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Heart: Fall Back

bench-forest-trees-pathThis time of year is a confusion of beginnings and ends. Summer vacation ends for students and classes begin. Leaves drop from trees and rains begin. The endless opportunities for all things pumpkin spice flavored replace all things lemon or watermelon flavored only to be quickly replaced by all things peppermint.

Nothing seems to signal the cycles and rhythms of life quite like the overnight change in the weather. Almost like the crispness in the air is a reminder to take a sweater, to bundle up a little, to make preparations for the shorter days, longer nights and storms ahead. Fall is bracing. An oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one.

When you fall, the experts will tell you to go limp and roll with it. If you stiffen up, it will hurt more and possibly kill you. Don’t use the fleeting moments of free fall to focus on the pain of the impact but on diverting the power of your full weight in motion.

The full power of your weight in motion….

The FULL power of your weight in motion….

The full POWER of your weight in motion…

The full power of YOUR weight in motion…

The full power of your WAIT in motion…

The full power of your wait IN MOTION…

Personally, there are a lot of changes swirling around me like autumn leaves but it’s not fall until I’m in motion, too.

 

Are you in motion? Are you waiting? What are you waiting for? 

 

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Heart: Takes it all

I don’t remember the first time I heard the story I’m about to share with you but it has stuck with me and even today it influences my decisions.

AuctionYears ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed, elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home.

As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told everyone of his, not to mention his father’s, love of fine art. “I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the son.

Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture over the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.

True to his word, the painting went well above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy’s life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart.

As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation!

Unmindful of the story of the man’s only son, but in his honor, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift. The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many claim “I have the greatest collection.” The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.

“Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and go on to the good stuff.”

More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke, “Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it.”

“I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.” The gavel fell, cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!”

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what’s going on here!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

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Head: Because of You!

KhanI had to take biology in college to get my degree. On my own it is not a class I would have signed up for. Miosis and mitosis were not on my list of interests. I did find a chapter in the 5 pound book that interested me a lot. Mendelian genetics is something I still enjoy on a fairly regular basis. No, I did not go into biology. I use it in logic puzzles.

There are a lot of things I’ve learned even though I didn’t want to. But there are a great number of things I have learned or studied or just enjoyed because someone I know went there first.

Because of…

My aunt Janette I learned to play the piano and the organ.

Lisa Tuttle I learned WordPress.

Laural Armster I learned Scrivener.

My favorite person in the whole wide world I learned to drive a motorcycle.

Kay Arthur I learned Logos.

Patty Shefflin I stood in the middle of a river in the rain in Puerto Rico.

My daughter I spent four seasons in the stands watching marching band competitions.

Elizabeth I am learning Corel Draw and Bernina embroidery software.

When you lead the way, others will learn because of you. Never stop learning and leading.

I need you to…I have so much more to learn!

 

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Heart: Great Design

The path behind me is a twisted jumble of valleys, hills, mountains, with trails that are worn from circling the same section many times. I’ve heard the illustration about our lives being a beautiful tapestry that we see from the underside with all the rough ends and knots, the disjointed colors and unrecognizable design that is seen in it’s perfection from the other side.

When I look at mine, I see some threads of gold in the family and friends who have been and still are a big part of my life. One that shines brightly is a woman I met in the snow of a Colorado February. While we have only been able to spend a few hours together here and there in the years since that day, we have remained close friends and I treasure her greatly.

A few months ago she sent me some recordings of songs she has written. As a military wife with 4 children and a husband who has served his country with honor, she has relied on her faith in ways many never do. Expressing that faith in music has been her gift to others. When she told me she wanted to record a full cd and make the videos to go with the songs, I knew this was a deep desire of her heart not from a worldly desire for fame and fortune born of her gift but as a gift itself. She asked me to pray with her and for her as she continued a project that started with her first song years ago. It was a privilege to do so.

This was not the first time I have prayed for her and her family. It will not be the last. While she was finishing recording and taping, word came that her mother’s health was fading quickly and it was time for the family to gather to say their good-byes.

An email with a link came the same week she lost her mother. Within the space of 10 days her great joy and great sorrow collided in a tender heart. As I watched this video for the first time, knowing some of what she was dealing with, I knew it was no coincidence that both these events were so closely joined. It was part of His great design.

 

 

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Harmony: What Nellie Had

245In a few months, we will be standing in the Santa Cruz mountains looking at the giant redwood trees, listening to the wind coming down the valley, and contemplating the same thing Nellie did. A small patch of bare earth with so much potential.

Nellie didn’t have much money but she had hardworking men who loved her.
Nellie didn’t have much land but she planted a vegetable garden, carved more flatland out of the side of the hill and found mountain water.
Nellie didn’t have electricity or telephone service or next door neighbors but she had family down the road and good people at the top of the mountain.

Those men built her a cabin that has lasted more than 80 years.
The wild blackberries still bloom and reach out to snag unsuspecting passersby.
The family down the road is gone and there are dozens of new folks farther up the valley.

Nellie didn’t build the cabin by herself. She had men who knew what they were doing.
Nellie didn’t plant or clear by herself. She had a wheelbarrow and wine party! Move a wheelbarrow of dirt, get a mason jar of homemade wine!
Nellie didn’t live in the cabin all the time. It was the place the family retreated to when times were hard, money was tight and jobs were scarce.

But we have what Nellie didn’t have.

We have years of happy memories with family and friends.
We have building regulations and inspections and permits and restrictions.
We have a huge job getting the land back to safe and cleared.

So we will stand where Nellie stood and look at the mountain in front of us and then look around to see who’s standing with us ready to make more memories.