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The Good, The Bad, The Mowing

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I was mowing the yard today (after spending an hour fixing the broken lawn mower), and I was tired…and hot. To be honest, mowing is one of my least favorite jobs around the house. It doesn’t rank quite as high as Unclogging the Drain, but it’s pretty close. I know it’s good exercise, and for that I’m grateful…although I’d rather run a half marathon wearing a 20 pound weighted vest. But that’s just me.

I was mowing with a sense of urgency to the task…rain was coming. I knew I had only hours to do it, and this was my window of opportunity. Rain…awesome, life-giving rain. We’ve been in a drought here in the Midwest this summer. The grass had gone dormant, turning as brown as if it were dead…and the leaves on the trees have started turning and falling already. And as bad as a drought is for all the reasons a drought is bad, there is a blessing in it…albeit however small it is. When the grass doesn’t grow, there’s no need to mow. (See how I did that there with the rhyme…I didn’t even think that out before I typed it. 🙂 )

So I’ve saved a lot of time, work and gas ($$) this summer. And for that, I’ve been grateful, despite the condition of the grass and trees. And here I was, mowing in advance of the coming rain, and I found myself starting to complain inside…grumbling in my mind about how much I hate mowing the yard. And then the Holy Spirit does what He does…He brings Scripture to mind…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There’s a time for everything…and there’s good in the bad, if we look for it. In the drought, I’ve saved my time, work and gas ($$) by not needing to mow. Earlier today, I didn’t enjoy myself out there mowing in the heat and humidity, but God sent the rain to quell the drought and provide life to the area (and an afternoon workout for me). Life is the same really…there’s some good in every bad we encounter. Sometimes we have to look hard to find it, but it’s there…if we open our hearts and minds to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us…and when He works in us, He works through us. For His plan. For His glory. Through the good. Through the bad. And yes, even through the mowing.

Love,

Dad

Time for a Change

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I’m not much into the whole “New Years Resolutions” thing.  I’ve tried it in the past, and I think for the most part, resolutions don’t last.  At least for me, it seems that doing New Years Resolutions are a convenience thing…something we only look at doing once a year.  How many New Years Resolutions fall by the wayside when the newness fades away and the reality of the commitment and sacrifice they require sets in.  While I understand the concept, the notion that making a change in our lives only once a year is not something I agree with.  I believe that if it’s time for a change in July, then make a change…why wait until the end of the year?  That being said, I do understand that the end of the year is a time to look back the events of the previous year…a time of reflection for what’s gone well and what’s not…what’s working, and what’s not.  In looking back on my 2011, I’ve decided it’s time for a change.

I have a lot of things going well in my life.  I certainly have no room to be disappointed.  However, I believe God has bigger plans in store for me…and for us as a family.  I believe that I’m holding myself…and our family…back.  It’s time for me to make some changes…to break old habits and start new ones.  I also believe in the plan.  Every successful person or organization started with a plan…and followed it.  There are several key areas of my life that require a change, so the new plan is this:

1.  Spiritual
I intend to spend more time with God, strengthening our relationship, and my dependence on Him.  To do that, I will:

a.  Spend one-on-one time with Him in prayer daily, away from the world…just me and God.
b.  Read through the entire Bible this year.  Your mom bought me a chronological Bible, and I’m well under way and enjoying my time in the Word.
c.  Take part in an adult Bible study, to deepen my understanding of the Word.
d.  Read the Bible to you more and spend no less than twice a week discussing it in more depth, even if for only 5 minutes at a time to start.

2.   Family
To ensure that my actions reflect my words…to show you how I value our time together and how much I value our family time, I will:

a.  Take your mother out on a date night at least once a month.  With friends or alone, does not matter.  It’s important for us to have a strong relationship with each other, so that our relationship with you is healthy.
b.  Schedule regular one-on-one time with each of you, at least once a month.
c.  Schedule a family outing at least once a month and take you on a family vacation.
d.  Ensure we continue to have dinner together at the family table no less than three times a week, preferably 4-5.
e.  Read to you more.  Both books you enjoy, and the Bible.

3.  Physical
To improve my overall physical health, I will:

a.  Run two half marathons and at least two smaller 5k or 10k races.
b.  Begin preparing to compete in a triathlon by 2013.
c.  Make healthier choices in my eating.

4.  Financial
To improve upon our financial position and provide a stable financial future for our family, I will:

a.  Start doing the family budget again and live within it.
b.  Make payments above the minimum toward the one debt we have left, the house.
c.  Go back to the “envelope” system, paying cash for most day-to-day expenses.
d.  Put a hold on unnecessary, discretionary purchases for 2012.

5.  Mental
To improve my overall mental health and reduce the stress in my life, I will:

a.  Read one book for every month of the year.
b.  Re-enroll in college classes toward completing my Bachelor’s Degree.
Prayerfully, and with the power of God through Christ who lives in me, I will make progress toward these goals…toward being the man God is calling me to be.

Love,

Dad

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