Category Archives: Character

Old Habits Die Hard (And So Does Sin)

For thirty plus years, my parents kept the kitchen trash can in the pantry. After remodeling the kitchen a few years ago, they moved the location of the trash can. That hasn’t stopped me (even years later) from going to the pantry to throw something away at least once when visiting. It’s maddening! It does make it easier to see why we sometimes continue to struggle with the same sins over and over again. Just like old habits, sin becomes almost ingrained in us. Romans 7:17-19 says, “ As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

I do manage to find the trash can. Actually, it even seems to get easier to take my garbage to the right place the more that I do it. Old sins die hard, but they do die! Do not be discouraged––your sins of yesterday cannot defeat your Savior of today!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Jesus saves me all at once but he changes me little by little. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

It’s better to break out little by little than to stay in chains for eternity. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

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Manure Happens!

Playing outside at my grandparents house one weekend as a kid, my brother and I discovered a pile of dirt over a little embankment that lead down to the garden. The knoll was the perfect launching pad for us to jump right into the cushiony pile of dirt. I’m not sure how long we played in the dirt but by the time we were finished, we had dirt in our ears (and every other orifice not covered by clothing). When my mom and grandparents came outside to see what we were up to, they made us aware of the painful reality that what we thought was dirt was actually manure for fertilizing the garden. I haven’t jumped in any unidentified piles since.

Manure happens! Don’t sit there and waller’* in it. Stand up, clean yourself off, and move on. You can let your past either haunt you or help you; one way or the other, it will determine your future. These situations are not meant to shake you as much as they are meant to shape you but the choice is yours. Nobody likes manure but it happens. Get over it and leave it behind (no pun intended)!

*waller’: southern for wallow, meaning to roll about in the mud; to indulge in something uncontrollably.
I am not southern but I am in the south and “when in Rome, you do as the Romans do!”

Hallmark Mom

Tina recently shared an interesting insight with me that came out of shopping for a birthday card for her mother. After reading several cards to find just the right one, she identified attributes that she too would like to possess as a mother. In other words, she was so moved by the many endearing words used to describe mothers in greeting card messages that she aspires to be a mother like that herself, the kind of mother typified in a greeting card. Tina wants it to be a challenge when Megan goes to buy her a card, an experience where every card is such a reflection of her own mother, that it requires careful contemplation in choosing the right one, the one that most closely depicts the exhaustive elements of her mother’s beauty.

What a great ambition. This has inspired me to do the same––to be a Hallmark Dad and a Hallmark Husband. Not to fit some stereotypical greeting card non-sense for the sake of conformity, but to epitomize that which is admirable and upright; to be the type of person that could be the inspiration for a greeting card message instead of the deviation from one; to be the rule rather than the exception; to be a benchmark by which all other fathers and husbands are measured.

How about you? Are you worthy of carrying the Hallmark seal on your back (think old ‘90s marketing campaign of flipping the card over to check for Hallmark branding)?

Queen of Hearts

Tina and I were graciously invited to a party by a coworker of mine. The festivities began with a diverse group of 50 plus people. The fellowship was superb, the food yummy (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, bruschetta, and jalapeño poppers), the DJ jammin’, the disco lights poppin’, and the dancin’ hot. Themed, “Queen of the Jungle,” after the nickname of the hostess (Queen), the party even boasted a Tarzan yell contest (and I tied for 1st––AhhhhhAhhhhhh!)

Yes, this party is definitely worth bragging about but even more brag-worthy (and blogworthy) is the hostess. Queen is truly the “hostess with the mostest.” There are some people who let life’s circumstances make them bitter and some who let life’s circumstances make them better. As someone who has been a paraplegic since being hit by a drunk driver in the 70’s, Queen is definitely the latter. She is the kind of person with an energetic personality that lights up the room when she enters. She is not idle or lazy, inspiring others by working three jobs despite her reliance on a wheelchair. Some would say that her paralysis is a disability but apparently, no one has ever told her. Her Christian walk is more of a strut, resonating in the hearts of those around her. She has scaled the mountains of life with grace and dignity yet is humble enough to share the fruits of victory with her vast array of friends (and I just happen to be lucky enough to be called one). While the party was intended to be a celebration of Queen’s birthday, the real gifts are not in what she received but in what she gives to those who are fortunate enough to know her.

We celebrate you, Queen!

Grandparent’s Day

Happy Grandparents Day, Gram and Pap!

I just got off the phone with my grandma and grandpap. I always enjoy talking to them. They have five decades of experience that I do not. And so, I find their perspective interesting. In some respects, it’s a far different world than when they grew up. In others’, some things never change. While they know little about MySpace, Twitter, Google, cell phones, email, internet, etc., they know first hand of other current events like war, hard economic times, political history, and the importance of good ol’ Christian values. This may sound cliché but they have had as much influence on who I am and who I am becoming than almost anybody else (aside from my own parents, of course). I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, going to church with them; attending Vacation Bible school; helping Pap in the yard or garage; eating Pop-Tarts, Lipton Cup-o-Soup, and Old Fashioned Ginger Snaps; (my favorite) getting a bag full of nickel candy at the local store; smoking my first . . . just kidding; my bother and I did play in a pile of manure one time but that’s another post altogether. Bottom line: they are a part of so many of my childhood memories. I guess you could say that some parts of them have been cut and pasted into my very soul. They are beautiful people who I am proud and privileged to share in their legacy. Today, I honor you Pap and Gram!

Vote Right

A DJ on a popular Charlotte radio station said yesterday when talking about the history that Barack Obama would make by being elected to the United States Presidency, “I have a black friend who doesn’t know who she wants to vote for but, is going to vote for Obama because he’s black.” Martin Luther King, Jr. would roll over in his grave if Barack gets elected based on his color. Remember the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” If you’re going to vote for Obama, then do it for the right reasons-vote for him because you think he’s capable or because you share his same values or because you like his policies but by all means don’t vote for him because of his color lest the great work of Martin Luther King, Jr. be in vain.

Likewise, ladies, don’t cast your vote for Sarah Palin based on gender. I know it would be vogue to make history by electing either of these candidates but a decision based on traits as superficial as color or gender might create a history that we’ll later regret.

Just as absurd, I work with an MD who said, “I was considering not even voting . . .” Don’t do that. Don’t check out of this election because you’re on the fence; don’t put the history of this election in other’s hands by “wussing” out. This election is not the election to surrender your right to vote. It’s historical, it’s volatile, and it’s arguably the most important election of modern times. Weigh the sides and make a decision. Get out and vote for someone; write in a candidate, vote Ron Paul, vote for Fred Flintstone for all I care but, whatever you do, don’t sit idle on the sidelines with so much at stake.

McCain Steals the Show

The day after Obama’s history-making acceptance speech with celebrity-like fanfare, the Blockbuster proportion is over. Why it’s not the Top Story in the news today . . .

Obama: Great speech; little substance. (And I thought he was about change?)
McCain: Surprise VP pick; unprecedented event. Sarah Palin could be the fresh, conservative, no-nonsense approach needed for the McCain Camp to upset the apple cart in this election!

I have tried to steer clear of directly addressing politics in my blog because it can often be a very contentious issue. Quite honestly, I have not been in the corner of either Obama or McCain but sometimes, given the choices, you have to pick the lesser of two evils. My goal is to choose the candidates that best fit my conservative, evangelical values. A decision based on anything other than your values is just fruitless and could have detrimental results.