made me laugh the way he always did and he gave me ones of those Granddaddy hugs that only he could give. I’ll probably miss most about him the way he greeted me – I always felt like a prince. Not all last times are a sad occasion though… I think about the “last first kiss” I hope to ever have and how refreshing it is to know that I don’t have to “chase” after another girl. Lord willing, I’ve been rejected by a woman I seek to commit my life to for the last time. Last times are some of the best times… so be on the lookout. Sometimes everything changes in an instant and you can miss it… I think of the disciples dining with Jesus one last time during the last supper, and He reminding them that they wouldn’t dine together again on this earth with him in that manner. I don’t think they fully realized it would be the last. I’m always delighted to remind myself that in Heaven, there are no last times… I guess in a way, there are endless first times – “with no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun”.

There are a lot of last times on this earth – we probably have more of them than we can even count. Maybe the next last time we encounter will be a first – the first time we begin to “number our days aright” – the first time we just stand and watch the snowflakes for a while – the first time we embrace the moment, knowing full well it might be the last. Last times, like first times, come and go in a blink – be on the lookout, it really could be your last.

Like Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

May God grant us each day the ability to see with new eyes…

Monday, February 22, 2010


I hardly ever take naps during the day... tired as I might be, I usually never give into a nap - however, this Sunday after church I did just that and I must say it felt good. It feels good to just rest physically... even more so to rest emotionally and spiritually. To exchange our burdens for Christ's yoke that is easy... it's refreshing. And I don't know about you, but I need refreshment, daily. There's a rest that only Christ can give...and only by ceasing our striving can we truly embrace that rest. I don't know if I'm completely on board to this napping thing, but it sure was nice on Sunday.

I heard on the news this morning that napping during the afternoon can clear your short term memory and make you sharper for the rest of your day. Maybe my boss will buy-in to this... it sure did make things better in Kindergarten. I'm sure I'll be bringing my pillow any day now - lol.

When it comes to the nap... my wife is one of the best I know... and in so many ways, I celebrate that in her. We've never had something pressing going on and she chosen a nap over getting things handled, but she's very good at embracing rest over mere busyness. I'm not the best at this and I often think that I miss out on that personal rest, that Sabbath, that God provides to each of us in Christ. He's got the whole world in His hands... he's got it all in control, and because of that, I can nap - I truly can just rest a while. God is big enough for me to take a break. That's refreshing to know and even more so to embrace each day. I've got a long ways to go in this area, but I'm learning. I've learned a great deal about rest and about Sabbath from a book called "The Rest of God" written by Mark Buchanan. It's a great book, much like everything else Mark writes... and it was a real eye opener to the reason we should rest and the provision that God provides in our resting in Him. The "rest" of God... is not only a stopping (a rest), but it's also the things we can't learn about God except through rest... "the rest" of the story so to speak. I often think that if God could create Eve while Adam was taking a little nap, what could He create from me while I'm doing the same... I know that might be a stretch... but there's definately a part of God we miss out on  in all our busyness.

Jacqueline and I had a good weekend this weekend - I got the taxes filed and Uncle Sam payed, we had some Dunkin Donuts (a real treat for us), she finished up a pillow (just needs to be stuffed) for our good friend Jacque, watched some Olympics (Jacqueline didn't quite make it through Saturday night's viewing), went for a run on the Monon - the longest run we've even been on (8 miles in 1:07:30), went to church, visited and had birthday cake at Ben and Jacque's, caught up with some family over the phone, wrote some cards, napped, and watched the Disney movie "Up" (it was a moving movie to be considered just a children's film). It was a lot of fun, as always, just being with the wife... I can't wait to do it again.

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath
Try to get some rest this week... it's good for the soul.

"'Don't you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?"
     - Psalm 127:2

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Friday and a Tribute to my Wife

Happy Friday… it’s kind of hard for to swallow that we almost already have 2 months of 2010 in the books. In many ways, I don’t know where all the time goes - but I agree with Kenny – it sure goes fast. Looks like another cold and snowy weekend in Indy. We could pick up a light snow on Saturday and maybe a pretty good winter storm on Sunday night into Monday. For those that don’t know, I love the weather… I watch the weather channel at least once a day. However, I liked the weather channel much better in years past when they had more weather and not all that they are like the ESPN of weather. I could see them one day having Weather Channel 2 were they do there affiliate weather programs and Weather Century where they do all theeir historical programming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fascinated by the weather, but it’s a bit overkill for me. But one thing holds true, (and this I like) local on the 8’s of the hour and the 5-day planner at 20 minutes after the hour (as long as one of those other programs aren’t on at that time – lol). Those are my two favorite programs... and I'm really enjoying the variety of music that plays during the local on the 8's these days!!!

It looks like a pretty calm weekend for the Pates - just hanging out, getting some things done at the apartment, hopefully getting the taxes filed (looks like I’ll be sending Uncle Sam some more $), maybe going for a run, going to church, and just having fun with the wifey. I’m sure my wife will be hard at work creating a new pillow… she’s got patience and skills that far exceed my own. I can’t say enough good things about my wife. I know many husbands would contend with me that there wife is “the best”, but I too would vie for that honored position. I won’t write a love novel on here, but I do want to say that she’s beautifully and wonderfully my wife each and every day. I’ve only had the honor of being married to her for a little over 18 months, but every day has been good, and I mean every single day. I think what I might enjoy most about my wife is that she finds joy in the Lord – makes my task of pleasing her so easy.

Seriously, if she was not happy and content with Christ and where He has her and what He’s given her and is doing with Her in His world, there’s no amount of provision, or protection, or romance, or fun-times that I could give her that could even come close to satisfying her. I thank God, that in His grace, He lets me do nice things for her that supplement the joy He’s already given her, but I’m not the least bit fooled that she’s a happy girl because I’m “that great of a husband”. I know He’s the reason she is who she is, and He’s also the reason I can even provide anything for her. Maybe it sounds too cliché, but speaking from the heart, because she’s satisfied in Him, I have the freedom to love her out of devotion and desire and not out of duty. I don’t have to take care of her, she’s already taken care of, and because of that, I just to get to enjoy all that she is and share in that joy with her. She's the most fun I've ever had. It's hard to leave the best thing I have in my life at the house every morning and come work - maybe I'll get to retire here soon - lol.

I’m so thankful for Jacqueline – for her forgiveness and grace that she extends to me and the love she pours into my life; a love that I’ve come to know as unconditional. I don’t know, even though I strive for it, if I’ll ever be able to love my wife as unconditionally as she loves me. I think my mom and my wife are two people on this earth who would love me no matter what… whether I’m being “the man” or being a jerk. I don’t know what all that does for a man, but it sure seems to “free” me up knowing that I don’t have to win her heart. Thank you Lord for giving me an earthly example, although I know it pales in comparison, of just an inkling of what your love is like. I just pray Lord that you would increase my love for You and allow me to pass that to my wife in the purest and deepest way that I can. I’ve often read that verse in the third chapter of Ephesians where it talks about how God can do ”immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” and thought of my wife… she’s the God-given example of God doing just that in my life. Thank you Lord for giving me such a great wife and for the all the days (You’ve already numbered them I know ) I’ll get to spend by her side. I’m humbled and honored that You would consider me for such a blessing…. Teach me more and more each day how to love her like you loved the church.

The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God

“Contentment is never wanting less, that’s the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if he’s killed his heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come.”
    - John Eldridge (The Sacred Romance)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Mrs. and her first blog...

Alright, so I'm trying to catch up with the technological advances in communication...well...a little anways. :)
This is my first blog and I am excited to be able to more easily share what's happening in our lives. This is a very exciting and fun season of life for us. The Lord is teaching us so much and growing our marriage. I have undertaken a new job with basketball training and a new hobby in pillow making! With the weather being so cold out, sewing has kept me busy and my mind off how far off spring still is... Here are a couple of pictures of my latest pillows. Enjoy!
This silly bird took me forever! But I had fun making him!

Ash Wednesday

I have never really participated much in the events of Lent... don't really know why - I guess it was just a result of being raised in a Baptist church and not engaging in these activities growing up and never adopting them once I was out on my own. The older I get, the more I am thankful for these remembrances. The older I get, the more I understand just how fast life passes us by and that I too will return to the dust in the Lord's time. We need more reminders... we need to be more mindful, or at least I do. So with that, I wish you all the best Lental season... may you, like I'm striving to, pause long enough to remember Christ and his journey to the Cross and to somehow, whether in ways great or small, embrace a bit more of what it means to take up your cross and follow Him.

Excerpts from an article by Margaret Manning

A Season of Dust

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. And unlike Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, Lent is a solemn season for the Christian. As part of the Ash Wednesday worship service, ashes are imposed on one's forehead in the pattern of a cross. The imposed ashes are from the previous year’s Palm Sunday fronds—fronds reminiscent of those waved triumphantly as Jesus entered Jerusalem on his way to Golgotha. The Jews believed he entered the city as the coming King; they did not yet understand he would reign through suffering and death.
These ashes remind us of our common destiny: “From dust you come and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). For the Christian, the Lenten season is also meant to remind us of our common mission to walk the path with Jesus toward death. It invites us to lose our lives in order to find them anew, resurrected with Jesus on Easter morning.
Whether or not one actively observes Lent, the season can serve as an invitation to evaluate our own lives and to examine the invitation of Jesus to “die” with him. We can enter this "deathly" contemplation with the anticipation of resurrection on Easter morning. But Christ’s path to resurrection is the path of laying down lives, the path of relinquishment, and the path of self-denial. This path feels entirely unnatural, for it takes us in the opposite direction of self-preservation.

The season of Lent is the season of dust and ashes. It is the journey toward one man’s death on a Cross and toward our own. Bonhoeffer understood this as he wrote from his prison cell, and Jesus understood this as he bore the weight of suffering, misunderstanding, shame, and death at Golgotha. The way to resurrection life is indeed not by saving our lives, but in losing them. Whether one observes Lent or not, the call to "take up our crosses" is issued to all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Joining the Blogger Community....

I don't know how vividly or how often my wife and I will post on this blog, but we are at least going to give it a try... make our best effort to try to connect in one area of cyberspace with those around us. We are very anti facebook and myspace due to the amount of aimless time that can be spent there and the facade of community it creates. I guess this blog could very do the same thing, but for now, we forge ahead and give it a try...

Thought for the day:

From Ravi Zacharias

Malcolm Muggeridge said it well. Listen carefully - these are delicious words:

We look back upon history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling. Revolutions and Counterrevolutions. Wealth accumulated and wealth disbursed. Shakespeare has written of the rise and fall of great ones, that ebb and flow with the moon. I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced, in the words of what is still a popular song, that the God who made them mighty, shall make them mightier yet.

I've heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a Reich that would last a thousand years. I have seen an Italian clown say he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power. I've heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin, acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka.

I have seen America, wealthier and in terms of military weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people so desired, they could have outdone a Caesar, or an Alexander in the range and scale of their conquests.

All in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running our of those precious fluids that keeps their motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate. All in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.

Behind the debris of these solemn supermen, and self-styled imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one, because of whom, by whom, in whom and through whom alone, mankind may still have peace: The person of Jesus Christ. I present him as the way, the truth, and the life.