Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple, Sweet, and Delicious

Every day something new, unexpected, and possibly wonderful happens. About two years ago I started looking for these little surprises and recording them daily. I was further challenged when a DJ from the Sound of Life (89.7fm) asked, "What would happen if everyday we woke up and declared 'Something wonderful is going to happen to me today'?" She continued with, "Try that for a week and let me know what happens." I've never woken up with that kind of anticipation for a whole week, but thought to myself, "OK, why not?"

So the next morning, I did it. After stumbling out of bed and making my way to the plaid sofa in my living room for my daily routine of meditation and prayer, I thought, "Something great is going to happen to me today."

The morning ritual of signing in and conversing with colleagues before beginning reading time with my students was quite uneventful. Various groups of students entered for their instruction and then returned to their mainstream classes. The last group finished at 12:30 pm and I was off to lunch. By the time I had grabbed the left over beef and broccoli from my white dorm sized refrigerator and made my way down the hall and around the corner to the faculty room, there was only about fifteen minutes left. I scarped down my meal and at 1:00pm headed back down the hall and around the corner for the next group of students.

Wow! I walked through the door and over towards my desk to discover a beautiful bouquet of flowers. They stood in a clear, glass vase, held inside a white square box, resting on the table. In front of the box laid a white envelope with my name written in blue script. Who? Why? I ripped open the envelope to find my friend, Lori, wished me a Happy Birthday. My birthday had passed over a month ago. However, in no way was this gift too late. On the contrary, it couldn't have come at a better time. After all, I had focused my thoughts on something great for that day.

In the same way the DJ from the Sound of Life challenged listeners, the book of Philippians admonishes people to focus on things that are positive, uplifting and true. Phil. 4:8 (NIV) reads: "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things and the God of peace shall be with you."

This past Sunday, as I review the events of my day, I recall an unexpected phone call from a long distance friend, saving an extra 15% off another order of books, and fresh out of the oven banana chocolate chip muffins my Mom, Linda, served me when I dropped by unexpectedly.

The flowers I received,the day I woke up with anticipation, were over a year ago. I certainly don't get them everyday, but I face each day knowing, something good will come. Simple, sweet, or delicious. No matter how big or small the gift is, it is a gift from above. It is God saying, "Look for the good, focus on and trust me. I am the God of peace."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Count Your Snowflakes and Remember the Strawberries

I've read somewhere that friends are like snowflakes, each one unique and different. I received an email from an old friend today, whom I haven't talked to in awhile. Recently, life has been pretty hectic for them. Since they moved, it's been hit or miss for keeping in touch. As a result, I didn't know all that was going on. I wish I had known. I would have known how to pray.

Life has a way of doing that, doesn't it? In the back of our minds we think of them, but before we know it, time has escaped us. When I had not heard from my friends in sometime, I brushed it off as "They're just really busy and that's them." However,my friend's email revealed they were having some struggles and she was really worn out.

A few months ago, I bought some strawberries to have with breakfast and put them in the fridge. By the time morning came,there was just enough time for me to get ready and rush out the door for work. I kept thinking of the strawberries though. By the time the weekend came, I decided I was finally going to have my strawberries. I proceeded to the fridge, opened the door and reached for them only to discover they were now soft and growing a bit fuzzy with mold. More time had passed than I originally thought. After all, it only seemed to be a few days. Where did the time go?

Life keeps going, interruptions come and go, trials, etc. etc. Yet I recall Michael W. Smith's song entitled "Friends". The chorus reads something like "And friends are friends forever, if the Lord's, the Lord of them."

Each friend is unique and special, kind of like a snowflake. I am thankful for my friends. Even though it is touch and go with those that have moved away, I know the "Lord is still the Lord of them." When we do reconnect, we pick up where we left off in conversation. For this I am so grateful.

May we remember the strawberries, though and set time aside to enjoy, while it's fresh. Making time to reach out is important.
I Corinthians 12:24-26(NIV) reads: "..But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so there should be no division in the body, but that it's parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; If one part is honored. every part rejoices with it."

May I not only count those flakes as blessings and give thanks for them, but also make time to find out what's happening in their lives. After all, life is so much sweeter when I do.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just Do It!

"Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows" read a fortune cookie script. For quite some time I've been entertaining the thought of writing a book and doing a blog. Well, here it is. It was time to, as Nike says, "Just Do It". Last year, I self published my very first collection of short stories entitled "Perfect Timing" and now for 2010, I have begun my own personal blog. Where will it go? Not a clue. What do I hope to accomplish? Sharing God's love and goodness.
Psalm 96:3(NIV)"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the peoples.." God has been truly good to me. I have learned to count my blessings daily and expect something new each day. I hope this record of His tokens in my own life will encourage, you the reader, to do the same. I know He is waiting to surprise you.

To my surprise, one of my students was able to write his very first sentence today. He needed some help, but was able to do it and then read it back to me. Proud as a peacock he stood, grinning from ear to ear.