Nature triggers…..

In the weekly Bible study and accountability group I go to, a friend of mine was discussing the book he is currently reading, C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters“. The premise of the book is a senior demon mentoring a lower demon on all the ways to corrupt a person and keep them from a relationship with God. One of the letters describes a way for them to get people to think about God in an untouchable, historical, “white robe and sandals” form rather than all around us.

Our conversation then took us to ways that God is all around us — in acts of kindness and compassion, in nature, in beautiful things we see, in other people. We shared how some scenes in nature bring us closer to God. I call these “nature triggers”. They can be a gorgeous sunrise/sunset, the majestic mountains, the breeze through the trees, or the rays of sunlight poking through the clouds. All of these should remind us of the wonderful Creator who made all these for His glory. And each time we see them it should prompt us to ponder Him.

Which leads me to the picture below. It was posted by a friend on Facebook and, even though it was a picture and I did not experience this “live”, it was a “nature trigger” for me in its beauty.

I wish you many “nature triggers” this weekend and the coming week. God is truly all around us.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Marriage story…..

A friend of mine sent me this story to share. Anything that encourages marriage, upholds vows, solidifies resolve, surpasses challenges and removes divorce as an option is worthy of my time to post.

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside
the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.– At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

A CHRIST-CENTERED MARRIAGE IS A MARRIAGE THAT IS SURE TO LAST A LIFETIME.

So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6

No matter what condition your marriage, go carry your loved one — if not physically, then emotionally.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Kid time…..

My wife and R took off for Indiana this afternoon to attend one of the first of many college visit and tour days. They will spend tonight in the dorms and tour the campus tomorrow to see what it’s all about.

That gave me time to spend with K and D. I had some work from home stuff to wrap up late this afternoon. But once that was done, I donned my swim trunks and played out in the pool with them. The water was perfect and we wrestled, made a wave pool, floated on inner tubes and jumped around.

After that I told them I had a surprise. This usually is a game for all of us because they try to guess where we are going and I try to throw them off. To make things more interesting, some surprises are boobie prizes. For example, I think one time they got all excited and jumped in the truck and I took them to get the mail or out to the back property or something lame like that. Other times I have taken them to their favorite ice cream place — Graeter’s.

Tonight was a good surprise night — but I didn’t want them to know that…..yet. I first started out and it ended up being Kroger because I had some things to pick up. Well, Kroger happens to be right next to the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen……which I drove towards after Kroger…..but drove right by. You now get the picture of the game.

So go from there to the bank (which is by Wendy’s which was a possibility for Frostys — but no) and then onto I-64. I then took the cloverleave north on the Snyder (I-265) but then stayed on the cloverleave to take me west, but stayed on the cloverleave to take me south, but stayed on the cloverleave to take me east. Again, you get the picture. After a few circuits on the cloverleave I finally ended up in front of Graeter’s and they didn’t even get out or believe me until I actually parked and got out of the car.

Dad thinks he’s funny!

Our ride home was much quicker and more enjoyable as we ate ice cream cones on the way home. Such is life at our crazy home.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Getting the message across…..

Communication in this day and age is so many things.

  • Important
  • Overused
  • Drowning
  • Complex
  • Saturated
  • Lacking

Add the word “effective” into communication and it changes those adjectives.

  • Needed
  • Essential
  • Dynamic
  • Critical
  • Impactful

While there is constantly communication all around us, the world is yearning for messages of substance. The short video below is a beautiful and elegant message that is effective in getting its message across in the sea of media that surrounds us every day.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Great vid series…..

One of my favorite Christian groups, Casting Crowns, not only has a fairly new album out, but they also have a great spiritual video series available for free viewing on Youtube. Here is the first one — go check it out.

Mark Hall (on the video) also recently wrote a great book called “Your Own Jesus”. If you are ready for a challenging, “take it to the next level” read on your walk with Jesus, go get this book and plow into it. It is a convicting book, but it will rattle your spiritual world and healthily challenge and grow you.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Arrr, arrr, arrr…..

I spent a lot of this last weekend in the garage. It has been a continuation of last month where one of my wife’s b-day presents was for me to clean the garage. Well, I have been continuing that momentum and taking it even further. The whole garage isn’t clean, but 2/3 of it is and we can park her truck and my car in there. Additionally, I have been able to quickly locate any of the various tools used for the myriad of home/garage projects. And my discipline in returning them has stuck and the garage is as clean and usable today as it was when I began the project a month ago. For me, that is a record.

So yesterday, I took a break from continued work on the last section of garage, and instead focused on changing the oil in my wife’s truck and my car. Also, seizing the opportunity, I brought D out so he could help me wrench on the vehicles and learn to exercise some of his Y chromosome.

I went into the finer points of the engine. I explained the role of oil in the engine. We even did a little experiment where he rubbed his hands together quickly. This created friction which created heat he could feel. I then had him do the same thing after I poured some vegetable oil on his palms. He rubbed even quicker but could not produce friction enough to generate any heat. I then explained how metal rubbing against metal is not good and produces lots of friction and heat and that the oil we were putting into the engine prevents that and lubricates the many moving parts.

I then let him jack up my car (which we didn’t need to do with my wife’s truck). I explained how we had to safely find the jack points and then lift the car with the floor jack. I also asked him how such a little boy could lift up the heavy car all by himself. He pointed to the jack and I explained that the jack worked by using physics. We did a couple of experiments with the jack so he could see the difference in leverage, where he put his hands on the jack lever, and distance and frequency of the pumps.

With the car finally up, I told him that this was the most important part of the day — positioning the jack stands to that we could work under the vehicle safely. I told him that even though the car was up on the jack, that we had to use jack stands if we ever went underneath the car. It was ok to just use the jack alone if we were just changing a tire, but if we put any part of our body underneath the car, we had to use jack stands. That made sense to him and we should never have to find out the hard way.

I then showed him my vehicle maintenance log and pointed out all the past maintenance activities. I also highlighted how I had written down common, frequently used tool sizes. For example, my car that we were working on required a 9/16 socket for the oil drain bolt. We went over to the tool box and I had him select the correct socket and wrench. We proceeded back over to the car and got underneath while he positioned the oil pan and I loosened the drain bolt. He watched the oil come out and slowly decrease to a drip. He updated me on the progress as I retrieved the oil filter and positioned paper towels accordingly. With the last drip, drip, drip, I tightened the oil drain bolt, screwed off the filter, and put on the new one. I then gave him a quick lesson on the weights of oil – 5W-30, 15W-40, 30W, 20W-50 – all of which I had in stock. I told him that my car was special and required a special type of oil – synthetic Mobil 1 5W-30. He grabbed the funnel and we poured the golden juice into the motor. He commented that he could tell it was new oil because of the gold color and that used oil was jet black.

The job done, we celebrated with a pair of throw back Dr Peppers with real sugar that we poured in glass bottles to enjoy.

The heat got to him though (along with the donuts from church) and he retreated inside while I began work on my wife’s truck. However, soon enough he was back out with me and underneath her truck as we changed her oil.

It was a nice time with my son doing guy stuff and I am glad I could impart some garage knowledge down to him. Even though it was hot and humid, it was what makes a good garage memory.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Catch up…..

As I stated a week ago in my prayer request post, I have been totally slacking at my blog maintenance and post generation. There is lots going on and I have been trying to focus on my family and my “to do” list. Unfortunately, the blog is not one of my top 10 priorities and lately it has showed. We’ll see what will happen in the next few weeks or months. I like to set a goal of posting daily. However, that can be unrealistic given all of the other higher priorities I am trying to balance. I think I might relieve myself of that goal and rather post spontaneously as the ideas or writings come to me. Again, we’ll see how that goes.

And right now as I sit at the computer, I have way more thoughts than time to get them entered.

First, is another prayer request. However, these are prayers of thanksgiving. You see, since my last post a lot has happened to Chris — he is the young jogger who was hit by the van. Let me give you an update and a miracle story.

Last Sunday progressed from us praying for a random person who we didn’t know to praying for a young man from my daughter’s hybrid homeschool who she knows, I have never seen prayer networks come alive for a believer. From our friends who were immediate responders to the homeschool consortium network to the Emmaus community to prayer request statuses on Facebook, the prayer channels came alive and truly had an impact to Chris’s injuries and recovery.

Immediately, we found out that there was no paralysis even though he had broken his neck. Next were brain swelling and bleeding concerns that put him into urgent surgery. Those concerns evaporated and I am convinced it was through prayer. Next was Chris getting up and walking on Tuesday — we’re talking 48 hours after a fragile 160 pound body was assaulted by a 3500 pound van. And that was followed by CHRIS LEAVING THE HOSPITAL ON THURSDAY WITH AN EXPECTED FULL RECOVERY!!!!! How amazing is that?!?!?!? I attribute it all to the power of prayer and how that day unfolded bringing many, many believers to their knees for a young disciple of Christ.

If you read that post last Sunday and put Chris in your prayers — thank you and know that your spiritual petition had a positive impact. If you did not read my post or are just reading this now, know that prayer works and it is critical for your walk with Christ.

If you ever have any prayer requests, please forward them to me. I would be honored to add them to my prayer list.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Prayer request…..

I have been slacking in my blog posts. It’s not like stuff hasn’t been going on — the posts are mostly just stuck in my head right now waiting to make their way down my arms, across my fingers and into the keyboard for y’all to read.

However, this post could not wait.

I received a call early this afternoon from good friends and neighbors of ours down the street. They had just come from church in Jeffersontown and were the 3rd or 4th people that came across a young man who was jogging and was hit head on by a mini-van by Ruckreigel and Taylorsville roads. He had severe trauma to the head and was bleeding profusely. My friends helped out where they could until emergency personnel arrived. The driver didn’t speak English and wasn’t able to communicate much.

I am also finding out through another prayer network that the young man just graduated from the Christian home school that my oldest daughter attends. He has swelling and bleeding on the brain and his neck is broken. There is no paralysis right now (thank the Lord) but he is in critical condition.

Please put him in your prayers. He needs prayers for peace, comfort, healing, pain management, hope and love. Please pray for those medical experts that will be working over him. Please pray for the van driver. And please pray for his family who will have to watch their son go through this not knowing the outcome.

While this is a tragic and critical situation, I am hopeful.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net