You Are Probably A Worthless Vessel Unless You’re Broken

That is a paradox when you first read it, but it’s true. If you need to carry water, then yes an unbroken vessel is best. But I am talking about you and me. The falsehood that we believe is that we need to be perfect and whole to be of any use to anyone or anything.

The real tragedy happens when we quit or feel unqualified only because we come face to face with our own brokenness. I can’t count the times I felt this over my lifetime.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I limped into the kitchen from my office to announce to my wife that I quit. I went on to bemoan how I wondered why I ever thought that I could be a writer and a podcaster. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say! I am too broken and messed up.

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When You Feel Like Tapping Out

3 Ways to Stay in the Game

I am one of the many who watches a LOT of basketball this time of year. I enjoy seeing teams play well together, the cinderella stories, and buzzer beaters.

If you watch team sports, especially basketball or football, you probably have seen a player tap the top of his head or look over to the sideline and raise his hand. He is signaling to his coach that he wants out of the game.

In today’s up-tempo style of playing, this is common. It’s definitely a different approach to the game from a generation or two ago when players stayed in the game for longer stints. In football, some even played both defense and offense.

It isn’t that the players are giving up or don’t want to play anymore. They just need a breather or a short rest. But some do “tap out” because they feel defeated or want out of the game.

An athlete though has put in hours of preparation to play in the game. If they were to give up, it would mean that they were not fulfilling their purpose.

But what about life? Do we ever want to tap out? I don’t mean for good. I mean, do we tap out of what God’s purpose or mission is for our life because we are tired, discouraged, or feel defeated?

Can I let you in on something?

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Do You Know How to “Be With” Others Well?

I am the classic introvert. I can ride or drive for hours without saying a word except, “Do you need to stop?” It’s not that I don’t like people. But I get lost in my thoughts and even can feel interrupted if you talk to me.

I have improved some, but sometimes I have to purposefully interact with others. It just doesn’t come natural. God, with his sense of humor and, I expect, out of His loving desire to help me grow, first gave me an expressive wife, then years later, a son who wakes up talking until the moment his eyes close with sleep at night.

Being with. A simple phrase, but how well are we at “being with” other people? It’s a lot more than simply talking to them, acknowledging them, or even tolerating them.

Here are three ways we can “be with” someone well:

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What Does It Mean When God Knocks Us Down?

A grove of oak trees stand in front of our house. The kind that looks perfect with white lights wrapped around the trunk and limbs.

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So I took inventory of what lights I had, and I decided that I needed a few more strands. Off I went to Home Depot to get several more boxes of lights. I had chosen a beautiful day to do the work; the kind of day that makes me glad I live in Texas, especially in December. The blue sky was cloudless and high. The temperature was a crisp upper 50’s. Not too cold. Not too hot.

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A Year of Change and Thankfulness

As I sit here looking out the window of my home office across a tree-filled front yard reflecting over the past year, my heart is full of thankfulness.

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When the end of the year arrives, I begin a time of reflection. Thinking back through the past year helps me to remember reasons to give thanks. When I forgo this important ritual, I tend to get caught up in the weeds of each day which often only serves as a way to blind me of the many reasons for thankfulness.

Year of Change

This time last year I was recovering from major ankle surgery hoping it would heal enough so I could chase my young son around.

Soon after my surgery we bought and moved into a new home (new to us) that sits on 5 acres. This brought lots of change. Especially for our son. Not only did he move from the only home he remembered, but he also began Kindergarten at a school where he knew no one.  As you know, change can be very challenging for a young child, especially one with a trauma background.

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My Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election

I am 55 years old, and the first presidential election that I voted in was in 1980. I have always paid attention to politics with both a curious and discerning eye. I cannot recall a presidential election that caused as much angst as this one has for me.

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Through the years I have watched many debates that over time reveal less and less to me where the candidates stand on different issues. In the same way we become fixated on a car wreck, this presidential season captured my attention.

A thought I had this year is how much social media has changed how we talk about politics. It seems my generation bridges the gap between two very different generations where one never talked openly about their political leanings and most definitely never revealed who they voted for in an election, and another generation that not only talks freely about politics but with a brash and “I am right, and you are wrong” tone.

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Your Words Will Build Up or They Will Tear Down [Podcast Episode 001]

(Expounded Thoughts from 7 Things Your Foster or Adopted Child Needs to Hear from You)

Today’s podcast expounds on a previously posted blog—7 Things Your Foster or Adopted Child Needs to Hear from You. Since this was a popular blog post, I take some time to dig a little deeper into the 7 things that your child needs to hear from you. In fact, you can apply these to any relationship you have.

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If you liked this episode, will you do a couple of things for me?

  1. Go to iTunes.  Subscribe to the podcast, then rate and review the podcast.
  2. Share the podcast with your friends and family.

Thank you!

 

How Embracing the Presence of God Will Make Life Better

15 Promises Manifested by God's Presence

God’s presence honestly perplexes me. I both want His presence and am afraid of it at the same time.

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How God handles His presence reflects His complex nature. On one hand He presides in a Holy and lofty place. On the other hand He resides with the lowly and contrite in spirit.

Our mishandling of God’s presence can incinerate us yet we also can’t escape His presence. Wherever I flee, He is there.

God is set apart from us yet He resides within us if we allow Him.

A big word that describes God’s presence is Omnipresent meaning that God is always present without any exception. As I said, we can’t escape His presence. For some this creates intense discomfort. But for those who embrace His omnipresence it brings many promises.

These are 15 promises that manifest with God’s presence.

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Year Four Adoption Update

Hard to believe that it has been four years since we stood before the judge and adopted our son. The actual “Gotcha Day ” was September 21, 2012.

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Working hard at the new house.

Our son isn’t old enough yet to fully understand what his gotcha day means, but this year I got to eat lunch with him at school. He is in kindergarten now, and it was Dads for lunch day at his school. I thought it was a great way to spend some time with him on this special day.

This past year was a year of transitions. Last September I had major surgery on my right ankle; we moved to a new home in January; our son graduated from a preschool that he had attended for three years; Danielle had surgery in May; and finally our son began kindergarten at a new school where he didn’t know anyone.

Whew. As you can imagine all of those events made life just a little interesting around our house.

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Is There Something In Your Life That You Need to Get Rid of?

Sometimes You Have to Dig It Out by the Roots

We had the same plant growing in every flower bed in our yard. The previous owners of our home apparently liked this plant. Even though it’s a pretty plant with either pink or purple petunia-like flowers that bloom each day, it’s incredibly invasive. It grows thick and tall, choking out or dwarfing the other plants in the bed.

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So Danielle and I decided to remove most of the plants. I took a sharpshooter shovel and started digging in a flower bed in the front of the house. I quickly learned that the plant’s roots were tubular traveling underground with many plants growing from each cluster of roots.

We moved to the backyard flower beds, and we decided for the easier, quicker method—cut the plants off at ground level. We just wanted the flower beds to look better.

Both methods worked and the flower beds looked neat and uncluttered. For a few weeks anyway. Then it began to rain. And rain. One day I looked into the backyard and guess what I saw. The plants were growing again like crazy. I think they were growing back even thicker.

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