QTMs for 3/13/18: 3 REASONS TO MAKE THE EFFORT NOT TO BE A REJECT

“Oh, Lord, don’t let THEM sit with us at our table!”

See the source imageDon’t look shocked.  You’ve thought the same thing, and more than once.  Don’t think God doesn’t hear your unspoken complaint.  And don’t think that after a few times of averted eyes and obvious body language, the THEY to whom you refer don’t receive it loud and clear.


You’re not wanted at our table.  We don’t want to welcome you into our group. You’re not like us, see, because we’re US.  We’ve been US for years, we always sit together, we always do things together.  When one of us puts out a picture at this or that social setting on Facebook, you’ll usually see the rest of US there.  That’s because WE are US.  You’re not wanted in our circle, but we’re way too cool, and probably way more spiritual, to actually have to say it.  You’re being shunned, silly rabbit.  Get used to it.  Because you’re just not part of US, and you never will be.


It gets easy, doesn’t it?  Easy to draw together, to react like iron shavings to a magnet in any social setting.  It takes no talent to reject another.

See the source imageSimple.  Just look for another US member, and join them.  Soon there’ll be five or six, and it’s even better if they’re couples.  US couples tend to automatically keep any singles who might be interested in being a part of their group at bay.  Just turn toward one another, presenting your backs to anybody else, and TA-DA!  DING-DING-DING!  WARNING!  DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!  REJECT APPROACHING!

Who are you, and what made you think you’re wanted here?

It’s bad enough to put up with social near-misses by THEM couples sniffing around long-standing US groups.  NObody needs the odd single person doing the same thing.  Why, if we let that happen, it won’t be long before some of US find out those people aren’t so unlike US after all.  They might even be worth getting to know . . . Nah.

I’m suggesting you learn to identify US groups, and make the effort to help open their self-absorbed eyes for the following reasons.

  1. No one is unworthy of your attention.  There are a few individuals whose obnoxiosity makes them unpalatable to any group in any setting.  But I’m guessing even they got that way because they got fed up with the artificial smiles and barely-tolerating spirits of US groups, just waiting for them to shove off.  Sentient humans can tell when they’re constantly putting others off, and sometimes why.  Maybe no one cared enough to unUS long enough to sit down with Mr. or Ms. Obnoxious and, without animus, speak the truth in love to them.  Real friends do that.  Real Christ-followers do that.  Nope; not easy.  Yet Jesus told us to love one another like that.  It’s not optional.  Know why?
  2. Everyone has a story.  Yep.  Even the aforementioned obnoxious, unsocialized ones.  Every man or woman you’ve ever met has a piece of their story that can inform you about why they act and react as they do.  That individual may never be a close friend to you.  After all, we each have our own preference in friends, and some are bound to be closer than others.  We have, however, no right to turn a cold shoulder to anyone unless they’ve somehow earned it.  Even then, there’s something in their back story from which you can learn.  At least you’ll be a friend to them, and not be turning your back and averting your eyes the moment they walk through the door.  Why’s that important?See the source image
  3. You’ve been one of THOSE people at some time in your life.  It may have been a long time ago.  But very few have been instantly popular the day they were born.  And for that odd few who were?  It didn’t take long for everyone around them to see how shallow and self-serving they were and leave them alone.  So, you see, one way or another, you’ve been one who can walk into a room unnoticed, sit down by yourself, and be your own best friend.  You’ve known the slight frisson of excitement when someone approaches your table, only to say, “Do you mind if WE borrow a chair?”  Strange, isn’t it?  That ‘someone’ never seems to say, “Hey, why don’t you join us?” or better yet, holler over a shoulder, “Hey everyone.  C’mere!  There’s someone new here I want you to meet!”

People who’ve suffered rejection in their past are keenly aware of its fangs.  Each new rejection brings old strikes, old poison memories flooding back.  They may act disinterested and even aloof.  They’re not.  They’re scanning faces and voices into their internal database, and from that point on will be superficially, even professionally friendly.  But they’ll never let those people get close enough to hurt them.  And another possibly-terrific relationship goes up in smoke before it ever began.

I believe that’s one of those sources of heart-tears God promises to wipe away:  promising friendships that died on the vine because US were more intent on maintaining social integrity than entertaining Christ’s command to love – even the unlovely.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2018

 

Categories: Encouragement, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

QTMs for 3/8/18: DRIFT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP PADDLING

The Bible says a lot about the cross.  Nowhere does it mention inoffensive.

It’s no secret our American culture has for decades been steadily drifting away from God.  While that drift out into the depths of Whatever Feels Good has been happening, there’s been just as steady an invasion of philosophies alien to God and His salvation plan through Jesus.

I was born and raised in the great Pacific Northwest.  From my earliest memories, our family spent several weeks each summer camping and fishing in the mountains of central Oregon, eastern Washington and northern Idaho.  Those trout, steelhead and salmon were worth the effort!

It takes time and effort to plan a trip like that, especially if using a boat.  There’s equipment, bait and lures to buy, motors to fine-tune, and batteries to charge up for trolling.  Even if planning to catch most of one’s food, there were still condiments and cornmeal, salt and spices, pepper and particulars.

Does it make sense, then, to go to all that effort to plan a great fishing vacation, put one’s boat in the water, lower the motors, load it with all necessities, then just . . . drift?

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Don’t get me wrong.  We meant to drift sometimes.  We’d figure out which way the wind was pushing the waves, motor up above that, cut the main outboard and drift, letting the action of the water propel us.  If catching fish, we’d stay there, repeatedly using the trolling motor to go back to our original starting point and drift some more.  If catching little or nothing, we’d use the outboard to go somewhere else interesting, and try the same thing there.

Drifting while fishing’s not terribly crucial unless you’re drifting over a falls or into some rapids.  Intentionally drifting away from the guidelines of God’s Word is spiritually mortal.  It doesn’t happen all at once; we cut a corner here, quibble over something else there, and before long we’re a long way from where God did His changing work through Jesus in us.

“How on earth did we get here?”  Good question to ask.

Hell’s temperature hasn’t dropped, but any interest in hearing a thing about it has.

If we tolerate real preaching much, make sure the speaker’s voice is respectful, husky and breathy.  I don’t need NObody yelling at me.  In church, I mean.  If we’re hosting Entrepreneurs Extraordinaire or watching an edge-of-seat game, the more excited the better!

You.  Up on the, uh, stage thingie.  Entertain me.  You do all the work, make it happen and sparkle.  Sing upbeat stuff I’m used to hearing, with lyrics that don’t expect anything from me.  Remember the 11th Commandment:  “Don’t make me uncomfortable.”  Let me be okay with thinking, “Well, that’s nice for you.  There’s a lot of ways to please God.”

Well, yeah.  But every one of them is in the Bible.  And every translation out there reads pretty much the same.  And every one of those commands of God are funneled through the Person and saving work of Jesus Christ.

Our problem is that we’re stubbornly attached to finding a way – ANY way – to get God’s grace pouring down over our lives except the one He’s given us:  Jesus.

See the source imageThere’s where the drift comes in.  The world around you – its cultural norms, the way everybody else lives – want you at all costs to just fit in.  “Go ahead and do church all the time.  That’s cool.  Just come back and be ‘us’ with us, too.  After all, the Good Book says you’re salt and light for the rest of us, right?  Can’t do that if you’re not out here with us.”

Right.  Yet I’ve never once seen a person receive Jesus as Lord and stay just the way they were before.

See, that’s where drifting is so dangerous.  It blurs any clear distinction between life as God wants us to live it, and life the way we want to live it.  If no one can see any real change for the better in following Christ rather than following the world, then what’s the point?

Go on and do your thing.  Eat, drink, and be Mary.  Or Tom, Jack or Jill.  Get all the gusto and grins you can.  Be a good person.  Make others happy.  Just remember that “for tomorrow you die” part.

God’s still in charge of that part.

Don’t misunderstand.  I like being comfortable as much as the next guy.  I’m sitting here surrounded by books and writing pads, sipping fresh, hot coffee.  I’ve a cozy pinon wood fire burning in the fireplace, warming my feet and my thoughts.  Of course comfort is important.

I like being liked, too.  I don’t like feeling awkward in social settings or being looked at funny any more than you do.  I simply believe that it’s not my task as a Christian man to play caboose to every whim my culture throws at me.  I’d rather be a living, breathing, coffee-enjoying specimen of a God’s guy.  I’d rather be making no apologies for quietly bowing my head to thank God for His miracle-working power that allows me to eat and absorb nutrients from my food.

I’d rather leave the bar where God’s had it all along.  I’m not talking about being obnoxious and holier-than-thou.  I’m saying I see my role as being at peace in my heart, and loving and comfortable among all others while unobtrusively yet gratefully living out my faith to please my King, not my culture.

Perfection?  Nope.  Don’t even get me started.  As a recovering perfectionist, I tried that route and found it ridiculous.  I’ve plenty of sanding and polishing work to be done in and on me – but the Holy Spirit’s the one whom I allow to do all that finishing work.  Listening to Him, following His lead gives me plenty of work to do.

Want to know the truth?  I know many think drifting’s just the cat’s jammies in the fishing world.  Not me.  I never really liked being at the mercy of wherever the wind or current took me.  If you like it, that’s all good.  Enjoy.

For me, I’d rather stick real close to where God is and let Him do the navigating.  When this is all done for me, I want my life to reflect how close I tried to stay with Him, not how far I managed to drift away before coming running back, grinning and saying, “Psyche.  Just kidding.  I was always Yours, right?”

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If letting The Drift happen in your life seems to be working okay for you, remember there’s always a count and weigh-in at day’s end.

Show me your string of fish, and I’ll change my bait.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2018

 

 

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Designing This Day, 3/7/18: IT’S YOURS. DO SOMETHING WITH IT.

I know every day when I awake still here, God’s given me a precious gift of 24 more hours of living.

That’s not something I take for granted.  Humanly speaking, I’d have been dead since May of 1997.  My son and daughters would have been minus a dad all this time.  My wife would have been widowed and alone for almost 21 years.

See the source imageWhen I was actively dying, God chose to step in and alter my history’s course.  Life for me has never again been the same.  I’d like to tell you I’ve always used every spare moment as wisely, and as much for God’s glory and use, as I could.  I’d like to tell you that, but I’ve wasted my share of my life’s precious moments.  Wasn’t intentional, no.  And I always have tried to shape up the minute I realized it.

I’m not talking about having fun, taking time off to recreate and restore body, mind and spirit.  That is one of life’s essentials I practiced way too little prior to almost dying.  That might have even contributed to it.  If you know me at this point in my life, you know I am now enjoying my leisure much more.

I’m talking about a mental outline for how I’d like the day to progress, if it’s left up to me.  I was up at 3:30 this morning, which is normal for me.  Lying in bed doesn’t work, for my mind is already out there on the trail, taking point and wondering what’s taking the rest of me so long.  As a writer, morning is my most productive time, so I plan my day accordingly.


You are every bit the beneficiary of God’s similar blessing.


Sedentary I’m not.  My basic daily design is have a modest workout;  shave & shower while coffee’s brewing; prepare and consume a hearty protein-rich breakfast; go through the day’s mail & respond to communications; block 4-5 hours for writing, the actual time depending on whether the weather allows a brisk 2-mile walk.  Later in the day when my strength wanes, I tend to household chores, both inside and out, since they require no real mental focus.  And when my creative juices overwhelm my physical blender, I often take the ’96 SVT Shelby Snake convertible out for a mind-blowing, head-clearing ride.

So, yeah.  Every day I’ve lived since then is a day I’ve considered a direct gift from God to me – and I celebrate every one of them as such.  I recently read the phrase, “designing the day”, and it resonated in my spirit as a proactive, positive approach to each day’s living.

The point here is that you are every bit the beneficiary of God’s similar blessing.  Every day you live is a gift from God to you.

  • You cannot control everything that occurs to or around you today.
  • You cannot control what others do, think, or say.
  • You are in total control of your attitude.
  • You are completely in command on the bridge of your soul.  
  • How today shakes down when you lay your head on your pillow tonight is completely in your grasp.

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Yes.  We’ve all heard PMA hoo-ha before.  I’m not trying to sell you anything other than your own ability to direct the day’s events and how you’ll respond to them.  I have my share of physical challenges, just as you do.  Rather than whine about them, I’d rather own them, work to the best of my ability and strength within those parameters, and with God’s help accomplish something I wouldn’t have otherwise seen happen.

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You can do what you want today, and I’ll go right on loving you; we’ll still be friends.  You don’t have to feel obligated in any way, because this isn’t intended to be oppressive or overplanned.  That’s nuts.  That’s exchanging one cell for another.  I’m just sayin’ that I choose to frontload my day; to have a plan of action in mind, a rough flowchart of what I’d like to have accomplished when the sun sets here in Kansas.  Syncing that with God’s limitless ability and faithfulness seems to me to be the ultimate win-win.

I’d rather design my day than just be drug around by it.

I’m suggesting it to you.  Give it a try.  See how you feel when the sun sets wherever you live.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2018

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

2nd Cup Saturdays for 3/3/18: THIS IS NOT THE ME YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

The little story opens with a boy who has such a crush on a girl he follows her everywhere.  She can’t go anywhere without him tagging along like a hopeful stray pup.

See the source imageFinally, after weeks of this, she stops, turns, and asks, “Why do you keep following me like this?”

His answer is artless and to the point:  “Because you’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, and I think I’m falling in love with you.”

See the source image     “Really?” she responded.  “But you haven’t seen my friend, yet.  She’s a lot prettier than me, and she’s standing right behind you.”

The boy frowned and looked over his shoulder.  Puzzled and a little indignant, he said, “There’s nobody there.”

“I know.  But if you are really falling in love with me, you wouldn’t have looked.”

Yes, that’s kind of catty.  If the roles were reversed, the girl would certainly look, too.

See the source image“Love” gets overused, even abused, until one can be excused for not being sure what’s meant.  We all have private mental ideas and ideals attached to our own definitions of what Love looks like, how we’re sure we’ll experience it.

Along comes a boy or a girl we like.  Really like.  Suddenly LOVE is dropped into our hearts and minds.  Like one of those TV Plinko games, “Love” goes ‘ploink’, ‘ploink’, ‘ploink’ing it’s way down, bouncing off all our idealized notions, and lodging in the bottom of our hearts.

Yup.  Love.  Married.  Mortgaged.  Mommy and Daddy.  The works.

The problem is, that boy or girl is another uniquely-imperfect human being.  Flawed.  Dinged, scraped, abraded, rubbed raw.  Maybe even cracked or outright broken.  Suddenly it hits:  that person isn’t talking, acting, playing or responding according to our expectations.  They’re not on script!

I’m sure by now you know the most likely reactions.  It’s why there’s so much separation and divorce in our world.  There’s another that is slower and more subtle, yet just as lethal and just as detrimental to an established home:  one spouse arbitrarily deciding to withdraw inside a kind of mental forcefield that leaves the other out–yet without telling them.

That spouse seems to live absorbed within their earlier defined ideals of Love, in a kind of dreamy, imaginary togetherness bubble that never plays out in real life.  Result:  the other partner finds him- or herself constantly left out without knowing why.  The longer this continues, the weaker that relationship becomes.

See the source imageFew if any outsiders ever know this is happening.  It’s even possible the bubble-wrapped partner isn’t aware of their mental withdrawal, either.  Unless some catalyst triggers a confession, an entire lifetime could be spent by the one never once having been truly loved, nor the other ever having given themself wholly to the other.

When using ‘Love’, it’s advisable to ask:  “What do you mean when you say, ‘love’?  Can you unpack that and help me understand what that is for you?”  Listen.  Pay attention.  It could be the difference between spending life with someone who unconditionally does love you, or with a congenial stand-in who eventually figures out they’re always going to somehow come up short, no matter how long or diligently they try.

So.  Would you have looked?  Probably.  We’re all notoriously curious, aren’t we?  Boys and girls both are still figuring out what love is and isn’t.  They tend to be cow-eyed  follow one another around.  Why, I know of one boy who even followed a girl along some railroad tracks . . .

Crazy what some people do for what they think of Love, isn’t it?

Don’t make assumptions when dealing with another’s heart.

Cute games are for children.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2018

 

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Tags: , | Leave a comment

2nd Cup for 3/1/18: THE RETIREE’S QUIZ

The Retiree’s Quiz

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How many days are there in your week?  6 Saturdays and a Sunday.  Sort of.

When is a retiree’s bedtime?  Whenever they wake up from falling asleep on the couch.

How many retirees does it take to change a lightbulb?  Just one.  Might take all day, though.

What’s a retiree’s biggest gripe?  There are NOT enough hours in the day to get stuff done.  Which reminds me . . . where are those new LED bulbs?

Why don’t retirees mind being called ‘Senior’?  Discounts.  Can you say, “Discount”?

Among retirees, what’s considered formal attire?  Shoes that tie.

Why do retirees count pennies?  They’re the only ones who have the time.  Well, unless they take 37-lb. of the coins in GLAD containers into their local supermarket and annoy everyone within earshot by dumping them in that automatic converter thingie, over by the You-Clean-It carpet scrubbing display.  Right there by the left-over, 50%-off snow shovels.

What’s the common term for someone who loves their work and refuses to retire?  Nuts.

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Why are retirees so hesistant to clean out basement, attic or garage?  Because their adult kids say horrible things like, “Hey, since you have room now, can I just store this with you?  (The “just for a few weeks” thing is a LIE from the Pit.)

Why are retirees always glad to see their grandkids come in the door?  Because they know in an hour or two, they’ll be headed back out the door and back home where they belong.  Strange as the concept may seem, retirees have already had their time in the poop-and-backtalk trenches.  (The “It’ll only be for a couple of hours” thing is a LIE from the Pit.)

What do retirees consider a long, leisurely lunch?  Normal and fun.  Gives ’em time to read.  Check Facebook.

What’s the best description of retirement?  Never-Ending Coffee Break.  Also time to catch up on Facebook.  And, yeah, you have to (or get to) make your own coffee. 

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What’s the biggest advantage of a retiree’s continuing education?  If you cut classes, who they gonna call?

Why does a retiree say they don’t miss the job, but miss everyone with whom they worked?  They’re too polite to lie.

What is a retiree’s greatest desire?  To make what they’re doing now a ‘job’ from which they’ll never want to retire!

       ~~~Selected from Mikey’sFunnies, with ed. comments

© D. Dean Boone, March 2018

Categories: Common Sense, Humor - Lighten Up, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

QTMs for 2/26/18: AS I MUSED, I GOT SOAP IN MY EYES

Me, first thing this morning while showering:  “Okay, Holy Spirit.  What You got for us to write today?” 
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You don’t understand.  Have you not noticed all YOUR great ideas hit when you’re washing your hair – in the shower?  I started keeping a whiteboard marker over by the mirror, which is the shortest distance between my thoughts and the means to write them down.
Digression may be irritating, but its also fun.
So there I was, scrubbing away the night sweats and overnight stuff, making myself presentable and smelling good.  I thought I’d be waiting for something mysteriously profound.  I almost missed His quick reply.
“I’ve got you.”
He was patient and repeated it before I could blurt out something deep like, “Wait.  What?”
“I said, I’ve got you.”
If you really know me, it’s when I’m most quiet I’m most thoughtful.  My kids say that’s when I’m most dangerous, but they’re just bent out of shape because I ate the last few bites of cheesecake.  Or whatever else is there.
I never said another word while toweling off and shaving.  I was busy absorbing what it meant.
  • Good day/bad day
  • Good news/bad news
  • Something happening in a friend’s life I can’t share
  • A Christian brother or sister going through some whitewater rapids
  • Wrassling with my thoughts

To it all, and to a thousand and three things besides, God quiets my restless soul and troubled spirit the same way.

“I’ve got you.”

My personality demands definitions and ‘splanations up front, thanks.  Yet I’ve lived long enough and experienced sufficient unknowns and surprises to understand they’re inevitable, no matter how well I try to anticipate things.

I don’t know where you are this morning.  As I enjoy my 2nd cup of joe, I’m dealing with a chocolate/vanilla swirl of emotions and thoughts.  We all tend to get up with them.

I’m not as troubled by them all as I was before The Shower.  They’re now background noise, ground clutter junking up my radar screen.  Know why?  Because the Sovereign God has reassured me that I’m not swirling out of control, and that He’s got me securely in His hand.  What’s helped settle me down, I offer to you, my friend.

Whatever you woke up fearing, or fretting about, I offer His reassurance.  If you’ve made His Christ the Lord of your life, you’ve every reason to draw in a deep, cleansing breath, shove away the niggling doubts and “troublems” and hear the deep, resonant Voice of God gently reminding you:

“I’ve got you.”

What?  “Wrassling”?  Listen, your thoughts may follow some kind of rules.  Mine tend to gang up on me.  Trust me.  We’re not talking polite wrestling.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2018

Categories: Encouragement, Humor - Lighten Up | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Q(uiet) T(ime) M(usings) for Valentine’s Day, 2018: THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK, NOR SHOULD IT BE

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A fellow decided to buy his girl some perfume for Valentine’s day, so he went to the cosmetic counter in his girl’s favorite store. The prices were horrific! No matter what the sales lady showed him, even the tiniest bottles were beyond his budget.

Finally, he asked her: “Can you show me something really cheap?”

She handed him a mirror.

Every guy reading this just winced and cringed. 

There’s something wrong with that.

Let me get to the point.

  • Where did we arrive at the notion we guys are responsible for making all the effort?  Wash and wax the wheels . . . candy . . . flowers . . . expensive this or that . . . Don’t misunderstand.  It’s normal to want to give your sweetie something nice, something unexpected.  But when you’re made to feel like something the neighbor tracked in because you’re not buying/doing what everyone on Facebook says they are? 

That’s the point.

Social pressure lays it on thick:  get your sorry carcass out there and buy her ( whatever the TV commercials have convinced you she’s got to have if you’re any kind of man ) so she doesn’t have to sit at home with her poochie lips hanging over the half-eaten pizza.

What if you can’t?  What if life has intruded, and you’re unable to do much other than struggle through the red/pink/white/purple sea of cards to find one that works?  Are you less of a man because you sit, scrolling down through everyone else’s Facebook drool, seeing pictures from exotic places and reading accounts of the fantastic dinner and evening they had or plan to have?

That’s the not-so-subtle message sent by the snooty, imperious saleslady at the Dillard’s perfume counter.  I think when they’re hired, part of their training is to learn how to arch one eyebrow, quirk their mouth and slightly wrinkle their nose as if getting a whiff of something from the dumpster.  She never mentioned the only scents she offered him were the ones she couldn’t afford to wear, either, unless she worked there, even with a generous employee discount.  It’s written all over her face:  “You—you’re disgusting !  Vermin!”

What if love, for you, means cooking a simple meal so your sick wife doesn’t have to?  What if it means reminding you of your own hardworking dad’s passing on Valentine’s Day?

“If you love me, you’ll buy me something I don’t need and I know isn’t in your budget” is shallow and demeaning, whether you intend it to be or not.  This is no appeal to let cheapskates remain that way.  There’s something else true under the sun.  More than one guy somehow thinks buying something gaudy once a year, or taking ‘the little woman’ out to Freddie’s Frozen Custard for an unforgettable night on the town will make up for 364 days of immaturity, self-interest and taking her for granted.

As a centering method of appreciating what real love is, may I suggest spending a little thoughtful time today in 1 John chapters 3 and 4?

This is the kind of love we are talking about–not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God . . . . First we were loved, now we love.  He loved us first. ~ 1 John 4:10, 19

By all means, if you’re able, find a special gift for your spouse.  Treat her to a fine meal.  Take her to a play or concert or a favorite movie.  Do it in gratitude to God, who’s made it possible. 

If you’re not, don’t be driven by the glitzy pap of a foolish world that’s largely abandoned any understanding of love.  Be the special gift for your spouse.  Be the best man you can be for her.  Do your best to honor the spirit of these two chapters, written by a guy who’d spent time with the Savior.

You’ll find ‘Valentines Day’ will mean more than the foil ornaments that are already beginning to hit the 70% OFF! bins in WalMart.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2018

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Granger – QTMs for 2/8/18: “SOMEBODY NEEDS WHAT YOU HAVE.”

Armando stopped wiping the tabletop with his right hand.

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He’d just gathered and stacked dishes, cups and flatware in his left hand, going through motions he’d practiced from long experience in cleaning up after others had eaten.  Gather and lift with left hand, wipe the table with the right, set the dishes in the bussing tray, straighten the condiments.  Done it thousands of times.  It was his job, and he was good at it.  He could turn his mind off, still the gnawing, accusing voices, losing himself in his work.

What made him pause was the neatly folded note he’d uncovered as he lifted up the dinner plate.  On the top, the guy who’d sat here had neatly printed a message:

SOMEBODY NEEDS WHAT YOU HAVE.

Brow wrinkled, he took the bussing tray full of dishes in, rinsed them and got the dishwasher load going.  Then he asked Peggy Sue if she’d read it to him.  As she adjusted her glasses and craned her neck to read, she smiled.

“That was Granger.”  Here a wistful note crept into her voice.  “I recognize his handwriting.”  She went on to read what he’d written to Armando inside the note.

It’s obvious you take pride in doing

a job few seek, let alone do with the

grace and attention to detail by which

you make me and others want to return.

The respect you show to all, your appearance,

and your attitude have been noticed.  Perform

your duties from here on in the same manner.

Remember these days of humble service.

They are but a training ground for God’s next

mission for you.

Thank you for making my day.

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As the busy server hustled off to deliver another order, Armando stood there baffled.  He doesn’t know me; other than “Good morning,” we’ve rarely spoken.  What’s he–  Where–  Peggy Sue stopped to make fresh coffee, and Armando made eye contact with her.

“Who is he?  Why me?”

” ‘Mando, I don’t know much about him.  He doesn’t come in often.  But every time he does, there’s just something good and gentle here— he leaves smiles in his wake.  It’s like the air’s a little cleaner.  He’s always saying how blessed and grateful he is, he always has a kind word, some sort of encouragement.  It feels better after he’s been here.”  As she turned to go, her next words stunned him, for Peggy Sue was no shrinking starry-eyed gum chewer.  “Personally, I think he’s an angel in disguise.”

The industrious busboy caught himself during the rest of his shift pausing every so often, slipping a hand inside the hip pocket of his Goodwill jeans and rubbing the texture of the paper the note was written on.  How could he have known I was ready to give up, to quit?

” ‘Mando?  Drop by my office when you get a minute.”  It was Joe, one of the owners.  Armando’s heart bobbed to his throat, riding the flood of his apprehension and insecurity.  Hesitantly, dreading what was surely coming next, he tapped on the door.

Wait.  Joe was smiling, standing up.  ” ‘Mando, I’ve been watching how conscientious you are.  I’ve asked around, and whenever you’re on duty, nobody ever has to worry about your work being done–and done well.  You never complain, you’re always here on time, and if there’s ever a scheduling issue, you always work with us.  How’d you like to try your hand at cooking?”

Cook?  Generous raise?  Speechless, he just nodded.  “Fantastic!  Be here to open in the morning, and I’ll have Slim show you the ropes.”

We’ve all trudged in Armando’s shoes.  Why do I keep this up?  Why bother?  I do my best, to give my best, only to watch others who haven’t get rewarded as if they had.  In some cases, they’ve taken credit for work I know was mine.  I don’t do it for the notice, but even a little would be nice.  It gets real tiresome to be clockwork-dependable, only to watch others more popular or younger or better-looking or—or whatever always get the nod.  I mean, how long do I bat cleanup?  How long do I go around quietly cleaning up others’ messes?  Nobody cares, nobody notices.  No one knows the hours I put into working to be my best.

It could go on a long time, couldn’t it?  And I’m not talking about an immature attitude.  We’re dealing here with stuff that can go on for years, right?  You putting in ‘sweat-equity’, only to have some flashy bigmouth blow in the door and take everyone’s attention?

Frustration.  Tension headaches, maybe even migraines.  Injustice.  Pampered, coddled coworkers.  Smoldering anger. Stoked rage.

Here’s the deal:  somebody needs what you have.

Yeah, you.  God keeps perfect records.  He’s been watching all the time.  And when He knows the time’s right, He’ll open new doors and shut others.  When God does the opening and closing, it’s a permanent thing.

You may be in Armando’s worn-out shoes; I don’t know.

Just don’t quit.  Keep doing the superior work, offering the sparkling service you’re known for.

SOMEBODY NEEDS WHAT YOU HAVE.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/2/18: REMEMBERING WILLIAM W. TROMBLE

Bill Tromble was one of my brothers. I’m convinced God introduced Bill to my sister, Joella, so I’d have the privilege of hanging around him. Though roughly 20 years his junior, I counted him as one of my birth siblings and treated him thus. That takes away nothing from my two terrific blood brothers; it means Bill was somebody that special.

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Though we never spoke on the subject, he seemed to effortlessly assume that role. My life has been strengthened, informed, and enriched because of my big brother, Bill.

I’m an Intuitive. I observe things and people without meaning to, often knowing things instinctively.  As a kid, I wasn’t aware of it. As an adult, I learned to trust those instincts. I couldn’t isolate why, yet I knew spending whatever time I could with Bill Tromble was a smart investment.

Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, I stayed with Bill and Jo for a few months. Though a very busy, involved professional, Bill took time to teach me the games of tennis and chess.   I held my own against him in tennis. Chess was an abysmal disaster. He allowed me to beat him one time; from then forward I rarely saw where he’d been unless, in pity, he slowed down and explained the dissection.

While living with Bill and Jo, I watched and learned. I gathered social skills from watching him I’d never have otherwise known were necessary: Bill was a class act without being stuffy. He taught me how to be an adept in any social setting. He widened my spiritual palette, showing me colors that spoke to my creative side, while never once causing me to question the rock-solid foundations of his personal faith.

God gifted Bill Tromble with a keen mind he never stopped honing. Often after discussing this or that, I was reminded of how privileged a man I’ve been in having a towering intellect like Bill’s as a resource. Even better, then, that he was my brother.

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In this life, we tend to be so hurried and harried that we overlook the obvious until we slow down enough to scan our backtrail. Though our only sustained personal time was those months prior to my military service, Bill was always accessible to me. I could pick the phone up and always have an audience with him if he was available. Never once did I feel he was tolerating me or being condescending, though he could easily have justified it.

My big brother Bill really was that bright, that purposeful, that professional. No subject was off limits. He was able to easily, smoothly converse at any intellectual level. He was willing and able to articulate his personal faith with me, willing to slow his amazing mind to accommodate my plodding questions.

I’ve no idea what life would’ve been like, had Bill and I been closer in age. Yet I believe it would have been pretty special; for what he and I shared was wonderful for me. I’m forever grateful God gave me a big brother like Bill. I consider myself fortunate and blessed to have had his influence in my life.

My world’s a little dimmer because Bill’s not here.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2018

Categories: Inspirational, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Cup of Coffee, 12/25/17: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ‘EMMANUEL’?

If you don’t know what Emmanuel means by now, Google it.  You haven’t been listening.

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We all tend to hang a haloed Jesus on the tree.  Eye him on an old canvas painted by a 16th Century artist.  Or it’s convenient to leave Him forever a needy, shivering baby in countless creches.  Those remembrances are worth something, to be sure.  Yet they miss the point.

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‘With’ means where I am right now.  “Emmanuel” means Jesus actively walking with His men and/or women right through life’s hairiest trials.  Those accounts are scattered throughout both Old and New Testaments, reminding us of two vital things . . .

  • God never has allowed us to become weak by totally shielding us from life’s whitewater rapids.

  • God never has allowed us to ride those hard experiences alone:  He’s been right there with us.

 

You’re getting that “WITH US” part, right?  THAT, friend, is the vital truth of Christmas:  that God, through the Person and Living of Jesus, was willing to step down out of the splendid, unimaginable, unending Glory that is His normal atmosphere and join you and me.

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Yeah.  Right here, right now, right smack in the middle of this untidy, crazy life we’ve created for ourselves.

I know, right?  GOD.  With you.  With me.  WITH.  Not aloof, above, or apart from.  WITH.  THROUGH.

Remember that the next time you’re thinking to God, “Do You have a CLUE what this is like for me?”

He’ll be right there, slowly nodding–with one huge hand reaching down to help you back up.

He can do that because He entered our world the same way we do; grew up and lived like one of us; then, when He knew Time was ripe, He did the God part none of us, even on our best day, could not.  Jesus stepped off into Death’s cold, impersonal flow.  Jesus personally experienced separation from God so none of us who ever receive our King have to!

So, yeah.  That whole Emmanuel thing?  “God with us”?

That’s a pretty big deal!  Get that thing out from under the tree, unwrap that puppy, let it spark and sparkle and empower you.  If there’s a single Christmas theme that ought to be bouncing off the walls of Time and Eternity, it ought to be THIS ONE:

“God IS with me!  And He’s WITH YOU!” 

No matter how it feels, or what you think, you.  are.  not.  alone.

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Loving you,

Dan

© D. Dean Boone, December 25, 2017

Categories: Common Sense, Encouragement, Inspirational | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment