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Nothing is Written Yet

1 Jan

ImageI saw this and thought it really summarized my thoughts & direction of 2012. The great thing about 2013 is, not a single day, event, thought or feeling has been written yet. What 2013 looks like depends completely on you!

How will you summarize 2013 this time next year?!?

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Its in Your Hands

27 Oct

This morning I participated in a team building exercise on a high ropes course.  People from all walks of life came together to encourage one another as we met ourselves 30 feet off of the ground.  At first we sat as a group and listened as our instructor share with us how to put our harness on, what to expect and offered last minute words of encouragement.  The one thing that stuck out in my mind at that moment was her caution of “You never know how you are going to feel once its just you, alone, up on the course.”  She challenged us to encourage one another and to be patient.  The reason?  She said she has seen many people totally psyched up to conqueror the course only to find themselves holding onto a telephone pole for dear life while they find the inner strength to continue on. It was something to ponder and think about as we waited in line.  

The instructor then asked, “Who wants to go first?” A young mother of three, Bonnie, and I both jumped up and said, “I do!”   Bonnie was before me and I was second in line.  Last year Bonnie could not go further than the first obstacle.  When she faced the second phase, she could not find it within herself to go forward.  

The moment of truth was at hand, Bonnie went through the first phase with no problem.  I looked on and all of our teammates cheered and encouraged her that she could do it!  When she got to the second phase you could see the inner struggle begin.  She didn’t want to let go of the telephone pole.  You could see the struggle work across her features.  Then with a look of determination, she let go and she started to walk.  At that time another instructor told me that it was my turn.  WOW!  Talk about feeling good about it until it was time to take that first step.  I now understood what the first instructor was talking about earlier.  I had no problem with the first phase.  The second now loomed before me.  While waiting to take the first step of the second phase, I waited until Bonnie finished the 2nd.  She did it!!  I too mastered the second phase.  Bonnie started onto the 3rd phase as I breathlessly came to the wooden block between obstacles.  She made it to the next phase, I was following behind her.  Each ending of her phase was the beginning of mine.    

As I stood there I listened to the instructors around me, time and time again I could hear them offering words of encouragement to my fellow sojourners.  What I heard that struck me profoundly, regardless of which phase of the obstacle they were on, were these words. “YOUR  rope is your security – hold on to your rope and use it!”  What the instructors were talking about was on every phase we had two cables attaching us to a cable above us.  If we were to fall, those cables would catch us.  As we faced each phase we were presented with different supports.  We could choose to hold on to the rope obstacles support or we could use our individual anchors or a combination of both.  I watched as Bonnie chose to use the ropes on the course itself instead of using her own rope.  Now there is no right or wrong process but I watched her as she swayed back and forth and danced within the perimeters of fear.  Wind gusts would blow and cause her to tighten her hands around the ropes.  I watched and decided that if I chose that option it would add to my anxiety.  Instead I always kept my cable as my source of strength and guidance.  In doing so I was able to work through the course quickly and without a lot of swaying to and fro.  

As I zipped down the zip line I could still hear the instructors calling out to encouraging the participants to use their own cable/ropes.  I finished the course amongst cheers and support of the staff.  It felt great.  As I left I pondered the experience and I learned a major truth.  Too many times we grab a hold of the things around us for support and to help us face the obstacles ahead of us.  And where that does keep us from falling, the circumstances around us can cause of to sway and add to our anxiety and concerns.  Instead, the answer is within us – our own rope – is where we find the strength to overcome.  So look around you, what have you been holding onto that you need to let go?  Will you realize the strength is within yourself to overcome?  You CAN do it!

Its Your Funeral

4 Mar

Recently I went to a funeral for a 38 year sister to a friend of our family.  When I awoke that morning it was cold and rainy.  I wondered about the turn out.  I thought the weather would keep people from attending.  I decided to go early to the church to see if I could help my friend and their family set up or just to be there for support.  When I pulled up to the church an hour before the service, the parking lot was surprisingly no where near empty.  I went inside, shook off my umbrella and took of my coat.  I went and placed my things in the area that I would like to sit and off I went to see where I could be of service.  As I helped the family prepare a memory table, I marveled at the things the family had selected to represent her life.  This was not a woman who lived a small life – this was a woman who lived life large.

As the rain continued to fall, more and more people were lining up inside the church to sign the guest book and to find their seats.  Time continued and the line went out the door.  More time passed, the line began to wrap around outside. The sanctuary filled, people began standing on the sides of the room.  Chairs were brought into the foyer and set up.  They too filled and yet I could not see the end of the line. People began to stand in the foyer along the walls.  The front doors were opened, two tents were set up in front of those doors.  Chairs were set up there too and they were filled and yet the line continued.

As the pastor began the service, he introduced family members who wanted to share her life with us.  One by one they took the microphone and invited us into the life of their loved one.  They shared how that one person effected their life in a big way.  Statements were made like, “She always had a big smile on her face”  “She never met a stranger”  “She would sit and really listen to me for as long as I wanted to talk” “She never wanted attention or recognition, but she always wanted to help.”  “She always had time for me”  “She would pitch in where ever there was a need” “She was my friend”  “My life is better for having her in it”  “She will be missed”

The pastor wrapped up his message and invited the audience to share their stories.  One by one people raised their hands and again the stories and moments that she took to bless those around her were repeated over and over again.  A slide show was presented and we saw how the comments people had shared were brought to life through the memories captured on film.  We saw pictures of her serving.  We saw pictures of her loving.  We saw that beautiful smile in every single picture.  The service ended and yet people didn’t leave.  They continued to stay and share how this woman, who had lived a large life, brought value to their lives because every single person in that room had been effected by this woman.  There was not a single person in that room whom was not touched in some way by her.  All had come to celebrate the difference she had made in their lives.

As I drove home I was convicted about my life.  What would people say about me at my funeral?  As I pondered that I had to ask myself, “What would I want said about me at my funeral?”  As I dissected the things that could be said versus what I hoped would be said, I realized that I could have the things I would like to be said, a reality.  All I had to do was change the areas that needed to be changed to give me those results.

You see, my future, your future hasn’t been written yet.  We still have control of what will be said at our funeral.  We just need to change, to add, or to continue the habits and behaviors to give us those results.  Its in our hands.  Its up to us.  Why?  Because it’s your funeral and the words haven’t been written yet.