My Best Friend

Beach

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 is the day I lost my oldest and dearest friend. Edwin A. Dorsey, my father passed away and my world has been a little darker ever since. I do take great joy and comfort in the fact that exactly at 12:15 pm, he was instantly reunited with my mother who recently passed, just 73 days earlier.

Edwin, Edd, Dad, Papa were the most common names that he answered too. Anyone who knew him, liked him. He just had that personality, that was warm and inviting. He enjoyed meeting new people but along with my mom, they were always most content just being around the friends and family they loved so dear. Dad was also one of the most non-judgemental people I’ve ever known. You always started with a clean slate as far as dad was concerned. Now what you chose to put on that slate would determine how he felt about you going forward.

There is no way I could cover everything about my dad in a blog post but I at least hope to give you a picture of how great he really was as a husband, father, papa, brother, uncle, coach and friend. Charlotte and Edd Dorsey were married on August 24th, 1963 and obviously, would have celebrated another anniversary next month. Dad loved mom unconditionally, no matter the circumstance or anything else. He just simplied loved her everyday to the best of his abilities. For that alone, I will be forever grateful!

As a dad, his loved carried over to my sister Audra and me. I can recall so many times, where I know he put his own needs and wants to the side to provide everything we needed growing up. I know he and mom did without a lot of times to make sure Audra and me did not. Dad was a dedicated and hard worker. He showed me that there was nothing wrong with doing hard work and that, sometimes, sacrifices would need to be made to get what you want. I am so thankful that he taught me the value of having a strong work ethic.

Dad was never too tired to go out in the front yard and throw the baseball or football around until mom called us in for dinner. He always supported me in anything I wanted to try and I tried as many things as I could. Dad from the time I started playing baseball at 5 years of age until I made the HS team was always either a team dad or coach for whatever team I played on. Dad truly loved coaching, baseball and softball in particular. He loved seeing kids learn the game and improve their skills. He coached Little League for nearly a decade after I left Sewell Park. This love of coaching he passed onto me and I hope to continue coaching until my last days.

I said this with mom and its true for dad as well but no kids anywhere at anytime had a Papa that loved them more than dad loved his grandkids. Although a strict discplinary when I was growing up, he became an ol’ softy with his grandkids. He didn’t necessarily agree with this assessment, but I can tell you from first hand experience, that he definitely lightened up on disciplinary actions with his grandkids versus those he performed on my sister and me. Brandi, Aaron, Felicia, Hailey, Kymberly, Andrea, Kyle and Ben all know how fortunate they were to have Mom and Dad as their Mimi and Papa. The love that Dad gave them will sustain them a lifetime and for that alone, it makes him a great man!

As an uncle, for most of my cousins, he was their favorite. It has been such a blessing over the years to have them tell me just that. And I get it, he was one of those people that you simply felt better as soon as you were around them. Some people even lovingly called him Easy Edd for a time. Dad wanted to do what he could to make people feel better or have a good time. His humor was an incredible gift and he spent his whole life sharing it with all of us but not at the expense of anyone, a rare talent indeed. Again, for teaching me the art of humor and laughter, I thank him!

Dad also taught me that there are times in our lives, where it is OK to cry. It seems to me that we only cry when we are physically hurt or we cry, out of love for another person. Maybe their hurting or their leaving so were sad but we cry sometimes because we love. Yes, dad was man enough to show me that sometimes, to cry is a needed release of love. Another incredible gift.

My dearest friend is gone and he will never be replaced. But the gifts he has left behind are impossible to measure. A husband, a father, a papa, a brother, an uncle, a coach, a friend. In any and all of these, Edd Dorsey leaves a legacy of love! He loved us all and that my friend is the greatest gift of all.

Peace!

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

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

A Celebration – My Family

For those who know my family, you are already aware that we celebrated my son’s graduation from Auburn University this past weekend. The weekend was absolutely perfect as once again we were all able to be together and join Kyle as he celebrated a huge milestone in his young life!! It was the first time that we have all been together since Christmas. So for three days at least, life was perfect!!

Thanks to our wonderful daughter, Andrea, we were able to start the weekend in grand style by spending Friday night hanging out at the Ritz Carlton, downtown. There is nothing quite like the Ritz when it comes to first class service, simple elegance and attention to details!! As we waited on everyone’s arrival, it was so nice to be able to simply relax, take a breath and just be. Once everyone had arrived, we made our way over to Jalepeno Charlies to partake of a little mexican food. Charlies is a cool place and I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself downtown at supper time.

Just like any family, we spent dinner time catching up on the details of everyone’s life and sharing stories of this and that. I can’t remember all the stories off hand but I do remember laughing, laughing a lot actually. One thing about the Dorsey’s, we are funny, and if to no one else, at least to ourselves so we usually have a good time. As a parent, I think it’s natural during these moments to kind of drift off in a lot of different directions as we look and listen to our kids. Remembering them as they use to be, thinking of where they are now and wondering about the path they are currently pursuing. Praying and hoping they are truly happy and if not, at least knowing they will be soon.

Saturday morning started off great. We left the hotel only 4o minutes after I really wanted to but I planned for that so all was good. Car rides are a lot of fun no matter the distance when you are heading to a joyous event. And this one was fun as well until, we came to a sudden and prolonged stop of 45 minutes. Not so fun anymore. I try not to get stressed, convincing myself it will all be good. There’s still time to get there, get some snap shots for mom, get a little starbucks and then make our way into the arena for graduation. It’s just hard when you don’t move for almost an hour.

We did arrive just in time to get a few pictures, some were able to get coffee and we were in our seats with plenty of time to spare. One of my favorite things to do is people watch and especially on these types of occasions as everyone is in a relatively good mood, with lots of smiles and laughter. The ceremony itself was fine but let’s face it, it’s rare you ever hear anyone say “Listen, I have to tell you what I heard at this graduation last week.” Actually, I wonder if that’s ever been said. You listen at graduations but only to make sure you don’t miss the name of the person you are there to see.

From graduation we made our way over to Columbus to have a late lunch at Houlihan’s before making our way back home. The drive home was great for all of my passengers as they got the chance to catch a short nap before starting the evening festivities we had planned for when we got home. It was simply a great night as we gathered as a family once more to celebrate Kyle’s accomplishment. I must tell ya, that what made the evening so great was that we were able to have our closest friends (extended family), share the moment with us.

So as I sat in my chair in the living room listening to what seemed like 10 different conversations and all of the laughter taking place around my home, I was overwhelmed with joy, contentment, peace, sadness and love; all in the same moment!! Sadness only because I knew come Sunday night, this celebration would end as the kids would begin making their way back to their homes. One of the best parts of the weekend is that we were all able to attend church together on Sunday.

Although sad that we may not be able to be together as often as we once were, I’m extremely happy and greatly blessed in knowing that like me, all of them can’t wait for when we have the opportunity to get together again and celebrate our family. It is only by God’s grace, mercy and love for me that I am able to have and enjoy the family that I have! And I am so thankful!!

In my last series, Life Lessons, my initial posting was titled – Share the Journey. My prayer for all of you is that each of you have/find people that you can share your journey with. For me, I truly am thankful, that I am able to share my journey with my family!

May you be blessed with Hope, Joy and Peace!! Thanks for reading.

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 – Time Management

Time-slips-through-your-hands

Time is an illusion, there is always time and then there is no time at all. It is here and gone in the same instant.

On the 28th this month I will turn 48 and for the most part, there is very little I regret  about my life. One of those is that I did not spend enough time with my kids as they were growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I was fortunate to be able to spend an incredible amount of time with them over the years but now that they have moved on to new chapters of their lives, and I selfishly wish I had even more memories to draw from.

Time management is a discipline that needs to be developed and takes a lot of work to do it effectively. First of all, I would recommend that you take inventory of your life. What in your life is most important to you? Go ahead, write them down, study them, make sure to include everything that is important to you. Now once you have your list down – rank them in order of importance. For some, this exercise will be difficult as you begin to rank them because, if your honest, you may realize some things are more important than you thought.

Now, for some, the next step will the hardest. Beside each of the things you listed, record the amount of time you spend on each of those things daily. If you don’t do this honestly, than you are just wasting time (pun intended!). I really think this exercise can be a catalyst in resetting your life. Helping you to refocus your efforts, to ensure that you have time to devote to those things you say is important.

An exercise I went through several years ago also affected the way I spend my time and honestly, still have to remind myself to do it on occasion. Usually, when I’m feeling overwhelmed that I don’t have time to complete everything on my list. So what is the exercise you ask? Purpose. What is the purpose of me spending time doing X? If I can define why something is important to me, it helps me to prioritize. A part of defining is to understand it’s purpose. I know it may seem a little trivial or kind of out there, but it worked for me.

Time is a gift from God and should never be taken for granted, especially by followers of Christ. I could do a whole other post on this topic  alone. And even if you don’t believe in God, you should never waste your time. All of us at some point, will die, at least physically. It’s funny how my mindset has changed over the years and continues to do so as I advance in age. At 18, I didn’t give time a second thought. I had my whole life in front of me with plenty of time to spare.

At 25, I started to realize I only had a certain amount of time to make “real” money and provide for my wife and kids.  Priorities changed and my life took a whole new direction. At 40, I started looking at what was really important in my life, what things did I need to concentrate on to ensure that my kids would be ready to leave their mother and I. Also, at 40, I took an honest assessment of what my testimony looked like to those around me. In other words, was I truly walking the walk of being a Christ follower or was it just talk?

So, on the cusp of being 48, I have begun looking ahead, at what my legacy might be in 30 or 40 years. Plenty of time to create, develop and implement a strategy of accomplishing the goals I have set. But, here’s the thing. I’m not promised tomorrow but I do have today!! So really, for me, that’s become my daily question. What will I do today?

Really had no idea this post was going to go in this direction and I’ve thought of scraping it and starting over. But, it is what it is so…..

Last point on time. For me, I have come to realize the most valuable commodity I have in life are the relationships I have with others. So when, I’m faced with a decision on where to spend my time or deciding what’s more important, the decision is usually based on potential impact my decision will have on my relationship with X. That’s why I think it’s critical to know what is TRULY important to you, so that you choose wisely where to spend your time.

Time is not given, you have to take it. Today I just want to encourage you to take time and do the things that are important to you. I have been blessed to have had time to spend with my wife and kids but I know that I am not promised tomorrow. My prayers haven’t changed, I pray that God will give me wisdom to help the kids find their own path and that each day I would grow closer to Him through my relationship with Christ.

May God multiply your time. Blessings to you all. Peace!!

Why bother?

question-mark

The longer I live the more I find myself asking the question…Why? Why do Cub fans get excited every spring and think that yes, finally, this is their year? Why is it that the things that taste the best are the worst for you and vice versa? Why is Taylor Swift nominated for best female artist year after year? Why do the police insist being on the highway whenever I am late to get somewhere? Why can we name the starting lineup for all the sports team we root for but can’t remember that guys name that lives next door? If family is the most important thing, why is it so easy for us to let other things keep us from them?

Why don’t more parents actually parent their kids instead of trying to be friends with them? Why did you just get upset while reading that last sentence? Why do we insist on “adjusting” the standards of what’s acceptable downward? Why do weather forecasters get to keep their job when they are so often wrong? But then again, why do we celebrate all-star hitters who actually fail 70% of the time at their job? Why did striving to be the best you can be become such a negative thing to pursue?

Why did we allow ourselves to become so disconnected with our communities? Why do we not hold ourselves to the standards that we hold others to? Why do atlanta sport fans show up late to games and leave well before they are over? Why do I insist on spending more than I actually make? Why don’t we take time to get to know one another? Why did Garth Brooks quit making music? Why doesn’t Taylor Swift quit making music? (I KNOW, THAT”S TWO SHOTS I’VE TAKEN AT TAYLOR)

Why? I think it’s time each of us started asking ourselves, why? I think we have allowed ourselves to go through the motions of living life and not ACTUALLY, LIVING our lives. Have we become complacent with the world around us and quit asking the hard questions and most importantly, taking action when needed. Why do we so willingly accept mediocrity? No, I am not angry with anyone or anything. Just being reflective this afternoon and asking myself what do I want the rest of my life to look like?

I listened to a message this past Sunday where the question was – what if you have 1 month to live? what changes would you make? how would you live the next 30 days? So, anyway, as I was thinking about that, I found myself asking – why don’t I live every day like  it’s my last? My intention is to start doing just that, living each day the best that I can so that 30 years or 3o days from now, I won’t be asking myself, why didn’t I change?

Peace and thanks for reading!!

South Africa Revisited

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I thought I would take the time and try to put a wrap on my recent South Africa trip. I have not been the same person since that trip and my hope is that I never again, take for granted, this incredible life that I have been given. Before South Africa I was doing just that – taking my life for granted.

I had been struggling for some time trying to figure out what was next for my life. Recently, the youngest of our 4 kids has begun his first chapter into adulthood, leaving his mother and I with an empty house for the first time in a long, long time. I think when parents become empty nesters, there is a natural tendency to reevaluate life and make sure you are on the right path. Looking at all the aspects of my life I started asking one question – was I content with? my marriage? my kids? my job? my friends? Generally speaking, I answered each of those questions with an affirmative, yes but yet I still found myself, well, restless. I was missing something. What? What was I missing?

One of the questions I asked myself was “Am I content in my walk with Jesus”? The answer was easy, yes, I was content. I pray everyday, study most days, and my job affords me the opportunity to minister to people throughout the week, so yea, I felt pretty content. Still, I couldn’t shake the restlessness. Then a question came to me that I wasn’t expecting – “Was Jesus content with His walk with me”? Honestly…..I tried to ignore the question for a couple of days and was doing ok until we took off on our first leg of our journey to South Africa. Let me tell you, 15 hours is an incredibly long time when trying to ignore something so prevalent in your mind.

Do you remember the very first line from Rick Warren’s – A Purpose Driven Life? I do. The first line is “It’s not about you”. That kept coming back to my mind time and again during that flight as I read scripture, prayed and studied. I tried watching a couple of movies, the names of which both escape me as I write this. I would love to tell you that I had a great epiphany on the flight and God revealed everything to me but that is not what happened. But He did begin to show me areas of my thought that were skewed during my time in South Africa. And on several occasions I felt the full presence of God for the first time in a long time!

One revelation I experienced and shared with you earlier was a moment I had while standing on a sand dune. As I looked one way, I was awed by the Indian Ocean, the coast line, as wave after wave ascended on the shore and then looking inland, being able to see the various mountain ranges that circle the city of Cape Town was simply overwhelming to my soul. God’s creative beauty on display for all to see. Just incredible. Then in the same instance as we looked on what is called the Cape Flats and the 6 to 8 million people that inhabit this area, God impressed on me that I had missed the beauty found in His creation of people. All people, each one uniquely created by Him.

The most important lesson I learned during my trip is that I had made God too small, I had limited Him in my life by trying to make Him fit into something I could understand, relate to. Since returning, there have been a myriad of different events, situations and circumstances that have allowed me to see God with new eyes. I am just beginning to understand that I need to see my life through the eyes of Jesus. Jesus wants to have a relationship with me! To see me live a life that is fulfilled. To be content no matter the circumstance. In order for this to happen, I must release my selfish desires and allow Him to be Lord and Master over ALL of my life.

So, with all respect to Mr. Warren. I think we need to understand that it is about us in one sense and that is – we must choose what we are going to do with Christ today? tomorrow? and every day that follows.

Lastly, here is a clip of a song that is one of the most honest songs I have ever heard. I heard it for the first time about 3 weeks before I left for South Africa. Below the clip are the lyrics to the song. This is my worship song for now. It reminds of how great God truly is and that I will never understand the depths of Jesus’ love for me.

What Do I Know of Holy – Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

(CHORUS)

(CHORUS 2)

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life “its” name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

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!!