A Story

I think I’ve reached that time in life that seems to happen to individuals who are usually in their 60’s, 70’s or later. You know, when they reach that age where they don’t care what they say or how they say it. In some cases, they really don’t care if it hurts your feelings or not, they just want to make sure you hear their opinion. They don’t make apologies and/or excuses, they are just stating their view point on whatever the topic is.

I would love be at that point but honestly, I’m not. Not yet anyway but definitely closer with each passing day. In the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to experience two totally different times of life while continuing to live my own. Two weeks ago at this time, I was wrapping up our first night of Church time at the youth camp our church students were attending for the week.

I knew that I had a theme that I wanted to introduce the students and was basically trying to lay the groundwork for the week ahead. My hope was for each student, no matter what grade they were in, to grasp the concept that the week they were beginning to embark on, could represent a new chapter in the rest of their lives. As I looked out on the faces of these young people I could see them begin to contemplate their respective futures. The room was filled with future wives and husbands; bankers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, homemakers, missionaries and any number of things all in that room together.

Obviously with the first night of camp everyone is excited and anxious for the week to unfold. These young people had a look of expectancy about them. They knew and understood that the week could hold great promise/change for them. For others it was if they were waiting for affirmation of choices they had already made. I could see, sense all of this as I looked out on this room of the future. Each of them with their own story to write and I was overwhelmed with the potential that was listening to me intently.

Last Monday night, I spent the night at mom and dad’s house keeping mom company. Dad had been admitted to Cobb General earlier in the day, so I took mom home to eat and hopefully get a good nights rest. I was praying that Dad would also be able to rest and that we might be able to get some answers early the next morning as to what was going on. As mom retired for the night, I poured myself some tea and tried to find some junk food to eat but to no avail. I settled for a PB&J and a little milk.

As time begin to pass by I found myself recollecting on the previous week and all the promising futures I got to be with. I spent several minutes praying for all the kids and some specific requests that I had been made aware of during the week. I found myself thinking about my own life and some of the promises I held when I was 18. Being in mom and dad’s house made that easy to think on and reflect.

I wandered through the minefields of my memory and found myself thinking about my parents life and the stories they have written thus far – individually and together. I must say as I went through this exercise I found myself  realizing how great their journey has been. What struck me the most was to realize how much impact their life – their story has had on those around them.

Back to camp my mind drifted and how I wish I had conveyed to all those students just how much their lives could impact the world. The choice is truly theirs! Yes, they will all have obstacles to overcome and some battles will be lost but the impact they will have on the world around them is theirs to decide. Then that quiet voice that I truly hate to hear from sometimes, whispered in my ear; what about you?

What about me?, I thought. I’m trying to do my thing, be a positive influence on the world around me. Live my life in a way that reflects Christ in all that I do. So as I sat in the wee hours of the morning pondering over all these things, I realized there’s more to my own story. Being honest with myself I admit that I have been writing the same chapter for awhile now. Time to begin a new chapter. What this looks like I have no idea but I do know that I am the only one who can write it.

So for any students that may read this – I am accepting the same challenge I gave to you all at camp. What is God’s plan for my life? I will seek Him and search for the answers. I know they are there – I just have to be diligent to do my part.

I’ll continue my journey of the last two weeks later but for now I’ll leave all of you with this question/challenge – Are you writing the story that was meant for you to write? Or is time for you to begin a new chapter? a different story?

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Life Lesson Series – Music and Dancing

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This may be the most personal post I have in this series of Life Lessons and I probably won’t do justice to how important these two things have been to our family over the years. I’m sure most of my kids will weigh in on this post and I really hope they do.

The little side slow above is just a slight representation of what it was like growing up in the Dorsey household over the years. A tradition that was gratefully handed down from my parents to me. I have always loved music and dancing. My parents grew up during the hay day of Rock n Roll, so conversely, I grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, MOTOWN and countless others as the soundtrack to my childhood.

During middle and high school, their preference shifted more to easy listening and country music. Meanwhile, I started to discover everything from Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal and my favorite, Southern Rock. Through the early 80’s Pop Music was an eclectic array of varying styles and sounds. I contend that the late 70’s through the mid 80’s was the single greatest time for music.

In high school, I had everything imaginable in my room to play music through my state of the art – Atlanta Falcons headphones. I had a Pioneer Home Stereo with cd player, turntable, cassette deck and 8-track player. If your under the age of 30, just ask you’re parents what those things were – also ask them about the Commodore 64. For music on the go, I had one of the biggest boom-boxes around but sadly that was stolen on graduation trip to Panama City in 84. Anyway, I digress.

Lisa and I married young, 19 for her and 22 for me. Kids came early and often for us as we had 4 over the next 5 years. Over the years, as the kids have grown and are each now living their separate lives. There are a handful of things that were and continue make up the fabric our family. These are books, board games, movies, charades, music and dancing!! We all have a love for each of these things as they have been a source; at different times; of inspiration, comfort, escape, challenge, knowledge, and great fun!! Really, great fun!!

The fondest and most memories I have of our time together as a family revolves around music and dancing. The kids and I over the years put on a countless number of shows and all of us are renowned for our ability to play any Air instrument, broom or mop you can find! And singing, let’s just say we sounded every bit as good as Taylor Swift on her best day.

Typically, the concerts would ultimately give way to an in-home edition of American Bandstand or Soul Train dance party. As a dad, I always took great pleasure watching my kids participate in their various sporting events and such, but honestly, my absolute favorite memories with my kids are those nights where as a family, we would simply play games, talk about books, watch a movie or put on one of our concert/dance parties.

Nowadays, we don’t get the opportunity, to take part in concerts or play many games but we do make time to play charades when given the chance, take in a movie or two. Books and music however, are still very much a part of our daily lives as we constantly compare notes on the latest authors, books we are reading or the latest artists and their music we’ve discovered.

Music, out of all these things is one thing that really binds us together. Not too many conversations will pass by where music doesn’t come up – whether we are sharing stories about the latest concert, latest trip or just the latest album we bought. I really am thankful for music and the part it has played in our family’s history over the years. Early on we use to travel quite a bit, taking various trips to see Grandparents, Siblings and cousins all across the southeast and midwest.

During these trips we would listen to all types of music from different genres. As a result the kids were exposed to everything from bluegrass, rock, metal, jazz, big band, orchestra, pop and of course, country music. They have all developed their own favorite genres and preferences. The cool thing about this for me, is that they are now exposing me to all types of music…most of which, I really enjoy.

After reading this I realized I have not really expressed a direct “life lesson” so here it is – especially for those of you with young kids. Whatever it is, find something that allows you the opportunity to make a connection with your kids. And dads, I encourage you to not be wallflowers, but rather, be active participants in all the activities in and around your house. I promise you, you will not find anything more rewarding than creating memories with your children!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson Series – Listening

ears

I originally posted this back in December but thought it was worth a re-post for this series. 

This is one life lesson that is very much a learned skill and discipline. Ask yourself, How often do you truly listen to the world around you? When in conversation how often do you truly engage the person and listen to what they are telling you? More times than not, I catch myself thinking of my response more than I am actually listening to what is being said.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Bryant H. McGill

I love the quote above and think it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing how much more we get out of a conversation when we truly listen to what is being said instead of just hearing them speak. Another aspect of listening and respect is to have eye contact with the person you are conversing with instead of looking at our phones or fidgeting with this or that.

As a kid I had to go to speech therapy 2 times a week for a couple of years so that I could learn how to speak properly. Being born with a cleft pallet caused this process to take longer for me than it did other kids but looking back on it now I realize what a blessing that was, as it taught me how to listen. Time after time, my therapist would say a word or a sentence and then I would have to repeat it back to her. Another benefit of this is that with time I learned how to read lips proficiently. This ability has proven very beneficial over the years.

One of the things I had to overcome and still struggle with to this day is that I have a tendency to look at people’s lips when talking with them instead of making eye contact. As I said earlier, eye contact, is another key component of showing someone respect and something that I made sure to teach my children how to do. When you keep eye contact with someone as their speaking to you, you will also notice that it allows you to see more. Maybe not into their souls but it allows you to see more deeply into the person.

The life lesson of listening is one that is typically overlooked but over the years, at least for me, as become one of the most critical for me. Listening is one discipline I am constantly having to work at, as it is easy for me to be distracted but is also one of the most needed. Another component of listening, especially to God, is to simply be still. In  Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In order to truly hear God, we must learn to be still and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. To often I find myself going through the motions with God – my prayers become one-sided and I don’t take time to pause and let Him speak to me or during my study time, I may find myself trying to understand a particular passage of scripture and I simply breeze through it without actually taking the time to study or meditate on it, giving Him the opportunity to speak to me.

Again – Listening, to me, is one of those skills that we can never master but by being diligent to try, we can greatly improve the relationships around us.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Really, I would love hear your thoughts. Honestly, ………….I will listen.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 3 – Listening

ears

This is one life lesson that is very much a learned skill and discipline. Ask yourself, How often do you truly listen to the world around you? When in conversation how often do you truly engage the person and listen to what they are telling you? More times than not, I catch myself thinking of my response more than I am actually listening to what is being said.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Bryant H. McGill

I love the quote above and think it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing how much more we get out of a conversation when we truly listen to what is being said instead of just hearing them speak. Another aspect of listening and respect is to have eye contact with the person you are conversing with instead of looking at our phones or fidgeting with this or that.

As a kid I had to go to speech therapy 2 times a week for a couple of years so that I could learn how to speak properly. Being born with a cleft pallet caused this process to take longer for me than it did other kids but looking back on it now I realize what a blessing that was, as it taught me how to listen. Time after time, my therapist would say a word or a sentence and then I would have to repeat it back to her. Another benefit of this is that with time I learned how to read lips proficiently. This ability has proven very beneficial over the years.

One of the things I had to overcome and still struggle with to this day is that I have a tendency to look at people’s lips when talking with them instead of making eye contact. Eye contact to me is another key component of showing someone respect and something that I made sure to teach my children how to do. When you keep eye contact with someone as their speaking to you, you will also notice that it allows you to see more. Maybe not into their souls but it allows you to see more deeply into the person.

I think this life lesson is one that is typically overlooked but over the years, at least for me, as become one of the most critical for me. Listening is one discipline I am constantly having to work at, as it is easy for me to be distracted but is also one of the most needed. Another component of listening, especially to God, is to simply be still. In  Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In order to truly hear God, we must learn to be still and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. To often I find myself going through the motions with God – my prayers become one-sided and I don’t take time to pause and let Him speak to me or during my study time, I may find myself trying to understand a particular passage of scripture and I simply breeze through it without actually taking the time to study or meditate on it, giving Him the opportunity to speak to me.

Again – Listening, to me, is one of those skills that we can never master but by being diligent to try, we can greatly improve the relationships around us.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Really, I would love hear your thoughts. Honestly, ………….I will listen.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 1 – Share the Journey

Life Lesson 2 – Serving

Living and Leaving a Legacy

I recently had the honor of speaking at a funeral to celebrate the life of one of the greatest men I have ever known. Below is a copy of my preparation draft leading up to that day. I decided to post it as a blog post because, outside of my father, no other person apart from Christ has had a greater influence on me becoming the man I am today. Although most of you won’t have a chance to meet him this side of heaven, this will give you a glimpse as to what this man meant to me and countless others in his lifetime. As you read this, keep in mind, the impact, the potential each of us has to impact the world around us.

Living and Leaving a Legacy

A “Great” man stepped off of the pavement of this life onto streets of gold in eternity last Saturday morning. A truly great man, who devoted much of his adult life to teach kids the game of baseball and for some of that time, basketball as well. Any of us who ever had the opportunity to play for him, whether baseball or basketball always improved as a player because of his coaching. He has forgotten more about the game of baseball than most of us will ever learn about it.

But is that why we are all here today? to honor a great coach? Maybe in some respect, that’s true but it’s more than that – I think, for most of us, we are here because of a bond that we have with this man that goes well beyond anything we could ever learn from just playing a sport!! The lessons we learned from this man have carried on within us to this very day. His influence has not just been in regards to those he coached, no……, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles have all been influenced by him.

Coach used the game of baseball to teach us about how to live our lives. Over the past week, as I have talked to several of you and read various posts, articles and such. I thought it was interesting how many times someone would say or write something like, “I didn’t realize it at the time but I learned this or that from Mr. Hilton.” Yes, we learned how to become better ballplayers from coach but more importantly we learned life lessons about – trust, respect, honor, loyalty, hard work, integrity, to just do the right thing and most of all LOVE. To pursue excellence is not only what he taught but how he lived.

Heritage by definition means “an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling, or doing”. All of us who are gathered here today are here because of the heritage established and handed down to us by Coach Hilton. Mark, I’m not sure but I maybe the only person here that can say – I played for your dad, coached baseball and basketball with him and also played for you. And as I think about your dad, and all the lessons he ever taught us….they really all revolved around one basic concept. To simply do the right thing. No shortcuts. Just do whatever it is that you need to do.

I’m reminded of a story. A time that Coach made me wear a catcher’s mask while playing second base.  I had just gotten braces and that same afternoon at practice, I took a shot to the mouth as we were taking infield practice. There was blood everywhere it seemed. After the bleeding had stopped, Coach had me grab my glove and head on out to second. He knew I needed to get back on that horse so to speak. As he hit ground ball after ground ball, I kept turning my head or looking up at the last instant. This is not what he taught. Finally, after several minutes he walked over to the catching gear and brought out a mask to me. One way or another, I was going to learn to keep my head down and watch that ball all the way into my glove.

Coach didn’t mind physical errors, that’s part of the game but mental errors, not giving the effort, that was unacceptable. And everyone here knows what you heard from coach whenever one of these lapses occurred. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard the phrase – “knock em bout”. (this phrase was our cue to take a lap)

And I do want to pause here and say that there are two things Mr. Hilton taught me by example: to respect everyone! You don’t have to like everyone or get along with them but you can always respect them. And the other was to just be honest – with yourself, and others alike.

I received a phone call from coach…I guess it was 7 or 8 years ago now…., he was calling to let me know that he was getting baptized and just wanted me to know. I asked him when it was and as soon as I hung up the phone, the date was marked in our family calendar. This was one baptism I wasn’t going to miss.  I tell you, outside of my own families baptisms, that was by far one of my favorite memories to date. Why? Knowing that he had accepted Christ and that I was able to see him publicly  professing his faith was just an incredible experience for me. Even now as we are here celebrating the life he lived here, i know that there is a day coming where once again, I will be able to sit and visit with coach. To reminisce and share stories once more.

It’s rare that you find anyone who exemplifies a Christ-like life but they themselves have not accepted Christ as their savior. And I can’t explain why Mr. Hilton didn’t come to accept Christ sooner than he did but there is not  a doubt in my mind, as I know, God used Mr. Hilton – Coach, to instill in all of us, biblical values, that if we incorporated and lived by, would help us to be successful in living out our own lives.

If Coach had the opportunity to step back one last time and impart one last lesson on us all, it would be this – Don’t miss heaven! One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is Philippians 4:8-9. The apostle Paul has written the church in Philipi to remind them of Christ’s love for them and to encourage and challenge them. Like Paul, Mr. Hilton had a desire, a love for people, especially kids and if he was here, I think he would use very similar words found in Philippians 4: 8-9; Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Today, we may mourn the physical loss of someone we loved very much but the life – the heritage – the legacy of this man will continue on for generations to come.

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!!

A Study of Joseph – The Dreamer

When you were a kid, what dreams did you have? For me, I had 3 dreams that I wanted to see come true. One was to be a Navy pilot but due to medical reasons, that was short lived. The second one was to dance on broadway. Yes, I typed Broadway. I always loved watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and the Nicholas brothers do their dance numbers in the various movies that they were in and always thought it would be so cool to perform those types of dances on the Broadway stage.  Lastly, I wanted to be a Wide Receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. But alas, outside of Wes Welker, there is not too much demand for 5’9″ wideouts in the NFL.

Chasing or pursuing dreams can be tough but why is it that some people achieve their dreams while so many others fall short. For me, it was matter of dedication. I simply wasn’t dedicated to do the things necessary to give my dreams the opportunity to be fulfilled. Sure, I wanted these things but I wasn’t willing to do what was needed to achieve them. When faced with obstacles, difficulties and circumstances on my path, I lost my focus and willingness to overcome them. And I have no doubt that I would have needed a couple of breaks along the way as well. Somebody being willing to take a chance on me or maybe, just a matter of being in the right place at the right time type of thing. Regardless, I fell short on those dreams but I am thankful today that I have new dreams to pursue and unlike the ones mentioned above, I am dedicated to do what it takes to achieve them. Now let’s look at a couple of dreams of another kid.

Beginning in Genesis 37:5-11, we are introduced to the dreams of Joseph. My first thought about these dreams is how, for this family, they seemed like such big dreams for this kid to have. To think that this kid would someday be in a position that his father, mother and siblings would one day bow before him was a bit much for everyone to take. And there is no way that they could have had any idea exactly how this would come about …but God did!! Here a young man of 17 has 2 dreams, which are significant in this family but God’s plan was designed for multiple nations of people and countries.

If nothing else comes from this post, keep this in mind, and think of Joseph and his dreams. A young man had a dream of being the greatest among his family. God’s dream for Joseph was so much bigger than any thing Joseph could imagine or “dream” of and God has a dream (plan) for us too. Now that plan may not be for you to become the 2nd most powerful person in a kingdom….but then again….it might!?

Now the dreams of Joseph are obviously from God and may not be what Joseph aspired to accomplish for himself but they were His dreams. Joseph had no idea what events and circumstances would shortly begin to happen in his life that would take him on a remarkable journey, where in the end, not only would his dreams be realized but that the impact of his life would affect millions of people over thousands of years. As we continue this study in the days ahead, remember that no matter the circumstance, or obstacle that was laid before him, Joseph was able to keep his focus and dedication on what was truly important. What circumstances or obstacles seem to be impeding your way today. Are they too much for you to overcome? Are they too much for God to overcome?

Jeremiah 29:11-12 – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – History Repeated

Joseph becomes the main character of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37:2This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. At this point, we know Joseph is 17 and is the 2nd youngest of 12 brothers. And at the end of the verse listed above we see that he has no problem with letting his father, Jacob, know what is going on with his brothers.

In the next verses we see how the history of favoritism is carried on to yet another generation of Abraham’s family. Genesis 37:3-4 – 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to himObviously we now have some serious conflict going on within this family. Imagine hating someone to the point that you couldn’t even talk to them peaceably and then imagine living in the same house with that person, day after day, year after year.

Thinking back on when I was a young parent I don’t remember anybody talking about or warning Lisa and I to be careful about showing favoritism where our children were concerned. It is something that we talked about and were always careful to guard against. I do however, think this is something we need to talk about, especially with young parents. Nothing can disrupt or cause animosity quicker within a family than favoritism.

My simple advise is this, your kids are individuals, each created with unique gifts, skills, quirks and personalities. Learn your kids and celebrate their individuality while working with them to overcome any obstacles they have in their character. Additionally, I would also say that I think some parents do a disservice to their children when they try and treat all of their kids the same way – equally. Instead, I would say you should treat your kids justly according to who they are.

An example of this would be: one of my daughters absolutely hated the idea of getting a spanking, to the point that she would cry a bucket of tears before the actual punishment was ever administered. My other daughter thought, ha, that’s no big deal, lasts for a minute and it’s over. With the one, we would give spankings and with the other, we found that taking things or privileges away from her would make a much stronger point. Was that fair? Would they say they were treated equally?  With both, we tried to be just and as a result, we didn’t have to spank a lot nor did we take away a lot of things.

Next Chapter will look at the dreamer and start looking at some parallels between lives of Joseph and Jesus.

Peace and Thanks for Reading

It’s Christmas Time!!

I love this time of year because it always takes me back to when I was a kid. Growing up in Marietta, Georgia was so much fun, especially around Christmas. Marietta was not the biggest town on the map but it played big every Christmas or that’s at least how I remember it! Outside of seeing what Santa brought for my sister and me on Christmas, I think the most fun I had at Christmas was going shopping with my mom. As I got older, not so much, but for several years there, shopping was extremely fun!!

My favorite store back then was the Sears and Roebuck (if you remember the Roebuck, you’re dating yourself). They would go all out in decorating their store each year. From the parking lot all throughout the building and even in the garage where they fixed the cars, they would decorate any and everything!! It was like Santa’s workshop had been relocated to Marietta for the Christmas season! I can still remember the days of walking through the double, front doors trying hard to not sprint down that center aisle and around the corner to where I knew the toys, games, and Santa would be waiting. Magical times I tell you, for in that instance, everything else disappeared!! Incredibly, Santa always seemed to know exactly what to bring me on Christmas morning!!

Cumberland Mall back then was the place to go!! At the time, it was the most massive size building I had ever been in and to see it all decorated for Christmas was simply overwhelming to a young kid. I remember the smell of the mall at Christmas time. I know that’s probably odd but I do, I remember, smelling all of the different fragrances as you walked in and out of the different stores. And the Christmas music was great as it was the only time of year we got to hear it and no matter where you were in the mall, you could hear it – I thought that was just amazing. I remember people being happy and almost overflowing with joy. Sure, I remember some people that seemed really stressed out and ill at the world but I just figured they knew they were on Santa’s naughty list already and were just bummed because they weren’t getting presents that year.

I remember the lights as we would drive around in all the neighborhoods. So bright, festive and full of life were the houses that were decked out for Christmas, especially the ones that had an undecorated house next to them. We usually would take our tour two or three days in advance of Christmas and that was my beacon of hope to know I just had to wait a couple of more days. And I will admit, I was terrible about waiting for the rest of the family to see what was under the Christmas tree!! One year my parents even hung a sheet in the hallway to try to keep me from sneaking a peek at what laid just beyond it. I will not divulge whether or not this attempt was successful for them or not. I remember the year of the pinball machine because I know I heard Santa, my dad and whoever else was there playing it as I was trying to sleep in my room.

Finally, Christmas Days were just the best!! And not because of whatever I may have received that morning but just because the whole day was filled with joy, love, laughter and food!! As my sister and I got older, mom and dad didn’t seem as eager to get right to the tree. Which was fine with me because mom always had her sausage cheese balls ready for us to eat. When we finally did get to the tree I was always amazed at how my parents seemed just as happy as Audra and me were, at the presents we had received even though they didn’t have near as many. In the early afternoon we would head over to Aunt Saralene’s house. Now this was always a truly magical time as we would one by one open all the presents that were collected under the tree. This took hours to do and the only way to get through it was to make sure you kept yourself fed and there was always great food to fill the need!!

Sitting around their big family room opening presents was simply amazing!! Everyone laughing, then crying from laughing, then laughing again and the competition….man it could get intense. I’m not talking about who got the best or most presents, no, it was who could get who the best present, as everybody really tried to get everyone the perfect gift! Incredibly fun times, and I hope that my kids are able to look back at their childhood Christmas’ experiences with the same fondness that I have for mine.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Peace and thanks for reading!