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Last Friday   Leave a comment


Friends,

I forgot to post a music video last Friday as I said I would do each Friday so you get one today.

After all the rain we have had lately, seeing the sunshine this morning led me to think of this song:

 

Posted September 2, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Belief, Experiences, Life

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Locomotive versus Horse   Leave a comment


Image provided by mentalfloss.com

Image provided by mentalfloss.com

Back in the 1830’s there was a competition between Peter Cooper’s Tom Thumb locomotive and a horse-drawn railroad car.  This was a time of great change in transportation in the United States.  People were skeptical of this new invention called a locomotive and most preferred the familiar mode of transportation that used the power of a horse (or horses).  Peter Cooper wanted to prove that his Tom Thumb would help to increase the speed and efficiency of transportation for humans and freight alike so he staged this competition to win the support of the people.  Cooper’s locomotive lost due to mechanical failure but prior to the break down, the locomotive definitely was winning the race.  Over time, the horse-drawn trains were replaced with the locomotive-drawn trains and another step in transportation advanced.

I share this story because of some of the work that I am doing with two different organizations.  These organizations are in the midst of transition.  Both of them have individuals who are very dedicated to the organizations and the goals of the organization.  Some of them have given many years of blood, sweat, and tears for the organization while others have just begun their adventure.  Much like in the race between the locomotive and the horse, their is a division among the people regarding the introduction of a new idea or invention.  There are some who are skeptical about taking different directions and steps.  There are some who want to remain with the familiar.  There are others who have a great passion and energy who wish to help the organization move forward in new ways to achieve the goal that all of them share.

The lesson that I think those with new ideas can take from the Peter Cooper’s story is this….  you need to win the people over.  This means that you cannot create something new and unleash it on the people without helping them to experience how it can bring a benefit.  You need to allow time for conversation around the new idea.  You need to create opportunity of experiments and demonstrations.  You need to receive input and allow people to adjust to the ideas.  By taking these steps and going at a pace which will allow people to experience and adjust, you will be much more successful than if you go full force.

Always Some Light   Leave a comment


Morning Sunrise SkyThe picture that is here is one which I took on my morning walk this morning.  Like many pictures which I take, the beauty of the scene was not completely captured in this picture.  However, as I looked at the sky this morning and even as I look at this picture a few hours later, I find some amazing elements.

First, I noticed how the clouds all seemed to flow in this certain portion of the sky in a “v” shape toward one point.  It made me think about how life often seems to flow in one direction. We may not always know where that flow is taking us but it continues to exist.  The shape of the clouds also made me think of how geese, ducks, and other birds often fly as a group.  Having others with you in the flow of life seems to make life a bit easier.

Second, I noticed how the light of the rising sun danced against the clouds.  Since there were rain showers in the area, some of the clouds were darker than others.  However there was still light.  Life sometimes can have storms and darkness.  But even during those times there is always some light.  I recalled a quote of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series when he says, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I am always grateful to the Lord when I am sent visual reminders of simple truths in life.

Transitions   Leave a comment


Image provided by johnawarnick.typepad.com

Image provided by johnawarnick.typepad.com

Yesterday I spent the day helping my Dad go through one of life’s transitions.  He will be moving today from an apartment to a care center.  In recent months, he has had more frequent times of confusion and some memory loss.  In order to help him remain safe and healthy, my sisters and I agreed with the physician that it was time to move Dad to a place where he would have readily available assistance and some oversight.

Transitions often are not easy.  When changes occur in life there is need for adaptation and an acceptance that life is not going to be quite the same.  Often during times of transition, there is some level of grief.  This grief is the result of facing that there is some sort of “end”.  However, with an end there is also a beginning.  So while transitions mark the end of something in our lives, they also mark the start of something new.o

As a believer in Christ, I believe this can even be said about death.  I believe that death is a transition.  It is a transition from the life that we know and understand at this point to the life that the Lord tells us about and promises to each of us.  Again, this transition is not always easy.  It can be difficult for those who remain in the life we know now.  The events leading up to the transition can be difficult for the person who will experience it.  Yet, even this transition carries with it a beginning.  The beginning after death is a new life that will not see an end.  The beginning of a life that does not include the hardships, struggles, and pains of the life we know now.

I realize that Dad’s transition this week is one of those events that occur on the path to a greater transition which includes death.  However, I keep in mind that all transitions include a beginning and I celebrate the possibilities in that reality.

Bring Him Home   Leave a comment


This week I am starting a new tradition on my blog.  I am posting a song on Fridays which speaks to me each week.

In light of the violence that we are experiencing in places within our nation and the Middle East, as well as the Ukraine, I have decided to share a song that I believe many parents can relate to in regards to their children.  It is a prayer that takes place in the midst of the musical, Les Miserable.

Follow Your Heart   Leave a comment


Image provided by peacelovefree.com

Image provided by peacelovefree.com

This morning during my devotional time, I read the story of a Taiwanese man who felt he was being called into the ministry.  However, his father, who was a businessman, wanted him to go into a more practical direction and join him in business.  The young man majored in accounting in college and struggled with his school work.  He made the statement, “my heart just wasn’t in it.”  After completing his mandatory year of military service, his father told him to take the seminary entrance exam which he did and successfully enrolled in seminary.

The key for the young man in the story was the opportunity to follow his heart.  I find this as something that is always a challenge for me since I have generally always been a practical person.  There is value in being practical.  However, like the young man in the story, I can name times when in taking the practical road I struggled because my heart just was not in it.  There is something to be said regarding having the passion for whatever you are doing.  Being passionate about aspects of life goes a long ways in creating peace and happiness in your life.

So from my devotion today, and reflecting on that story, I would encourage all of you to follow your heart.  Find your passion for this time in your life and strive to take that path, even if it may appear impractical at the time.

Posted August 21, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Uncategorized

Shades of Grey   Leave a comment


Image provided by pixmule.com

Image provided by pixmule.com

I had a conversation yesterday afternoon with a colleague.  We were discussing different theologians and I made the comment that I did not think John Calvin liked grey but preferred everything to be black and white.  I do not think that Calvin is alone in this trait.  In fact, I would say that the trait is not limited to theologians.  Many individuals prefer black and white to grey any day.

One of the reasons that I think people prefer life to be black and white is because when there is solid definition it is easier to know where you stand.  A person may not always like the rules that exist in black and white life but there is some sense of security.  Grey contains too many unknowns, too many variables.  A child needs black and white because of the limits of their experience and their limits of reasoning through situations.  However, as a person matures, the grey should be somewhat manageable.  The truth is that life has a lot more grey than black and white whether an individual wishes to admit that or not.

As I look at life around me, I believe that grey is the norm.  The clear delineations of previous times no longer exist.  As we have become more mobile and more connected, it has become more difficult to draw lines.  The times of making long-range plans is slipping away.  Everything is moving quickly.  So in this “grey world”, flexibility and adaptability are the key.  The visioning for the future needs to be shorter in scope.  Visioning can still occur but it needs to be more around base concepts and/or values rather than detailed plans.  This also will require a higher level of trust; trust in other people, trust in God, and trust in the community.

So while black and white is an easier life to live, the reality is that we as individuals and organizations are living in shades of grey.

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