Week 18, MKMMA, 1-27-16
Our sons are grown and gone and we have no grandchildren so it is my wife and I, and quite honestly, I absolutely love this empty nest thing. My sons are the most awesome guys in the world, both are going through this course, have their own businesses, super productive, focused, and definite-purpose driven. So when you have sons like that, it makes being a parent super rewarding and proud. Yes, I love having my life back, come and go as I please, when I please, doing what I please, it is great. My wife (Patti) was having a little more struggle with the empty nest thing until my niece and her husband had their first-born son (Hoyt) about 9 months ago. My sister passed away when my niece was 7 years old so my wife has in ways been like a mother to my niece and they are super close. In the webinar Sunday they were talking about how babies are so open, excited to learn, and not bothered about being self-conscious until they learn it from someone else. Patti keeps Hoyt every chance she can and they are super close, he is a cool little dude, but he has trained his parents well. I watch at how he openly learns, crawls to explore something new, and has a zest for whatever peaks his interest, but he can turn on the water works at any given moment. The sprinkler on demand if it does not go his way, at 9 months old. Oh yeah, he sleeps in their bed, part of the night, the rest of the night they are up rocking and playing with him just hoping he will go back to sleep. It definitely defines the quote on the webinar Sunday: men are not the creatures of circumstances; circumstances are the creation of men. I told Patti if he lived in our house he would have a rude awakening because he would cry it out in the babybed, he would live in my house, I would not live in his. As an elder of the church said one time: “a 2 year old is not wise enough to run a household,” yet unfortunately that happens way too often. So training starts the day a kid comes home from the hospital and that training goes both ways, a parent can train the child or the child can train the parent. Often times that is why we have to retrain ourselves as adults to become the free, independent, goal-oriented people we are meant to be. I love freedom of the empty nest, but also of a virtually stress-free life respecting others and living towards my DMP. Yes, I had to retrain myself, as we all do, but freedom is not free.
Week 17, MKMMA, 1-19-16
Here it is the middle of winter and it is time to get ready for my garden in the spring. I have to put lime in my garden spot every year and lime is not like fertilizer. Fertilizer can be put out and tilled in when you are ready to plant but lime needs to be tilled in a couple of months before you are ready to plant. It takes time to break down and really prepare the soil before planting, much like the first part of this MKMMA thing. You sow and till knowing the big payoff will be coming in a few months. Yeah, in the spring when I plant my tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and other veggies, it will still be somewhere around the middle of the year before I get the big harvest but when it does and all the fresh garden veggies are on the plate and canned in jars for the winter it will be well worth it. Like changing and breaking off the old self and becoming our new reality, it takes time, sowing, tilling, planting, fertilizing, water, and months and years of work but the payoff is grand. Nothing beats a big homegrown tomato on a sandwich or cucumbers straight out of the garden, and nothing beats a positive, focused, directed, energized soul with a major purpose to share and love life. May God Bless!
Week 16, MKMMA, 1-13-16
Six times in the Gospel accounts the writers tell where Christ was with the people in situations and state: “he had compassion on them.” Christ looked beyond his own needs to the needs of others. He saw and felt their human conditions and responded. There are so many ways we can respond to help others. Webster’s Dictionary defines compassion as: (a) a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc., (b) sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The world is full of super people with hearts of love and care, unfortunately, they never make the news. It is the freaks and violent ones full of hate who make the news because it sells, what a sad commentary on our news media and society. In my work I go into over 100 homes and businesses a month and meet some of the most amazing people in the world. Incredible people of love who are making their way through life, minding their own business, and wishing the best for all, but we never hear about these blessed souls. We may not be able to feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes like Jesus did, but a $20 bill to an elderly person goes a long way towards medicine or groceries. Compassion goes way beyond meeting the physical needs. Nursing homes, elderly, disabled, and many others have incredible business, personal, and many other types of insight and experience but no place to share it because they sit alone wishing for someone with whom to talk. George Washington Carver once said: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” Kindness and compassion is giving of one’s self, not necessarily financial resources. It is having searching eyes of love, willing hands to serve, but most of all of our most precious resources, time to share, interact, and become involved.
Week 15, MKMMA, 1-4-16
A favorite song comes on the radio and it immediately takes us back to a favorite place, event, or time. We see the place and time where we met that special person, we can even see what they were wearing, or a defining moment in our life, or just a great, relaxing evening. The old southern rock classics still do it for me, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, The Eagles, Jon Bon Jovi, and country like Porter Wagoner, Waylon, Willie, Cal Smith, and Johnny Cash, this new stuff is not country. There are many evenings where me and Youtube still go back, did I ever just tell my age or what. Oh yeah, the old classic rock and country, the ones that played on the old 8-tracks, still fire up the old laptop in a rowdy, bang-out night of memories. But now, I am finding those times still more valuable than ever to my soul with Ray Boltz singing The Anchor Holds, What Faith can Do by Kutless, The Blood is Still There by Kevin Spencer, Why Me Lord by Kris Kristofferson, The Secret Place by The Booth Brothers, The Yard Sale by Sammy Kershaw and others really take me closer to the Lord. But we all have our favorites, the ones that really move us, when we are alone, the ones that really get deep in our souls such as How Great Thou Art by Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill, Turn the Wine Back into Water by T. Graham Brown, and the long-standing favorite for me, The Outlaw’s Prayer by Johnny Paycheck. As we become more reflective and honest through this MKMMA thing we find things that take us back, some to break the old habits and get rid of the things holding us back, but others to release the good that has been buried. I treasure those evenings of rocking the old laptop, I sing wide open, I may sound like a moose during mating season, but it is during those times that my soul is free.