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Closing Doors

jesus-at-doorMy dog Mickey was whimpering behind the closed bedroom door. He has free range of our home and often goes into our bedroom and closes the door. There is a full length mirror on the back and he likes to look at himself. It’s harmless enough. He doesn’t tear up anything or sleep on the bed. He just lays down to wait. If it takes us too long or he hears something interesting in the rest of the house, he will let us know he’s stuck. You see, Mickey doesn’t know how to open the door once he’s closed it. He never closes it completely. There is always a small space left open.

Mickey’s litter mate Minnie knows how to open the door. If she hears him, she will go give the door a push and let him out. But Minnie can only open the door from the hallway. If she is on the same side of the door as Mickey they both have a problem. Occasionally, she will stick her nose in the gap and nudge until she can get her head through. But Mickey gets in her way making it hard for either of them to get out.

The thing about doors is they are a temporary obstacle. Even the locked ones have the possibility of swinging wide open if someone has the key. They can be opened from either side. They can even be knocked down in case of emergency. Some are made of glass, giving sight but still separating the two sides and easily broken. Some are made of much sturdier material, offering obscurity and a false sense of security.

This painting was a fixture in my home as a child. It was on the front of a big heavy Bible that I remember seeing from time to time. It is often pointed out that there is no doorknob in the painting, implying it can only be opened from the inside. But even with a door knob Mickey cannot open the door and when she does open it, Minnie never uses the doorknob. I always thought if he just put his shoulder into it that door would pop open.

I think that’s part of the misconception we have about God. If He’d just put His shoulder into it He could break through our doors and rescue us from whatever door we have closed. It’s not that God is thought of as vengeful or cruel but just absent. Where is He when children suffer? Where is He when planes crash? Where is He when….? Where is He when we close the door ourselves to look in the mirror and find ourselves stuck?

Sometimes we are very much like Mickey. Other times we have the opportunity to be Minnie. Just a little push when we hear someone is stuck may be all it takes to let the door swing open and set them free to roam until the next time.

The irony of this post is that I was interrupted half way through writing it by the arrival of the cable man. I showed him the place in the backyard where the cable needs to be rerun. I showed him where the main box is. When I saw the truck pull up I had put Mickey and Minnie in my room and closed the door firmly. I wanted them secure while he was here. They made plenty of noise to let me know they were not happy about it.

After showing the cable man where the junction box is outside I said I was going back to my office while he made some phone calls. I reached for the front door knob and, you guessed it, I had locked myself out of the house. Normally, I carry my house keys with me at all times for just this reason, but this morning I hadn’t put them in my pocket. Banging on the front door and ringing the bell got the attention of the two trapped in my bedroom but failed to rouse the teenager sleeping down the hall. Fortunately her window was open and she less than cheerfully stumbled down the hall to open the front door. Coffee refilled and keys securely in my pocket I returned to my desk and the subject of doors.

This whole post began yesterday when someone firmly slammed a relationship door in my face. It was followed by another person taking up guard duty in front of said door and taking some very cheap shots at me for trying to ring the bell. All the commotion brought out some villagers who opened their doors to me and all in all I count the day a gain not a loss.

My question to end this would be what doors are you facing? Are they open or closed? Who opened or closed them? Are you waiting for someone to open it for you? Have you forgotten your keys? Have you lost your keys?

Or are you the ingenious little dog who will stick your nose in the small opening and set yourself free?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.…”

 

 

What Do You Want?

coffee for twoIf you want me to know, you should tell me.

If you want me to remember, you should write it down.

If you want me to understand, we should have coffee. 

One Day

lsu-lsu-football-26603825-550-256Half of the college football teams who played today won.

And half lost.

But most college football players spent today wishing they were on the field instead of home watching on tv.

The chance to play comes to each of us every day.

Some days we will win.

Some days we will lose.

But everyday we have a chance to play.

Each and every one of those young athletes will tell you playing comes with hard work and dedication and, yes, some pain.

But they have the heart for the game and they would rather lose on the field than watch from the sidelines any day.

Do you have the heart?

Are you ready to do the hard work?

Are you dedicated?

Are you ready to take the field, win or lose, and play your best?

 

Doing My Homework

30 questionsLast week I signed up for a 365 Day business development course. I’m on Day 5. I must admit I didn’t do Day 3 on Day 3 but did catch up on Day 3 and Day 4 last night. Which brings me to Day 5.

Today’s assignment is to make $1 doing something I care about. There are so many things I care about but thinking of them in terms of product or services changes the way I think about them.

So here’s my homework.

Send me the top 3 goals you have for 2014 and I will send you a list of 10 questions per goal to help you define and achieve those goals.

To order your 30 Questions for 2014 send just $5 per set of 3 goals to my paypal. Include your 3 goals in the notes to vendor box on Paypal and your questions will soon be on their way in time for you to answer by New Year’s Eve.




 

 

Invited

christmas invitation 5Tonight we will be listening to big band music at a casino. Not how I was brought up to spend the Sunday before Christmas but somehow this year it makes me feel closer to the original Christmas than I have in a long time.

You see I was invited. Not in the old fashioned invitation in the mail way but in the way that is most often used today, an event invite on Facebook.

Someone I know personally and have worked with over the past year plays with a great band. They have been booked to play the main room at San Jose’s casino tonight from 6pm-8pm.

The thing that makes me feel more like the first Christmas is just how far removed this is from all the trappings of the holiday I have grown up with and leaned on to remind me of the meaning of the season.

Over the same year or so I have worked with dozens of people who through scattered comments about their schedules or their experience have made it clear they are deeply connected with a church. But over that same year, not one invitation to come to their church. Not even at Christmas.

So tonight I’m going where I’ve been invited. I’m going where I was asked to come and experience what’s being offered.

The Messiah was long anticipated by some. Just a myth to others and most of the world He came to had no expectations at all. But even from the very beginning He didn’t demand or command welcome. He went where He was invited, where there was room, where only those in the know would find Him.

For the next year, for the next month, for the next week how different would your life be if you only went where you were invited?

How different would your next week be if you invited others to join you on your journey?

 

 

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

DSC_5271As I was waiting for my favorite person in the whole wide world to clear the thin layer of ice on my windshield this morning a song came on the radio. A particular lyric caught my ear.

“There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas…” Well, of course, there won’t. There wasn’t last year and there won’t be next year. It’s summer in southern Africa so why would there be snow?

The next line was “The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”.  That’s true for everyone of us every day we wake up.

“Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow….” Well, that’s just not true.

“Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” Maybe. Maybe not.

But I have to wonder if we know it’s Christmas time either.

When did the sacred get over shadowed with the commercial? When did the pressure of gifts and decorations and parties and stuff become the focus?

If everyone, and I do mean everyone,  just stopped all of the nonsense that has nothing to do with the celebration of the Virgin birth of the Messiah how much would your December change?

And, yes. They know it’s Christmas in Africa.

 

 

In A Word

magnetic-poetryA few years ago I met with another writer every Wednesday morning at a coffee shop to work. Laptops set up across from each other, unlimited refills of coffee and the fresh pastries made for a very productive couple of hours.  One morning I was sharing how at the beginning of the year I had decided I wanted a theme for the year. I wanted God to amaze me. I wanted to see His glory in the small things and His power in action. I wanted to be amazed. But I had to confess God seemed to have a different theme for that year. I told her His theme seemed to be focused on my self control. Her response was “If God can help you with self control He’ll amaze a lot of people!”

This week I’ve been reading a book that recommends spending the year with just one word. To explore the depths and treasures of the meanings not just in general but in specific application. As the news fills with obits for Nelson Mandela they search for just the right words to sum up his life, his story, his impact on the world he was born into and the world he left behind. Revolutionary. Hero. Icon. Humble. Passionate. Faithful. Gone.

I wonder what word you would use to describe the year you just had. Is it a word you chose in the beginning of the year with optimism and anticipation? Is it a word you look back and see has been following your every move for the past 12 months?  Is it a word you are proud of? Is it a word you are known for?

I still love to be amazed by God. He is still refining my self control and amazing people around me. I have a word for next year. It has already begun nudging me and narrowing my focus and revealing some of its depth. I am excited and a bit fearful of where this word will take me. It is not a word to companion with without risk and vulnerability. But it is a word that at the end of the year, at the end of my life, I will be truly grateful if it is the first word you think of when you think of me.

What’s your word?

Cookie Cutters…

images (5)are great if you are baking cookies. But not if you are being creative. By it’s very nature creativity is not uniform. It is individual. Even if it starts with a common theme or media or even a pattern. Creativity takes on the perspective, the strengths and the flaws of the creator. It is the uniqueness, the rarity, the personal that makes it beautiful and valuable.

Right now on the internet there are millions of bloggers who write on every topic imaginable. They add their experience, their perspective, their opinions and they take the collective risk to hit the publish button and set their words free. Some have thousands of followers and others write day after day without a single comment or maybe even a single reader.

But each is finding their own way, each is writing their own words. You can get a template for your blog. You can add the recommended plugins and widgets. You can follow the “3 points and a picture” format. But what is totally you is the words you chose and the words you chose to omit.

There are a couple of dozen bloggers I read regularly but none of their blogs is as important to me as mine is. I can read their words but only I can write mine.

Who wants a cookie?

Liver and Onions

Years ago as a single mother I would save up enough to take my son out for dinner. He would get to choose whatever he wanted from the menu while I was doing the same. When the orders were placed he told the server what he had decided on. It was his choice and he expressed it clearly. However, when the meals arrived he would look at his plate with the food he had chosen and look at my plate and the food I had chosen. Suddenly, he didn’t want what he had asked for. He wanted what I had ordered. Since I wasn’t about to waste food or money I would trade with him. Until one night I ordered what really sounded good to me. Liver and onions. It came with mashed potatoes and peas. He no longer wanted to trade.

liver-and-onions-with-spuds-and-gravyThe thing is I didn’t order liver and onions because he would eat it if he didn’t like his own order. I ordered liver and onions because I like liver and onions. It really was what I wanted. No object lesson. I didn’t suffer through my dinner. I enjoyed it. He sat eating his dinner amazed that I actually liked my dinner. The waitress had asked us both same question, “What would you like?” and we both had answered. We both got what we asked for. I was very satisfied with my decision and my dinner. He had to accept that what he asked for and got was good.

How often do you want to trade with someone because you are not satisfied with what you asked for?

How often are you bewildered by someone being happy with a decision that is not your taste?

How do you like your liver and onions?

What do you want?

wine-and-fireI want to stay in my office until all the books I have in me have been written.
I want to stay in my reading chair until all the books I have gathered have been read.
I want to stay in my craft cottage until I run out of supplies and all the projects I can think of have been created.
I want to stay in my kitchen until the last cookie has been decorated and the last of the sugar has been sprinkled.
I want to sit by the fire with the one I love until the last of the wine has been shared.
I want to have my hands filled with the hands of children I love.
I want to see the faces of family and friends through the blur of happy tears.

What do you want?

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