A 2nd Cup for Valentines Day ’20: THE FIRST TIME I HELD HER HEART

My Valentine and I have been holding hearts for over 45 years, and we’ve managed it in the same way any of us walk with Jesus: by grace and through faith.

It has been neither simple nor easy. We’ve literally known each other all our lives, so we sort of knew what we were getting.

She’s the one whose sentences I can usually finish . . .

She often as not mirrors my thoughts . . .

We could likely keep a doctor’s appointment for each other . . .

AND—

We’re able to enjoy our separate pastimes, either in the same room or in the same house, without bugging the other.

Exactly alike? Nope. In some ways, we’re complete opposites.

She’s numbers — rational, logical, blunt, undemonstrative, and explosive.

I’m words — creative, thoughtful, intuitive, diplomatic, passionate, and smoldering.

Babycakes is an instinctive, terrific cook; I survive. She’s Math and facts; I’m creativity and ideas. She’s into love stories; I prefer history, war, crime drama, or action movies. She stays inside, despising housework; I do all the outside work, loving the fresh air, greenery, and plants.

We have two different offices for a reason. Mine is zen shades of green, including mood lighting, with aircraft pictures on the wall and coffeemaker and several roasts of whole bean coffee bagged up on a shelf.

Hers is in shades of lavender and light grape, with accounting books and office stuff. We respect the other’s privacy, always waiting and knocking, even if the door is open. Well, except for Ray. If our doors are even the slightest crack open, he lowers his head, does the linebacker’s deal, and invites himself in.

We’ve managed to keep holding hearts for all these years because we hold a mutual respect toward each other; we are true friends beyond all else. Sharing a fierce love that bears the scars of long decades of assaults that would have lacerated most marriages, we choose to recognize our differences, and celebrate them.

Perfect couple? Not hardly. I’m an Intuitive introvert, and she’s NOT. We have spirited discussions about our opinions, yet we’ve both learned – again, by grace and through faith – to make time to understand the other’s point of view. It enables us to realize and even come to appreciate our separate likes and dislikes.

So, yeah–I’ve been holding hearts with Babycakes for a whole lot of years. During that time, we’ve both kept learning to ask that time-honored 4th grade question: “Will you still be my Valentine?”

And every time I think of where we’ve been, the lyric plays again in my mind . . .

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say,
It’s true
God gave me you, gave me you
He gave me you

~~~from album Red River Blue, written by Dave Barnes, sung by Blake Shelton

lyrics separate copyright

© D. Dean Boone, 14 February 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/29/2020: WHAT’S THE STORY ON LOVE?

Coffee - Valentines2

I originally came across this great little story in August of 2007.  Approaching Valentines Day, it seems to me with the national psyche and popular culture at its current state, it’s time to revisit the subject. I want to share it and some time-modified comments with you as Valentine’s Day 2020 approaches.  Please–read on. . .

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:  Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others–including Love.  One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in History Supreme, the most expensive yacht on Earth.  Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?”  Richness answered, “Oh, no, I’m sorry, but I can’t. I’ve got a bunch of silver and gold and goodies aboard, and… well, I know you understand. I just don’t have any room for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in Earth’s biggest yacht, Azzam “Vanity, may I ride with you?”

“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet, and this IS a Leoni interior.”  Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help: Sadness, I know you’ll let me go with you, right?”

“Oh, dear…. Love, I—You’ve been there so often for me; but right now, I’m so sad that I just really need to be by myself!”

boat miami

Happiness passed by too on a party yacht, but she was so giddy and preoccupied with the party, and the music was so loud that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a calm voice:  “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.  Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he forgot to ask the elder his name. The craft in which they rode together was plain and nondescript among the opulence of all whom Love had always thought were his friends, yet it was strongly built and had seen much good use. When they arrived at dry land, the elder quietly went his own way.

Love realized how much he owed the elder and asked another elder, Knowledge, who was unloading belongings and supplies:  “Who was that who helped me?”

Slavery GIF - Find on GIFER

“That was Time,” Knowledge answered. Time? asked Love“But why did Time help me when no one else would?” Knowledge stopped working, straightened, smiled, and with deep wisdom answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

___________

You’ve read it before: Unless they know you real well, people will forget a lot of what you say; and people will forget most of what you do—but people won’t forget how you made them feel. And therein lies the magic of this 2nd Cup I originally shared in February of 2007.

Thirteen years have passed since then . . . Thirteen.

Love takes time to mature.  Think of Knowledge’s potent words:  “. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from Gotta-Be-Around-Em-24/7 to Hide-Me-It’s-Him/Her-Again, that might not be Love, love.  It’s entirely possible that’s just gas. 

Around 7 minutes is the average time between TV commercials, even the ones about love and marriage. We know 7 minutes does not a marriage make; and 7 years is just getting started. 

You may have grown up believing it normal to dissolve any non-thriving relationship.  Guess what?  All relationships occasionally hit a patch of maintenance and coasting.  It’s normal to the ebb and flow of any human interaction.  Nevertheless, quitting isn’t the norm.  Perseverance is. 

Love takes time to mature.  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from mild appreciation to a dawning awareness that to lose personal contact with that person would carve a huge hole in your heart–well, now that there’s LUV, love.  It’s the real deal,  on-purpose, Time-proven; the stuff of great friendships and terrific marriages.

“. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

put love in your work [gif] by henrique barone | Dribbble ...

I wonder how long it took Love, standing there with eyes unfocused, to understand what a huge compliment the brilliantly-influential Time had paid him?  Do you understand?  Given the choice to be Love or Time, most would choose Love.  What’s not to love about Love?  Everybody loves to be loved.  “How sweet it is to be loved by you…  “I need your love— I need your love— God speed your love to me.”  Less by far are those who choose over time to create Lovers in their wake. . . 

That’s what Time was doing.

Time isn’t an elder by virtue of age.  Time’s an elder because he has established his own niche:  Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Wherever Time goes and whatever else may be his task, he is forever and always alert, watching for those into whose lives he can pour some of himself and his own ever-widening dimensions of love for others.

And Time’s focus is precise.  His intent is to create an extension of himself within the hearts of any who will pay attention to who and what he is .

How often do you need to hear someone tell you they believe in you before you begin believing in yourself again?  There is no easy answer, for some never do believe in themselves to the point they climb above where they’ve been and begin moving toward personal and spiritual excellence.

And how often do you need to hear “I love you” before you start loving yourself again?  Once more, not an easy thing.  Some never do escape their own loveless gravity and allow the love of someone else in until they can shock their own into beating again.

No guarantees accrue.  You are the sum of your own choices.  It can be disarmingly easy to bury landmines, calibrate laser tripwires, install infrared sensors and keep everyone at attitude’s-length.  It is possible to live an entire lifetime convinced that your perpetual loneliness and surface-deep friendships comprise the way you always intended to live.  It also will eventually push away the very ones that Time will reveal were your best allies.

Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Time softens locked jaws and impacted notions.  Time reveals that things are rarely what they seem.  Like a laser, it will soon sear straight through nonsense and popular opinion.  Time is a creator of champion lovers, because “only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.” 

If you’re like me, this will take awhile to soak down into the richness of the kind of Love for ourselves and for others that far too many have given up ever experiencing again. 

Seek Wisdom as you let that happen.  Loving people who are not always lovely is no simple task.  It can be overdone or underdone, and often both.  Sometimes your best won’t work and your worst will,  and only Time and prayer will ever make a difference. 

The DAWSON’S CREEK Rewatch Project: A Beautiful Goodbye ...

And sometimes people choose to walk away from God, and your best isn’t enough, and “Good-bye” is forever.  That doesn’t mean loving others doesn’t work.  Sometimes the most loving thing you’ll ever do is to watch them go and never call them back.

I encourage you to love anyway.  Become a creator of champion lovers–men and women who dare to run counter to the vapid, lip-deep, politically-advantageous and cynical “love” tossed around by the world and way too much of the Church.

How?  Ask God to help you love others more like He does. 

I did that. I asked Him to help me with that.  Oh, boy. . . 

To do that, He began revealing things about others to me, little by little, which made me at times back away–and every time He gently said, “Remember?  You want to love others more like I do.  I remind you:  I know EVERYTHING about you and I love you with everything there is in Me.”  Well, there is that.  God brought to mind this verse:

  Oh, how can I give you up …?  How can I let you go?  How can I destroy you … My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows… for I am God and not a mere mortal.

(Hosea 11:8-9 NLT)

Valentine’s Day, huh?  I’d rather love those who love me back.  I, like most people, heartily dislike rejection.  It is way too easy to mentally write off those who cut-and-slash.  But if I am serious about loving like God does, I can’t do that.  Neither can you.

Valentines Day Messages For Friends

So, I challenge you–work to become a creator of champion lovers by being one yourself, patterned after the greatest Lover of all eternity.  And while there’s Time?  Well. . .

“Only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

© D. Dean Boone, 1/29/2020

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A Sunday 2nd Cup for 1/26/2020: THE WONDERFUL LAND OF WILLBE

What you’re experiencing right now is the residual effect of your past thinking. Memories, past events, old relationships, and especially your own thoughts regarding them all? They’re influencing where you are right here, right now, today.

It’s not the things. It’s your thoughts about them that are driving you.

Or holding you back.

What determines who and what you become is the difference between your hopes and your fears. Everything in your life revolves around whether you focus on what you want and like, or what you don’t want and don’t like.

You’ve encountered hardships and rotten treatment in life. You’ve been used and taken advantage of. Had your heart broken and figured you needed your head examined.

Big deal. So has everyone else. You can focus on all that, wanting to be exonerated and setting everything right.

Or you can shrug it off and let it all go, and focus instead on what you really want throughout the remainder of this life.

It’s your choice. Yet you must choose; you cannot do both. As I once read, retribution and self-fulfillment are rarely served on the same plate.

© from my 2nd Cup files ~ D. Dean Boone, January 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/24/2020: THE ME I NEED TO BE TODAY

Recurring things get my attention.

I often have Pandora’s ‘Relaxation Radio’ playing softly in the background while working here at my desk. One piece I always enjoy is a smooth, thoughtful accoustic guitar styling of ‘Let It Be Me’. At some point I must’ve hit the ‘thumbs-up’ icon, because it’s a rare week I don’t hear it at least once.

Half-listening to it yesterday, some new thoughts began emerging. “I bless the day I found You, I want to stay around You . . .” The other half of my brain kicked in about then, remembering “I Miss My Time With You” . . . “I need to be with you each day, and it hurts Me when you say you’re too busy–busy tryin’ to serve Me! But how can you serve Me, when your spirit’s empty? There’s a longing in My heart, wanting just to be a part of you, it’s true—– I miss My time with you.”

Needless to say, I got a little quiet for a minute or two.

“Lord, if there’s someone You can use to lift and encourage another today?

Let it be me.

Let me be that one . . .

—who cares when others don’t or won’t.

—who prays, then in a few days follows up on it.

—who remains a loyal friend, no matter what.

—who cheers and encourages.

—who looks for the praiseworthy in others.

—who dares to love fiercely.

—who is passionate even while being patient.

—who always wants God’s best for you.

I could keep adding to the list, but you get the point. In a culture fractured by self-interest and ambivalent toward anyone else, God still issues the challenge, “Who will go for our side? Whom do I send?”

I don’t – won’t – speak for you. I do believe our crazed American social scene will most effectively be healed in one way: you and I being God’s best kids, impacting others one by one in ways that lift them and please Him.

Saying that, I make no case for laying yourself open to hurt, abuse, and being used by those who’ve made a lifestyle – even built careers – out of squeezing the hearts of good people. Part of the passionate patience to which I refer above is learning to wait on God’s timing; and listening to His prompting.

Oh, yeah. And maybe the next time you hear “Let It Be Me”, it’ll make the message a little more special.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2020

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2nd Cup Hash: LITTLE O’ THIS, LITTLE O’ THAT, & STIR – 1/21/2020

“Time to create,” said his heart.

“It’s about time,” replied his soul.

Why I write: because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.

I wander through fiction to find the truth.

Sometimes you can’t calm the storm, so it’s best to stop trying. What you can do is to calm yourself. The storm, no matter how violent, will pass.

Your life will get better when you realize it’s better to be alone than to chase people who don’t really care about you.

Real strength, empowerment, and inner peace begin with the ability to let go. Then focus on living in the moment according to what genuinely pleases you, instead of trying to look good to others in order to earn their favor.

Lazy is such an unpleasant word. I like to call it ‘selective participation’.

underneath my outside face / there’s a face that none can see / a little less smiley, a little less sure / but a whole lot more like me

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

Well, my friends, that’s enough for now. It is my hope something herein, either the words themselves, or some thoughts and impressions of your own that snuck quietly from between the lines, will generate an idea of your own.

We are together a formidable force when we forego letting others speak for us, instead being our own advocates and building our speech and conversations on the product of our own reasoning, guided by God’s wisdom and grace.

Life is a sequence of moments all called NOW.

© D. Dean Boone, 1/21/2020

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The 2nd Cup You’ve Been Waitin’ For – 12/16/19

It read, “Make sure everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes in the bottom.”

Since almost this blog site’s birthing, I’ve had to wrestle with the hosting entity. I thought once I’d paid my dues, I could settle down and focus only on writing. The hosting folks would have my back.

As it turns out, they mostly had their own back. It seemed every time I got my writing groove on and encountered a site issue, their response was, “Sure, we can help with that–for only $_____.”

I’m slow on the uptake sometimes because I don’t like confrontation, nor have I ever liked those who use me. I did, however, finally tumble to the fact they were busily drilling holes in the bottom of the boat when I wasn’t looking. I confess to real disappointment, often bordering on discouragement, for it felt as if everything was aligned against my working on the manuscript for Time Trials – my healing story. Anyway, it got expensive, and I began searching for a new 3 Hour Tour.

I found one. The transferring of my domain to the new hosting site will take a few more days. It’s already paying for itself, saving me irritation and heart burn – and laying my groove down, man. The creative juices will soon be flowing from my fingertips, through my trusty laptop keyboard, onto the screens of devices everywhere.

IF, that is, you dial up my blog address, www.2ndcupofcoffee.com. Hint: my new hosting site has some smooth electronic whozits that alert me when peeps are clicking and reading. It also keeps track of how many, on which days, even preferred posts.

So. My blog since 2013, 2nd Cup of Coffee, has a new host. It’s still sponsored by WordPress, so nothing will look different to you. It’s all going to be different, though; definitely upscale and better than ever.

I’m looking forward to li—- What? Oh. Sure.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coffee-GIF-Grinch.gif

Granger says he’s got something special in the works as a Christmas gift.

Ah-ah-ah? No Peking.

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, December 2019

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QTMs for 9/28/19: From Humility To Excellence

Humility is one of those things we may find confusing to define, but I believe we all agree what humility’s absence looks like.

Definitely. Espresso grind.

I recently read that almost everyone you meet claims to be humble. Yet even while making that claim, they have their eye on the Trinity just in case there’s a vacancy.

QTMs is my own shorthand for Quiet Time Musings. At one time I sent at least one such post each morning, and its practice became more habitual than enjoyable. That’s one of the reasons I stopped writing them. Two others are that I’m continuing work on the manuscript for my first book, which takes time. The second is that I’ve been forced by my web hosting site to switch to new servers. There’s more to that than meets the checkbook, so suffice it to say I’ve been slowed down and distracted. Frustrated, evUN. (Some of you read that in Snagglepuss’s voice. I heard you.)

No matter where I’m reading during each morning’s quiet time, I always find good, worthy counsel in Psalms and Proverbs. This year I’ve been reading out of the English Standard Version, and the subtle differences are always instructive. I love to learn new ways of understanding and applying what the Bible has to say.

This morning some things Psalm 25 has to say about humility’s link with learning grabbed my attention. My habit is to point out what I’m learning, rather than to bore you quoting Scripture. The section of my focus, however, is verses 8 through 14. Get yourself a refill of java and let’s think together.

God “instructs sinners in the way”. Okay, we sort of expect that. It’s what follows that interests me. He “leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way”.

Yeah? So? Repetitive, right?

Nope. Only one who is teachable can be led. Only one who wants to learn can be taught. Note the difference between “God instructs sinners” and “He leads and teaches the humble”. There’s a stark difference between, “Okay, goofoffs, listen up!” and “Come on over here and take a load off; I’ve something to share with you.”

I just read this morning of a Port St. Lucie, FL 8th grade teacher who was fired because she refused to give lazy, impudent students at least 50% for not handing in their required work. They weren’t interested in being either led or taught, so she was restricted to only instructing them.

This passage reminds that in times when these Scriptures were written, teachers often walked along, speaking as they walked. Those wanting to learn from them walked along with them, both to hear and to bounce questions off them.

It reads that “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness” toward those wanting to follow after Him. That implies a close, growing relationship between teacher and learners.

Think back. Who were your favorite teachers in school? Your favorite profs in college or grad school? What made them so?

This Psalm says those same things apply, albeit perfectly, to God’s desired relationship with you. Weren’t some of your most memorable times with friends those times when you walked along together, sharing thoughts and ideas? The promises here indicate that kind of closeness between God and anyone humble enough to want to read (hear) what He has to teach.

Your humility – remaining curious and teachable – is your pathway to excellence.

Check out verse 14. Really? Friendship with God?

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, September 2019

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GRANGER at Halloween for 10/26/16: THE TEAR IN THE WRAPPER

Truth in advertising“, it read.

Granger was fed up with the glut of political flyers in his mailbox and inboxes.  Tossing on his desk the garishly colored hit piece in yoga pants by a former state senator, he swung around and gazed unfocused out the window at a grayish, cotton-streaked sky with bruise-blue accents.  Chuffing through his nose, he thought, “Even the sky’s puzzled by it all.”

Bemused, he reached for his “Coffee Made Me Do It” mug.  Just before he got it to his mouth, he noticed the “fun-size” Butterfinger laying on his desk; it had been hidden by the big black mug.  Glancing over at the glass bowl full of assorted Halloween-sized candy, he saw many other bars identical to the one huddled behind his coffee.  You won’t get away from me-e-e . . .

Image result for fun-size Butterfinger

Amused at the desire-borne moisture in his mouth, he glommed onto the familiar yellow-orange-gold wrapper.  Granger actually licked his lips as he tore the wrapper lengthwise.

Opening the wrapper, he grimaced in disgust.  Really?  Instead of the neat, compact one-by-two-inch chocolate-covered nougat he expected to find, a sharded mess of odd-shaped pieces had fallen onto his black crew-neck tee and khaki pants.

Irritated, he started to grouse about something more to clean up when he suddenly got quiet.

I know people like that, he reasoned.  Brightly packaged, looking like others in The Bowl, like they’ve got it all together–until the wrapper comes off.  Unwrapped, they’re a ragged, jagged collection of misshapen pieces just waiting to fall all over the place.

Yeah, I know people like that.  I’ve been like that.

Image result for people wearing I'm fine masks

As these thoughts jostled each other in his mind, he glanced again at the phrase off the discarded voting flyer:  “Truth In Advertising”.

 

Granger’s eyes blurred and his voice thickened as he spoke aloud, a habit of those who spend most of their time alone.  “Oh, yeah.  Many’s the time that, had my wrapper torn, all my hidden insecurities, my personal misgivings, self-doubt, all those questions about myself would be laying all over in a huge, untidy mess just like–here he made a rueful face as he surveyed the slightly-sticky, sweet mess he’d dumped on his clothes– “my ill-fated little candy bar buddy, may it rest in pieces.”

 

Later, wearing a comfortable black-and-red shirt with the sleeves rolled half up and a soft pair of old jeans, he stood with mug in left hand and coffee carafe in right, thinking about the recent experience.  Shaking his head as if to wake up, Granger poured a fresh, fragrant cup of Community Golden Caramel, returned to his desk chair and sat pondering.

Is it wrong to present a public appearance that’s attractive, appropriate to one’s task?  Does that not reflect good self-image and -respect?

Is it deceptive to present an outward persona that’s positive and uplifting, even when one’s interior landscape more resembles a barren wasteland?  As a Christ-follower, isn’t being winsome and attractive kind of necessary?

Sipping thoughtfully at the semi-sweet, smooth coffee, he answered his own question.

Deception is willful.  Wearing a mask is intended to hide, to frustrate and conceal.  If those are the reasons for the wrapper, then the advertising is dishonest and disingenuous.

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

If one’s desire is to be a consistent positive, encouraging and Christlike witness to one’s own world, then God can be trusted to know how to tenderly deal with the internal brokenness.  To fit the nonfitting.  To create beauty and symmetry just as perfectly as He did at The Original Event.

Rising to refill his mug, Granger thoughtfully nabbed another of the sweet, chocolaty morsels from the Halloween bowl.  Grinning as he softly checked that this one was whole, he admitted to himself, I don’t have this here “for the kids” since none ever come up here.  I have this here for me.  And I’m lovin’ it!

Butterfinger?

© D. Dean Boone, October 2016

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Cup – QTMs for 3/7/2020: WELL, ARE YOU?

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once told me, “You grow when you can’t go on, but you refuse to quit!”

I took what he said to heart, because I know he lived that philosophy. I’d read after him for years, and finally got the chance to meet him. I patiently stood in line for 8 months. When I stood before him, he was seated; so I did the automatic thing I’d learned as a hospital chaplain, and knelt to be at eye-level.

He was over 80 years old, a cancer survivor. The disease had ravaged his body and taken one of his eyes, for which he wore a black ‘pirate’ patch. I’m unsure what I expected as I offered my hand, but before I could speak, he strongly gripped my hand, scanned my face, looked me in the eye, and with a knowing, thoughtful look spoke his first words to me . . .

“Oh, you’re one of us, aren’t you?”

Somehow, my own health journey from certain death to life registered, and he knew it. He sensed it. I said yes, I am, and mumbled something semi-coherent about it being my honor to meet him after having spent so long reading his wisdom and amazing great attitude and wit. I started to stand, respecting the long line of others wanting to meet him.

He wasn’t having any of it. His face broke into a brilliant smile and said, “No-no-no, the honor is mine, and had we time I’d love to hear YOUR story.” He didn’t let go of my hand, but pulled me close, opening his other arm and embracing me. Being a believer in hug therapy, I welcomed it and carefully hugged him back. It was during that memorable moment he spoke in my ear those unforgettable words:

“You grow when you can’t go on, but you refuse to quit!”

I don’t remember much from the rest of that weekend business conference, for my spirit kept returning me in a glorious racetrack holding pattern to Charlie’s last words to me. I never saw him again before he was freed from this life to the Next.

I imagine him, excitedly exchanging human life episodes of amazing grace with hundreds of thousands of other ‘miracle’ survivors, uproariously laughing at the sheer audacity of God’s stunning interventions and the jaw-dropping awe they left in their wake.

When I one day join that merry band, I hope I can recall something I just read on a friend’s Facebook post this morning during quiet time, because I want to tell Charlie.

Being a recovering perfectionist, as a kid I rarely ever practiced my trumpet nor my voice outside of band, stage band, or choir. See, I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone – especially my parents – hearing me flub and frack notes. So I just didn’t practice at home, combining it instead with actual time in each of those classes.

I did okay, depending on natural musical ability to carry me. Point? I may have snookered the choir teacher, but I know John Sheeley, our band teacher, wasn’t fooled. I managed to keep enough chops to maintain my spot as 3rd Trumpet in Stage Band, and 2nd Section (I think, and mercifully so) in Band.

I could have been so much better . . .

Oh–you’re wanting to know what my friend, a gifted music teacher, posted?

You practice FOR rehearsal, NOT DURING rehearsal.

Wow. That’s for those who somehow get the notion life is a dry run, a dress rehearsal. We all know better. Youth foxes us with ideas of forever youngness – and suddenly here is my graduating class from 1970 prepping for our 50th class reunion this coming August.

My teacher friend’s trenchant directive sounds just like something Charlie’d say.

In all the excitement of being Home one day, I hope I remember to tell ‘im. And thanks, Karen, for the great reminder. It’s not hard to see why you’re the teacher you are.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee: 17 WORDS THAT WILL ALWAYS SERVE YOU WELL – 1/21/2020

The 17 words?

Prepare

Care

Believe

Forgive

Change

Risk

Choose

Relax

Listen

Pray

Persist

Smile

Focus

Act

Trust

Accept

Wait

Think about each word as it relates to you, to your present situation. Each one carries a lot of meaning in your life.

Oh, and there’s one more that’s pretty universal:

Thank.

Loving you, Dan

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A December 2nd Cup for 12/1/19: ADVENTAGE JESUS

God sends His messages daily; all you have to do is watch and listen.

We know from historical and Biblical record there was a time in the world when nobody wanted to hear it. God’s message, that is. People had gotten a taste of what living a no-boundaries, no-guilt life was like. They decided always having nosey prophets and preachers around shaking fingers at them was archaic. They declared themselves and their culture a no-rules zone.

Yeah, come to think of it. They were a lot like too many are now. The only way anarchists ever get their way is when good, solid, caring people let them.

That’s what happened in the world, back when the Israelites said they’d had enough of those Ten Commandment types always ruining the party by mentioning God and his outdated ‘rules’. They began putting hits on His prophets and trying to ruin the rep of any preachers daring to tell God’s side. And it worked for awhile.

“NO GOD! NO DECENCY! NO TELLING US WHAT WE CAN AND CAN’T DO! ZERO RULES!”

And God said, “All right.” For 400 years they got their way. The Israelites were supposed to show the rest of the world what a nation and people committed to God could be and do. When they balked and sneered at God and His trying to work through them, that example was erased.

The Israelites said, “We can run our own affairs. We don’t need no stinkin’ God tellin’ us what we should and shouldn’t do, because others are watching us and our ‘witness‘ . . . ” What business is it of theirs what we do? It’s not bothering anyone else, and we’re getting along just fine!”

And the entire world found itself morally, socially, intellectually adrift. That’s what happens when God’s people decide to become more like everyone around them instead of keeping their eyes on him through His Word’s guidance. They begin a slow drift that’s always farther away . . .

It wasn’t a good time in Earth history. For longer than the United States has existed, there was no mention of God or of His revealed plan for the world and people He created.

And it showed. Antifa hoodlums trying to disrupt? ISIS plants killing and destroying? Amoral career politicians with soulless eyes and auctioned souls openly defying those they supposedly ‘serve’? Gangs operating freely in the nation’s largest cities, killing any or all for any imagined offense?

They’ve nothing on what Israel looked, sounded, and smelled like during those 400-some years God let the fools be in charge.

And then? “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” Romans 5:6, NLT.

Fast-forward to now. “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been too weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway . . . But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” Romans 5:6-8, The Message

You know by now I always try to tie my heading into these posts. Nobody knew for sure what to expect at the first Advent. Everyone from high priest and sociopolitical leaders on down had spent so much time bloviating about what THEY thought no one was listening to anyone else. So when Jesus came the first time, it was enough to stun everyone.

Something tells me this second Advent – whenever it occurs – will happen the same way. That ‘something’ is the Bible.

Yep. “That again.”

Adventage Jesus.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2019

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QTM for 11/29/19: YES, YOU DO

“Hey, you know that song?”

“Hmmph?”

“Sorry. That one, ah, Christmas song that says ‘I have no gift to bring’? That one?”

“Sure. What about it?”

“Well, I don’t.”

My permanent sense of humor almost bit, but I heard no lightness or neutrality in his tone. It wasn’t a lure. He wasn’t being dark, not exactly, but bleak, accompanied by knitted eyebrows and slight grimness. I probed.

“Kidding, right?” I’d slanted my eyes sideways to sneak a glance at him. He wasn’t looking at me, but staring off into Someplace In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, a serious mien shadowing his face like happens when the sun is obscured by a cloud. Alrighty then. That’s a nope.

I work to keep learning. One way is to stop saying and/or writing, “I have learned”, because the period after ‘learned’ hints that I think I’ve nothing more to add to what I already know about whatever it is. Back when, I encountered a professor or two who exhibited that kind of arrogance. I didn’t like it then, and sure never want it interfering with my ongoing quest to know and grow more.

One of the things I keep learning is to better ‘get’ my friends. This one was seriously bugged about something. I wanted to know what it was. Therefore, I queried and listened.

“Talking about The Little Drummer Boy, correct?”

“Yeah. That’s the one.”

“And you’re telling me you have nothing to offer King Jesus.”

“Exactly. I got nothin’. Man, I look at all of you ( left arm in a wide, sweeping gesture ) and wish I had just a little of all the talent and ability I see in all of you when you’re worshiping. It’s like you don’t even have to try because it just flows . . .” Here his voice broke and I noticed he seemed to have something in his eye. Both of them.

I mulled, then I thunk a think. While doing that, I team-thought with the Holy Spirit. James says if we’re a bit skosh on wisdom, to ask for more. I did, and God spoke back.

Exodus 4:2.Nice. A little help, here? Exod— OH! I turned to my friend.

“What DO you got?” He looked at me like I’d just sprouted a Klingon ridge on my forehead. “What?

“Do you remember when Moses was doing his best to whine his way out of being the Israelites’ head honcho, and God asked him, “What’s that in your hand? The lesson was, ‘This isn’t about you, Moses. I can work with, in, and through anything and anybody if they’ll let me—‘ His eyes switched from Dull to Interested and he nodded. “Yeah, I remember that.”

“Awright. You have something to give, too. What’s that in your hand?” He glanced down at the booklet he’d been holding in his left hand.

“Oh, it’s a training manual update I brought home to read over the weekend.”

Me: “Training for what?” (His response: “Safety. Security. You know, the usual stuff. There’s always a new wrinkle, because some jackwagon out there comes up with more creative ways to do bad things.”)

Me again: “And why is it in your left hand?” (“Because I’m right-handed and—-” Like a Great Plains wind gust pounding open a door, the light and sharpness popped back into his gaze.

“The little boy brought what he had and freely offered his best to Jesus, without staring at everyone else’s gifts, comparing their really great clothing to his own, and like that.”

“Nailed it. Just goes to show ya, guys like you really can string coherent thoughts together without tripping over them.”

“You wanna wear that piano?”

I grinned as I backed away. That was more like it. As we get up from our Thanksgiving tables and begin the jostling, breathless jog toward Christmas and 2020, remember to extend your gratefulness to include what God’s placed in your hand.

He may never need to ask you to pick up a snake by its tail to impress you about His ability to use anything or anyone. Hopefully, you’ll appreciate in new ways the unique manner in which God pours His grace and ability through your hands. Then, too, it’s really not good for your health record to pick up snakes by their tails.

So, what will you bring King Jesus this Christmas?

Your best. It will be enough.

He’ll see to it.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2019

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