Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ask and you shall receive

The problem with this is that you always get what you want. But not always the way you thought it would come.
Let me begin this story by telling you that as I have said before that just recently we have had our youngest leave the house and move to NYC, He has called us with great excitement about all the new things he is doing and how much of an asset he is making himself to the Co. Great joy of joy, an answer to any fathers prayer life. But 25 years. I know God's time is not our time.
So the greater part of this story is about me. During the week I did a major dusting and cleaning job at the shop. By the time I got home I felt like I was going to die.
My hope was that a good hot shower would get the dust of my face and hair and I would be fine. But as life would have it I was up all night with a painful burning chest.
I the dark ours of the night I asked God to help me provide for my family, and to help me see what is important. The reality of our store is that at one time I had four to five part timers. Now I have my self, one full timer, and a part timer who has been with me for years but is moving towards a better job with my blessing.
When I got out of bed, I had that sick feeling that this was the beginning of God testing me. Can I really let go and let God do something for me? So I got to work
even though I knew in my heart of hearts that I was not staying . I did what I had to
do. Gave my full time helper the news that I would not be around for at least two days. He would be working the weekend alone.
I then saw a Doctor who read me the riot act about lung protection. And spent two and a half days thanking God for providing for my daily needs. But still not sleeping and still in deep chest pain. I'm sill in some pain, but sometimes I believe it takes this kind of wake up call to really believe. We don't work alone. God has a purpose.
God is always watching over us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Leaving the nest.

When a man decides to marry and share his whole life with one wife, there is nothing more beautiful than that. That is a rich and full time in his life. Then as time would have it we bring
children into the world and the next thing you know, you are now transformed by the grace of God into a family. Being a family brings different corporate responsibilities to us than just being
a married couple. Not to mention the daily drama that can sometimes occur.
I am writing about these things because our youngest, our son has just moved from home. Now by this I don't mean leaving the house to stay with friends in the next town over, I mean he has
taken it upon himself, to grab life and start to really live away from home. Now, New York City is really not that far from home but this brings us to the end of 28 years of teaching children daily almost, how to live. Either by example or by word. Not an easy task in this day and age. And as our youngest leaves our home for the great unknown, my wife and I, still with the greatest of love for each other, look at ourselves and sometimes shed a tear that an era has come to an end, and look to God in praise that we have done well. And wait, for farther instruction.
If a person were to ask me what advice would I give at the end of the day, I think I would have to just plain say, there is no blue print or instruction manual that comes with your child when we bring them into the world. Each day is new and different. Yes there are indeed things I wish we would not have done. But I have forgotten those things long ago so don't go asking. And yes there are things that happened because of other people in our lives that I wish my children did not have to deal with. But in the end God is in control of all that happens and when we raise our children up to him in prayer, he is listening. And it is God that rules the universe and our children's lives and ours. Only he knows what will be the next chapter in our lives and only he
knows what new mission field he will plant us in.
God bless you all who have been a part of the great adventure of our lives. There is more to come, I'm sure of that.
Jesus has Risen indeed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Knitting and our culture

As the holiday ended and winter settled in, I found myself surrounded by knitters. I have come home to new scarfs almost daily. This seems to have happened almost overnight, but I'm sure that there has been a lot of this going on that I or my household has not been aware of.
In the same way that when we started home schooling,
very quickly a whole new world opened up to us. A world that seemed to allow time to breath and enjoy God's moment. We home schooled for a short season in our family life, but gained new friends and a greater understanding of the world view of public education. We also gained a closer relationship to our children. Praise God.
But back to knitting.
The basics are simple, or so they say. I had beads of sweat coming off my head as a friend tried to show me what was suppose to be a very basic stitch. But once you get the feel of the yarn and
the needles then it's off you go, with projects galore. The tools are simple, and the finished project becomes a piece of your own fashion wear. Or if your heart is drawn to the basic needs of the world, you can donate your work to organizations around the globe that have ministries for orphans in cold climate regions or to rough and tough sailors who sail the oceans and just wish for a little love from the mainland.
Once you get into the groove, I have witnessed with my own eyes, knitters are able to find peace in their place. I commented the other night, as I finally repaired an old but favorite sweater, in front of the TV, with very little skill, but great satisfaction, that now I understood why radio programs were so great. Here you are sitting working on a hand made projects, listening to the story or the music, at peace. You have to choose to either work with your hands and listen or just watch and sit. TV feeds us stuff we do not need. To find joy in simple things is what God desires for us. To slow down is good for life. You can not be full of stress and knit. You have to let go and find joy in the work. There is little desire beyond the basic tools of the trade. Yarn can come just as easily from the bargain bin as from the " I need that! what ever the cost " bin. Something you made with your own hands has more "BLING" than anything else. It is pure, and soft and feeds the heart.
It goes beyond all language barriers. Color is found in all of God's creation. Knitting I have witnessed brings peace to the creator and love to the receiver.

Thanks for reading,
There are lots of organizations for giving your work away if you so desire. Keep up the good work. You are greatly loved.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas / The Great Thanksgiving

As we enter into the last weeks of preparation for Christmas let us remember that in the rush for this day of all days that Jesus was born to die for us. What I present to you is from The book of Common Prayer used in The Episcopal Church.
Even today the words ring true to me, and help me to remember why I have chosen to walk the path to heaven.

"The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power of might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you , in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for all the world."

and finally

" Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again."

It is far too easy to let these ancient words fall out over the gums and not let the power of them
over come us with great joy and sadness. These words are to be read as if we are experiencing something that you want to last forever.

May the peace of Christ be with all of you.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who are you accountable to?

The other day after having what I would call a full day, the notion of accountability came to mind.
Now, I have had the privilege of hearing many gifted teachings on this subject. And often the subject boils down to finding one or two people in your life that you can trust and share what is going on in your life. With the desire that knowing that you will have to confess to your actions, this will keep you pure and honest. This of course means that you need to pick your accountability friends very carefully.
Now what really got me started on this subject is the notion that when you are self employed, which I am, and in many ways most artists are, many people take on the notion that they are really free from the boss mentality and there is a freedom to do as we please. And in many ways this is true. But, as a Christian trying to live a life that is both transparent and true to God's word, I am bound to a whole new list of accountability partners. Now in talking this concept through it was suggested that what I had was a good beginning for a piece of art. And that would be cool. But at this point I feel that a simple list will be just as effective. With all that said , here is my list of accountability partners.

When asked who am I personally accountable to, I as a Christian living in this world am compelled to answer with the following list:

My Wife
My Children
My Government in all of it's forms, both national and local.
My Accountant
My Bookkeeper
My Employees
My Customers
My Landlord
My Suppliers
My Bank
My Creditors
MY Neighbors
My Friends
The Poor and Forgotten
My Self

With all this said and on a lighter what gets you out of bed in the morning?
Have a happy Thanksgiving

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thinking at Harkness

We just had a tree loose all it's leaves on one side. It was a double tree. One side seemed fine and healthy while the second side became more bare as the weeks progressed. We knew we
had to remove the sick half so that the well half could survive. When we were finally able to have the tree work done, I watched and spoke as time allowed to the two young men who did the work. One of the young men was a forestry worker and was trained in the art of safely cutting trees down. The other was an arborist. When he spoke, he spoke almost as if the tree was human and he was a gifted surgeon. He spoke of the tree and it's outer skin and how all of the life of this great tree hung in the balance of the life fluids being able to travel from the root system to the leaves and back. I began to feel the pain of this tree and was glad that we had been gifted by God to live with this tree and enjoy it's shade. And gifted with these fine young men.
When they finally began to climb the tree to begin the cutting, they climbed with great care, for their own safety and so that they could plan all the cuts that would be needed to cut but not harm the tree, or themselves. Each cut was done with great care and each part as it fell
came down just as planned. A very gifted process that required thought and skill. An art.
When the job was done the young men and I spoke more about the process and about how they had enjoyed the work. The joy came because they had been able to use all the skills that they had learned in school, and because of the trust that I had given to them to be free and do the right thing. They did not have tough bosses yelling orders at them. They felt our trust.
Often we feel more joy in life when we are living in trust and living truth.
To live in relationship when there is no trust brings with it pain and emptiness, and a lack of joy.
As I grow older and see my children move
into adulthood, I am blessed for the prayers that I have prayed for them. I have also learned that we need to be patient with God. He knows what he is doing, and if we will only trust in his love for each of us, he will bless us and our loved ones. What we never seem to understand is that God's clock is not our clock and we have to just let him do his work. We have grown to expect results instantly. The world around us (Gods world), is like a fine musical instrument, and has to be fine tuned to get the right note to play. This takes time.
He Loves you all. Slow down, enjoy the ride. God is driving the bus.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

So we made it to Labor Day week-end again. We have had the joy of people in and out of our house since early June. We are both tired and blessed by these visits. God has provided for us all.
He has opened our hearts so that we may know how blessed we are in all that we do. This has been an awful summer all over the world and many disasters continue to erupt all around us.
May we never tire so much that we are unable to reach out and touch the lives who so need the love of Christ in their lives. And may we never forget that WE could possibly be the gift that
God desires to bless a life today. So with open hands we go into the world each day, doing small things in great ways.