Thursday, July 31, 2014
The other day when I left the gym I was in a hurry because I was running a little late to start my day. I parked in the parking deck so I had to go down the escalator to get to my car. As I made my way to the escalators I couldn't help but notice a three or four year old girl and her dad going down the escalator. By the time I reached the escalator they had made the turn and were headed back up the other escalator to where they had just come from. As I got on the escalator I watched this little girl laugh and smile and hold tightly to her father's hand as they made their way back up the escalator.
The father and I locked eyes and I smiled at him and laughed. Such a small thing as riding the escalator, something many of us take for granted, was bringing so much joy to this little girl. She didn't have a care in the world she just wanted to ride the escalator down and back up again.
I make my way to my car and threw my gym bag in the trunk and got in the drivers seat. I started up the car because I was still late and needed to go, but my mind wandered to that little girl and her huge smile and sweet laugh.
I turned the car off.
I got out.
I rode the escalator up and back down again. Smiling the whole time.
It might not of brought me as much joy as it brought her but it brought a smile to my face and to my heart. It made me realize we move too fast in this world and we often miss out on the small things that bring joy to life.
What small thing will you do today to bring joy to your life?
Can't think of anything? I know where you can find an escalator...
Thursday, July 17, 2014
We all have a special jar in our house or compartment in our car where we put our loose change. You know that change that comes after you go through the drive thru and bought your hamburger and fries. People don't seem to know what to do with there loose change or for that matter people don't want to have to deal with it. I find nickels, dimes, and pennies all the time in parking lots or in the couches downstairs in the youth room. I even have youth give me their change on trips because they don't want the hassle of having to deal with it.
It is frustrating sometimes to deal with loose change but if you put a lot of it together it quickly because more than a few cents, it becomes dollars. That is when collecting change pays off. One hundred pennies, 20 nickels, 10 dimes, or 4 quarters all make 1 dollar. It is amazing how fast you can get to a dollar when you have loose change around. Still people don't like to deal with it or want to have to count it in order to make a dollar.
People don't like changes in their lives either. They seem to freak out or get upset when something changes. we all become use to the way something is done and so we expect it to be done that way. When someone changes the way it is done, we get mad and angry and we don't understand.
Usually there is a really good reason behind why something changes. Maybe there is a better way to do it or get more people to participate. Maybe there is a more cost effective way of doing something, or maybe the old way that something is being done just isn't working any more.
In youth ministry we are constantly in flux because we have to change the program to meet the needs of the youth. I have to change trips, times, curriculum, and locations to meet the needs of the youth. It works well most of the time but sometimes it back fires because the youth want to do it the way it has always been done.
I think the major problem with change is the way it is presented. People who want to make changes don't often do a good job of explaining the situation to those that are going to be affected by the change. People do not think about the best way to make a change or open up a dialogue with people about the change.
I think we lose track sometimes about how change affects people. The change might be needed and might be a good idea, but we don't think about those it affects. Some people may have given hundreds of hours and blood, sweat, and tears to something only to have it yanked out from underneath them without little explanation as to why the change was made.
We never know how a change is going to affect someone so it is up to us to be smart, sensitive, and timely when we decide to make changes. When I make a change to the youth program I discuss the change with my youth mentors, I talk to some of the youth, and then I decide what to do. I then make sure everyone understands why the change was made and what their new role might be in the change. Lots of discussion takes place before I make a change in anything that I do.
Be smart about the changes you make. Make sure people are well informed and that they aren't surprised by a change. Most of all, make sure you thank them for all the work they have done on something you never know how a change might change a person's outlook or make them feel.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I have a love hate relationship with food.
Okay actually its more of a love love relationship.
Food has always been a stress reliever for me. I definitely eat when I am stressed and for someone that keeps their emotions inside that can be a "huge" issue. When I am not stressed I am actually really good about eating and making smart choices that is until you put it in front of me. For example if you put a package of Oreos in front of me I can't only eat one. I have to have an entire row. I also can't eat them without milk so then I find myself in the kitchen pouring myself a giant glass of milk. The thing is that I don't go looking for Oreos, I don't buy them because I know the mistakes I will make.
I have been up and down the dieting circuit. I have tried many different things from Weight watchers to Atkins. Some of them have worked and some of them haven't but through all of my eating and dieting I have noticed one thing, it is easier to gain weight than it is to lose it. I know this doesn't come as a shocker to you but it is the truth.
To gain weight all you have to do is eat, eat, and eat some more. To lose weight you have to diet, exercise, count calories, weigh yourself weekly, change exercises so that you don't plateau, and you have to say NO to so many different food options and opportunities and people do not make it easy.
It is easier to gain than it is to lose weight.
When I started to think about it, "It is easier to gain than it is to lose" goes for a lot of things in life besides just weight loss.
When we fall it love it is amazing. We are so excited and everything is right with the world. We gain someone special and new in our lives and it is a feeling that is so joyous that it is hard to explain how wonderful it is. But, when a relationship ends, it is so hard. One if not both people are devastated and hurt beyond belief. There is a lot of crying, yelling, and even EATING. It is so hard on us when we lose someone that we loved.
It is easier to gain than it is to lose.
When we or someone we know has a baby we are so excited. This precious new life that has entered the world brings hope, love, and joy. We gain happiness through new life. But, when we lose a family member or friend we are distraught. Sometimes it is expected and sometimes we are taken by surprise by death but all the time we are hurt by the loss.
It is easier to gain than it is to lose.
Many of us are sports fans and we cheer for certain teams. We were winning we are excited and happy and ready for the next game, but when we are losing we are mad and upset and probably say things we shouldn't say to the TV.
It is easier to gain than it is to lose.
There is however one situation I can think of that is just as easier to gain than it is to lose. That is your relationship with Jesus Christ. It is so easy to gain because all you have to is except him as your Lord and Savior. Once you have done that you have a relationship with him, but here is the kicker, no matter what you say or do you will never lose that relationship. There is nothing that you can do to lose the unconditional love of Jesus. No matter how hard we try, he will always be there for you, he will always love you, and he will always be watching over you.
No matter what, your relationship with Jesus is harder to gain than it is to lose and in order to gain it all you have to do is ask!
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
We are almost a week removed from our mission trip. As always we attended ASP (Appalachia Service Project) and we went to Watauga County, North Carolina. Two teams from our church ended up working on the same site. Our project was to build the foundation for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom addition to a house.
On Sunday night myself another adult and two of the youth went to the site to meet the family and take a look at the project. Along the way we were told the story of the family. Due to a meth issue with a family member Ronnie (our homeowner) got a call in the middle of the night from the police saying that if they did not take in the four children of the family member that they would be separated and put into the system. Without hesitation Ronnie and his wife took in the kids.
On top of the 4 new children that entered the household, Ronnie and his wife have 2 children of their own. Now there are 8 people living under this one roof with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
That would seem like enough to have to deal with but Ronnie also has stage 4 cancer.
My biggest problem right now is getting up in the morning and making myself go to the gym. I can't imagine what it must be like to have to get up every morning and deal with not feeling well as well as taking care of 6 kids.
I thought for sure that Ronnie was going to be a bitter man when we met him. I was proven wrong the first moment I met him. He was in such high spirits and so thankful that we were there to work on his home.
One day while I had a very bad headache and was sitting under the tent (yes Lindsay under the tent!) Ronnie came down and sat down beside me and told me some of his story. He told me about his strong beliefs. He told me that Jesus would come for him when it was time but until then he was going to live life. He was going to take care of his kids, watch them play basketball and grow up to be fine young men and a 1 beautiful young woman.
He told me a story about how he went in for his chemo and there was an elderly man and his wife there. The elderly man turned to Ronnie at one point and said "Son don't let cancer beat you, you beat cancer!" Ronnie said that those words resonated with him and that he has lived his life since that day believing that he will beat cancer.
He talked about how much he loved God and that God had given him so much in life. He wore a cross everyday to symbolize his faith. He talked about being a truck driver with over 2 million miles on the roads of the United States without ever having an accident.
Ronnie was amazing to listen too. Here is a man with a home that is not top of the line, 6 kids to take care of ranging from 2 and 1/2 to 12, and battling cancer. If anyone would have a right to have their faith wavier it would be him. But his faith is strong. Stronger than most who attend church regularly on Sunday mornings.
So I wish for you faith like Ronnie. I wish for you a love of Jesus Christ that tragedy, sorrow, pain, nor sickness can take it way. I hope that the everyday problems of life seem minuet today and that you up yourself up to a love that is unfaltering, unconditional, and always there. May you know the love of Jesus Christ today and may your faith be just like Ronnie's.