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Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Love Letter... to my best friend

I've often understood the importance of public declarations... a marriage is more than just two people living together. It's a commitment made before friends and God and the public nature of that commitment is meant to be honoured. An infant's baptism or dedication (depending upon your denomination) is a commitment before fellow believers that the parents will honour and respect the gift they have been given, the "training up of a child" to have a strong moral compass and to know the importance of faith. Even a birthday party is a form of declaration, that you "get it".... that life is to be celebrated and that the passing of time is not a march towards a grim end, but a badge of honour of another year well lived, regardless of life's circumstances.
And so today I decided to make another public declaration, a love letter to my best friend, my wife Kate. It's not an anniversary or a particular day of importance. But who says you have to wait for that once a year day to say what needs to be said? Seems like a waste of the other 364 days to me. So here it is, before my readers (few that they may be), but for my wife...

"Katie, I can't say these words have been on my mind for a long time. But they have been on my heart every day I'm with you. This is a message I want you to hear. But even more, it's a message I want you to 'get'. You wonder how I can stay so positive, so resolute in the face of what seems to be overwhelming adversity. You credit me as being a man of faith. But even though faith plays a role in who I am, there's something else at work each day that I wake up and each night I go to bed. How could I ever question the love God has for me or consider myself anything but blessed when my greatest blessing is by my side every single day? Even though I may wake up in the night, anxious over life's challenges, I can't help but hear the melody of a song in my heart when I turn over and see you laying next to me. As tired as I may be when getting out of bed for the umpteenth time to attend the cries of our baby boy, it's just another opportunity to wrap my arms around you when I crawl back into bed. You make me laugh, you make me think, you make me want to celebrate life no matter what else is going on. When I strive to daily become a better, stronger man, it's because I want to be that man for you. I've never "settled", never sought to just be married without caring who I committed myself to you. You were given to me, as I was to you. So even when wolves are at the door and the house is shaking, I only have to look at you to feel the joy rise in my heart and think to myself, how could I be so lucky. I am rich because of you, even when there is no money in the bank. I am safe because of you, even when tomorrow is completely uncertain. Because in all these days, with 4 kids, 4 animals (besides the kids), a house too full of clothes and clutter, failing appliances, a million chores to do, and then another million after that.... one thing is always clear. All the world's problems, all the challenges and hard times we have faced... they all pale next to the fact that today, THIS day, I get to spend with you. So what have I got to complain about? 'This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice! Rejoice and be glad in it.' And how do I know that He has made this day for me? Because He made you a part of it. So I will rejoice indeed.
I love you... then, now, and always. And I couldn't be a happier man because of it.

Love you.
Love, me."

I love you Katie. I like you. I desire you. And all of this is God's gift to me. Why am I, among all men, so richly blessed?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - Summer edition

Another late day submission....

I call it "Young Man in Canoe".... or is that too obvious.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

A little late in the day to post but what the heck...
Presenting Winnie Sam...

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Children's Stories For Adults...

So in my last post I indicated that I had two favourite stories that greatly define not only my personal philosophies, but my moment by moment living. I related the tale Heaven and Hell, which emphasizes the point that Paul made in Philippians 4: 11-13 that our contentment and joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather what we do with them. As Paul has learned to rejoice in suffering (2 Corinthians 12: 9,10) and in good times, we are also able to seize God's promise to experience joy regardless of our situation. Not happiness mind you, which is fleeting, but true joy that lights the spirit and eases our burdens.

But I also referenced another tale, The Journey. This one is just as important to me and is probably as strong an influence on how I choose to relate to others... family, friends, the acne-laden kid serving me at the McD's drive-thru window... whatever. And so, I share the tale with you in hopes that my "dominos" might fall in your direction...

THE JOURNEY (revised in honour of Mother's Day)
There was once a boy who lived in a small village in the very middle of a large island. Now this boy loved his mother very much and when it came time to celebrate her special day, he pondered deeply the best gift he could give her to show how much he loved her. After thinking and praying for inspiration, a wonderful idea lit up within him and he made his decision. Searching the village he found a small wooden cup and then packing some supplies, he set off on a two day journey to the coast of the island. Arriving there he carefully filled the wooden cup with sand from the beach and then he travelled the two day journey back to the village. Upon arriving he ran to his mother and presented the cup of sand and let her know what he had done. Now his mother, though very appreciative of anything her child would give her, was nevertheless puzzled and asked the boy why he would travel so far to fill the cup with sand when there was plenty of sand right in their own village. The boy, with a smile on his face and love clearly displayed in his eyes explained to his mom the secret of what he had done. He told her this...
"But mother, the sand and the cup aren't the gift. My gift to you was the journey!"

Man! I love that story. And the more I consider it, the more value and validity I believe it has for our modern world. In case you missed it the moral for my little tale.... The attitude AND effort you offer others, whether in gift or just in a daily chore, is FAR more important than simply the fact that you did it. If I make my wonderful wife even a simple cup of tea, but while handing it over I make a big show of it or indicate by my attitude or words that it was really a pain and inconvenience to make it, I guarantee that tea will taste bitter. But I'm not sure my Katie, who offers me way too much credit in making the "perfect" cup of tea, after 14 years of marriage, has truly learned the secret ingredient... my attitude. I consciously make sure that every cup of tea I make includes what I call a "no problem" attitude. An indication that OF COURSE I will make a cup of tea... it's the very least I can do for the woman I call my best friend. To this very day, if we have an argument or fall in the enemy's trap of speaking harshly to each other, I try as soon as possible to make a cup of tea. Kate believes it's my way of making peace, or some might say of "kissing up". But the truth that until now I've never told anyone is that it has very little to do with that and a lot more to do with knowing the enemies methods. You see, every argument is designed by the "principalities and power" (Ephesians 6:12) to chip away at our self esteem and our worth... to lose sight of God's view. That tea is my way of sticking it to the devil, showing I'm not going to be a puppet or a slave to my sinful responses, AND it's a way of letting my wife know that even at my worst emotional moments, her worth is in no way diminished. She is WORTH the journey... of setting aside my hurt or anger to do a simple thing that still speaks volumes. You would be amazed how much better something tastes, or looks, or feels, when it's completely free of the sensation that you were a bother to someone else. I try to apply the same reasoning to accidents... kids drop something on the floor, Katie breaks a glass while being amazing enough to do the family's dishes, what's the value in getting mad? This is an OPPORTUNITY to show your loved ones that their worth is far more important than the 30 seconds it takes to wipe up some milk. Doesn't mean I always succeed in masking my frustration... I am human. But it DOES mean that I always try. It's amazing what we can do when we seize God's promise that we can have victory over our impulses, our emotions, and our responses. (! Corinthians 13)

Imagine what our days would be like if everyone got that and looked for the opportunities to show even the most annoying stranger, friend, or fellow blogger their worth as God sees them, instead of feeling like it's our duty to tear them down because of our own philosophies and feelings. Hey you know what it would be like? Just like we were feeding each other across Heaven's table... and on that note, if you don't know what I'm talking about, be sure to read my previous post.

Be well all, and hey, if you enjoyed this post, I'm blessed and I hope you know it was no problem, you're worth it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Children's Stories for Adults

Anybody that knows me personally knows that between being a children's entertainer for 25 years, a teacher in various forms, and a corporate trainer, I love to use analogies and stories to make a point. When it comes to really great stories that really drive home my personal philophies, there are always two that immediately come to mind..... The Journey and another one called Heaven and Hell. Recently I've used the latter story in many customer service training sessions and it's been greatly appreciated. So for something a little different, I thought I'd include it here to share with my vast audience (both of you can wake up for the story now).


Legend has it that there was once a man that had lived a truly honourable and faithful life. So in his later years before he died, God appeared to him and offered to grant him any one desire. Without hesistation the man revealed that he had always wanted to know the difference between Heaven and Hell.

Immediately God whisked them to Hell, where the man was immediately overwhelmed with a bizarre and disturbing sight. Before him was an incredibly long banquet table, stretching as far as the eye could see. On the table was every possible delicious food and delicacy anyone could ever imagine, fresh and plentiful. But around the table were all the residents of Hell, screaming and wailing, for each one of them displayed one particular abnormality. Every single person had stretched out four foot arms with no elbows. As a result, they could all reach the food, but no one could bring it to their mouth, resulting in agonizing cries of starvation and pain. The man exclaimed "Lord! I cannot take this sight! Please take me away! PLEASE!"

Instantly the sight before the man changed as he found himself in Heaven. But now the man was even more amazed, because although it was obvious he was no longer in Hell, he still saw before him the same bizarre sight. The miles-long banquet table, the food, and again, all the people had four foot arms, still with no elbows. But in this place, everyone was cheering, laughing, celebrating and singing God's praises. Because in this place, every heavenly resident had learned the secret of the table.... Every person simply fed their neighbour across the table.

The moral of the story, which I have found true in countless situations... it's not the circumstances of your situation that determine your own private heaven or hell... it's your response to them.

LOVE that story!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

Love these two shots, if only for the fun I see inside both faces...

Like mother,

Like daughter.

This one I've liked because I think of Jordan as my little angel and I like how the blanket's position reminds me of wings...

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black and White Wednesday... for the girls

My beautiful young ladies...


And Julie...

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