Reflecting and Thinking Ahead

streamer-3.gif Looking at my post on January 1, 2007 , I expressed hope that during 2007 I would be come more of myself and more Christlike at the same time. I believe I have experienced some of that transformation. Now that I understand it better, I want to continue to live it on purpose. Jesus said that the most important thing is for me to love God and love my neighbor as myself. With God’s help, I plan to do that.

I went for a walk today and stopped on a little footbridge over a stream. The water was running hard from the recent rains and there were rocks in the stream that the water had to get through on it’s journey. The stream was bubbling and churning and the sound caused me to stop for a moment. The moment became two moments and three as I thought about all the great things that happened this year. I had some really fun times, but the great things that happened weren’t all pleasant… in fact the very best ones were downright unpleasant. These were best because, as my uncle recently reminded me, those unpleasant conflicts are where the real growth happens.

Thinking forward to this year, I was thinking about the futility of planning. I don’t have control of my life. There are so many things that happen to me that I have no choice over. My choice comes in how I respond or react to the things that happen. But reacting and responding is not planning. I know that I can plan. I can set goals that are worthy and yet unattainable. That seems futile… (read don’t want to go there). I can set goals that I know I can do because I will do them anyway. That is cheating for no reason. So with all that in mind what I want to do is set a few SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. These characteristics are pretty much self explanatory, but the last one is worth a comment. Timely, to me, means that the goals are not just for the sake of getting things done, but they are to help keep me headed in the direction I want to go. With that in mind, here are a few “cheaters”. They are already on the calendar, or very close to it.

  • streamer-1.gifHelp out at the Brian McLaren event at Area 15 (I gotta blog about Area 15 sometime)
  • Trip to Montreal with LaClef in February
  • Personal Coaching Training in February
  • Pass my 10 year anniversary with Wachovia
  • Turn 50
  • Celebrate 30 wonderful years with my sweetie.

And here are a few wishes that I want to turn into SMART goals. They aren’t completely there yet, but they express my desire for the next year.

  • Move my spiritual journey from one of “learning about” to intentionally expressing God’s love in a tangible way to people who are in need. (hurting (everyone), poor, hungry, homeless…)
  • Invest the time that Wachovia allows for community service work around Area15. (They actually allow me to invest an hour a week-on the clock-in community service work. Isn’t that cool?)
  • Become more involved with Area 15. (Outside of the community service time. Just hang out there and see where I fit in)
  • Blog about my spiritual journey. (Kinda like my Work Experience Series)

streamer-2.gif These are wishes and not goals because they don’t have a deadline (beyond saying that I want to do them within the next year. Anyway, it is a start and that’s all I’ve got right now.

A wish, a hope and a prayer.  I wish I could spend quality time with each of you every day to know you better and to love and encourage you the way God does. I hope your new year takes each of you further in the direction that you want to go, and I pray that each of you feels the Love of God in your life in a special way today and the next day and the one after that…

Going Back

mels-flight.gif Kat is home. Danae is home. Erin is home. I am watching Melody’s flight home on flightstats.com. According to them she is passing over I-64 between Lexington, KY and Huntington, WV. The house is quiet. It feels surreal.

Now I know what it feels like to have all of the family come home for the holidays. I understand just a bit better why it is so stressful. Don’t misunderstand. I loved it! But at the same time I saw and experienced the stress of the girls coming home. We are their family of origin now. Until very recently, we were just their family. They are building lives of their own that will resemble ours, but be different as well. That’s the way it is supposed to be.

I desire to create an environment where our family feels welcome and loved; where they feel valued for who they are, not for anything they do.  A place they look forward to coming. I do so love my family!

Christmas Gift

jim-xmas.jpg Growing up, I called my dad’s parents Gran and Andy. I have great memories of going to their house every year in Point Pleasant, West Virginia for Christmas. One of the traditions in Gran’s family was that we greeted one another by saying, “Christmas Gift.” It was like a contest to see who said it first. I didn’t understand why we did it. It was just another one of those things that adults did that didn’t make sense. Unlike so many of those “adult things” that I eventually figured out, I still do not understand what it was about. Hopefully Dad or Uncle Dave can shed some light on the origins by leaving a comment.

xmasangel-right.gif These memories bring me warm feelings of the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Sights of the Christmas tree so brightly decorated at Gran and Andy’s house, wonderful smells of great food cooking, the sounds of all of Gran’s siblings and their families gathering for our Christmas Eve reunion. Someone always read Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, chapter two in the King James version. Later we drifted off to sleep (after making a lot of noise and getting yelled at a few times) with visions of sugar-plums dancing in our heads.

I pray for peace at Christmas for you and your families all over the earth. May that be our Christmas Gift.  I invite you to view our annual collage and family news (my extra little gift to the family).

A Happy Man

happy-man.jpgI am a happy man. Family is coming and going. The house is crazy with activity. Two of the girls are home and the other two will arrive over the next couple of days. Jeanie’s sister, niece and mom are here today. My mom comes tomorrow. What else can I say? I am a happy man.

P. S. I just put up the annual collage and news . Please take a look at it and let me know if there are any glaring issues with it that I missed. Email or comments will be great! I will “announce it” through email to lots of friends and family on Christmas Day.