Jul 252015
 
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One of my favorite songs. It’s so easy to be distracted by junk around us and forget to celebrate and be thankful for a thousand little things that grace our lives. Today, this song reminded me of a thousand little things I am thankful for in Ruth, my girlfriend, my wife x32.

I’m thankful that when I get up far earlier than the sun, she knows it’s my quiet time and lets it be. I’m thankful when she squeals in delight when I bring her coffee in bed.

When she eats the burned part without me even getting a chance to split it. When she irons my shirt for the next day before I can get to it. When she brushes the dogs because she knows I ha…I mean, it’s not my favorite thing to do. When she installs the toilet paper rolling off the front of the roll…yessss.

I’m thankful that she is a tireless and uncomplaining roofing partner! I’m thankful she’s not scared of sawdust and dirt and getting her shoes and hands dirty. I’m thankful she knows the value of high quality leather, in work gloves, shoes, and yes, purses!

I’m thankful we can hold hands in public, even crossing the hospital campus. And that she enjoys pretending we are on a date when we grab a quick lunch at work. And that she laughs when I tell the girls at work that I’m off to each lunch with my girlfriend.

I always thank my God for you… -1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV.

I am thankful when I hear her laugh and laugh at something silly on TV! And for the fact that she finds my antics amusing… at least most of the time. And that neighborhood kids respond to her friendliness and interest.

I am thankful that she creates fans wherever she works. I am thankful that she is as happy to see me as I am to see her after a challenging day at work. I am thankful she finds rest in a good book.

These are things, yes mostly little things, that make my days joyful. Homework for you? Revel in little thankful things today. Don’t sweat the big stuff. Find ways to share your thankfulness for small things with those around you, a coworker, a boss,  a friend at church, a child of yours, a child of someone elses, your wife.

Jul 192015
 

equalEquality. Being viewed as equal. Demanding equal treatment. These are constant themes in our culture and certainly in the media. How important is it to be equal? When I focus on being equal, do I really mean greater than?

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.  -George Orwell, Animal Farm.

In our church, we practice a symbolic act called footwashing. We do this several times a year and just before a communion (Lord’s supper) service. Patterned after Jesus’ own example, it is to teach humility and even to allow members to right wrongs between them. Yesterday, I had the privilege of leading 15 shiny-faced, wiggly kids between 3 and 13. We learned about symbolism. We learned about Jesus serving the disciples by washing their feet. Yuck! We agreed that copying things that Jesus did was a good idea.

We learned that washing feet reminds us that no one, from a country’s leader to a child, is more important than another. We are all important and have equal value at the foot of the cross.

Regardless of your faith choice this morning, you may find direct application for this in all parts of your life.

When my daughter, and now, my son,  married, they washed each other’s feet in the middle of the wedding service, showing us all that they promised to serve each other in love. While roles in a family are not all identical, it is important for children to be highly valued and to learn to serve each other as they watch the example of their parents.

At UVMC, our senior leadership do a beautiful job of teaching servant leadership by example. It is not at all uncommon to see any one of them interacting with and serving a disoriented guest in the hallway or assisting a struggling front line employee. They teach value for each person in their actions and also their business decisions.

What is my focus at work? Do I want to ensure that I get my share? That I don’t work any harder than the next person? That I don’t do for someone else unless they have already done it for me? Acting in humility, being the first to apologize, going a step farther than another, these are things that create harmony in the workplace and result in better service for our customers or patients.

What is my focus at home? Do I let the dishes pile up because some one else should be doing it? Because I did it last time? Do I delay taking the garbage out, hoping that someone will take it out before I get to it? Or do I initiate acts of service that I know will please my wife, with no thought of reciprocity or reward?

My challenge for us as we begin a new week- find ways to underline value in those around you, at home and at work, through acts of humility and service!

Jul 052015
 

Dependence DayDependence Day. Did I miss the “In”? Was that the day before Independence Day? Yes, many years ago, yesterday, we did declare our independence from another country. Today, as  I mull over the rhetoric from yesterday, I declare my dependence!

I depend on brave young men and women in all military branches who deliberately charge into harm’s way around the world to protect my freedom and that of others who deserve it.

I depend on tough, committed individuals who serve as LEO’s, paramedics, firefighters (Yes, thank you Cal Fire!), and others who keep us safe every day.

I depend on service-minded public servants in all levels of government who make decisions every day, not out of self-interest, but to make our communities better.

I declare my Dependence Day!

I depend on my local Friedman’s store to supply me with the materials I need to create, build, repair my home and property as I am able.

I depend on Americans all around me to keep  our forests and mountains and shores clean and pristine for my enjoyment and theirs.

I depend on my boss to lead me and others with the UVMC mission in mind every day.

I depend on my laboratory colleagues to perform their duties with excellence and caring, providing the best service possible to the patients they serve.

I declare my Dependence Day!

I depend on my pastor to lead my church, and me, with Godly conviction and grace, ever pointing me closer to Him.

I depend on my parents to support me with love and approval, even when my decisions seem amusing, confusing, or downright weird to them.

I depend on my daughters and son to love and respect and connect with me as we continue to grow together.

I depend on my wife to love me unconditionally, even when I’m a little bit embarrassing, stinky, or awkward.

I depend on my Jesus to front for me always, to model grace for me, to give me  rock-solid salvation assurance based on His behavior, not mine, to give me confidence in a place in His Father’s house one day soon.

I declare my Dependence Day!

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