Twenty-Four

Twenty-four years ago today… she said, “I do.” And for twenty-four years, she has. Today I get the privilege of celebrating twenty-four years of wedded bliss with my best friend, Angela!

She is deeply spiritual… fiercely loyal… faithfully committed… ultra-compassionate… uber selfless… and yes, smokin’ hot! Not everyone gets the honor and privilege of knowing her so closely. If you did, you’d discover that she is even more amazing than you already know her to be.

I love how talented she is… how she wants to do things with excellence… how she nurtures and looks after those she loves… how cunning and sneaky she can be to surprise someone with something nice or to play a prank on someone… and yes, I love her cooking!

Scripture says that when God daw Adam, he saw that it was not good for him to be alone. He needed a companion. I’m pretty sure the Lord looked at me and thought the same thing. So He blessed me. He brought Angela alongside me to share this journey of life, and I am so thankful that He did.

All of our days have not been perfect. Our story has its rises and falls. But I wouldn’t trade a moment of it spent with her.

When I call her PR31, I reference the Proverbs 31 woman whom she so closely resembles in every subtle nuance. Today, I rise and call her blessed because of who she is, and because of her faithful love shared with me. And yet… I feel like I am the one who is blessed because I get to share this life with her.

Today, I thank the Lord 8,760 days we’ve shared so far… and look forward to all the days ahead we get to share together! May they be more than double that!!!

A New Memory

I unplugged the iPad from where it had been charging so I could take it with me to do some work while I waited on an oil change. When I unplugged it, the screen lit, and I saw a notification box in the middle. I tapped on it, and it read, “You have a new memory.” When I opened it, it was a great memory we had made a little over a year ago when we just had fun as a family. Nothing expensive or extravagant. Just time spent together smiling, laughing, cooking and eating… enjoying each other. Today, seeing those pics from that time, I am so glad we made the time to make those memories.

This begs the question… What memories am I making today that I will be glad I made a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? When the boys are away at college, what memory will pop up on whatever electronic device we have then?

You see, if I don’t make them now, we won’t have them then. And I definitely want to have great memories in life. So I have to make those great memories. I have heard Author and Pastor, Mark Batterson, say, “Accumulate experiences, not possessions.” In other words, spend your time and money on making memories with the people you love which will one day pop up on the iPad to bring a smile back to your face and light up your eyes once more.

And hey, don’t let this post make you feel guilty if you haven’t been making great memories. Let it instead inspire you to start now. It’s the perfect time to begin. A month from now… a year from now… a lifetime from now, you’ll be glad you did!

The Golden Seams

I was talking with my sister on the phone last night, and she reminded me of the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi. It is the technique of repairing broken pottery with gold or other precious metals. The result is an artistically beautiful piece which looks as if it were designed that way on purpose. The concept is that those things which damage us in life are not to be hidden, nor are we to be discarded when we can be repaired. And so the artist uses something of great value to accent the brokenness to make it beautiful.

That’s exactly what God will do with our broken lives when we give that brokenness to Him. God can make the most out of our mess… if we will let Him. Jesus said that one of the major components of His mission on earth was to “bind up the broken-hearted.” That is, He came to put back together that which had been broken. And when He puts it back together, He makes it beautiful.

I think Bill and Gloria Gaithersburg had it right with these lyrics…

Something beautiful

Something good

All my confusion

He understood

All I had to offer Him

Was brokenness and strife

But He made something beautiful

Out of my life

If you’re life seems broken into pieces today, give it to the one Artist who can add value to it as He puts all the pieces back together, and Who can turn that life into art which will amaze the world with the golden seams!

Garage Sale Life

If you have watched our YouTube channel (Team A’s Life) last year in our first season, you probably discovered that PR31 and I love a good garage sale… both shopping at them and having them. You would also know that we differ on how to price items, and that we approach the buying process from a different viewpoint. But we still love them nonetheless.

We were talking today about how certain items ought to be priced when having a garage sale, and PR31 says to me, “Isn’t it crazy that pieces of your life can reduced to placing a sticker on them and selling them for 25 cents?” It totally caught my attention. We talked about how things that seem so important at one point in our lives, we are more than willing to part with as if they didn’t matter to us at all… like they are almost not worth selling later on.

I’ve been thinking about that off and on throughout the day, and I’m reminded of how Jesus said in His famed “Sermon On The Mount” in Matthew 6 that we should focus our attention on what really matters in life… those things that are going to last into eternity… that we should store up treasures in Heaven where they cannot be taken or destroyed… or in my words, sold for a quarter at a garage sale.

In the long run… like the forever, eternal long run… people are what matter. Relationships are what matter. Kindness, love and respect matter. Generosity and grace are matter. Feeding the hungry, healing the hurting and helping the poor matter. Taking care of widows and orphans matters. None of those “things” could ever be sold for 25 cents at a garage sale. But they just might generate some interest in your account in Heaven.

So before you buy that thing you just can’t live without today… ask yourself how long your satisfaction with it will last and how much you’ll probably sell it for in a garage sale five or ten years from now. That may make you think twice about whether it’s really worth it or not. When the next best seller has been written… or this season’s hot fashion trend is then a fashion faux pas… or that latest technology is totally outdated and no longer even supported by most devices, will it really matter that you had any of it?

I’m not against having cool stuff. I’m just more in favor of making sure I keep my priorities right. I want to stockpile treasures in Heaven instead of getting a quarter for something at a garage sale here.

Treasure Chest

This morning, Alex came into the living room with his treasure chest in hand.  A couple of years ago, PR31 found these little cardboard chests on sale and picked one up for each of the boys to keep their own personal treasures in.  You know, those things that kids value deeply and need a special place.

Well, Alex announced that he had reorganized his treasure chest to make room for his recently received birthday cards.  To do so, he had to take some things out.

Upon his announcement, I said, “Really?”

And he replied, “Yep, I realized a lot of stuff in there wasn’t really treasures to me.”

Mic drop. At least I thought that would have been the appropriate place in the discussion for it.

But then he added, “And you know what else besides the birthday cards I’m putting in there?”

“No, what?” I answered and asked.

His answer made my day… “God.”

Wow!

How perfect that he put together that he values God and so he wants to keep Him in a special place… a place reserved for the things that mean the most to him in life.

You know, we each have a “treasure chest” in which we keep those things which matter most to us.  Jesus said in Matthew 6 that where our treasure is our hearts will be also.

So what matters most to you?  Where is your heart?  Do you have a few things in your treasure chest which really aren’t the treasures you once thought they were?  Do you need to clean a few things out to make room for some new treasures… things you will truly value?

Before I leave you to sort through my own treasure chest today… and hopefully let you sort through yours… there is one more interesting part of the story.  In his treasure chest clean-out, he found a treasure he had been looking for and thought he had lost.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It was important to him.  The cool thing is that… because he had put it in his treasure chest… it was there for him when he got things straightened out.

My hope for each of us today is that we will take a little time to clean out our treasure chest… get rid of those things that aren’t really treasures… and make sure we include God as the most important treasure.  Then who knows? Perhaps in the process we will find a long, lost treasure we’ve really missed and begin to enjoy it again.