If a story begins, “it seemed like a good idea at the time,” it probably wasn’t. This is today’s cat story. I’ve written before about our cat, Doll. I received her as a Father’s Day gift in 1996. I believe her to be part cat and part squirrel because of her tendency to climb great heights around the house, and then take great leaps of faith. She rests during the day so that she can hunt for her toy mouse after we go to bed, and then she brings it to us with triumphant howls around midnight, and/or around 3 a.m. and again around 4:30 or 5:00. A very close relative of mine began rewarding this effort with a flashlight shining on her victorious capture and with words of praise. She loves words of praise in the middle of the night.
So when this close relative saw there was a free cat game available for download to a smart phone or mini-tablet, it sounded like fun. The game, by the way, is for the cat. Just as partaking in word and skill games is supposed to keep aging minds active, this cat game is designed to help elderly cats stay alert. Doll loves to play her game. All she has to do is tap the moving red dot on the screen and she gets 100 points, and a beep, for as long as she wants to play. If this sounds like something your cat would enjoy, I have two suggestions when handing expensive electronics over to your cat: make certain your cat has been declawed; and, have a tight-fitting case for the occasional screen licking. Doll loves this game so much she wants to play it whenever her humans get out their electronic devices. This can get annoying.
This all reminds me of that Bible verse in Galatians 6 which points out that people reap what they sow. This passage cautions us to be mindful of our actions, for we must live with the results. And sometimes the results may keep us up at night.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Sow well. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
As the adorned bride was walking outside to enter the chapel for her wedding, she looked up and spotted the groom walking toward his car. I had no choice but to smile and wave. She kept walking. I kept going. I tell this true story to most brides-to-be, hoping that it might lower the stress of their wedding day. For the most part it increases their curiosity about the “runaway” groom. They place themselves in the story and begin to wonder what they would do if they spotted their groom leaving the church 10 minutes before the ceremony. If I’m not careful, this can become a new wedding horror for them to dwell on.
I have seen my share of weddings through the years and have discovered most friends of the couple tell all manner of wedding disaster stories with glee. My reason for telling about the time I drove away from the church waving to my bride is to recast the story as a wedding memory to be shared, and to point out that something unexpected may happen. Brides, grooms, mothers and/or wedding planners cannot control everything. My advice is to relax, look beautiful and let the wedding unfold–which is easy for me to say, so I ask the couple to pick someone else to stress over the details on the big day. They have to trust others.
I waved to my bride and sped off to the apartment a few blocks away. I found the wedding ring, hurried back to the church, and was on time, waiting at the altar when she walked down the aisle. Dorothy has always said she was not worried. She did not know why I was leaving, but she had faith in me and knew I would be back. Sometimes we have to trust God, trust each other and live in the understanding that we do not always know the whole story. We lived happily ever after.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Trust God. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
I was asked to bring a reflective meditation for Tulsa’s Will Rogers High School Hall of Fame Ceremony. It was held on November 4, 2013, Will Rogers’ birthday. It was also the inaugural event for the high school’s 75th anniversary year of celebration. I began by imagining what it must have felt like to be a teenager in the fall of 1939 as the first students sat in that magnificent 1,500 seat art deco auditorium. Students and teachers alike found themselves in a million-dollar building on what had been a cattle pasture a couple of years earlier. The Depression, the Dust Bowl and clouds of war were daily topics of conversation. Today there are two very senior alumni left from that first graduating class. Looking back from the future is all about learning the stories.
For the past few years I have been hearing stories from some of the attendees of the high school’s 50th Anniversary. For months some of those same people have been planning the 75th Anniversary Gala to be held on April 12th. (Go to www.WillRogersFoundation.net for details.) It will be a grand reunion with hundreds of former students and faculty. I encouraged the class of 1989 and others to take good notes because 2039 and the 100th Anniversary of the school is not that far away. I ended my part by asking God to continue to bless the legacy of those who dreamed of a future shaped by inspired teenagers who would go on to do great things.
The future is always closer than we think. I remember as a boy trying to figure out how old I would be in the year 2000. That was impossibly far away, if I even lived that long. Now it is 2014 already. What will your life be like in 2020? That’s just six years away. Do you have a future vision for yourself, your family and your church? Do not give up on your future. In our ever-changing times, the future is still built on our life stories and relationships, guided by God’s Word and redemptive love.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Discover the future. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
After completing the macramé phase of my life, I turned to cross-stitch, with an occasional adventure in needlepoint. After all, you can only make so many hanging flower pot holders for all of your friends and relatives. New friends and more relatives were gifted with little pictures, sayings and Christmas stitchery. Some were graciously received. I stitched one piece that is framed and hangs in my office. It is about four letter words.
English is a very rich language consisting of approximately one million words,* yet a handful of vulgarities seem to lace daily life with too much regularity. Why does it seem to take weeks and weeks to teach a child “please and thank you,” or “Yes, ma’am or No, sir,” and only one time for a misplaced ugly word to be instantly memorized and utilized by that same child? It is probably time to upgrade our use of the four letter word.
“Four Letter Words that Change the World”
Love. Hope. Care. Help.
Heal. Work. Play. Feel.
Duty. Home. Good. Kind.
Pity. Rest. Seek. Pray. Live.
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Speak true and holy. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Like everyone from my generation, I remember where I was fifty years ago today. As a charter member of the Baby Boomers, I was sitting in the school auditorium with a hundred or so classmates in our history class. Televisions were placed throughout the auditorium for a class with a public educational broadcast. As the TV host was talking about the violent nature of mankind, the camera focused on a model of a caveman with a club. Then the narrator stopped mid-sentence. The camera did not move. After a long pause he announced that a bulletin reported that the President had been shot. Immediately one of our teachers turned the channel to hear the report. We sat in disbelief. Finally the class bell rang and I went to last period, Latin. We talked about what was unfolding and waited together. Later the principal’s voice announced that President Kennedy had died in an assassination in Dallas. Class ended and we all went home to a very surreal weekend.
Like the generation before me who knew where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor, or the generation after me of students watching with great expectancy the launch of the space shuttle Challenger carrying a school teacher into space, or this generation’s horror we call 9.11, we can close our eyes and still see the events unfold as if they were yesterday. This week we are rummaging around in our memories of November 22, 1963. We are reflecting on the unanswered questions of that day and the
“what if’s” of shattered lives. Walter Cronkite, wiping his eyes with the telling of the news, mirrors our own grief in the retelling of these events.
Now Thanksgiving Day is before us. The holiday season is already in full swing. For too many there is an empty chair at the table this year where once there was a love. We remember our own turning points of shattered dreams and anniversaries of pain that time really has not taken away. Dying is a part of living, but our stories do not stop with the tears. Living is hard on us, yet we are a people of hope and faith. We are loved with an everlasting love. No matter what has come, or what may come, God is always with us!
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Joy comes in the morning. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
When the conversation turned to yurts, I was at a disadvantage. My concept of a yurt was vague and sketchy at best. A yurt is a name for a portable house used by nomadic shepherds and others across central Asia. It is a shorter, wider, heavier cousin to a teepee. To Mongolians, the word for “home” is “yurt.” Recent severe flooding in Inner Mongolia destroyed dozens of yurts. Our son-in-law Kevin was asked by the Chinese Red Cross to help assess the situation to see if his charitable organization could help the affected people. He and his friend Samuel traveled the 22 hours by train and bus to the region, located near the Russian border with north central China. They determined that yurts, wheelchairs and medical personnel were the primary way his organization could help.
An effort was launched to provide new yurts for the area. A modern yurt costs about $1,000 US dollars. Kevin had already been in contact with a team of believing American doctors and dentists who wanted to serve for a rural area. Arrangements were made with the doctors and the Chinese authorities for a trip October 13-23 to set up a medical clinic. Winter temperatures have already set in and light snows are not unusual in the part of Mongolia where they will be working. There is strong spiritual opposition in this region of the world and I know Kevin and the team would appreciate your continued prayers for their efforts to reach the people with needed Good News. You can see pictures of the area and read some of Kevin’s report on the web at, http://servepraylove.blogspot.com/
Disaster relief is an on-going reality of our times. So many disasters, far and near, can lead to an emotional fatigue as we wrestle with our part in helping others. So many are living crisis to crisis, day after day; our assignment is to be the presence of Christ pointing the way. “Do not grow weary in well doing,” says Paul, “for in due time the harvest will be ready.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. There’s no place like yurt. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
My vision for a week of “Grandparent Camp” with our two older grandsons was classic. I envisioned five days of enrichment, grandparent bonding, and life lessons shared together. We were introduced to the concept of grandparent camp by long-time friends. Their grandchildren experienced a week of extended Bible school, arts and crafts, swimming in the pool and visits to local museums all presided over by their grandparents. Their grandchildren were perfect. Our first day of grandparent camp included an hour and twenty minutes in time-out. I needed the break. It was a time of testing limits and pushing boundaries while their parents were out of town for a week. The grandparents who take on grandparent camp should not also keep working everyday. Coordinating Meals on Wheels, conducting meetings, preparing for a wedding, dealing with a work crew and a host of other demands kept intruding on my camp experience.
The boys learned to adjust to their grandparents, mostly. They made it to a movie, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the Oklahoma Aquarium without incident. They practiced their piano lessons, ate their meals at a variety of locations, went to Meet the Teacher Night at school and took at least one bath. Overall they said they enjoyed the week. I, on the other hand, needed a nap.
All of this reminded me of the number of grandparents in our community who have the full-time responsibility of raising their grandchildren. They do not have the luxury of turning the children back over to the parents. The parents are rarely in the picture, or are so caught-up in their own personal issues that the grandparent is the only hope for their child. Some of these grandparents were not all that successful in parenting the first time around. How many single grandparents do you know who are raising grandchildren; grandparents who are still working and trying to do it right this time? How can your family and our church help these grandparents? I suspect they might like for someone like you and me to listen to their stories and offer a prayer.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Visit with a grandparent. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.