Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pick yourself up by your own Bootstraps!!! Now!


If you know anyone with mental health challenges or someone living in poverty, you probably hate this phrase as much as I do.  According to the Phrase Finder website, it means to
Improve your situation by your own efforts.
The origin of this descriptive phrase isn't known. It refers of course to boots and the straps that some boots have attached to help the wearer pull them on and to the imagined feat of a lifting oneself off the ground by pulling on one's bootstraps. This impossible task is supposed to exemplify the achievement in getting out of a difficult situation by one's own efforts.
The reason that this phrase is so distasteful to me can be explained by taking a look at two of my boys who will remain unnamed.  Both of them have IQs in the 70s.  They are hard working, easy to get along with, people pleasers who would do anything to help anyone.  They both have jobs and they work as much overtime at the gas station and fast food place that their bosses will give them.   I manage their money for them, and they live independently, but they will never be able to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and find a position that makes more than $15 an hour, probably for their whole lives.  

Most of us would agree that these guys shouldn't be expected to do that.  But the truth is, according to Psalms 49:7, none of us can really do it.  It says:
Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue,    pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.The cost of rescue is beyond our means.   
Aren't we as humans often bound and determine to push for "self-rescue?"  If we just try hard enough we can get ourselves out of any mess we get ourselves into.  When we finally reach the end of all of the things we can think of, we go to God and admit to Him that we need some help.

But what if we recognized that the cost of rescue is beyond our means?  That Jesus paid that price and that He is the only one who can save us.... not just initially when we first come to know Him ... but every time we get into a mess.  He must be the one to save us -- we can't save ourselves -- not from the wages of our sin or from the daily struggles we find ourselves in.

Sometimes the song I choose doesn't exactly fit the message of the blog post... but this one clearly does.  
Savior, please keep saving me...




(If these these seems familiar, I used this verse for post on July 26th.  Apparently I have some issues with this or someone needed to hear it again because I wrote the whole thing before I realized that I had already written about it!)


Monday, September 18, 2017

Good and good for you....


Do you ever get tired of being crabby?  Sometimes after I have felt down for a few days, I just get tired of myself and decide I need to be done because I don't like being around myself any more.

In Proverbs 17 it says (yes, in the Message)

A cheerful disposition is good for your health;    gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Isn't that something?  Not only do the people around us appreciate it when we are cheerful, but it's good for us too!

Whenever we can, it seems we should remember this statement and if we have a choice -- which I indicated the other day that we don't always have) -- we should choose joy.   Choose cheerfulness.

Or in the words of some dudes in a generation way beyond mine, we should shoot for more heart... and less attack.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Best Way to Start Each Day


Buried inside the 21st chapter of Jeremiah is this verse (as translated in the Message):
 Start each day by dealing with justice.  
That also reminds me of the verse in Malachi 6:8 -- one of my favorites.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.    And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercy    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
How do we deal justly?  I think that is a question that all of us probably wrestle with.  We deal with justice when we treat others fairly, when we stick up for the underdog, living in ways that are morally right and fair.

I am not sure how this applies to your life today, but you do.   Who in your life needs you to deal with them justly?  What issue in our society requires your response to stand up for what is right?  Where is God calling you to step out and make a difference.

And now a song from my teen years:



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Summary for September 16th


So....

I suppose somethings happened this week.   Let me see if I can remember them :-)


  1. I worked just two days but they were packed days!  Back to back meetings both days .... but good ones.
  2. I took a couple of days off!  That is unusual!  But Matt and Sadie were here so I wanted to hang out with them.    We have had some great conversations.
  3. Carlos turned 3.  
  4. I turned 54.   I think I'm OK with that.   While the other alternative (heaven) looked pretty good at some points over the last couple weeks, I guess God wants me around a while longer.  
  5. I got to spend a lovely two hours with my friend Betty.  We had a lot of fun talking about Tom and catching up.   
  6. I announced that I will be doing a Treadmill 5K on March 17 to raise money for the organization I work for.  I am going to start training for that today and I am not excited about it.  Well, I take that back.  I'm super excited about raising the money... not super excited about the training or the walking!

Today we are having a party for Carlos  and then next week I have a jam packed week of work with LOTS of meetings.   Hope your week was good!

Another edition of my email newsletter should come out today.  If you haven't signed up you can do so by emailing me at maeflye at mac dot com or going to our website at www.bartandclaudiafletcher.com.

Have a great week ahead!

Friday, September 15, 2017

How Bad Do You Want It?


One of my coworker tells a funny story of being at the grocery store.  It goes something like this.

One clerk says to the other, "I saw this job posting and I want the job in the worst way."

Other clerk responds, "Well, all you have to do is put in an application.  They have lots of spots open."

First clerk:  "I ain't got time for all that!"

That story cracks  me up every time I think about it.  But doesn't it describe human nature perfectly?

I gotta lose some weight!   ---  Well, it's not that hard... Exercise and eat right.   ----  I ain't got time for all that!

I really need to improve my marriage.   --  What about a marriage retreat?  -- I ain't got time for all that!

My relationship with my kids is in a bad place. -- Why not spend more quality time with them?  -- I ain't got time for all that!

You get the idea.

It also happens to us spiritually.   What would it look like if we were to really put God first?  To seek him with everything we have?  To study His word, pray without ceasing, serve those less fortunate as if we were serving him?

But unfortunately, "We ain't got time for all that!"

Jeremiah 29:11-14 says in the Message:
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.   “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.   “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.  “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”
When you want to find God than anything else, you won't be disappointed.  That's quite a promise.   It's one I'm holding on to today. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Is it ALWAYS a choice?



Attitude is a choice.... at least that is what we are told.  I have often told myself that over the years.

But this past week I realized that sometimes we can't choose.  Sometimes what life brings us is so hard that we can't just "put on a happy face."

As you know, last week was one of those weeks for me.  My grief was so very present that I could not pull any energy or joy out of my spirit.  I was in a fog and the death of my friend, combined with some very complex emotional issues in our lives knocked me on my butt.  And I couldn't do anything but ride it out.

Yesterday in our "All Staff Meeting" my boss and friend, the CEO, shared an excellent devotional from Ecclesiastes 3 about our time on earth being one where we taste both the high joys of heaven and the lows of hell all here on earth.  Horrible things happen to us that we don't deserve... and amazing things happen that we don't deserve.   And until we get to heaven where there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain -- our life on earth will involve a mix of the sublime and the horrific.  It is just what life is.  

One of the things that I am learning as I age (and yes, it is my birthday today) is that embracing the full spectrum of life -- the good and the bad and allowing yourself to experience it all -- that is where the riches pieces of life lie.  One of Bart's favorite quotes, and mine as well is from Annie Dillard.  She says,
“In the deeps are the violence and terror of which psychology has warned us. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world's rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil its power for evil, the unified field: our complex and inexplicable caring for each other, and for our life together here. This is given. It is not learned.”
I have truly discovered the truth of these verses as we have journeyed through the ups and downs of raising our children --  that this caring, this life together stuff, is the very essence of what God intended for life to be.

Recognizing the meaning in the journey isn't the simplest thing to do, but it provides a life that is full and rich and settled.  Knowing that even if outcomes aren't exactly as we hope, that what we have learned along the way in and of itself has value.

Last night we played "Name that Hymn" after Wednesday night supper at church.  I totally kicked butt. And I was obnoxious about it.  And Bart was pretty embarrassed.  But I made myself laugh and made some others laugh and definitely established myself as the reigning queen of the game.   And I could feel some joy returning.

So is happiness a choice? Sometimes it is, but many times it isn't.  But here is the choice we do have:  To embrace the life we are given -- here in our earthly bodies -- the highs and the lows -- the joy and the suffering -- and life it all.   Going to the hard places, but going there together.... wrestling with the tough stuff together -- and then discovering that "complex and inexplicable caring for each other."

Choose that today.   It's my choice ... to fully grapple with the hard times in life ... and when the good stuff happens, to allow myself to embrace that as well.








Monday, September 11, 2017

Is God Watching Us from a Distance?


You may remember Bette Midler's song, "From a Distance" where she says that God is watching us from a distance.   I am sure there are many times when it seems like that is the truth -- that God is not paying attention, that He is ignoring us.

But if you look in Scripture, you'll find a different answer to the question.  .  In Psalm 34, we read in the Message,
"If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath." 
In Psalm 145 we read,
"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
and James 4:8 says,
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."  
Apparently God is not watching all of this from a distance.  He is right there,  near to those who call upon Him in truth, near to those who draw near to Him.

If you look for Him, you'll find him.

Blessed?


In our Sunday school class yesterday, we talked about this verse.   I was a little unhappy about the timing of that particular verse since the whole class was grieving the loss of my friend Tom (you can read about him here if you'd like)  in one way or another.  But since I was teaching and we had just begun the sermon on the mount, I didn't have a choice.  I miraculously held it together as we came up with some really cool concepts, amidst a few tears, that I want to share with you:

1)  Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are they who have bad things happen to them that cause them to mourn, for they shall be comforted.  He said "Blessed are they that mourn."  Bad things will happen.  That is life.  

2)  We are fortunate at blessed if we can mourn -- if we are emotionally healthy enough to be able to share our pain and our grief with others.  When we do that we will be comforted.

3)  We are blessed if we have relationships that cause us to mourn when they are over.  Many people live lives void of the kind of friendships, marriages, or family relationships that lead to heart wrenching grief when they are over.    So I think Jesus was reminding people to be grateful that the relationships were there in the first place.

4)  There is a purpose in our mourning, another reason that we are blessed.  We are comforted by God when we mourn so that we can comfort others.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:  
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort ourselves receive from God.
We have a privilege and a responsibility of taking what we learn from being comforted by God into the lives of others when they are mourning.

I put this quote on my Facebook yesterday... it is from this article if you would like to read it.   I found it incredibly profound and I ended Sunday School with it.  
Engaging in the full range of experience -- living and dying, love and loss -- is what we get to do. Being human doesn't happen despite suffering. It happens within it. When we approach suffering together, when we choose not to hide from it, our lives don't diminish, they expand."

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Saturday Summary for September 9th

This has been a very long, very full week and I'm only reporting on half of Monday and Tuesday through Friday.   But it has been an exhausting few days.

Some quick family things:

  • Dominyk's truck tires are shot and he reported to me that he was having a mid-life crisis;
  • Tony sent me a porn video on Facebook Messenger by accident.  Frightening to wake up to;
  • Salinda's car broke down (I may tell this story exclusively on the email newsletter -- that alone would make it worth signing up for);
  • John has been reported by his son's mom who he is currently living with that he is an awesome father and provider and that makes me proud.  I have been praying and listening to this song about him for years.
Work has been fine If you have been reading the blog all week you know that I have been a bit discouraged about slow progress on some relational parts of my job.  I recognize that I focus on that a great deal, but I am so convinced that the enemy attacks relationships first that I am sad when we seem to be moving backwards instead of forwards.

But if you asked me "What have you been doing this week, my main answer would be "grieving."  On Monday my friend Tommy died and I have thought about him and his wife Betty every 7 minutes (at least) all week and shed more tears than I have since I my dad died 4 years ago.   I'm going to try to explain why without making this post a zillion words long, but I may not be able to with less than a million.

Tom was the head usher at our church and he and his wife, Betty, both in their early 70s, instantly clicked with Bart and I when we came to Mt. Vernon.  Because they are adoptive parents we had an immediate connection, even though their boys are much older than our kids.  There was also something unique about my friendship with Tom.... Bart says it was because we are so much alike:  A tad bit gruff, addicted to humor and poking fun at others, workaholics that will not and can't be stopped from completing whatever mission is set before us, tenderhearted but tough, and almost always misunderstood.

From day one Tom and I went back and forth and I stood up to him and got the upper hand at least half the time, something that I'm not sure he was used to.  We started having dinner with Tom and Betty once a month and had some of the best times I have ever had.  (Note:  We try not to let everyone at church know when we have social relationships outside of the church with people in the church because it causes misunderstandings.  Clergy boundaries say you shouldn't have any because it is impossible to have relationships with everyone.... but once and a while you make an exception or two.   There are many people at Mt. Vernon that we would love to have dinner with once a month, but there just isn't time).

When we had dinner in the middle of this summer, we had no idea it would be the last time.  We would have had dinner again in August, but he was recovering from knee surgery.  We had an especially lovely evening at a place we had never been before and left full of joy.   On the way home Bart said, "We better be long gone from Danville before either of them needs someone to officiate at their funeral.  I do NOT want to bury either of them."   The thought was unthinkable for me too.

So on Monday, when Tom was in physical therapy minutes after happily harassing a fellow parishioner and had a massive heart attack and died, we were plunged into a grief I have not experienced often in my life.   I was absolutely not ready to say goodbye to him.   We had plans.  Lots of them.   Here are a few:
  • We were going to have dinner every month for another 10-15 years. At least that was my plan. Those dinners were so fun -- one of the highlights of every month.   In fact, I often considered making it twice a month, but Bart has this thing about me being too pushy :-)
  • This summer I became a Reds fan.  That in and of itself is a really long story, but you can't be a Reds fan without hating the Cardinals.  And everyone who knew Tommy knows that he was a Cardinals fan.   We had plans for multiple seasons of harassing each other about baseball.   In fact, the last text he sent to me through Betty congratulated me on a win, expressing admiration for me for being such a strong woman to endure so many losses, and saying I deserved "that one win."  :-)
  • Tom had season tickets to the Danville Braves and next summer was going to be our summer.  I was going to use that second ticket that Betty seldom wanted for multiple games.
  • I hadn't told him this, but I was gong to declare myself a Redskins fan this winter so we could be on the same side at least one season of the year.
  • He was going to remodel the parsonage kitchen which I can't really call "my kitchen" because I don't cook.  We had talked several times about how he was going to raise the money to remodel it and that he and his "guys" at his company would do the work.  I knew that it was going to be an amazing kitchen because everything he did he did well.
  • He was going to help me keep Dominyk in line at church.... a constant joke and struggle.  One particular day involved Tom allegedly using a bad word to encourage Dominyk to remain in his seat which Dominyk found hilarious and Tom denied completely.
  • I was going to hug him a bunch more times ... at least twice a week.  Tom hated hugs.   But I was teaching him to love them by practicing often.   It started out feeling like I was hugging a cactus, and then a piece of plywood, but finally by this summer I was hugging a human.  And I don't think he was hating it any more ... at least not every time.  :-)
  • He was going to hand me several more packets of copies from Sports Weekly with things circled in red and pages of jokes he had found particularly funny that he would hand me every few weeks.
  • Tommy and Betty were going to come to dinner at our house a few times.  We had talked many times about how they needed to come and sample Bart's cooking.  We were excited about this -- I was waiting for his knee to heal because I knew he would insist on coming in the front door and walking up the 24 steps instead of going to the back.  Stubborn.  :-)
  • After church every Sunday for years to come he was going to come over to my pew, say something borderline rude but hilarious, give me a hard time, and make me laugh.   Yesterday at the funeral I sat in my regular spot for the last time.   I am moving to the other side of the sanctuary because being there in that place will make church too sad for me.
In the midst of my grief I do know these things:  God is gracious and we are all going to be fine.  Tom would hate it if we didn't move on and love life to the fullest.   My grief is that it all ended too soon and that I only got to have this man as my friend for 20 months while others knew him for decades.  

Betty is now going to find out that I loved them both equally -- something she always joked about, saying I loved Tommy more -- because it simply wasn't true and she's stuck with me now.  

You can read his obituary here to find out the ways he impacted everyone else, but I needed to write about how he impacted me.  I was hoping that the funeral would give me personal closure but apparently I needed to write all that above.     

Tom Leggett was a good man.  He lived his faith in countless ways.  He made every day more fun for the people around him.  He was fiercely committed to his wife, family, friends, community and coworkers to a degree that isn't seen often.  He changed lives, he made a difference in the world, he lived well.   

If heaven is how I imagine it, Tommy is having a ball connecting with everyone who went before him.   I hope he's had a chance to meet my dad, because they will really hit if off.  And I imagine that if there are jobs in heaven, Tom will be the head usher up there -- the first person everyone meets .... just like he was the first person people met at the door as they walked in to church at Mt. Vernon UMC for 46 years.

I'm looking forward to that day when he greets me in heaven.   May his body rest in peace and may his soul have an eternal blast as he is reunited with his Savior and all of those who were waiting for him in heaven.  Heaven suddenly became an even better place on September 4th.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Do We Need Healing?


There are times in history when it seems like we need healing more than ever before.  Whether it is in our personal or family lives, in our places of employment, or as a nation, we are in desperate need of healing.

Across our country at this moment in history pain is everywhere -- natural disasters, dissension, racism, and I refuse to even talk about politics.   Very few would disagree with the statement, "We need healing."

At this time I work I am seeing a need for the healing of relationships between coworkers, the need for healing for the children and families we serve, the healing from past hurts, the healing from a dysfunctional system.

At my church and in our community we are all hurting from the sudden loss of one of the greats.  Since 1971 he faithfully served our congregation, our city and his coworkers.   He was a substitute Dad and Grandpa to many.   It wasn't supposed to go like that ... we had plans for years to come.

I won't share any details, but family has a need for healing and I know that you have those needs in your family.

As I was praying this morning, the words to the song below which are from 2 Chronicles 7:14 popped into my mind.
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
I noticed a few things I hadn't noticed before.  This verse provides a formula for healing that involves:

1)  The WHO.  God isn't expecting those who are not called by His name to do anything.... He's saying ... if a land is to be healed then YOU -- you who call yourself by my name.... here's what you need to do.   I understand that this is Old Testament and God was referring to the people of Israel, but I'm pretty sure that those of us who are called "Christian" fit into this category.  It's pretty obvious that we are called by Christ's name when his name is part of the word.

2)  The WHAT.   Three things.   Pray.  Seek God's Face.  Turn from wickedness.

3)  The HOW.   In Humility.   Humbling ourselves -- oh so incredibly hard to do in the midst of conflict. "I am the one who is right after all" is almost always at the center of conflict, whether it is on a personal or a global scale.

So, what is the result if we follow this formula?  God hears.  God forgives.  God heals.

The formula to healing begins with me.   I can't point the finger and say that someone else needs to do something if healing is going to happen, I need to take that upon myself.   If I am called by God's name I need to humble myself, to pray, seek God's face, and to turn from any wickedness.   I can encourage others to do the same, but that's not the main thing God wants me to do.  What He is asking me to do is very clear.

I'm sure the song will be in my head all day today:




Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Even when it costs you ....


I woke up at 4:45 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  I was praying about a lot of things and felt God nudging me and reminding me of things I have learned in the past and I realized maybe He wanted me to share them with you.   Usually when I have those feelings there is someone who specifically responds and says, "that was for me today!"  So when that happens I attempt to be obedient.  But it was very comfortable in my sleep number bed so I stayed there another 45 minutes praying, listening, thinking, and telling myself I might go back to sleep.  But finally I decided to get up and try and put down on "laptop screen" (because saying I put it down on paper would be a lie).

I have had several things happen in the past three weeks at work that have been particularly difficult for me.  I have also had some situations at home that have been equally troubling.  And as you know from yesterday's post, I have lost several friends this week, including the one on Monday who I can't seem to get over.  My grief is surprisingly debilitating and exhausting.

On top of all that, we are in the midst of some pretty intense spiritual warfare at our organization.   I never used to talk about spiritual warfare until I came here and see it play out every day.   We recently received our license to be a Child Placing Agency, something the enemy was not interested in.  I'm not sure why I thought once we had that he would let up and leave us alone, but he has amped it up and has begin to attack people in many different ways.  The work we are doing here and the work we are about to do is so important and so powerful that there is great opposition.

With all this in mind I'm realizing that my performance is compromised.  What is being required of me, on top of everything else I'm dealing with internally, is becoming more difficult by the day.   Maybe you are feeling this too in your life ... that you are being attacked in some way and you aren't able to be the mom, husband, teacher, parent, employee, church member, friend that you want to be.  

When I look at what I am currently facing I realize that in comparison to many in the world I am not struggling.  I am never without food or shelter.  I'm not in the middle of a hurricane or worrying I will be, and I am not watching fires burn uncontrolled around me.  It is not one of my family members who has died.  And yet my stuff is my stuff and what I'm dealing with is hard right now.

There is a story in 2 Samuel 22 where David needs to sacrifice something to God to regain God's favor for Israel.  He goes to by a threshing floor from a man to prepare the sacrifice, and the man offers him all that he needs to make the sacrifice.  The oxen, the wood for the fire, all of it.  But David responds, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

I woke up thinking about this story because there are times in our life when what God calls us to do is easy.  He provides us with what we need and He gives us what we need to do it.  But there are days when what He is calling us to do is just awfully hard.   It's at that point in time where our sacrifice costs us ... a lot.   And it's at that point that He expects us to do our very best.

Before sharing a song that clearly articulates this point, I want to challenge you to do two things:

1)  Whatever you are facing today -- even if it is something really hard or even if you do not have the energy or strength -- offer God your very best as a sacrifice of obedience to Him.   I believe that our doing our best during the hardest times of our lives are the greatest sacrifices we can give to God ... because they cost us everything we have.

2)  Recognize that you may be surrounded by others whose very best does not look all that great to you, but you don't know their complete story.   Pray for them, give them grace, love them.   This very act -- giving grace to someone who does not deserve it when their performance is less that what you would hope -- is a sacrifice that is very pleasing to God.

If you have never heard this song (and even if you have) I encourage you to listen to it today and make the same commitment I am making today -- to offer a sacrifice to God that costs me everything that I have, to give Him my very best, and to give grace to those around me who may very well be giving their best as well.




Monday, September 04, 2017

Tell Them

Over the past week several people who I have known and loved have passed away.   Most of them are people I have loved over the years who I haven't seen in a long time, but today I lost someone who I am used to seeing a couple times a week.  Someone that I loved a lot.   I won't try to explain our relationship because it won't make sense to most and it would cheapen it if I went into detail.

In the midst of my grief I recognized that it was really important to me that I had gone out of my way several times in the last month to let him know that I appreciate it his friendship.  His death was sudden and unexpected and I'm still in shock.

Because I have spent several hours alone tonight I have thought about all the people who have gone to heaven before me.  I have knowledge that until the day that I die, I will be saying goodbye to people that i love.  I have begun to think about all of the people who

I'm telling you this because it hit me pretty hard this past week, as people I knew and know and love have left their earthly bodies and I will not be able to tell them anything else this side of heaven.  We never know if people will be around for one more day.

A former pastor of mine years ago said something like this "Life is too full of people saying negative things.  If you have a positive feeling about someone, why not tell them?"

Tell them while you can.  

And if you, like me, are missing someone today.... maybe this song will bring some comfort.  Death is not the final chapter....

Saturday Summary on Monday and a Double Dog Dare


It's been two weeks since I have prepared a Saturday Summary Blog Post and I have no real excuses.  I can't say that I have been super motivated lately so that is part of the issue.

SO here are some highlights:

  • I've read a couple of really good books the last two weeks.  "Same Kind of Different as Me" and "Just Mercy."  I have also been working my way through "Work Rules."
  • Bart and I babysat the grandkids who live with us overnight for the first time on Friday night.  It has been a whole year since they moved in with us.  hard to believe.
  • I went and saw a personal trainer with my friend Cathy and in a couple of weeks I'm going to tell you why.  Somehow I injured myself in the process but am planning to go back to see him in a week or two.
  • I worked hard and a lot on many several exciting things at work.
  • We had church directory pictures taken.  It was fairly traumatic but not as bad as some years.
  • Tony, now living with birth family, took a stable in his butt put there with a staple gun by his birth uncle live on Facebook.  We are so proud.  We hope it goes viral.  (sarcasm font)
  • Dominyk is a bit edgy and overwhelmed by school, not making it fun.
  • Wilson is the COO of his company in his Entrepreneur class recognizing that this is a really hard job.  He starts the wrestling pre-season soon.
  • Mercedes and Matt are coming to visit us in a week.
  • I'm turning 54 soon.  That's scary.


And I'm starting an email list for anyone who wants to be on it.  I'll send one at least weekly.  I'll promote my books, remind you that I have speaking engagements coming up, post deep thoughts and undoubtedly frivolous nonsense.   Let me know by emailing me at maeflye at mac dot com if you'd like to be on it.   It will be an entertaining experience I'm sure.

Finally, I was double dog dared to find a picture of a suitcase full of papaya online.   It is above.  Don't look too closely.  And yes, this is what happens in the Sunday School class I'm teaching... people double dog dare people to find online pictures of a suitcase full of papaya.

You can't say that you had that happen to you in church yesterday, can you?


Friday, September 01, 2017

#FinishWellFriday


Every week for months I have reminded my blog readers, my Facebook friends, and my staff that it is #FinishWellFriday.   The idea occurred to me one morning when I was looking at my to-do list for a Friday and thought, "If I got those three things I've been putting off all week done today I wouldn't have to have them nagging at me all weekend."  So I did them and had a much better weekend.

Regardless of what your job is -- whether it is inside or out of the home - - there are repetitive tasks that are annoying.  There are also projects that seem too huge to accomplish until you get started on them and then they aren't that bad.

Scripture talks about work many times.   Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, says, " But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly?"  Now that's positive.  Not.  

In Proverbs 16:3 it says, "Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place."

In Proverbs 28:20 we read, "Committed and persistent work pays off.  

And Proverbs 5 has this advice:
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,    nothing but sin and bones,Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?    Why did I reject a disciplined life?Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,    or take my teachers seriously?My life is ruined!    I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!”
#FinishWellFriday is way to practice these principles.  To lead a disciplined life.... to do committed and persistent work.  To put God in charge of our work ... if if it is mostly busywork as Solomon points out.

I hope today that you will put God in charge of your work and that for that reason it will be a good day and that the result is that whatever you are doing will pay off!

Even impossible things.