Finding Floyd

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Christmas Lights

image courtesy of Photobucket.com

I put up the Christmas lights and the Christmas tree yesterday. I have the bloody knuckles to prove it. I also have the sore back and destroyed finger tips if the knuckles aren’t proof enough.

It seems like only 3 months ago I was putting all those heavy boxes away.

Years ago my wife would have to practically beg and plead for me to do what I do now with pleasure. I was somewhat of a Scrooge. I reasoned the whole process took time, energy, and money for such a short amount of time, only to have to spend time and energy to put it all away.

This thought process is more prevalent in males. The same reasoning process that causes us to question, “Why make a bed”? “You’re just going to mess it up again in 16 hours”! You  have to admit that it does make sense from a purely factual basis. What it doesn’t account for is living life with a better perspective.

I lived my life with that kind of a Scrooge mentality for the majority of it. I can say first hand that living a life with that mindset isn’t living, it’s existing. Animals exist using their inborn instinct to survive.

I was like The Wolfman without the fur or fangs.

Knowing God transforms us from intelligent animals to chosen saints living a life more abundant by the grace of God. Once God opens the eyes of His chosen they see the world from a completely different perspective.

I see the hand of God in everything, every day of my life. What an honor to be able to put up lights. Climb ladders, be strong enough to carry boxes that weigh more than my wife.

This year when the lights on the tree didn’t work, (which is a yearly occurrence) I didn’t get frustrated, we just worked through it. I also went to the store and found matching lights for the exterior eaves. I bought four new bags. That’s usually the amount of strands that quit working mysteriously over the course of the year. I had the exact amount needed.

My wife and I went out and bought a new lighted star for the top of the tree. We also got some lighted candy canes for the front yard to replace the ones a couple years past their retirement age. I probably should have coughed up the 25 bucks a couple years ago, but that’s part of the season isn’t it? Trying to get by with what you have. Being thankful and appreciate whatever we’re blessed with.

It’s taken me a long time to grasp the daily mercies and gifts provided by God.

Many years ago it wasn’t uncommon for me to to spend a Christmas by myself, work schedule and all. During those times, I never put up a Christmas tree. I didn’t make it to church during the season either. I was living life for me.

We’ve all heard it said there is no “I” in “team.” I agree, but even more poignant is, “There is no I in joy.” True peace and joy lived out according to God’s terms have little to do with us.

We are His instruments, doing the job He created us for. In His perfect will is the only place we can live above our inborn nature. I heard my whole life, “Christmas is about giving.” I gave from a legalistic standpoint. I enjoyed it but didn’t really get it.

Using money to buy things for another person is good. Spending time, energy, and money to create a lasting memory, although physically temporary is the gift that lasts for a lifetime.

Although very cold for where we live, we all went outside last night and looked at the Christmas lights. What a gift from God. My family, our time together, those simple red and green lights.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Who could ask for more than that..

POLITICS AND RELIGION

politics and religion

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I rarely get into divisive issues on this blog. However, if you’ve been reading you know by now I write and speak from my heart. Anything else to me is garbage. (How’s that for eloquent?)

I’m a simple guy. In my simple mind, I like to break things down as far as I can, to the lowest common denominator of reason. Because I break everything down based on Biblical principles, I’m left a little frustrated with the world around me.

One of those frustrations is politics and religion and how the Conservative right in our country comprehend and deal with the liberal side of our society. The Right deals with the left as if they have similar world views. My opinion is that the world views are approximately 180 degrees apart.

This is not a post based on politics, quite the contrary. This is a post of religion and one’s religion will ultimately define one’s politics.

Breaking the massive subject down to its simplest form, this is my perspective; One’s politics are defined by what that person trusts in, or what a person has faith in.

This is an easy call for the conservative. They will admit their faith is in God. The Christian majority will take it a step further and add Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection as their belief and faith.

This is the perfect place for the liberal to use the Conservative’s honesty against them.

Here is my point of frustration. The Conservative nation has sat back and allowed the liberal to disguise their religion as knowledge or enlightenment as if that were anything new under the sun.

The person who doesn’t know God doesn’t serve God. What did Jesus Christ say about two masters? You serve one or the other, you can’t serve both.

The liberal has faith as well as the Conservative. Our religion might be called Christianity which we proudly claim. Their religion is called Humanism. It’s nothing new, it’s been around since the beginning of time.

The modern liberal cleverly points at morality and calls it religious intolerance, and calls for the separation of Church and State. Meanwhile, the Humanist has decimated the barrier between Church and State.

The liberals are using their Bible; The media, to influence and fund their religion. If that weren’t enough they now use the taxes of all of us as their tithe to perpetuate their corruption.

All the while we Christians have sat back and played by the rules of, “Separation Of Church And State.” We’ve stood by and watched the inheritance left to us by our Forefathers, who paid for it with their blood, be twisted and perverted.

We’ve been challenged to a boxing match and the Humanist has showed up with guns and knives.

Let’s start calling the faith of mankind what it is….Humanism. We need to be clear we have different perspectives. We as Christians believe mankind is born into sin and only God can give us the wisdom and strength to live above our fallen nature.

In contrast, the people that don’t know God believe they are evolving, becoming like Gods. They believe perfection can be attained in the flesh. Does this sound familiar? Remember the serpent’s words? “Ye shall be as Gods.” (partial KJV)

I guess that sounded pretty good to Eve. So did what she saw. “A tree to be desired to make one wise.” (partial KJV) This is the heart of man without God, lost in the lust of the flesh, blinded and perishing.

65% of Americans did not want government health care. What did our politicians do? They said with their actions, “We know what’s best for you, so dummy up”!

In California, one of our countries most liberal states, the people voted in majority by almost 70% to recognize only the marriage of a man and a woman as legal. What did the judge in California do? He figured he was smarter than the majority of voters so he’d make the call all by himself. Democracy be damned!

The government that was supposed to be by and for the people has become drunk on power given them by the serpents among us, and we let it happen.

It’s time to send part of our tithe to a man or woman who will represent this country by and for the Power that created it. Only then will “God Bless America.”

A SIMPLE THING

a simple thing

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! photobucket.com

It’s been a busy week. I’ve been trying to get all I need to get done before the holiday. Due to lack of time I’m posting something that I wrote at the end of the summer. This was August 15th McKenzie’s birthday, the night before Ali went back to college and Gurm started Jr. High School. Please bear in mind these are some of the things I am truly grateful for not just this holiday, but every day of my life. Happy Thanksgiving to every reader and God bless you and yours.

–There was actually a time in my life when I was content, even happy to have a full tank of gas in my car and $40 in my wallet. That seems like a pretty simple thing doesn’t it? I bet there was a time in your life when it was less complicated and simple things brought you joy or contentment…Dare I say even happiness?

What happened to us? When did we become so sophisticated and successful that only complex things bring us joy? In fact do complex things bring us joy or happiness at all? How about peace?

Yep, we had big dreams and set about to turn those dreams into realities. When they finally started to become realities we took the proceeds and started to knit together a pretty complicated lifestyle.

How do you like your life now? Many times in my life, I’ve taken the blessings from God and cashed them in for idols. I don’t mean to, it just happens. It’s part of living in the flesh. Soon instead of worrying about honoring and pleasing the Provider we worry about and honor the provision.

No wonder He sometimes allows it to be taken away. He knows what’s best for His children, similarly to how we know what’s best for our children.

Nobody likes lessons in life. They’re generally uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. After the lesson is grasped and more wisdom is gained, do you find peace and joy in the simple things? I do.

I rediscover that simple faith in God that I found so many years ago. In Him, I enjoy rest. I find myself at peace with my Heavenly Father. The simplest things bring true joy, the understanding of His grace and mercy that has chosen me. Knowing He will never leave me nor forsake me. His sacrifice for me and mine.

When I’m one with God in spirit and living my life above my selfishness I find the most simple things in life bring a smile to my face.

This morning I gave McKenzie a big hug, pulling her off center with her shoulder against my chest topping it off with a kiss on the side of her forehead. Even though it was early and I hadn’t had a cup of coffee yet, I said, “Happy Birthday Girl”!

She beamed her beautiful smile that I love to see. It’s the same today on her 22nd birthday as it was as a child. That simple smile could alone make my day.

Tomorrow Ali leaves for college again to start another successful year in life for her. I’m proud of her for her accomplishments, but more importantly for who she is in God. It’s a simple thing, but it brings my wife and I great joy.

I have to wrap this up because Gurm starts 7th grade tomorrow as well. She’s nervous, excited, and I want to spend time with her so she can’t dwell on it too much. It’s a simple thing to know our daughters know God and live their lives by His rules in spirit.

For me, that simple gift from God brings a smile to my face.

So does playing catch with my youngest. It’s a simple thing…

REJECTION

rejectionI’ve received some pretty encouraging rejection letters from prospective literary agents. If you have a “The glass is half full” life perspective that is.

The last one? Not quite as good… In fact it was so bad there was no response… Ouch! There I was waiting patiently, playing by the rules, one agent at a time. Nothing… Crickets chirping…

I don’t know if a “Hey buddy, you stink.” Would have been better, I’m not sure I really want to know.

So I’ll stick with the things I do know. It just so happens that the book I’m trying to breath life into is a non-fiction Christian Inspiration. The title is “The Common Threads Of Greatness.” In the text, I consider the character traits that make up truly great people from a Biblical perspective.

Oh Great! Now I get to practice what I preached.

I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, God cannot be mocked. Although I certainly don’t speak or write as an authority on any of the covered topics, I do pay attention in life and these are my observations. Maybe God wants me to possess a little more mastery of the subjects?

Some of the topics covered in the manuscript are ringing in my ears and mind. I’m considering the very motivations I wrote about. In one of my recent blogs titled, “It’s A Fine Line,” I asked readers the same question I’m asking myself.

“Floyd, is your motivation selfless or selfish? What side of the line am I on? Is my desire to be published for selfish reasons? Starting with gratification, slowly drifting over the line in pride and ego?

In truth, I felt God leading me to write to begin with. My undertaking started with a pure heart and an obedient spirit. I’m sure since then I’ve danced back and forth across that line like I did as a kid standing on the California/Arizona border.

I’d jump on one leg onto the other, declaring in my youthful exuberance, “I’m in California, now I’m in Arizona, – California – Arizona”! I’d continue until made to stop… My poor parents.

One of the topics in one of the chapters in my manuscript is perseverance. So I will put up or shut up.

The truth is I truly do believe that never giving up on something, especially something that one has a passion for will ultimately bring gratification regardless of the outcome.

The game of golf is a good example of that I think. I’m not a golfer, but I have a lot of friends who are. They talk about the frustrations, the close calls, the endless hours always with passion. Even though frustrated and never completely satisfied with their game. They love it. They live for it.

Passion is another subject covered in my manuscript. That is the thing that all the writers, golfers, artists, and just about everyone else in the world who keeps on keepin’ on despite any and all setbacks have in common.

In chapter 10 I cover hope. Hope from a Biblical definition is nothing like most of us use the term in our daily lives. Many of us use “hope” in a sentence when we should be using “wish” or “wishing.” The Biblical definition of hope is basically “confidence” or expectation.

I’ll continue to “hope” in what I what I believe is God’s call. I’ll use these things that I do know to continue on through the situations I don’t.

I love to learn new things and I’ve learned a ton since I’ve started this new journey. I have tons more to learn and am looking forward to it.

One thing’s for sure in my life, I’ve heard “NO”! light years more than I’ve ever heard, “YES”!

There’s a good chance at some point and time someone’s going to say, “OK, OK!! “We’ll give you a shot.” Just to shut me up…

WHAT IS HAPPINESS?

hapiness

Hap-Hap-Hap-Happy Place! image by Photobucket

How fleeting is happiness in this life? I think about some pretty cool things I wanted or wanted to accomplish. After I received them it didn’t take long before I wanted more or something different. Some years back before the huge increase in the cost of old sports cars I was caught up in buying and mostly keeping those old cars. I dreamed of having those cars all of my life. I admired and appreciated them anytime I saw one, in fact, I still do. That’s about the only thing that will turn my head these days. I learned an interesting lesson from that period in my life. I should say I confirmed in more graphic detail the truth regarding such matters. The best part about having a passion for something like those cars was just that; Passion. Call it desire, want, need, or obsession, it’s all the same. The feeling of wanting and working to achieve something is the greatest part of the process. From the day I drove those cars home, I slowly had less desire for them. In time, I’d wash and start or drive them sometimes out of guilt. I eventually sold all of them. I felt like I had to. It seemed sinful to have something of value that I didn’t have time to care for in a matter that showed respect and stewardship. The best memories of the cars now aren’t when I acquired or sold them. It was when I took family members for drives. I mentioned last week one of my favorite pictures of my daughters is one taken with all three of them sitting in the driver seat of one of them. There has even been enough time pass for me to tell the story of how my wife damaged and wrecked the 56′ Vette and I can now laugh. There I was, standing in the garage on the phone with the garage door guy. My wife had torn the garage door off the tracks and it was laying on top or her SUV. No problem, I had it under control until I looked over and saw a big divot on the trunk of the 56′. My wife enjoys telling how I jumped up and down pointing like an idiot while talking to the garage door guy. A couple months later while driving the 56′ for the second time she ran into my work bench which drove it almost through the house wall. The original chrome bumper was destroyed and the hood damaged. I think God has a way of rearranging priorities. It was easy to measure happiness.