Month: June 2017

An Ordinary, Average Guy

Well… today is my birthday.

Not a big deal. I’m not much of a party guy. I don’t like surprises and I am uncomfortable receiving presents.  It makes me feel awkward.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about “Following Your Dreams.” I shared about some of the dreams that I have had growing up over the years. 

One of those dreams was about becoming a member of The Temptations… yes… those Temptations. I still laugh at myself because I can’t sing and I can’t dance, let alone that I am not of a particular race that automatically in and of itself would disqualify me.

All of those aspects are true but it never stopped me from having the dream.

Dreams.

Things I wanted to be growing up is funny to me now that I look back on them.  A pilot, a singer, a musician, a barber (this is the first public admission that I thought about becoming a barber), a baseball player, a great speaker, a great writer, a great teacher and these are just a “few of the things” I wanted to be growing up.

In truth, some of these dreams still creep around in my mind and heart.

I wanted to be someone. I wanted to be different and rise above average and be great at something.  I wanted my home town of Oak Harbor, Ohio to remember who I was and I wanted my family to be proud of me.

The problem was I wasn’t great at anything on that list. Not one of them.

i-am-ordinary-8-728-1I have come to accept the fact that I am just an ordinary, average guy.

While I have accepted that fact, it is not what I wanted when I was growing up.  I wanted to be anything but average.

One day, I am going to die and outside of my family it will probably get little notice. Maybe someone will be sad or write a nice note on my wife’s facebook page. It will be posted in the local paper obituary and after a few days people will move on. 

It’s the cycle of life.

I’m not whining, because it will happen to you, too.

I have no death wish.  Life is to be lived. I want to live as long as I possibly can. I want to experience everything that an ordinary, average guy should.

I accepted long ago that the world never revolved around me.  It kind of blows your mind when you first realize this.

I just know I now wake up every day feeling that dying doesn’t scare me anymore.

The truth is, in 50 years, no one will remember me. No one’s going to care. There’s something unsettling about that. But liberating, too.

AverageWhen you come to terms of being ordinary, of being average, possibly even below average, the stress and anxiety of feeling inadequate will dissipate. And the knowledge and acceptance of your own existence will actually free you to accomplish what you truly wish to accomplish with no judgments and no lofty expectations.

I have a growing appreciation for life’s basic experiences. I have learned to measure myself by new, healthier means: the pleasures of simple friendship, creating something with my hands, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone I care about.

Sounds boring, doesn’t it? That’s because these things are average. But maybe they’re average for a reason, because they are what actually matters.

Image result for Life isLife for the ordinary, average me is when my wife is being happy to see me after a long day at work. It’s when she texts me just to say, I love you.  Life is knowing that there is no one I want to spend more time with except with my wife.

It’s when my grandson Brody comes into the room, hugs me and yells, “Grandpa” because he is excited to see me.  It’s lying on the floor, playing with NASCAR cars and going to the races with my grandson, Indiana.

It’s sending stupid, ridiculous selfies to my daughter Cassidy and have her send hers back to me.  It’s when my daughter, Crystal asks me for advice and for my help.

It’s when my son, Nathan tells me he loves me.  Life is when my son, Adam and I are talking to each other in love.  

It’s acknowledging my failures and coming to an acceptance of my responsibilities for them.  It’s being forgiven by my Savior, Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him.

Life is forgiving those who don’t deserve it. Life is forgiving yourself.

It’s having a church to attend that I love.

It’s a sunny day in the garage, being creative and working on another project with my hands.

Life for me is when I hear my daughter, Cassidy sing.

Life for me is a new album I want to listen to over and over.  It’s listening to among others, The Temptations, Joe Walsh, Sanctus Real, James Taylor, ELO, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Keith Green, Patsy Cline, David Phelps, Collective Soul and the Beatles.K1361

It’s when someone likes something I wrote.

Life is giving more than we take.  It’s leaving things around us just a little better than we found them.

Life is winning the battle so far to NOT be that old guy yelling at the local kids to stay off my lawn.

Life for me is all of this and more.

My list of what makes life special to me grows each day. I could not possibly list them all here.  Sometimes I get caught up in what I could have been.  I know that haunted me for years.  However, as I sojourn to the backside of my 50’s, I have come to peace and acceptance that I will forever be ordinary and average.

Nothing special.

Life for me is just being an ordinary, average guy.

And ultimately, it is me being okay with just that.

Be Still and Listen

It constantly amazes me how wonderful God is. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/65/f7/4c/65f74c16cf2df0e25126c9122840cfb5.jpg
Sometimes I think that God is so busy running the Universe, that He really doesn’t have time for me and my petty problems.
But He is willing to stoop down, see me and show me that He loves me.
His kindness and mercy are more than we could ever consider.
One of my favorite Psalms is 138:6.  
“For though the Lord is exalted, He regards the lowly”
Do you know that He sees you?
He hears you.
Regardless what you have done, He is there for you.
He loves you and will reach out to you in many ways.
He will say to you, “I see you, I love you, I love to show you how much I care.”
Now, I can’t tell you all that I’m in the midst of.   It doesn’t matter.
We all go through difficult days and times in our lives.
When we are most stretched, strained and fearful, God is always kind to reach out to you and say, “I see you.  Do you know I love you?”
You will hear it…
You just need to be still and listen.

Make My Life a Prayer to You

I wanna do what You want me to.
No empty words and no white lies.
No token prayers, no compromise.

I wanna shine the light You gave, through Your Son You sent to https://thelegacybuilder.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/56b20-imagescalyyxu2.jpg?w=1108save us, from ourselves and our despair.
It comforts me to know You’re really there.

Well I wanna thank You now, for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say.
That You’re coming again. Coming to take me away.

I wanna tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale that I’ve made up inside my head.
You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead.

I wanna die and let You give your life to me so I might live and share the hope You gave me.
The love that set me free.

(Melody Green)

Maybe Today

Tears… they speak of pain.Image result for maybe today
of hurt.
of loss.
of grief.
 
They speak of brokeness.
They tell you that things are not as they should be.
 
Tears of woundedness.
of wrong done.
of loss suffered.
of pain ongoing.
of loneliness.
 
They tell me things are not as they should be.
Things are not as they are supposed to be.
They tell me something is wrong.
a heart broken.
and the tears remind me…
 
THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE!
 
But one day…  maybe today, tears will be no more.
 
One day.
 
Every tear and the reasons for them
will be done away.
 
One day tears will be a distant memory
 
One day…
 
Maybe today.
 
 
 
 

Follow Your Dreams

 

https://i1.wp.com/www.franklin.edu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/follow-your-dreams-and-aspirations.jpgMost of us have big dreams.  Many of those dreams involve becoming rich and famous, winning the Powerball lottery, becoming a star athlete, or marrying a celebrity.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the odds of these types of dreams coming true for most of us are pretty much impossible.

One of my many secret dreams as a child was thttps://www.eventsfy.com/assets/images/artists/The_Temptations.jpgo become a member and sing with the Motown group, The Temptations. In my dreams, I had the dance moves down.  I could sing all the parts and I wrote all of the music.

The reality was not so convincing when I would really take a look at my dance moves and listen to my singing ability in front of a mirror in my bedroom growing up.

It was not pretty. 

None of it.

But the fact that I was white (that in of itself would have kept me from becoming a Temptation, even if I could dance and sing) and that I was a member of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church, proved that I had no rhythm and could not sing as good as I did in my dreams.

But, like many childhood fantasies, I still have those dreams every once in a while.  I wake up the next morning feeling sad because I was only dreaming.  But the sadness only lasts until the next dream emerges.

But there are dreams that are not tied to childhood fantasy.  Dreams that God has placed in you.  Dreams of what God can do within you.

As I pass people on the street, I can’t help but wonder about the dreams of the people I pass. Have their childhood fantasies been realized? Do their lives resemble anything close to those dreams, or have they taken on new aspirations?

We all dream, and the capacity for dreaming and pursuing those dreams is a gift God has given each of us.

These types of dreams come from deep inside, and they inspire us to do and be better.

They offer us significance, legacy, and a life well lived.

They put our mark on the world and prove that what we do matters.

Every person is born to pursue them; but, unlike the childhood dreams that are fantastical and out of reach, these dreams absolutely can come true.

We are on this earth for a purpose. What we do and how we live matters, not just to us but to those on the receiving end of our realized dreams.

And it matters to God.Image result for discover your purpose

The greatest discovery you can make is to learn what God has created you to accomplish. When you discover your purpose, pursue it with diligence, and see the effects and power of that pursuit, you experience the adventure of a lifetime!

So… follow your dreams… maybe one day you will find a place where your dreams and reality become one.

Waiting in Line

I don’t know about you but I find myself “waiting” in lines quite often.

I guess I have to find a better way to deal with it because in my 55 years I don’t deal with it very well. I just gotta to get used to it! Image result for waiting in line

Lines are plentiful, whether we are in traffic, store checkout lines and waiting to get into a special event.

I’m not very good at choosing the right lines. 

The “right lines” of course, are the quickest and smoothest lines.

It does not matter if I’m at the grocery store, Target, the line to get hot dogs at the game, or the line to get in or out of a parking lot; I pick the wrong line. 

Every time.

There is an art and a science to this.

The science of ‘line-oligy” has, to this point in my life, eluded me.

If I pick the shortest line and get in it, then immediately something happens.  A guy wants to pay with a check but doesn’t have his ID. A woman wants to pay the entire $7.38 in coins, while talking on their cell phone and trying to find a coupon in her purse.

Or, it’s a shift change and the employee has to change out the cash drawer with the new checker and she is in the process of telling the replacement every single detail of her day.

I also get caught up in line checking.  I look to see where the guy next to me is and base my progress on how fast his line is moving. It never fails, my line goes into ‘slo-mo’, as the longer line begins to zip along like they were on a moving sidewalk. Even if I use the reverse logic and get into one of the longer lines, then of course it remains the longest line. 

So, a few weeks ago, my wife and I went to IKEA. We had wonderful lunch there and just walked peacefully through the store looking at all of the neat ideas and deals that one finds there.

We had no place to be.  Just a relaxing day together. It was wonderful.

Then we get to the checkout. 

For all of IKEA’s great ideas, they still have not mastered the checkout line.

My wife, who is used to my impatience when it comes to waiting in line, usually finds a way to distract me or will slip away for a few minutes so she doesn’t have to hear or see me start the breakdown of my sanity that happens when I wait in line.

She thinks I don’t know she slips away intentionally to let me deal with waiting in that line alone.

But I am aware of her tactics.

As my wife stealthily slipped away yesterday I immediately start to stress out.

Now mind you, only a mere a few minutes earlier I was slowly strolling through the store like I didn’t have a care in the world.

Image result for frustrated while waiting in line“Why would you choose this line??” I think to myself. “It’s the longest one.”

I begin to glare at the cashier like I’m trying to force solve a calculus equation.

I act as if it is life or death and my blood pressure rises to the point that I start to see red and then my wife calmly comes back and reminds me that it really doesn’t matter and that I just need to relax.

The truth is… waiting in line is trivial.  Most of the choices we make in life are trivial. Other choices are crucial to living the purpose for which we were created. There are monumental decisions like whom you will marry, where you will live and what you will pursue in life.

The choice of which line to check out of the store should not cause you heartache.  But, I’ve noticed, that it’s the little decisions in life, like choosing the wrong line that most times cause the most stress.

So I came up with some things to ponder when I am in line to help relieve the stress and anxiety that I feel.

Five Things to Ponder While Waiting in Line.

1.  Find something to be grateful for and think of ways to express it. 

  • Gratitude, when it’s genuine and expressed outwardly, changes perspective on most situations. 

2.  Look for someone you can encourage.

  • There is no person who does not need encouragement. I need it often. Those who I think probably don’t need it, need it more than I realize.

3. Forgive someone.

  • Is there someone I need to forgive?  Are the “flagrant fouls” that people have contributed to me in life still there? Even if I’m not over the hurt, I can still attempt to keep my heart focused in the right direction. That direction is forgiveness.

4.  Who do I need to say, “I love you” to?

  • It reminds me to say, “I love you more often.” I don’t want people I care about to wonder if I love them. I don’t want people I love to have to try hard to remember the last time I told them.  

5.  What am I writing in today’s chapter of my story?

  • Our life is a story. Our history has written a part of our story.  What am I leaving behind on my journey? The decisions I make today  of how I react to situations both write my present and future chapters of my story.

This is our one and only life. This one is the only one we get. What we do with our life matters. It matters to you, to those closest to you, and it matters to God.

So I ask myself, what decision do I need to make, to write the next chapter in my story? Is there a decision that will build my faith or my strength, and in doing so write a better life story?

I want to tell a better story of my future than the story of my past.

I may not ever eliminate my stress level when I choose the wrong line.  But I am trying to focus on better things than my frustration.

How about you?  Are you waiting in the same lines as me?

Let’s try to do better… let’s try to be better.

Something to ponder on… until next time.