vaLENTine day

today is valentines day. this is my third year in a row without a valentine. i even joked with people that i was celebrating Single Awareness Day. 

but that is silly. it makes me that much more aware that i am most certainly not alone. i have great friends, and i should spend more time with them. i have an amazing daughter who lives with me and  3 more wonderful children that i get to see several times a month (not near enough). i have parents and family that love me. i also have a God who calls me son and friend, and i daily have to remind myself that He is more than enough. if everything else fades away or disappears, He is still there.

 so i will not be S.A.D. today. i will be thankful. 

 today is also the second day of the lenten season. i decided to go to an Ash Wednesday service last night. i went to the church of my high school friend Cynthia Kepler-Karrar. she’s the pastor of Memorial United Methodist Church in East Austin. it was a beautiful service. her joy in prayer, scripture, and preaching was contagious. i was so very happy and proud to see her in her calling. i’ve always loved confessions and benedictions. and here is the confession from last night.

Face yourself, your life, your brokenness,

Face the wrongs you treasure, the anger you hold dear, the hurts you preserve

Face the darkness that holds you back.

Linger here for a moment, look in the nooks and crannies and the hidden places

For it is in those places that our most stubborn sins hide.

Face even those as God reveals your sin to you.

Then step forward in faith, through the darkness

See all of life, all people and see as God sees

See yourself in the light of God.

Allow God to claim your life, all of your life.

Your humanness, your gifts and your limitations.

Understand the truth of these words:

“In the life, death and resurrection of Christ, you have been offered forgiveness”

And then, allow yourself to accept that forgiveness and live freely in Christ once more.

 once more. that means i have lived freely before and i’m probably gonna get bottled up again, but i have been offered forgiveness and so have you. i hope that you see yourself in the light of God today and know that you are loved. every part of you.

happy groundhog day

what can we learn from the movie groundhog day? i think we can learn at least one thing.

in the movie, Bill Murray’s character uses the ability to live each day over and over again to his own advantage and agenda, although in the end he realizes what is right and at that point the cycle ends. he is very manipulative in getting to that point, but this montage of scenes shows one thing. he listens. or better yet, learns to listen.

i think that is a good lesson to learn that if we want to be in relationship with someone, we must learn to listen to them. as i remember this movie, i think about him spending this day over and over again with Andie McDowell’s character and he shifts from manipulating to loving her.

maybe if we learned to listen to one another, we would stop trying to work our own angles and plans and just learn to love.

so happy groundhog day. let’s learn to listen to others. to truly hear them and feel what is important to them so we can share life together.


i was thinking about the idea of compromise today…

and how it often flies up in the face of our preferences. i mean there are things that i want to do or see done and they either aren’t going to happen or i’m going to attempt to force them, so i cut a deal with myself or others. i can’t get my way all of the time, and i shouldn’t. so i give up what i want or strike at deal so i can get what i want later.  it may not be what i preferred this time, but i have leverage for future interactions. i found myself compromising this past week. it was something that i knew to be wrong, but i cut a deal with myself anyway. i said, it’s not that big of a deal. i began to make excuses for myself and in the end there was hurt and sadness.

i knew the right thing to do and didn’t do it.  my preference for what i wanted to do got in the way, so i excused my behavior because it was convenient.  i compromised.

so i don’t want to do that any more. i don’t want to make deals with others or myself that are manipulative. i don’t want to have if/then deals with people. i want to be who i say i am.

i wasn’t that this week. i was an ass and i’m sorry.

so no excuses. no compromise. let God build us up to be what He’s called us to be and run toward Him as fast as we can so there will be no need to waffle with ourselves, our family, our friends, or even strangers. let’s love unconditionally with no motive and no thought of what is in it for us.

i was thinking today….

i know that’s pretty dangerous.  don’t run away all at once.

i was in my noon bible study and one of the verses we were talking about was in 1st Corinthians 13 where Paul says “if i give everything i have to the poor, but don’t have love, i’m like a clanging cymbal or a banging gong”

 in other words, it’s just a bunch of noise.

as we read on, we find the famous list of what love is. what God’s love is.  people have this read at their weddings.

but what does my love look?

my love is selective, my love is kind if kindess can be expected in return. my love is not arrogant…outwardly. my love DOES seek it’s own. my love definitely keeps score. my love bears SOME things, believes SOME things, endures SOME things to a point. my love fails often, but it looks pretty good by most standards.

that’s because it’s MY love. it’s an imperfect love.  it depends on how i feel at the moment sometimes.

but God’s love is that perfect love that Paul describes

is God’s love evident in my life?

how can i love, like Jesus loved, the people He has placed in my life?

God is more interested in how i’m “loving” than in what i’m “doing”

how much “work” have i done that’s been absolutely void of His love.

a thought for the day…

from Ephesians 4:1-3

…I urge you: Walk as Jesus walked.  Live a life worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you.  Be humble.  Be gentle. Be patient.  Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love.  Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.

i think if we followed that urging, we would probably live that life that is worthy, as it is, we are proud, angry, impatient and intolerant with people that don’t see things exactly the way we see them. this verse reminded me how quickly i fly off the handle at those who don’t “get it”.  when we operate outside of that atmosphere of love, and cease to make the effort to preserve that which the Spirit has created, all we have is chaos.  how about some peace?