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Beach combing. It is a lost art, in this era of digital entertainment, marathon shopping, and amusement parks. I have been amazed on the recently completed trip to see how many “attractions” are built on the way to or even on sight at natural beauty destination spots like the ocean shore.

Or is it a lost art? Little Frau and I, along with our entourage of Kinder, have made a routine out of visiting the coastline every other year or so, and the list of destinations is growing. And we don’t adopt an aggressive agenda while enjoying this part of God’s creation. As Number One Son expressed a few days ago: “we can do that stuff at home – we came to the beach”. Smart boy! And, I might add, he has to sunburn to (dis)prove it.

As we drew nearer to our destination of home today, I sat in a quiet hotel room with sleeping family members and
reflected on beach visits past.

There was the first family visit, celebrating the first wedding anniversary for LF and myself. It was her first time to see the ocean: any ocean. Remember, she is a West Texas girl, born and raised. She just stood at the water’s edge for what seemed like an eternity, but not going into the water. Her first two statements about the visit still stick with me: “The water goes on forever”, and “Do you see any fish flying the Portuguese flag?”. (that would be a Jellyfish, for those who are beachcomber novices). Little did she know that, one day, Number One Son would be a multi repeat victim of said Portuguese warriors, and she a supplier of the “home remedy” antidote.

As I conclude today’s post, the following two lists are of the beaches that God and career of provided us opportunity to visit over the past 21 years, even if just for a 30
minute stroll while passing thru, and a handful of beaches I would put on “The Bucket List”:

Visited (hopefully, in order):

Virginia Beach, VA (pre family)
Panama City, FL (pre family)
Galveston Island
Frau/Family visits:

Corpus Christi, TX/Mustang Island
Jacksonville, FL/Amelia Island
Sea Island, GA
Hilton Head, SC
San Diego, CA
Cannon Beach, OR
Galveston, TX
Miami/Key Biscayne, FL
and now, Gulf Shores, AL.

And the bucket list? Maybe the eastern coast line of Japan, the beaches of Normandy, France, and, of course, Hawaii. Maybe, someday.

In the meantime, we have the memories, and maybe some
sand in a few places we have yet to find…

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I heard this song on the radio during the drive and drop to school and work yesterday. Great lyric vault moment reminder of the blessings from one another, and the realization of this world’s shortcomings, as our friends and neighbors recover from loss:

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings. Lyrics by Laura Story.

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Great goal for a lifetime: B-Complex. Not complicated. Not complaining. Not cantankerous. Not critical. Complex.

B it. It’s energizing. ūüôā

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I recently noticed an app on Facebook called “my top fans”, or “my top Facebook stalkers”, and noticed that my son had been tagged as a top fan of a girl.¬†¬† Humm.

Intrigued, I thought “I wonder who my top followers are?”.¬†¬†¬† So, maybe against my better judgement, I ran the application, but did not allow the results to post.¬†¬†¬†

Not too many surprises in who my top 16 followers/stalkers were.   I have not included it here (the names are changed to protect the innocent).    Spouse, parents, the two daughters, college roommate, some other friends, and a couple of surprising characters made made up the listing.  If you were one of the surprising characters, you know who you are. 

But, conspicuously absent was number one son.    

What?   My son, not one of my top fans?!    Go figure.     I guess, truth be told, he finds hers more interesting than mine.    I guess that is to be expected.

But, maybe one day, when he settles down, he will be interested in dear old dad again.¬†¬† One Day…

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and lose my Soul

A special shout out to my man TobyMac, here.¬†¬†¬† Chapter two of the Sunday morning K-Love inspirational drive now unfolds before you.¬†¬†¬† I’m no rapper, and never have been much of a singer, but these words really sank in with me¬†earlier this week.¬†¬†¬† Take a moment to read, and see if you agree.

This is how I roll….

Man I wanna tell y’all something, Man.

Man I’m not gonna let these material thing’s, get in my way, ya’ll.

I’m trying to get somewhere.

I’m trying to get somewhere,

Thats real and pure and true and eternal.

Father God, I am clay in your hands,

Help me to stay that way through all life’s demands,

‘Cause they chip and they nag and they pull at me,

And every little thing I make up my mind to be,

Like I’m gonna be a daddy whose in the mix,

And I’m gonna be a husband who stays legit,

And I pray that I’m an artist who rises above,

The road that is wide and filled with self love,

Everything that I see draws me,

Though it’s only in You that I can truly see that its a feast for the eyes- a low blow to purpose.

And I’m a little kid at a three ring circus.

I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,

Don’t wanna walk away, let me hear the people say.

I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,

Don’t wanna walk away, let me hear the people say.

The paparazzi flashes, and that they think that it’s you,

But they don’t know that who you are is not what you do,

True, we get it twisted when we peak at the charts,

Yo before we part from the start,

Where’s your heart?

Tell me what’s your title,

America has no more stars, now we call them idols,

You sit idle, While we teach prosperity,

The first thing to prosper should be inside of me.

We’re free…

Not because of 22’s on the range,

But Christ came in range, we said yes now we changed,

Not the same, even though I made a fall,

Since I got that call, no more Saul, now I’m Paul.

I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,

Don’t wanna walk away, let me hear the people say.

I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,

Don’t wanna walk away, let me hear the people say.

How do I sense the tide that’s rising?

De-sensitizing me from living in light of eternity,

How do I sense the tide that’s rising?

It’s hypnotizing me from living in light of eternity,

How do I sense the tide that’s rising?

De-sensitizing me from living in light of eternity.

(Lord what we gon do,We’re relying on you,

all eyes are on you Lord,

all eyes are on you, all eyes are on you Jesus.)

Lord forgive us when we get consumed by the things of this world,

That fight for our love, and our passion,

As our eyes are open wide and on you.

Grant us the privilege of your world view,

And may your kingdom be, what wakes us up, and lays us down.

(Hallelujah, Don’t wanna lose our soul,

No, Don’t wanna lose my soul.)

Hey excuse me,

I’m looking for the after party,

Toby,

Haha, yeah, last door on the left, you’ll hear it.

Thanks,

No problem.

Don’t let me lose, my soul,

I’m never gonna walk away.

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I’m likely going to have to apologize to a small army of folks¬†for this one, but here goes.¬†¬†¬†¬† As referenced earlier, this weekend featured a long overdue catchup visit with an old college buddy, and as you can guess, the photo album came out and the memories ran deep.

The picture here on the left got quite a bit of attention from the kids during the visit, and even¬†an, “oh, Dad, yuck”.¬†¬† But that’s just it, appearances can be deceiving.

If my teenage¬†son had commented, instead of his twin sister, he might have said something like “wow, Dad, you were a playa“.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†(playa, colloquial spelling of “player”, as in the context of dating)¬† I think it might have been Confucius¬†who said “If you have to define it, you are not one”.¬†¬†¬† Touche.¬†¬†¬† Appearance (or first impression)¬†can be deceiving.¬†¬† You’ve got to go deeper.

Friday of last week, I accompanied my kids to the local high school football game.¬†¬†¬† Ever the parental creeper, I was keeping an eye on what “the boys” were doing on the hill adjacent to the end zone.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Seems this rat pack was attracting a crowd.¬†¬†¬† I thought to myself, “hey, my son is a playa“.¬†¬† But as the gaggle of young ladies in the picture to the right swarmed in around the young men, a very interesting thing happened.¬†¬†¬†¬† The young ladies sat down, and all of the boys got up and left.¬†¬†¬† Appearances can be deceiving, but I digress.

So back to the lead picture.¬†¬† What gives?¬†¬†¬† Well, you see, this was a university business club trip.¬†¬†¬† My friend and roommate¬†and I were preparing to leave for the airport to return home after a fun week in Los Angeles with friends, and my friend suggested he take my picture by the hotel lobby sculpture.¬†¬†¬† That picture follows here.¬† Bus as he was taking the picture, this “gaggle” of young ladies walked into the lobby where we were sitting.¬†¬†¬†¬† “Take our picture, too”, was the cry.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† You have to remember the context:¬†in this era before digital photography and instant viewing and sharing, we didn’t take very many pictures.¬†¬†¬† Film, it was called film; and developing.¬†¬†¬† It could get expensive, and it took time.¬†¬†¬† But I digress.¬†¬†¬†¬† Appearances aside, these nice young ladies were friends and acquaintances, and a couple of them are even Facebook friends today (at least, before this post, that is) ¬†but we were not that close before the trip, nor after.¬†¬†¬† Appearances can be deceiving.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sorry, Judy, Laura, Krista, and Tanya.¬†¬† Thanks for the fun picture, and the blog ¬†application 23 years later.

Proverbs 20:8 says “When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
      distinguishing the bad from the good.

So, what’s the application here from this “sea of randomness” this morning?¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s simply this:¬†¬† let’s not be too quick to read, rule judgement, and react when we see things in our everyday life.¬†¬†¬† When you read that email, when you have that stress moment conversation at the home or at the office, or you get what feels like a curt brush off in the hallway at church, think about what might be going on in the background.¬†¬†¬† How is that person’s day, week, or year?¬†¬†¬†¬† What is happening in their life?¬†¬†¬† what is happening in the interactions that go on between the two of you?¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Do you need to work on the richness of your relationship?

So, back to the lead question?¬†¬†¬† Are you a playa?¬†¬†¬†Am I?¬†¬†¬†¬† Relationshipwise, that is…

You see, not too many months after this original picture was taken, I met and cemented a rich relationship with the lovely young lady pictured below.    Thank you, Sherry, for not just going by appearances.

When I met my future father in law the first time, he called me a wolf in sheep’s clothing.¬†¬†¬† Months later, after he’d gotten to know me, he said I was a sheep in wolf’s clothing.¬†¬†¬† Touche?

But we’ve formed a rich relationship, not just my wife and I, but my father in law and I as well.¬†¬†¬† And I definitely earned the great prize, 21 years and counting.

Who knows, maybe I was a playa after all….appearances can be deceiving.

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You put me here for a reason
You have a mission for me
You knew my name and You called it
Long before I learned to breathe

Sometimes I feel disappointed
By the way I spend my time
How can I further Your kingdom
When I’m so wrapped up in mine

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I’ll be closer to You than I’ve ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I’ll embrace every moment I’m given
There’s a reason I’m alive for a blink of an eye

And though I’m living a good life
Can my life be something great?
I have to answer the question
Before it’s too late

Cause in a Blink of an eye that is when
I’ll be closer to You than I’ve ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I’ll embrace every moment I’m given
There’s a reason I’m alive for a blink of an eye

If I give the very best of me
That becomes my legacy
So tell me what am I waiting for?
What am I waiting for?

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I’ll be closer to You than I’ve ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I’ll embrace every moment I’m given

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I’ll be closer to You than I’ve ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I’ll embrace every moment I’m given
There’s a reason I’m alive for a blink of an eye

Thanks to MercyMe for this reminder. Life is short. Savor the richness of your relationships….

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