Life/Perseverance

I have written two posts in the last year. One was the day after my mother passed away in April last year and the other was shortly after my dad died in early July. I’ve been stuck since then not wishing to engage in writing or really, in anything creative. Sort of like someone hitting the pause button, leaving me in a never ending hold pattern.

Today, I am hitting the resume button. It’s time to reengage life and resume my endeavor into creative writing, sharing thoughts, concerns, joys, sadness, and life as I see it. The last 5 years have been the toughest of my life in one sense and somehow through all of it, God also provided me and my family some of the greatest blessings we have known to this point.

In that time span I have seen all four of my kids develop into great young adults as they each have pursued their own dreams and adventures in life. Two of them found and married incredible people that I’m extremely proud to say are now my kids as well! The other two are still waiting on their matches and in the mean time are experiencing life to the fullest.

As a couple, Lisa and I have experienced our greatest growth as husband and wife and are closer than I ever dreamed possible. This growth occurred only as a result of what seemed like one misfortune after another. Five or so years ago is when we first realized that something seemed off with my mom’s health. She seemed easily agitated and was becoming more and more forgetful. Our fears were confirmed as she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As she quickly declined, we also learned that dad was facing his own battle with stomach cancer. In wanting to provide the best opportunity for them both, we all decided to move them both into an assisted living house so they could be together but not have to deal with trying to manage a house. This solution worked for a little while but we soon realized that mom needed specialized care and dad needed to keep his stamina up to fight his battle.

A heartbreaking decision was made when we decided that mom would move into a special memory care facility while dad would move to Florida and live with his sister so he could receive the medical attention he needed. It was truly a heartbreaking time for all of us to see this couple, who had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary be separated by two, truly horrible diseases. Especially tough on dad as he not only had to watch his beautiful wife suffer through her excruitiating decline while literally fighting to survive his own plight against cancer.

To his credit, he fought fiercely and never gave up the hope that he would beat the odds, and recover well enough to return home to mom’s side and care for her the way he felt he should. He told me once that some of his greatest joy was when he had the opportunity to take care of and serve mom in the early stages of her struggles with Alzheimer’s. He was thankful that he was able to look after her with the same love and dedication mom had looked after him for all those years. Their love for each other was truly special!

In the midst of all of this I found myself out of work to start the year off in 2015. Initially, I wasn’t to worried about it as I knew I would find something soon. As the months ticked by it began to look like Lisa and I would soon lose everything. All of the money we had in savings,  401k,  and retirement were quickly vanishing. Looking back its easy to see how God was working in my life as the challenges I/we were facing had nothing to do with money or lack there of, but instead was about me resetting priorities and focus on God.

I had always been quick to say that it was only by God’s grace, love and mercy that I got to enjoy the life I had but in reality, I had come to believe that I was just as responsible for getting to where I was…how foolish indeed. In the eleventh hour during the eleventh month, God provided me the opportunity to join the National Christian Foundation and the truly dynamic family culture that is ever present here.

In 2016, Lisa and I were blessed to watch two of our kids marry the loves of their life’s and begin their own adventures into married life while the other two continued to grow and thrive in their respective towns of Phoenix and Naples.  As parents there is no greater joy than seeing your kids doing well, being successful and being happy. Lisa was also blessed with the opportunity to join the NCF family and is quite successful in her current position.

In 2017, we lost both mom and dad in a span of three months. Although heartbreaking and losses that can never be replaced, I have great peace in knowing that from now to ever more, they will forever be together with no pain and suffering, able to enjoy each other. And the beautiful part for me and those they loved is that we have the memories of each them to help sustain us as they left a legacy of love for us to follow!

Now as we enter the second quarter of 2018, life is good! Although we still have some challenges financially, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve recently been blessed with a promotion at work and will enjoy the challenges that lay ahead. Our daughter Kymberly returned home in January to stay with us as she took a break from her adventures in Australia over the past year. She has been working as a nanny for a wonderful family in a town called Woonoona, which is about an hour and a half south of Sydney. She will be returning there early in May for another year and we are so excited for her.

Her brother Ben has just recently returned home from Phoenix for his own little break before moving on to his next chapter. It has been great to have the kids home for a little while but as other empty nesters realize, this too, as its own challenges. Our other son Kyle and daughter-in-law Karey just this week celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary and along with their two bunnies, are enjoying life.

Andrea and Michael moved to New Jersey this past October in preparation for Andrea to start a new chapter in career path as she is part of the dynamic team that recently opened the new Chic-Fil-A on Fulton Street in Manhattan. Along with Logan (their dog but don’t tell him that as he thinks he’s human), they too are enjoying life. As I said earlier, Lisa and I couldn’t be any prouder than we are of all 6 of our children.

So yes, the last 5 years have been tough and extremely hard at times but all in all, the blessings have far outweighed the troubles and strife! Who knows what the next 5 years will hold but I anxiously await to see how God will work in all of our lives and to see what great adventures lie ahead.

Take care and thanks for reading,

Scott

Here and Now

costa ricaAll we really have, is that moment that’s happening now. Right here, right now. The promise of growing old and having a lifetime of memories to look back on, for some, is an empty, unrelentingly cruel lie. A systematic elimination of memory after memory slowly erodes into a great void for that person who desperately WANTS to remember but simply can’t. For friends and family of those searching for remnants of a past life, it can be just as cruel if not crueller as you slowly watch as a lifetime of memories is simply erased from a person’s data base.

So again, what we have is that which is right in front of us, here and now. It’s so easy, to get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to enjoy the moments of life as they happen. How great a gift is each of our lives, that we should so easily forget how precious it really is – with all its ups and downs – the ebb and flow of emotions as we travel this journey, that is our life.

I can tell you now, that I would have taken a greater risk and asked Suzy to attend the 8th grade dance with me. At the time, I thought she hung the moon. I did get to have one dance with her, which, I obviously still remember today. I would look to enjoy more of the moments that at the time, I too easily let escape by for being fearful of failure. That truly is my only regret – that I let fear of failing dictate, way too often, how I pursued life. I would love to go back and fail often in so many grand and wonderful ways! I realize now that those and any failures too come only help to make the successes that much greater when I experience them!

I would’ve love to spend more time taking in those incredible moments with family. The family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas truly hold special memories I will hopefully, always be able to treasure. Vacations taken from Myrtle Beach to Cherokee to Daytona Beach and Gatlinburg, TN. Moments in life that were great but I didn’t take them fully in, enjoying that moment for all it was worth. It was only has cousins, uncles and aunts begin to pass away that I fully begin to treasure those fleeting moments that had passed way too fast.

I definitely would have taken more time to enjoy my wife and kids in the early days of our marriage. I would make sure that I set and kept my priorities in order to ensure that I never missed any of their special here and now moments! I know that at the time, I really did make an effort to be there and to enjoy all the moments of raising a family had to offer. But even so, I know there are so many times I wasn’t able to fully engage in the moment, taking it all in and simply living in that here and now. Distractions in our life can rob us of so many moments if we allow them too.

Enjoy the here and now and all the different emotions it can bring. To be sad, to cry, to laugh, to be filled with joy or pride, the experience of a great failure or the exhilaration of great triumph. All of these are to be experienced – the life, our journey we travel is to be lived moment by moment. Enjoy it all, taking it all in. We are each promised nothing but what we have right in front of us – this moment – here and now. Don’t waste it! Life is a precious gift so my prayer for all of us is that we would live each and every moment – HERE AND NOW!

Peace and thanks for reading!

Scott

40 Day Journey – with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 1 finished

Its-a-wonderful-lifepicture from thefilmspectrum.com

Day 1 – finished thoughts.

I had a friend of mine comment yesterday with two, very insightful thoughts on truly following wherever Jesus may lead us. The first was the idea that we tend to limit God because we are unwilling to take risks, to dream big or maybe it’s because we’ve never really accepted the promise that God really does want what is best for us, “plans for us to prosper”. This doesn’t necessarily mean financially. It could but to only think of that verse in terms of prospering financially, again limits the ways that God could help us “prosper”.

The second thought, which I completely overlooked, was the idea of – in all things be thankful. Eucharisto. No matter my circumstance, I am and should be thankful for wherever I may find myself. This can be extremely difficult depending on the situation we may find ourselves. Speaking for myself here, I tend to never really express my gratitude for the countless blessings God has given me over the course of my life. Even through the worst moments of my journey, when I reflect on where I came from and what I’ve been through, I’ve experienced first hand the countless times where God has blessed me financially, with strength, with wisdom, with stamina and yes, even with patience.

I once again find myself in such a season where I truly don’t know where God is leading me and in my human nature, it is more than a little unnerving not knowing. However, through Christ, I know if obedient, He will lead me exactly to where I should be. Probably not known to a lot of people, I have been looking for employment since the first of the year. The circumstances which led me to this place are not important but rather the process of which I proceed forward is.

The really great thing about this, is that God started preparing Lisa and I for this months in advance. In talking with each other we both had this sense that God was preparing us for a change. Whether that change was in physically moving or a job change, or both we weren’t sure but we knew things weren’t going to stay the same. The reason we knew this was because God has done this before in our lives. As we started thinking and praying about what was to come, we suddenly, out of the blue, learned that we would be coming into money.

My first thought was how cool, now I can buy some things (toys), and maybe get some things done around the house that really need to get done. But fortunately my conscience (Lisa), prevailed in convincing me that maybe we should practice patience and sit tight with the money. A very wise woman, my wife and someone I never fail to be thankful for! God’s timing proved to be perfect again as the week before the check arrived we found out what the provision of money was to be used for, as I found out that I would soon be unemployed. God’s grace really is sufficient.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also take this chance and express gratitude for Pastor Chuck and the rest of my family (church staff), for the love and support they have shown me and my family through this transition. It is rare to find yourself in this type of position and have nothing but respect, love and admiration for your former employer. But that is exactly how I feel about them. Their constant uplifting as served as a reminder that God is in control and I only need to be faithful to follow Him.

So as I type this I still have no idea what is next for Lisa and I but I am thankful for the peace I have in this moment. It’s cliché I know but honestly, I feel a little like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life. Not the very end where everything works out but at the moment where he understands how precious his life really is. At that moment, he doesn’t know how things will turn out, he only knows that he has a chance to live, to see and be with his family again. In that moment, he fully understands how blessed he is and is truly thankful for all he has. And just as he was to learn, we typically learn later how much more we are blessed than what we first realize. Standing in his living room, he finally understands that one of his greatest blessings are those relationships which surround him in love in his hour of greatest need.

Peace and thanks for reading

40 Day Journey – with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 1

I am doing a 40 day devotional series with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I thought as I do so, I would take the opportunity to journal as I travel through this 40 day journey. This is primarily for me, but hopefully, there will be something that others can learn as they follow along. You can create your own journal and do your own devotional through Biblegateway. The link to the devotional is here – 40 Day Journey – with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Day 1 – so day 1 starts with a familiar passage, one that we often times see on bumper stickers and hear preached from the pulpit at least a couple of times a year.

Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

These three verses make up the greatest challenge for the Christ follower. Submission to take on Christ’s burden. On the surface, anyone who reads it thinks sure, sign me up for that. Who doesn’t want to have rest? The promise of an easy and light burden to carry forth seems quite attractive, especially the older we get. But what is the yoke? the burden? If it’s so easy and light, how come we don’t see more people who are content, or seem at peace with life?

I’m not a Bible scholar but the yoke for me or the burden is for me to follow Christ wherever He leads and while doing so, loving others and sharing with them, the truths about Jesus. In all three of these areas, I fail more times than not. At times, I know that I am following the path that Christ has for me to follow and there is a wonderful sense of peace and contentment. There are also times where I look at my day and see how I was able to demonstrate love through encouragement, physically helping or just being a good listener for someone. My greatest area of weakness, is my willingness to share the truths about Jesus. I’ve had moments where I’ve been able to share my story of what Christ has done for me or been given the opportunity to teach and engage others about our savior. But far too often, I ignore the promptings and let the moment pass.

In John 15:1212 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

There’s the burden, just one command that seemingly trips all of us up. Just love each other and you will find rest in Jesus. For the Christ follower we have already experienced Christ’s love for us in accepting that He chose to die for our sins and we commit ourselves to be His disciples. Yet, we tend to complicate everything by forgetting to keep it simple. We self impose standards that we can’t meet or worse, allow others to impose their standards on us and therefore get caught up in one burden after another trying to achieve an unattainable goal.

There is but one standard to strive for and that is Jesus. It really is true that for a lot of people, we represent who Jesus is and what He’s about. I pray that this day forward, that all who cross my path will see through me, that Jesus loves them and that He wants to have a personal relationship with each of them.

One component that I’m thinking about as I wrap this post up is my willingness to follow Jesus….wherever that may lead. How willing am I to truly do this? I will write more on this tomorrow but for now I need to think on this question for the remainder of today.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

Life Lesson Series – Laugh Often

Christmas 2011Laughter truly is the greatest remedy – it cures almost anything, even if it’s only for a short time. I heard someone say “laughter bounces away all the dirt”. If you think about it, that genuinely describes what happens when you laugh. Everything that is pent up inside of you emotionally is released when you experience the physical act of laughing. It’s an instant release of stress that’s bottled up inside of you. Even if it’s nothing more than an instant  of unbridled relief, laughter can release a mountain of built up stress.

By my nature I’m pretty laid back which I count as a huge blessing. Not that I’m not intense or have moments where I feel like I may explode but for the most part, I’m able to keep a pretty even temperament about things. Right or wrong the only time I really tend to get keyed up is when I am competing at something. I hate to lose…at anything. Sports and the like as always been the one area where I know I tend to take myself too seriously. And I must admit I’m not looking to change this character fault or strength, depending on how you look at it.

I think that in general though, we tend to take ourselves to seriously which prohibits us from laughing more. A quick example of this would be – you’re heading down 85 south to the Falcons game and you are running behind so you feel your anxiety rising. As you make it off the exit to turn right you find yourself behind someone who has suddenly decided that maybe they should turn left, there just not sure yet which way to go. Now be honest, at this point, we all know that person has no right to be driving an operated vehicle, especially with us being late for kickoff.

So what’s our response when we happen to be the other driver. My kids and wife have always taken great pleasure in letting me know when I’m the other driver. They’ll laugh or snicker but not too much as to upset me. Those are the moments you just have to laugh at yourself and move on. Come to think of it, some of the best times we have had as a family has been in our cars, driving to or from somewhere. Music and laughing has always been a staple of any trip taken by the Dorsey clan.

If you are ever fortunate enough to partake of dinner at our house (and your all welcome to do so), with all six of us there, just know that everything is fair game. Say something that doesn’t sound right or try to embellish a story a little and you will get called on it. My absolute favorite memories and what I miss most with the kids being gone now, are those dinners and family game night. We always allowed everyone the opportunity to speak and tell their story of the day. We would have nights where you would have to make up a story on the fly.

As the kids got older we took this game on the road, especially at Christmas time. As the kids and I would be waiting on Lisa to peruse through the mall stores, we would sit outside in the commons area and tell stories about the other people in the mall. “See that older couple over there? His name is Bill and that’s his wife Gladys, they just arrived in town to celebrate Christmas with their son’s family and realized they needed one more gift for their grandson”. The kids would come up with some great stories.

Now that they’re adults we will still revert back to our “make believe” sessions from time to time and it’s still just as much fun as it was back when. They have also refined the art of keeping each other, along with their mom and me, humble. I count it a great blessing that even now as they’re each making their own way in this world, that our kids not only still like to hang with us old folks but schedule time to do just that. We all love hanging out and doing things with other people but we are just as content when it’s only us.

Life is serious business. With the ebb and flow of getting through the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the joys and happiness of life. My prayer is that you refuse to let that happen. To always remember your blessings in the midst of the trials and tribulations. Reflect on the good times and let memories wash away the grime and always, always look forward to how you can make some new ones.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

Life Lessons

Below you will find various posts I have made over the past couple of years in regards to life lessons I have learned. Anything from Time Management, Serving Others and Music and Dancing.

These are just some of things I’ve discovered over the years. Please share any comments or if there is a life lesson you’ve learned over the years.

Thanks

A Story to Share

It’s been six months since I have written anything. Some of that’s due to writer’s block which I get on occasion and some of it’s because life simply happens to steal all of your time. Honestly though, the greater hindrance for me has been related to two themes. The first being that I have some deep, personal issues that I would love to write about but it would involve me writing about extended family members and that’s just something I’m not willing to do.

The other theme for a long time has simply been that I just don’t want to share too much of myself with others. The easy, superficial material is easy to cover. Sharing stories about my kids or relaying moments of parenting greatness and also those mistakes I have made are a lot of fun to write and hopefully, as helped others over the years. But to truly show any vulnerability has been off limits thus far.

This past Sunday I was given the chance to lead in facilitating a class at church. I pointed out to the group that it has been my experience and therefore, my belief, that when God allows us to experience trials and tribulations in our walk with him, it usually serves two purposes (there are probably more but…). One purpose is that He is trying to grow us in some way to be more like Christ. The other is not so obvious but at times can be a critical component of us growing in our faith.

This other purpose, as I know it, is that we are to share our story with others. Both the good and bad. I’m not talking about updating your social media of choice, although at times, that could be appropriate to do. I’m talking about being in tune enough with the people around you so that you can recognize the opportunities that you have to share your story. As I see it, our story really is a reflection of our faith.

For some their story reflects their faith in either themselves, family, work or any number of things. Regardless, we all demonstrate our faith in something. Others, as you look at their life, you see their faith story revolves around Christ. It permeates every junction of their life. You may not be able to describe it necessarily but it’s tangible and you recognize it.

So back to class, as I was relating this message, which I’ve done multiple times with various groups and individuals, I was convicted that I need to be doing more of this myself. In one on one situations, I have always been willing to share my story. My wife would say a little to willing at times. Now I recognize that I am to share my story through any platform that God provides for me, including my writing.

Our faith is a process, a journey as we develop and grow. And for each of us we have a responsibility to share our story with each other whenever possible. The ups and downs that we experience along our journey are to be shared with others. Someone you know needs to know that they are not alone, they can get through this, or maybe just that you are there to support them.

Here’s a profound thought, at least for myself, we each have a unique story that is truly our own but eerily similar to any number of people we may know. But my story and your story are just chapters in a much greater masterpiece which is God’s story.

So as I begin this new intent or purpose if you will, to be more open, transparent in my daily walk, I will look to do so in my writing. I’m have no idea how this will work or that I’m fully committed to this as of yet, but I know I have to start somewhere and just be obedient to do this. Ah! maybe I’ll start there, being obedient. The times I’ve done this and many, many times I haven’t. That would definitely show some vulnerability.

Anyway, will see what happens.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 2 – Serving continued

I ended the last post saying that Love was another component to serving others. I have not always had a desire to serve others. Actually, for most of my life, my desire was to see how I could get others to serve me. Ok, that was a little sobering to actually type out but being honest, that is the truth. Now there have been times over the years where I willingly gave of my time, money or other resources without regard to what was in it for me but not very often.

Several years ago I remember hearing this verse in a sermon and was immediately captivated by it: Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus, God’s son, came to serve us and give is life as payment for our sins. Why did He do this? What was his motivation in serving us and ultimately giving his life in exchange for us? A love so great, so vast that even infinity doesn’t come close to measuring it. A love which desires to be in fellowship with you and I, regardless of our transgressions. Imagine someone loving and caring about you so much that nothing, not even death would ever deter them from having that relationship with you.

That’s exactly the kind of love Jesus has for you. We only need to accept what is truly the perfect gift. Once we do, we can begin to faintly understand the depths of His love. It is His love found within that compels me to serve others as He served us. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, seeking opportunities to help those in need. The tendency of most people when they see something about helping those in need is to think about those folks that may need help with material things such as money, food, shelter, clothing, etc. And yes, that’s part of it but to only focus on that aspect is to not fully engage in serving each other.

What about those who are in need of companionship, a word of encouragement or to feel needed. Surely all of us would agree that each of us desire to know that we are loved, at least a little. So maybe instead of asking how we may be able to serve one another, maybe we should ask how can we show love, one to another.  1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

As faithful stewards. Faithful meaning to do what we are called to do. Steward meaning to wisely use what we have been given. To serve others, extending God’s grace in all it’s forms, that we may show others that God loves them. Jesus was real clear about this as we find when reading Matthew 22:37-39  – 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

Peace and thanks for reading!!

What is God’s Will for My Life?

I left off the last post with the question, What is God’s Will for My Life? You here this question or statement a lot while hanging out with Christians, usually something like – “if you could pray for me, I am praying that I would do God’s will”. Or maybe you hear – “I feel strongly that this the path God has laid out before me”. I wonder how many of us truly do know what God’s will for our life is? Has Dr. Del Tackett asked the question, I begin to ask that of myself. Am I truly following His path for my life?

He then got into this kind of open thought process: If only God had made it simple for us. Maybe if there was just one law that we had to obey, maybe then we could know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Maybe if Jesus had just narrowed it down for us we have a better chance of coming closer to be in God’s will. It was a clever way for the Doctor to infuse some scripture into the conversation as he asked us to look at some different verses. The first was James 2:8 – If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Sounds pretty simple, do this and we are doing right. Why is this so hard for us? I mean, I like most people, and I can get along with just about anybody, but love them? like myself? That’s not so easy. Let’s look at another verse – Matthew 22: 37-40 – 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Now Jesus is answering a question posed by the Pharisees which was – what is the greatest commandment. Jesus makes it simple for them and us to understand – with all YOUR HEART, all YOUR SOUL and all YOUR MIND, Love the Lord your God. Got it and that one I can do. Love God, yes, I do love God so I can follow this commandment and I am good to go. But wait, there is another couple of verses in His answer. Verse 39 He says “the second is like it:”. Like it, let’s see, that means it’s just as critical as the first one and then we read again – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Well there it is again, the whole loving the neighbor thing. But wait, what is a neighbor, surely that can’t mean everyone, just those we really know, right?  I want another verse please, maybe there’s an exception or something.

John 13:34 – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I  have loved you, so you must love one another. Love one another and not just love like you love ice cream on a hot sunny day or maybe like you love milk gravy on your biscuits. Jesus is crystal clear when he says “As I have LOVED YOU”. To love others as Jesus loved me, can that really be what God’s will for my life is. I believe it is, no, I know it is, think how much different my life, your life would be if we, as Christ followers would actually obey these two commandments.

To accomplish this will take lots of courage, a willingness to make ourselves vulnerable and going back to last weeks post we already know that apart from Christ, we can do nothing. Sure we can try on our own strength but truly, it is only through Christ that we can ever reach a place that we LOVE OTHERS as HE LOVED US.

As we enter into Easter weekend, I think it’s a perfect time to reflect on just how Jesus loved us. He took all our short comings, faults, and sins to the cross and willingly gave His life, a perfect life for ours. Remember this, Jesus had never known separation from God but He knew that would be price to pay for all of our sins. And He did it anyway!! Through Jesus, we know that we will not be separated from God for all eternity. Because Jesus loved us, we can love others.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Pause

I am experiencing what I am calling a “Life Pause”. Within the last month or so, my life has been filled with some incredible highs and not incredible lows but some lows none the less. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that last month I had the incredible opportunity to go to South Africa on a mission trip. And I won’t revisit that here other than to say that it’s been a month and almost daily, I am still experiencing revelations from that trip.

Returning home was great and the first weekend back, the kids, Lisa, and I were all able to meet in Thomasville, GA for a truly spectacular wedding and reception for the daughter of one of our dearest and closest friends. Getting together with old friends to celebrate such a joyous time naturally leads to good times! Being able to reminisce and share all the stories again, just served as a great reminder of what life is truly about, the journey. At some point, regardless of our past, we all have the opportunity to choose what kind of journey we take – the relationships we invest in and how we respond to the unexpected ups, downs, trials, tribulations, joys, sorrow and happiness that happens within the fabric of each of our lives.

The following week was thanksgiving and again, we all had the opportunity to gather with our extended families on both my mom and dad’s sides of the family. And although entirely different types of families, both are grounded in love for each other. As we drove home that night from a day filled with great food, laughter, good stories and a couple of games of corn hole, I was most thankful for the love that serves as the foundation for both sides of my extended family. It is not lost on me how rare that seems to be these days and I feel greatly blessed anytime I think of my family!!

The downside was that this was our first thanksgiving without my father-in-law, Jim and for all of us, there were moments where that realization would kind of stop you cold, a solemn reminder of how truly short our life here can be. Yet, even in the midst of the loss; we are able to ease the pain a little because of the memories we hold onto of brighter days gone by. And for me, it helps as I go through the day, spending time with family, to remember those who have all left us too soon. Each of them playing some part in my own journey on this earth, obviously some had bigger parts but all contributed to the memories in my life thus far.

Now it’s the 18th of December and this time next week, we will be celebrating the birth of our savior. Again, it will be a joyous time as we are able to gather together with loved ones. And yet again there will be some sadness, as we realize that not everybody is with us any longer but as we go about the tasks of creating new memories, there is no doubt they will be influenced by the memories already stored away.

In the midst of the anticipation for this joyous time of year, I received word that my old coach, Richard Hilton, was being put into a Hospice care facility to hopefully give him some rest and peace. In my journey thus far, he is one of the two most influential men in my life – the other is my father, Ed. It is not ironic, that these two men are more like brothers than friends and although not as close these last couple of years as I know both would of liked, brothers none the less. Coach was my little league coach back in 77 and 78. I was just one kid this man loved through his coaching of baseball. He loved kids through coaching baseball for 38 years. Quick math for you, that’s about 456 kids he directly poured his life into and multiply that by an average of 6 other teams per year and that number jumps to 2,736 kids. This doesn’t even begin to count all of the siblings and parents that were influenced by his time on the diamond.

As I visited him yesterday, I found myself oddly at peace as I looked into the face of a man who had such a profound influence on my life! I learned one thing from him and my dad both, that is at the heart of who I am. It is this thought – Anything worth doing, is worth doing right!! I am not always successful in this approach but it is the approach I always take. I was fortunate to not only play for Coach but I had the opportunity to coach with him as well, not only in baseball but basketball also.

Yes, a life pause, is what I am calling this. Taking time to reminisce and reflect on my life thus far and to remember all of those who have impacted my life, whether great or small. But life is to be lived moving forward, creating new memories, setting new goals and experiencing life to the fullest. This pause has caused me to reexamine the relationships I have in my life – what type of memories am I helping to create for those that I share this life’s journey with?

My prayer this Christmas season is that each of us would examine our lives and pause to consider the relationships we have and ask ourselves if we our having a positive impact on those that we are sharing this journey of life.

I wish you all a wonderful and merry Christmas!! Peace and thanks for Reading!!