Wednesday, March 26, 2014


about a year ago I blogged a story about my friend Ken who was raising money for a charity, and asked me for a donation while I was at church. I also told how he encouraged me to cherish my wife, as he had lost his wife Alma a few months earlier. He and Alma had been married for 54 years. This has to be Ken's new mission in life, because I often hear of Ken encouraging other men to cherish their wives- and every time he sees me, he asks me how I am cherishing Deanna.

last sunday morning, I was walking out of the church service and into the middle school ministry. the hallways were crowded and I was shuffling through, and there was Ken and his clipboard, a year later-

he said, "rob! can I count on you for a donation?" of course I agreed and started filling out the form on his clipboard; and then (like clockwork!) Ken started asking me about how I was cherishing Deanna. he said,
"you know, Rob, I always ask all of my married friends how they are cherishing their wives..."
(by the way, if you didn't already guess it, Ken is a senior citizen, and when he talks, its very slow and charming)
I saw it coming and said, "yes- you have encouraged me about that before- I really appreciate it..."
he went on to say, "you know, so many men get so convicted when I ask them how they are cherishing their wives- because so many men neglect that part of their lives- you know, we all get so busy with our work and schedules. when alma was alive, I used to forget to cherish her too, so I would remind myself to cherish her by leaving post-it notes around my house that said 'E.D.A.' Every Day Alma. I wanted to remind myself to cherish Alma every day. You know Rob, she used to find my post-it notes around the house and say, 'what's this all about Ken?' and eventually she figured it out. I thought that it bothered her to see those notes around the house, but now that she's gone, I have discovered that she saved my post-it notes in her journals and in her bible and her books. it seems like I'm always finding my old notes that say E.D.A."

at this point, I was just trying to get this form filled out as soon as possible before I burst into tears.

Ken has given this talk to so many men at so many times, that it wasn't emotional for him at all. he just kept on going-
"so Rob- for me it was E.D.A. and I encourage you to cherish your wife every single day. you know Rob, when I get to heaven, the first person I want to see is Jesus. but after that, I'm looking for Alma! I know that there is no marriage in heaven, but I just want to see her again and hang out with her. I can't wait to see her again."

I finished the form, I handed him the clipboard, I thanked him for his encouragement and his friendship and moved on before it could all sink in- I mean, I had to go and talk to a crowd of middle schoolers! I had to hold it together!

but I'll pay Ken's encouragement to me forward to you:
cherish the people in your life. let them know that you love them today. E.D.A- or whatever your loved ones initials are. enjoy every minute of it.

God is love.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

how would do today over again?

here is a thought that bI heard earlier this week that I thought I'd share with you:

picture yourself at the end of your day, lying in bed and ask yourself this question:
"if i could go back and do this day over again, what would I do differently?"

how would you answer?
now, instead of asking that question at the end of the day, picture yourself actually getting that chance to do today over at the beginning of your day;
and go and DO the thing you will eventually wish that you DID.

so, for me, if I was on my bed tonight, I would say, "if I could do this day over again, I would go back and have some delicious food over at the malibu grill, and enjoy some good conversation with some good friends."

and then instead of looking back with regret over what I didn't do, I just worked forward; and then I went to malibu grill, and had some delicious food, and enjoyed some good conversation with some dear friends.

tomorrow I will answer that question differently, and it will lead to more awesome experiences and conversations.

so- tonight-
what will you wish that you would have done?
you now have the opportunity to go and DO that thing that you will eventually wish that you would have DONE!

and instead of living with regret over what you didn't do,
you can live with the satisfaction that you had an awesome day.
you only get one TODAY,
so be awesome today.

God is love.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

lectio divina:: like 15

the other day I walked past jane's room and she looked particularly sad. she was playing with her second new playset that she bought with her own money; a bakery for her dolls, but she didn't seem to be enjoying it much. she just stood there, moving the dolls around slowly.

"what's the matter Jane?"
"I can't find a loaf of bread."
"you mean this one?" I asked-
"no- there are three of them. I can only find 2 of them."
I started looking around. I opened a drawer and found one billion plastic accessories.
"here is a loaf of bread!" I said.
"that's not the right kind of bread. its too long. I'm looking for the shorter bread."

so we looked all over her room. under the bed, behind the bookshelf, in the drawers, no bread. no bread = blue girl.

"let's walk backwards a bit. when did you last see the bread?"
"well, Sarah had the bread in the basket of her bike. she was bringing it home from the bakery when she fell off of her bike. she fell over there-"

so we looked over where Sarah (the little doll on the left) fell off of her bike- which led to a gap between Jane's desk and her dresser- we pulled away the furniture, and there was the bread, resting on a ledge on the side of Jane's dresser. I would have never found it, but Jane spotted it immediately. that girl went from gloomy to elated. she rushed in to tell Deanna the good news.

what surprised me is that she even noticed that it was missing. that playset came with 85 pieces, but jane immediately knew when one was missing. she even had other bread loaves that she could have used, but was not interested. she wanted that particular piece. the set wasn't complete without it. to me, it was just a plastic piece of bread, but to jane it was very important.

it reminded me of that story that jesus told about the woman looking for her lost coin in luke 15:
"suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? and when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’"

it sounds just like jane and her plastic bread! but then Jesus continues- and says that God is like Jane when she is looking for her lost bread- He concludes the story by saying:

"in the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

God is searching for His lost kids just like a lady searches for her lost coin, or like a shepherd searches for his lost sheep, or like a nine year old searches for her lost plastic bread. those lost kids may be insignificant to you and me, but to Him, they are very, very important. and when He finds them, He is elated. the entire realm of heaven celebrates.

so if you're off hiding, let Him find you.
and if you've been found, join Him in His search.

God is love.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

jane and the seniors part 2

this morning jane and I went to breakfast at mcdonald's, and again, it was a mad dash to get out of the door on time. "we don't want to miss the seniors dad!"
we got there about 8:40, and we got to the window and looked in, and there they were! jane was so excited to see her friends. when she walked in, they all lit up.
"she's here! look who is here!" they said.
she made a bee-line to them and started checking in with each of them; and handing out hugs. I ordered the food and snapped a couple of candid photos of them.

I brought the food to our table and jane started filling me in on everyone- on patty's cat and how frank used "the old, shake-your-hand-and-leave-two-dollars trick."

they left promptly at 9, and another group of senior ladies quickly swooped in on their table. (there must be some sort of unofficial schedule out there of which groups of seniors use the big table at mcdonald's and when.) each one of our friends stopped by to say goodbye to us, and to our delight, each of them were wearing their red and yellow bracelets that jane had made for them. I think they must wear them everyday just in case jane shows up! patty said, "you know, I've been getting so many compliments on my bracelet- and I always say that my friend jane made it for me." we were tickled pink!

we made them happy, and they made us so happy! jane and I were chatting afterward that you can make someone happy just by saying kind words and being friendly to them. its amazing to me how inexpensive it is to be kind, but how the valuable the returns and effects can be.
so- be kind to someone today!
 make someone happy- and watch that happiness radiate back to you.

it reminds me of something jesus said a long time ago:
"give, and it will be given to you. a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap."

God is love.

Monday, March 10, 2014

jane and the seniors

I was looking through some old photos and found these pictures and thought I would share the story behind them-

jane and I often go to breakfast together on my days off at mcdonald's. it seems like every time we're there, we see this group of seniors chatting together, drinking coffee, laughing and telling stories. jane has been very curious about these people- who jane always refered to as "the seniors." what are they talking about? why are they there? who is in charge? for weeks, she would sit near them and listen to their stories. there was something about them that she found delightful. she wanted so badly to be friends with them but didn't know how to enter the group- or if she was even allowed to.

every now and then, jane wants something that I'm not very interested in buying for her. usually because its a little too expensive. in those cases, I'll often give her a dare and see how serious she is about getting this new toy. usually I'll dare her to try a food that she has never had before. if she tries it, I'll usually pony up for the toy.

one day we were at mcdonald's and jane was interested in a new toy and I dared her to go and make friends with the seniors. to my surprise, she went for it! she gathered up all of her bravery and went and introduced herself. and they were delighted to meet her. I snapped some quick photos to show deanna:

now whenever we go to mcdonald's in the morning, we always look for the seniors. I always go order breakfast, while jane checks in with her pals and hands out a few hugs. we have learned that they keep a tight schedule: they are there from 8am to 9am only. when we get ready to leave for breakfast, there is always a bit of a rush- we don't want to miss seeing the seniors! a lady named patty seems to run the conversation and shows interest in everyone. (jane is standing next to her in the second photo.) a man named tony always seems to find quarters in jane's ear. sometimes even dollars! I need tony to check MY ears!

recently jane made rainbow loom bracelets for all of her senior friends. she made them red and yellow- mcdonald's colors. she walked in and handed each one of them a bracelet- and again, they were charmed. I usually say hello to them too- and they always marvel at how friendly and confident that jane is. its a fun little aspect of our lives that makes me happy- and proud.

God is love.