Hope for our nation’s future…..

Turn on the evening news, hit up an internet news site, or open up a newspaper, and you will have reason after reason to be pessimistic about the future of our country. There seems to be no end to the stupid, violent, or pathetic stories that color our society. From Casey Anthony to Weiner to removing God from our Pledge of Allegiance, the vibe from today’s society paints one of the more depressing and pessimistic views of where we are headed as a nation in regards to values, ethics, unity, and beliefs. I could probably sum it up with the quote “Ask not, what your country can do for you? Ask what you can do for your country.” being replaced with the quote “What’s in it for me?”.

However, this weekend a small sliver of light and hope flashed in front of me. You see, I spent four days camping with the Boy Scouts and then finished the weekend at a Chrysalis closing. Both these organizations are properly centered on values and skills (Scouts) and Christ (Chrysalis). Both organizations are dedicated to growing our youth on those bedrocks rooted in a faith perspective. The Scouts are a faith based group tirelessly teaching our young boys how to be real men. Men who know how to tie a knot one minute, and dress a wound another. How to build something and how to serve others. How to respect nature and how to honor the God who created it. Chrysalis, on the other hand, focuses on building our youth’s relationship with Christ. They are given tools to further their walk and deepen their faith. They are then loved, encouraged, and equipped to go out into our world to love and serve others.

I cannot think of two organizations that are doing more for our very challenged youth of today. And because these two organizations are infusing faith and values into our youth, I actually have a bit of hope for the future of our nation.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Scout camping…..

I have the next two days off so I can go camping with my son and the Scouts. With last night’s wild storms passed (there were confirmed tornado touchdowns in metro Louisville), the weather appears to be cooperating with little chance of rain through the weekend and temps in the 80′s. And while this is different than the outback camping I did back in CA — the difference being that this is an established campsite and has “amenities” — it has lots of activities for the boys and should provide an adequate amount of relaxing time for me. And I get home Sunday in time for the race. And because it is my son’s b-day on Saturday, we will celebrate with the Scouts as well as with the family when we return.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy Father’s Day…..

First off, a very Happy Father’s Day to my Dad who is one of my regular readers. If any of y’all notice, I use a capital “D” for Dad when I speak about him instead of “dad” when I refer to other generic dads. He earned this capitalization and respect and it is a very small way I can show that.

I also wanted to quote myself from a blog post from almost 5 years ago. I was giving thanks to those who helped me during the Hurricane Katrina Mission Trip and he was a key contributor to my success on that trip.

A huge thank you to my Dad who taught me the skills I used heavily while down there. Who woulda thought many years ago that at age seven, hauling brick in the Texas heat would give me the work ethic to work through the Mississippi heat and humidity. And from there every skill — carpentry, masonry, tiling, flooring, mechanical, problem solving to name a few — has been used extensively. I thank my Dad for sharing these skills with me throughout my life so I could leverage them for a positive impact last week.

And, as you can see, his contribution was decades earlier. And it went beyond the mere trade skills that I employed. It also included values like persistence, sacrifice, charity, and community. That is our investment in our kids; our children; our next generation. That pouring into our children of ourselves doesn’t happen haphazardly or spontaneously or at the last minute or come to think of it. It is deliberate, consistent, loving guidance that is there day in and day out, on good days and on bad days, when the sun is shining and when the clouds are dark. That is the only way to establish character into our offspring.

So on this 2011 Father’s Day, I want to say a special thank you and recognize all the men out there who make the tough decisions for the family. Men who are the spiritual leaders of their household. Men who love their wives solely and whole-ly in sickness and in health. Men who fight the good fight. Fathers who fail in parenting but who also get back up, shake the dust off and get back on the horse. Men who can change the oil at one moment and swing on a swing with the kids the next. Who can build a fence or a house in the morning and build a relationship with a loved one in the afternoon. Who can fix a lawnmower or a broken toy and also fix a hurting heart. A man who can “man up” to a mistake as quickly as a challenge.

Luckily, I have many examples of these within my own circle — at work, at church, in the neighborhood, in my family, and in my social network. We need more of them because they are not widely publicized. They usually aren’t in the paper, they don’t end up on the evening news, they aren’t on a reality TV show, the media doesn’t highlight them, and they probably don’t run for office. They are behind the scenes giants that quietly focus on God, family and community while living their day to day lives. These are the real men, dads, and husbands that this holiday is celebrating.

And while we are at it, we should all be praising our Father in heaven. He is the reason we are all here, whether you want to believe or admit that or not. He is the perfect, loving Father we should all be modeling.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Today I will make a difference…..

I get a weekly email from Max Lucado that I look forward to each Friday. You can go and join the weekly email distribution at www.maxlucado.com.

Today’s email was simply awesome. I am reposting it in the hopes that it impacts someone to positively change their attitude and perspective. To be clear, the wonderful writing below is Max Lucado’s, not mine.

Today I Will Make a Difference

Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful. I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It’s OK to stumble… . I will get up. It’s OK to fail… . I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference.

Wonderfully stated and so impactful! Use this to kick off your weekend.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

DIY…..kid style…..

Because Father’s Day is creeping up on us, my kids have been asking me what I want for Father’s Day. My answer is that I don’t want them to spend any money. They can make me something or do something for me but I wanted to focus on their heart and giving, not consumerism and money.

So the scene above is what I saw as I left for work today. My son set up an impromptu workshop on the back of the trailer. He brought over an umbrella from the pool, put on his hat, grabbed some tools, and is making me my Father’s Day present. I am glad to see him take the initiative, be creative, and work for something. I don’t know what it is but I can’t wait and I know it will be cool!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

What a gorgeous day!…..

Not only is it my wife’s b-day and I have the day off work, but the online order I submitted for the weather actually came through. It is a beautiful Kentucky country day with nice puffy white cotton ball clouds suspended against a clear blue sky, a slight enjoyable breeze, and a perfect temperature of 79F. And last night’s sunset was colorful and marvelous.

I can’t wait to see what the weekend holds. Until then, I am gonna soak all this up!

…..Dan

How to pray for others…..

The note below was supplementary to my devotions this morning. I am copying it for my own future use and in the hopes that others are also as inspired as I was.

How to pray for others, especially those we have never met.

We pray that they:

  • understand God’s will
  • gain spiritual wisdom
  • please and honor God
  • bear good fruit
  • grow in the knowledge of God
  • be filled with God’s strength
  • have great endurance and patience
  • stay full of Christ’s joy
  • give thanks always

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy birthday!…..

Today is my wife’s 29th birthday…..again! She gets better and prettier every year. So I took the day off work so we could enjoy it together.

Happy birthday, my love!!!!!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net