Murky waters


I hope you have had the experience of fishing for Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, or mudbugs. If not, then know that it’s a wonderful experience, especially with little ones rooting for you to fight away the pinchers and collect the prize.

The hunt all started with my family stream walking, dipping our feet in a cool riverbed in the middle of summer. It wasn’t long before I sensed some curious pinches grasping for my toes. Soon, all of the kids were gathered around the shore to spot the little monster lobsters darting around underneath the glassy pool.

One thing we learned quickly is that it is impossible to catch crawfish with your hands unless the water is clear. It would go like this, we would spot one, slowly gain ground towards it, reach in and snatch them up. (No, we didn’t eat them, but later returned them to their home). Although, I totally can dig into Louisiana style boiled crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob with a couple ice cold beers holding out in the cooler. That’s summertime.

This is what I learned. We could never see the little critters unless we waited for the muddy water to rest and become clear. The restful period of waiting was important and if we got impatient and stirred the waters too early, only murky water could we reach into blindly.

 

 

The rest. The active anticipation. The calm. All of it made the successful catch possible. And it was the stirring and the hunt which created the opportunity for rest possible. 

 

We live between the balance between work and rest, activity and stillness, sabbath and toil. Both are required to produce things we long for; peace, contentment and joy.

What about you? Are you experiencing clarity? Then go for it! Reach into the cold spring waters and succeed! Are you attempting to peer through murky waters? Rest. Allow the clarity to come as you remain still. Nothing else needs to be done but wait patiently for the murky waters to become clear.

I’m currently enjoying a good read:

The Sabbath by Wayne Muller. 

 

Why you need a Mr. Rogers in your life. 

img_5542

“It’s such a good feeling to know that I’ll be back when the day is new”

Have you heard of Mr. Roger’s neighborhood? Was he your neighbor? Do you remember him, his zip up and zip down sweater routine, the way he crossed one leg over the other as he politely removed his shoes?

Do you remember the way he uttered, “feed the fish” and then I knew as a child, exactly how much fish food to pinch because I saw him do it. 

Do you remember him telling you that thunderstorms gave you no reason to be afraid? I remember trusting his word because he never gave me a reason to doubt him.

He said what he meant and meant what he said. “I always felt I didn’t need to put on a funny hat or jump through a hoop to have a relationship with a child.”

If a child can read a phony, it only served to show up honestly. He helped each child understand with sincerity, when he said, ” I like you just the way you are”. I believed it because he was there – just the way he was.

Here are a few reasons why we all need someone like Fred Rogers in our life.

 

  • We all need someone to understand that we are not the random snapshot of our life, but the sum total of experiences, past, present and future. With this thought, no one is beyond help or understanding. This kind of thinking begs to wait for more light to be shown on the situation before a judgement is made.

  • We all need someone to be there. Right where we left them. It’s almost as if they are a faithful undeveloped side character in the story of our lives, and they are not going anywhere. Uncertainty brings such a restlessness to our hearts as we wait nervously for our next affirmation or validation. These people are always found stationary and subtle, but heals our most misunderstood wounds.

  • We all need someone who is proud of us. Personality Hacker types Fred Rogers as “Memory Harmony” in the Genius style assessment. These wonderful people demonstrate a much needed characteristic in our world – pride. They clap when your recitals sound terrible, they cheer when you get taken to the sidelines, they smile and find a reason to celebrate in the C- you brought home from school. And they keep biding time for you to become the person you are meant to be, holding their breath while you learn to breathe.

Mr. Rogers was on the path of becoming a minister when he watched children’s televisions for the first time at his parents house while on break. Registering disgust as he watched the cartoons unfold, he decided he would take another path and began to work as a lower level employee with NBC. Eventually, he moved up to creating his own television program that reached into so many hearts around the country.

A person like Fred Rogers understood that we are made up of the people who have invested the most in us. Maybe it is a parent, maybe a friend. Maybe someone further along in life, whether one year or twenty ahead of you that reminded you “it’s going to get better”. If Mr. Rogers were still here with us, he would ask you to take a moment, let that person know you appreciate them. Would you do that now?

Thanks for reading today, and remember, there are many ways to say

“I love you” there are many ways to say, “I care about you.”

 

Seasons

Photo cred: Calie Garret
Lately I have been thinking a lot about seasons and their purpose. When we talk about seasons, we refer to the leaves blooming flowers, changing color, and falling off, leaving their home to rest into the dirt beneath. 

Really, it’s the cycle that we are taking about. There are a lot of effective ways to communicate life using circles. One of my favorite is the circle of continuous breakthrough referenced in Mike Breen’s book Choosing to Learn from Life 

What I like about this model is that we can learn from our moments, in almost a post game Conferance sort of way, where we can observe, reflect, discuss our actions in order to learn from them. 

Of course, this means we have to be willing for the next opportunity before we can choose to grow. Rather than simply correcting a mistake, error, or undesirable I observe, life requires patience from me as I wait for that moment, or season to come around again so I can arrive with a new skill set, alternate mindset to change my behavior. 

Train stations, harvest time, full moons, meteor showers, hunting deer, open enrollment, most of our life involves taking the opportunity to better yourself or to wait until the next opportunity comes around. 

Patience and understanding yourself brings the preparation necessary for me to grow into a better version of myself, all the while I am waiting for the season to arrive. 

And I think that’s what we can become more skilled in doing: waiting actively. Waiting, not in an idle way, but purposeful, intentional, understanding this: that the universe operates in seasons and so should we. 

So, here’s to your season! 

Motivational Wednesday 

Check out Zach Anner!

I watched the video (see below) with my 3 kids, 6 5 & 2 years old. 
Some of the comments they made, 

Wow, he talks a lot” (the video is spliced “vine style”. 

Why can’t he stand?” (he has muscular dystrophy)

I can do that on the monkey bars!“(Zach performed pull ups in the video)

Of course, immediately after this I set up my pull up bar and my son goes to work on his pull ups. 

What I notice in watching this video with my kids is that they are not afraid to ask awkward questions, and they really aren’t afraid to upset anyone with their comments. 

We watched a video of Zach Anner climbing steps in a blue shirt. Zach mentioned something about “the white guy” and my son commented, “and he’s the blue guy”, referring to the most distinguishing point about a guy with muscular dystrophy climbing stairs — his t shirt color. 

I’m not sure if this incriminates me as a parent, but hey, I’m just along for the ride. I love hearing my kids unfiltered comments to the world around them, and they provide for me a refreshing sense of wonder. 

Don’t quit!

When life keeps you stuck in a rut, when you can’t move forward, when you’re cramped in the inferior, when time and space get you down, do what you do best:
Make it authentic

Make it harmonious 

Make it effective

Make it logical
Shift your perspective

Redefine your memories 

Be sensational

Keep exploring

Friends let friends be themselves

imageI would have to say that today I’m thankful for the friends in my life who give me space to be myself.

I notice that the things I’m the most insecure about in myself particularly my ability to get things done on time, is where I need someone to hold space and give grace.

Being myself, in the case, would mean that when making decisions, I allow myself the slow process of filtering through my values until I know, deep in my core, what is the right thing to do.

The picture I get in my mind is tracing a group of tangled cables all the way back to a power source. At this point, I can reassure myself that if I make a decision (pull the plug) that it is not going to shut power down to a vital motivation in my heart.

Does this sound complicated? It is! But along with mastering this decision making process comes some of the most beautiful art and expression of humanity since it is so in touch with the core values of the person.

How do you make decisions? What process do you go through? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Process and the Outcome

I have been making honey mead, the ancient honey wine, referenced in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein;

“They sat long at the table with their wooden drinking-bowls filled with mead. The dark night came on outside.
 ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦
At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug – he had eaten two whole loaves (with masses of butter and honey and clotted cream) and drunk at least a quart of mead – and he took out his pipe. “I will answer the second question first,” he said “- but bless me! This is a splendid place for smoke rings!”

There is so much information on how to make honey mead, something simple enough to make in simpler times, oldest records suggesting 4000 BC. However, after wading through so much information, I realized that I simply wanted to make something ancient, yet useful for modern drink. My value that I wanted to honor was creativity. We as humans, are created to create, and simply buying alcohol wasn’t enough to satisfy my need for creativity. 

So, I relaxed from the data long enough to get into creative flow. I made plenty of mistakes and had to throw away two batches and one broken glass carboy, but 3 months later, I succeeded in enjoying the sweet nectar of the gods-honey mead. Creativity and success was allowed to happen once I began the process, riddled woth lessons and mistakes along the way. The outcome became not nearly as important as the process. 

Of course, all of this outcome tastes amazing, thanks to the process! 

Growing up

As I sit with my daughter in the coffe shop, I’m listening to all of the people sitting and reading, walking in and out with their drinks, working behind the counter and thinking “what are they letting go of today?” “Do they remember the time their mommy and daddy dropped them off on an adventure?” I wonder if they would sit and tell me the story of how they dressed themselves this morning and prepares for another adventure?
This experience makes life so much deeper. I’m along for the ride. 

Holding Space

IMG_3436Mostly what I’m learning about now is how to care for others. I’ve played a hospice nurse, youth pastor, space holder, daddy, and husband.But one thing I notice I can never do for myself is be there for me. I have been moving so fast through life between working, late night call outs to provide care for patients, leading ministries at churches, balancing a family and work and more often than not, dropping everything and refusing to admit that I’m:

Burnt out

Brain Fog

Losing sleep

Running in the circus ring with a lion, and if I slow down, he will consume me

My wife Ellen, decided to end her 7 year “stay at home mom” stretch and return to working in her field. There’s plenty to say about that challenge from her end but it left me to care for the kids at home until school started, but mostly, she wanted to gift me with the chance to start-up a business I had been dreaming about for some time. So for 2 months, I stopped working, cashed out all my PDO, and started a business, cared for the kids and home.  After 2 months of launching in this direction, we then decided I would return to a full-time working status after the kids started school.
Honestly, at the end of the day if all we accomplished was me spending 2 months leave of absence, I owe so much to Ellen for that. I got to know and understand my kids on a whole new level. I started a blog that I plan on keeping up and even got up a website where people can actually pay me online for coaching services.
And I certainly learned about myself, how to regulate my speed, how to dwell in Gods presence whether at work, play or rest.
Some may say she just wanted to get back to work some may say she wanted to use her nursing license but in her core, she wanted to help give her husband a much deserved break. She is pioneer woman, she is the helper that comes along and meets the need. She literally gave me the clothes off her back by covering all the expenses while I rested and refreshed myself from 5 years of pushing through one of the most taxing jobs I’ve ever worked. She gave me a chance of reprieve from the circus, a tap out of the ring to engage in one of the most important rhythms in life – rest. The lions are still out there and eventually, we return to the plow of earth, the toil of mankind, but now with a refreshed heart and soul.

Surround yourself with people who help you rest, work, play, and show you how engage in the natural rhythms of life. This is not the end of the discussion, only the beginning.

 

http://www.rhythmscoaching.com/

What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well

Mission thoughts on food

God has been saying something to me for a while regarding food, drink and thankfulness. 

 
I have not studied the feasts at all, but I get the impression God ordered a lot of meals, I know there will be a wedding feast in heaven, the first sin was oriented around what we ate, Jesus’ first and last recorded miracle involve food (water you turned into wine) and the miraculous catch of fish and the master breakfast by the bay. Jesus used food (the passover meal) to have us remember him. The first and the last ultimate human betrayal oriented around a fruit tree in the garden with Adam and Eve and a morsel of bread dipped in gravy given to Judas in exchange for the permission to hand Christ over to death.
 
I think what God is saying is that he builds worship and love around food. Worship towards him because it births gratefulness and love because it binds us in unity.
 
Romans 1:21 says although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.
 
That whole spiritual/moral decline began as knowing God but never thanking him. 
 
Think about it, you can use all 5 of your senses during a meal. Most likely you first smell the food. Smells are connected greatly to the way we feel. Next you might, see the food. Presentation can deter you from choosing a menu item if it looks like slop on a plate special instead of the pristine photoshopped decoration of a dessert. We like what we see. Now you begin to touch the food. While I was in Peru, a friend of mine told me, “Food tastes best with your fingers.” I wonder if part of the reason we love junk food so much is that we are using our hands to feed ourself rather than having to mediate with a metal utensil. Burgers, fries, chips, candy, pizza, they all get touched right before we chomp down on our lunch that day.
 
Of course, you can hear the food. Sometimes we try to be polite, but the truth is, meals are noisy things. There is smacking and slurping and cruching and cracking. Maybe you are concious enough not to let me hear you chew your food, but you can certainly enjoy the sounds you make during a meal!
 
Lastly, the food is tasted. Needless to say, food does not provide such a pleasure as when you are stopped up with a head cold. 
 
Interesting note, when you snack on chips, crackers, smacking and crunching your brain deposits dopamine in your blood. This is done in tangent with your salivary glands releasing saliva. That’s why when most people are needing a hug, they will start snacking because as soon as your saliva is released, dopamine “the pleasure hormone” is released in your blood, making you happy. 
 
Case in point: if we are going to train our bodies to be happy, do it around people, not alone. To be alone is something foreign to the holy Godhead. Only once was Jesus alone and that was on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins. Practice eating together. As humble as our meal is some nights, i.e. Chicken nuggets and cheese sticks, we do it as a family. Before diving into our meal, we practice going around the table and saying what we are thankful for. The responses range from silly to serious, laughable to warming my heart. I want my children to direct thanks to God. When god leaves, things get dark and cold in a way about we have no idea, even the most wicked of us. None of us are truly alone yet. Live in such a way that the world will miss Christs company when you are gone. I think that can only happen if we are visible to the world. Everybody eats. Do it together.