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Posts Tagged ‘Passion’

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Although he is over 4000 kilometers away, I want to honor the man who has taught me some of the most important things in my life.

As he celebrates, and is celebrated on this 70th birthday, I feel the distance of the miles between us, profoundly.

I come from a birthday, anniversary, holiday, visitor, graduation, etc. celebrating family. Any event that exists, or can be created, is a good excuse to get together for a meal. A seventieth birthday is a huge reason for celebration, for food, for cake, for presents … presence.

Rather than dwell on that which cannot be accomplished, I will share that which has already been accomplished thanks to the man who chose to take me as his own … daughter.

The best gift my dad has given to me starts with his name. When I was two years old. When he was asking my mother to marry him. He had one condition … that he would not just give his name to my mother, but that he would give his name to me. And so, the wedding preparations and the adoption process began. Thank-you for giving me your name.

My dad also gave me the unconditional love of a father. There has never been a day or experience when I have ever felt that I am not fully his daughter. He was naturally able to hug and discipline me … as though it was our shared blood that got under his skin … and into his heart.

He showed me what passion was, and wasn’t. He worked more jobs that paid the bills than fed his soul, but when he was doing something with passion, he did it with every fiber within him. I remember him counting down the years until he could retire, when working at one passionless job, and now he is seventy, and showing no signs of fully giving up the job that he loves.

He was always honest with me … whether I wanted to hear it or not. He told me when our cat died, when our dog needed to be put down, when I was wrong, when I wasn’t doing my best at school, when I didn’t call often enough. He told me when he was angry at my mom, my brothers … me. He told me … with not a word, of how lost he felt when his mom, my grandmother died. He told me he loved me.

My dad is who he is … and if you don’t like him, that is not something he will lose sleep over. He does not exist for the purpose of impressing others or becoming who he is not. He is who he is … like it or lump it!

My dad is a good man, and I have many fond childhood memories centered around him …

clams in the pasta meal
dancing with me before heading out to a dance with my mom
buying blue satin shorts for me because I said that everyone would have them walking where you grew up while you told childhood stories
warm from the oven biscuits
keeping score for your minor softball teams
Christmas shopping for mom
allowing me to help install a Gyproc ceiling for my bedroom
teaching me how to make snow angels
Chinese buffets

and so many more lasting memories!

Dad, I wish you a happy birthday. I wish you a day of feeling loved, appreciated, cared for and of thanksgiving.

There is not much more I can say, that goes beyond the words of Moses :

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

Other than, I love you.

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Sometimes things happen, words are said, events enfold, and the lack of human intervention into how they enfold makes me thing that the events are fully and completely a God thing.

This happened last week.

I have the privilege of co-leading a homeroom at the high school I work with a teacher who is about as laid back as myself. We both want the group of students to feel that it is a place of freedom, of acceptance, of our genuine concern and interest in them. We do not meet that often for homeroom events, but both the teacher and I are intentional at catching up with the individual students when we see them in the hallways.

Recently we had a homeroom event scheduled and I was feeling insecure. The goal of the event was to consider three fundraisers that are happening in our school over the next number of weeks (through a number of videos and discussion), and to commit, as a homeroom group, to a specific fundraiser and goal. If I know one thing about myself, it is that I am NOT a salesperson! And the thought of failing miserably with these very valid, very worthy fundraisers put a true spirit of heaviness within me.

Thankfully, I do not lead this group alone!

The teacher spoke of having a passion for helping others, and of helping others out of that passion rather than just obligation, pressure or guilt (I was secretly ‘amening’ her message). Then the discussion, from the students, went a little downhill … although it was wonderfully honest and sincere. The overall comment was:

“I can easily donate _____ to one of the causes, but it really does not have any real meaning for me.”

So, then the teacher asked them, “what do you want to do to help someone else?”

The door to transparency was opened, and what followed, well, I believe was nothing less than a God thing.

It became apparent that the students were looking for something or someone to help that they could relate to, that they could more personally know to whom their gift, their money was going.

For whatever reason, I mentioned a local family (a single dad and two sons) who was being given Christmas gifts by the staff of a retailer I was taking a student to for Work Experience …

Instantly questions started firing:

“How old were the kids?’
I thought there were two boys, about thirteen and about ten.

“What did they like?”
I wasn’t sure, but said I could find out later that day.

“Did one of them skateboard?”

… this is where one of the students became passionate. Not a student who I would have expected to become passionate … one who spends more time with administration that with classroom teachers. His tongue was loosed … “I’ve got lots of skater t-shirts, and even new jeans that I don’t wear,” and on, and on he went.

The resulting conversation was that I would get the details for everyone, and see if we could piggyback on the retailer’s staff gifts. The students (and teacher and myself) agreed to bring in $5-10 each, and gifts for these kids would be bought. The students left the room … excited, passionate!

The teacher and I were pumped! And oh, how we hoped and prayed that one of the sons was into skateboarding!

Well, the store agreed to allow us to join in … and maybe even join in the delivery of the gifts.

I was wrong about the family …

It is a single father, but there are three kids:
a seven-year old boy (who loves baseball),
a nine year old girl (who loves things frilly),
and an eleven year old boy … who “loves skate shoes, skateboarder clothes, skateboarding …”

I believe it was all orchestrated by the hand of God …

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There are things we need to survive. Things like shelter, food, love. Without those three things we really cannot survive.

As I was watching and listening to a video of Steve Jobs, in his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, I had a friends face in my mind, when he said:

“sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love … Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work; and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Don’t settle …

My friend does her job well. She rarely calls in sick, fulfills all of the requirements of her position, and works many hours beyond the expectations of her employers. Her job helps to give her shelter and food … it helps to meet her needs to survive, but, in her position she does not thrive. Oh, in the beginning her job was something she loved, it did satisfy her, she did thrive. But over time her passion for her position decreased, and it became ‘just a job’.

One of the best pieces of advise I ever got was from a man in his seventies who said, “I always told our kids that if they were not happy in their job, it was time to find a new one. A person does no good to himself, or to the company they work for if they don’t love what they are doing.” This man was not one who jumped from job to job, career to career, but he did make a handful of workplace changes over the years, and was in the twilight of life, able to say he loved every job he had.

As a child growing up, my dad worked as an orderly, from mid afternoon until late at night. He did not love his work. It was not until he was in his fifties that he began a job that he loved, that he did not feel he was ‘settling’ in order to do it. He knew he loved it, he wanted to spend more time, more energy to do his job better, and he was very successful.

I love my job, but when that love affair starts to be more about surviving than thriving, I will know it is time to look around and see what might be around the next corner.

I wish, for my friend, that you too could thrive in your work.

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Art

I recently subscribed to a blog, and it intrigues me.

The way I ‘find’ blogs is that someone will ‘like’ or ‘comment’ or ‘subscribe’ to mine, and so I check it out. Often times I am amazed that a blogger would like one of my posts, either because our posts are so very divergent, or because they are so much more gifted a communicator (and they, unlike me, know how to handle grammar).

This blog simply intrigues me.

I love what the author has to say about our ‘art’ … be it fine art or the art that is our profession (and anything in between).

I was intrigued with the video at the end, and how, in my mind, it could fit with his post … had he added:

“You are the salt of the earth,
but if salt has lost its taste,
how shall its saltiness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything
except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
Matthew 5:13

Our art, our passions, our professions are enhanced by the enhancement of the salt that we are through Christ.

Cristianmihai

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Back in the stone ages, when I was an adolescent, I had a youth leader give me a rock for a gift. Actually she gave one to every girl there. It was a rounded stone, with a colorful sunset painted on it. On the back was written, “Fight Apathy” then she signed her name.

This youth leader was an amazingly loving lady. She had gone searching on the riverbanks for these smooth stones. She painted beautiful scenes on them, wrote on them, sealed them, then gave them as a reminder of the lesson she had been teaching. Mine has been part of the decor in my house for years. Now it is packed away in a ‘special box’ for me to pull out and remember.

For this lady to have gone to all that effort, her lesson must have been one she felt was worth the efforts!

Apathy is a lacking. It is a lacking of desire, a lacking of motivation, a lacking of emotion, a lacking of passion. Lacking of these things, means that they should have been there, but were not.

Apathy is dangerous!

As I was enjoying a few peaceful moments in the sun recently, I was pondering a number of things in my life, and when I pondered one specific issue, my thought was ‘I don’t care about that.’ My own thoughts echoed in my head. The issue was one I should care about. Throwing my hands in the air, and removing myself emotionally from the issue was not the answer. As a matter of fact, what I heard not long after my comments of ‘lacking’ was my dear, sweet, thoughtful youth leader … “fight apathy.”

To throw my hands in the air is like Pilate after the trial of Jesus, washing his hands (figuratively and literally) of the decision to crucify him. His apathy did not change the decision. His apathy did not change his part in the process. After all …

“In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men (and women) to do nothing!”
(possibly the words of Edmund Burke)

To do nothing is a decision of lacking, a decision of apathy. Our families, our world, needs for people to throw off apathetic thinking. We need to become passionate about living, and about life. We need to be the agents of change in our world … for the good of individuals, and for the good of society as a whole.

Whatever we do, we need to do it with our whole hearts, minds, souls and bodies. We need to fight apathy!

We may have found a cure for most evils;
but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all —
the apathy of human beings.

Helen Keller

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I have one passion, that, I hope with all my being, I communicate with those around me.

That passion is that there is nothing
… NOTHING …
that anyone can DO that is
so bad,
so evil,
so sinful,
that is unforgivable,
by the God that I love.
And more importantly,
the God who created and loves all people.

I know, in my human frailty, that I fail to communicate this on a regular and daily basis. I hold onto resentments, I struggle to forgive, I bring up things from the past, I walk with one foot (regularly) in my mouth, I think thoughts that are vile. I am a walking, talking example of failure, of weakness … of sinfulness.

But, because I am fully human, I am the perfect material for a God who understands what it is to be fully human. I am the perfect material for a God who can heal and forgive. I am the perfect material for a God who rebirths, who recreates, who reconstructs, who redeems … saves … from myself.

It is so easy to look at our life and our choices through the shadows that our sin creates. It is so easy to look at our life and only see our mistakes, our failures and our sins. It is so easy to look at our life and think that
there is no way that the God of creation,
that the God who sent his own son to die,
would ever take us into his arms
after what we have done,
what we have thought,
what we have said,
who we are.
That is the work of Prince of Darkness … to discourage, to cause despair, to kick us to the curb of life.

Romans eight (Romans 8) is the most enlightening, the most encouraging, the most truth you can find about what God really thinks of us. At the end of the chapter, is the grandest of hope, offered to us”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else (NOTHING) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs. 37-39)

Let me give it to you, in the Carole version:

“It doesn’t matter what sin you committed. I love you, even if you have done wrong with your hands, with your ears, with your mouth, with your eyes, with your mind … to yourself, and even to others. I love you. And all you have to do is accept the fact that Jesus paid for it all. And he did so knowing that, even after you accept my love, you will still continue to do wrong. I love you that much. And NOTHING can separate you from me, once you accept my love for you.”

My version may not be a perfect translation, but, believe this:

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God, made possible through Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord.

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As my two week Spring Break comes to a close, I feel refreshed and ready to return to work, and schedules, and earlier mornings (after all there ARE only nine more work days until a four day weekend … but, whose counting? 😉 ). When the break began, all I desired was a weekend away with hubby, regular walks on my favorite trail, and time with each of my kids.

It began slow, well no, it began busy, with a weekend full of activity for both hubby and I (church related). Once hubby’s time off began, four days into mine (really his time off began with him doing a full day of work-related paperwork 😦 ), I finally had time to get much needed groceries. To me, time off is not really time off until we are all off!

I had a delightful luncheon with a dozen lovely ladies, and three coffee dates with some of the sweetest women I know. Moments that refuel and encourage me, as a woman struggling to understand life.

There was the morning (oh yes, the entire morning) of ironing … it had not been done since September … sigh). There was the search for fabric for my daughter, that led to a five hour storage closet cleaning, ten bags of goods to the thrift store, and many giggles by my daughter over the photos of yours truly and hubby way back in the days leading to our wedding. Giggles that led to conversations about life, and hopes, and dreams.

There was a haircut, and lunch with my eldest daughter. There was a lunch and thrift store shopping day with my younger daughter. There was a movie date with my son. Moments with each of my kids, with no other disruptions, refills my momma heart like no other.

There were the deaths of two co-workers moms. There was the death of the fifty year old husband and father of six, two of his daughters are friends of my daughters. Moments that make you thankful for the mercy of another day.

There was more cleaning, and more purging, and more trips to the thrift store to dump another load. Another reminder of how much we have that we do not use, do not need … what I really NEED in my life should last longer than a trend?.

There were walks on my favorite trail. Walks in the sun, the rain, the snow and the hail (and that was just one day!). There were walks with hubby, with our Chinese son, with a daughter, and always with my beastie. Walks that refresh me from the inside out, walks that remind me of my Creator, and how fine His handiwork is.

There was the day of culinary therapy … something that my household was thrilled with the results of! How wonderful to create something(s) that I can watch others take delight in!

Then there was the Passion (Passion 268) concert featuring two great musicians, who led a sold out Rogers Arena in worship to God, and a calling to end human trafficking. Although I am a generation beyond their organizers intended attendee, I was reminded again, that we are all responsible for what we do, or do not do, to end such a horrific thing as use and abuse of fellow human beings.

And then there was my birthday, a delightful day when the sun was bright, and I was celebrated for my thirty-nine (with, now, four years experience) years, by family and friends, near and far.

Somehow, when when hubby and I are busy we function like a well oiled machine, but once the calendar is more cleared, the cracks in our relationship show a need for more oil, more attention, and a going deeper than “what does your day hold?” conversation. This resulted in a beautiful twenty-four hours away, to a beautiful, waterfront Hotel, where we watched the sun set at night, and the horizon lighten in the morning. A good reminder of what we already knew, but life can keep you from if you succumb to it’s demands, that time spent alone, as husband and wife, is the best thing you can do for your kids, for your health, and even for your ability to do your daily work. Lesson learned, and our next getaway is in the planning stages!

It has been a wonderful break. One that has refreshed my body, mind and spirit, refueled me for the days to come, and one that has given me much needed variety and options each and every day.

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