Month: January 2013

FOCUS in 2013

We often fail to get much done because we’re so mentally “scattered”, simply failing to ever focus our efforts on accomplishing ONE LITTLE THING.  We’re too easily distracted (if you don’t believe that, just yell “SQUIRREL!”, and then watch lise react).

So, in 2013, I offer the suggestion that we think about just one or two things that we’d like to accomplish for the year (like, say, getting the coffee made), formulate a plan of steps to take in order to achieve this or that thing, and then set aside time to work on the plan.  It sounds simple enough, but as soon as someone yells “SQUIRREL!”…

Here’s a fairly recent photo of my long-lost wife, Jackie, hiding behind my step-granddaughter, Eliza, despite the fact that she seems to be having a pretty darn good hair day.

This photo, of course, has nothing to do with this post.
I got distracted.

Jackie Playing with Eliza

Jackie Playing with Eliza

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How Can I Advance the Kingdom of God? – Be Nice to a Dog

After the Fall, when all the other animals feared us (and occasionally ate us!), God left us one friend in the animal kingdom – dogs.  One species that still joyfully came when we called, and happily followed us around.

Have you ever noted the fact that dogs have one peculiar trait, unique to their species – they’re happier to see a person than they are to see another dog!  You know how they’ll stand still sometimes, head cocked to the side perhaps, looking up at you quizically, wondering, “Is everything okay?  Are you mad at me?  Do you still like me?” – But all you have to do is smile and say a kind word, and you can see their whole body relax as they happily wag their tail, just delighted that you like them.  (I wish some people were that emotionally moved by my greeting them nicely.)

So, whenever you have the chance, show your appreciation for God’s merciful gift to us of animal friendship, and be nice to a dog. They like us – they depend on us – They trust us, and it’s an especially horrible sin when we betray that trust by treating them cruelly.

Dogs – they’re our friends.

The 4-year-old Girl Who Broke my Heart

The summer between high school and university, I worked as a counselor at a daycare center jointly funded by churches and the city, for underprivileged and handicapped children.

My favorite of all the kids was a darling, extremely precocious, 4-year-old girl named Emily.  She was one of the poor kids, although you might have thought she was crippled, since she made me carry her everywhere.  (Perhaps I didn’t fight her tooth and nail on that all the time, but she did wear me out – I mean, she must have weighed at least 30 or 40 pounds, right? – and that gets heavy after awhile.)

Near the end of the summer, about 2 weeks before the program was ending, came Emily’s last day – because her family was moving away.  I thought I’d buy her a going-away present, and so I asked her, “If you could have ANYTHING in the world, what’s the one thing you’d want most?”, fully expecting the answer to be something like, “a Barbie doll”.  Therefore, I was absolutely stunned when she replied, “For my parents to have a real house”.  I don’t know what their living conditions were, but I could vaguely picture her playing in the background and listening to her parents sitting at the kitchen table late at night dreaming about being able to afford a house.  But the idea that a 4-year-old would latch onto that just blew my mind.  Shoot, I wished I could buy her parents a house!

Well, i bought her a doll anyway.  When her mother arrived to pick her up for the last time that afternoon, I introduced myself and said, “You probably already know this, but your daughter is the most amazing little girl in the world.”  Her mom smiled and nodded, and replied, “Yeah, I do already know that.”

Just before they left, Emily gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, and blew me away again by pronouncing, “I’ll never forget you, Jack.”
Yeah.  I’ll never forget you either, Emily.

(accompanying photo is not actually Emily, but she was at least that cute, and she was indeed a

blonde –Image perhaps her only flaw)