Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day

Those Little Irritants in Life

I was awake at 3:30 AM in order to catch an early morning flight.

Almost immediately after boarding the plane, the gentleman behind me started snoring LOUDLY.  About every minute or so, he would catch his breath and then suddenly make a sound like a neighing horse.  This went on for the full 35-minute flight.  So happy he could get some sleep, BECAUSE NO ONE AROUND HIM DID!


On my next leg of the journey, the gentleman beside me decided that he needed more and more seat space.  After five and a half hours, I was half way into the aisle getting my elbow hit by the drink cart. 


Life can be full of these kinds of little irritants.  They’re inconvenient, uncomfortable and, well, down right uncalled for sometimes.  And yet, it’s not fully the experience as much as it is a test.  It’s a test of what we tell ourselves, our self-talk. It ‘s a test of personal frustration levels.  It’s a test of the amount of compassion in our heart.  And it can be a test of how much grace we walk in.


We like things our way – the convenient, comfortable way.  But that’s just not real life is it?  So here’s a tip when one of those life inconveniences comes you way: pray and give thanks.


“Thank you, Father, that I can be on this plane to minister Your life to those that You have assigned to me.”


It will keep your heart right.  Besides, the next time you become an inconvenience or an irritant to someone, you’ll hope they took the aforementioned advice.


PS  On the final leg of my journey, I was given a free upgrade to first class…”Thank you, Father for this comfortable seat.”

Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day

I Catch Only Green Lights

There was a study conducted by professor emeritus Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University in which he told elementary school teachers that some of their students were “intellectual bloomers.”  Then the teachers were told the students names, who had been randomly selected, and also told that those particular students would excel in the forthcoming year.


It was all spurious information and those “bloomers” were actually no different from any other student in the class.  The only difference was their teachers’ expectations and because of that expectation those students did significantly better than the other students by the end of the year.


Expectations, we all have them.  I was sitting at a red light one day and queried myself as to why I seem to catch all the red lights.  Immediately I sensed a voice asking, “Do you expect to catch all red lights?”  I knew instantly that the message was about expectations and what I speak over myself.  From that point I changed my speech and declared, as well as thought, I receive mostly green lights.


I was telling my wife this story the other day while driving back from Massachusetts and we laughed and laughed as I actually received green light after green light.  Now I am not saying there was any divine intervention on the road with traffic lights, but I am saying my expectations changed, my thoughts changed and my speech changed while there was a necessary shift in my life. It may sound trivial, but I really do believe that our expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecy.

What are you speaking over yourself?

Challenge, Children, Parents

Parenting? Try Being a Grandparent

I absolutely love being a grandparent.  I have been named, “Papaw.”  What an honor to hold, to love and to care for these little ones.  To hear the words, “Papaw’s home” is music to my ears as it reminds me of when my children were small.  I wrote a former blog that called, “Grandparenting a Lost Art” and it is, but it is as well, a second chance.


It’s a second chance at being calm, filled with peace and less anxious in my parenting.  It’s a second chance at having time dedicated to my three grandsons for what THEY desire to do.  It’s a second chance at being less concerned about provision and work and more concerned about making them laugh and taking rides on “Mr. John Deere.”  It’s a second chance at saying ‘yes’ rather than saying ‘no’ all too often for my personal convenience.  And it’s a second chance to read to them and to listen to them or just to sit and have conversation at their level about the stuff on their mind.


Are you a young parent today?  Can you look at the above paragraph and then ask yourself, “How can I make all of these happen today in my parenting, not waiting until I’m a grandparent?”


But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. Psalms 103: 17