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Blogger, Christ-follower, Encourager, Friend, Husband, Dad

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

That was some winter we had!  Oh, you don’t remember it either? Maybe there is something to that “Global Warming” after all. (No, I am not really going there).
It does seem that we went directly from Fall to Spring.  I don’t know about you, but I did not pass “Go” or collect my $200.  And as things stand right now, I could have really used that $200 to go toward repairing my riding lawnmower. The mower is in the shop, but the incredibly inconsiderate grass/weed blend in my backyard just keeps right on growing without a care in the world.
So, I was forced to mow the backyard with my 21-year-old push mower.  That is not to be confused with my 21-year-old mower pusher, who is off at college and somehow thinks that getting his education is more important than keeping dear old Dad’s yard looking nice.
What normally takes about 20 minutes riding took 2 ½ hours pushing.  It also required three tanks of gas.  Not to mention what I put in the mower! 
I did some pondering during this little backyard adventure.  You aren’t surprised by that, I’m sure.  If you are one of my faithful readers, you know that pondering is what I do best (or at least what I do most).
My pondering led me to consider a couple of things for which I am thankful.  One is riding lawnmowers.  Thankfully, only that backyard is growing really fast.  If I had to do the whole 1.3 acres with the push mower, we could have some serious issues. 
I’m also thankful for a good workout.  I have to admit that I am not good about getting adequate exercise.  That 2 ½ hours of pushing and pulling and walking and sweating was the best workout I have had in awhile.  And I did it outside on a beautiful day.  Perhaps I’ll start the newest exercise craze: Body by Briggs and Stratton.  I can see it now.  Videos, late night infomercials, denim spandex leotards (oops, gotta delete that mental image).
I talk a lot about perspective in this blog from week to week.  Perspective is what keeps the reality before us that our lives matter to God.  It is really easy to focus on things like broken lawnmowers, inconveniences, challenges, and difficulties.  Perspective helps us to identify those things for which we can be thankful—even in the middle of the challenges.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
So, I have sprung forward into spring, I have an old push mower that works, and I am able to walk behind it. Life is good.
But my feelings won’t be hurt when I can once again do my pondering while riding.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Have to Write!

Three more of my friends buried a parent this past week, but I don’t want Life Matters to be the weekly grief report, so I’m not going there this time.  If I stick with my foundational belief that our lives matter to God, I will sometimes write about how we process the difficult times in life.  I will also sometimes write about how we celebrate the joys in life, stumble through the curiosities of life, and laugh through the bloopers of life.  If our LIVES matter to God, that means that He cares about all of the above!
This week’s Life Matters is my 111th edition of what started out as an email devotional to members of my church family sometime around 1997.  I should say that there are 111 that can still be found somewhere.  Sometimes you don’t think about how something is going to grow when you first start out and I didn’t keep those early ones.  But since March 9, 1998, I have kept them.  The first 58 can be found in an archive on my website (gerrylewisonline.com). The last 53 of them have appeared online in blog form.  The last 44 of them have appeared as a column in the Azle News.
My hope is that my words each week encourage you on the journey of life.  I love hearing from people who tell me they enjoy my column/blog.  I love it when people ask, “How’s Mrs. Sweetie?”  I know they’ve been reading.  It has been a sincere blessing to have a reason to write every week for almost a year now.
If I had been writing once a week for all those years, I would be over 600 editions by now, but when there was no deadline, no publisher or editor waiting for an email by Monday morning, life sometimes got in the way of writing about life.
You may be wondering where this rambling reminiscence is headed. Part of it is about a realization that I came to a few months ago: Writing is part of why God put me on this planet.  Encouraging, empowering, and (occasionally, hopefully) entertaining people with written words is part of my purpose for living.  When I am not regularly writing, I am less effective in other areas of life.
So, why do I need this weekly deadline to motivate me to do what is so central to my sense of purpose?  Because life happens.  Because the swelling tide of urgency sometimes crashes in until the really important things are swept out into the sea of good intentions.  (Ok, maybe that was a little over the top, but you get the metaphor). The weekly deadline is one of many forms of accountability that serve as anchors that hold me fast to my life’s mission.
There it is.  Accountability.  It is not a hindrance to freedom, but an anchor that keeps us from drifting into such trivialities that we lose our freedom to be the people we were created to be.  What keeps you connected to your life’s mission?  Who could help you by being your “editor”?  How do you want your life to be read?
Let’s keep writing a great story together.