Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Cure for the Hiccups

"I have the hiccups," Kristi told me, stating the obvious, "And I can't get rid of them."

It was another typical work day at IA. I was sitting in my office, and I heard the front door to our studio open. Kristi sits up front, so she usually helps customers. I often try to listen to see who is there through the walls of my office in case I am needed with the customer who has come.

I am straining to hear who it is... and I hear a shriek.

A shriek of delight.

I stand up from my chair and walk out into the hallway. As I turn the corner, I am immediately greeted by an enormous smile and an embrace that just about knocks me off my feet.

"You two are AWESOME," I hear, as one of our most enthusiastic brides pulls away from our hug. "Everyone LOVES the pictures."

"Good, we're so glad!" Kristi and I agree in unison.

After another quick hug for me, she turns to Kristi. It's her turn.

Kristi is enveloped in a bear hug that lasts somewhere around 25 seconds. Knowing that this is not the most comfortable situation for Kristi, I smiled at her from the other side. She often tells me, "I don't like to be touched," and I'm not too far behind her with not ever really initiating physical contact or returning it enthusiastically unless I am so moved. Fortunately, today was a day that I was moved.

We walk her through the studio, as it is the first time she has seen our new place. After scheduling a time to come in and have her order session, we stand and talk for a few minutes.

This girl has to be one of our most vivacious, animated brides, and is definitely a beautiful individual inside and out.

"We were so thankful that the two of you are Believers," she told us, "It was so important to us. It just gave me such a sense of peace during the whole process. I knew what to expect, which is honesty and integrity; you don't see that in business as much today."

After she left, Kristi grabbed me and pulled me aside.

"My hiccups are gone," she stated. "I think she scared them out of me."

I've heard of the finger touch, peanut butter, and taking 3 deep breaths in a row to cure hiccups, but never a bear hug.

Anyway, I thought about what had been said. Lately, it has been making an impression on me how important it is to be a believing partnership in this business. Going into business is no easy task, especially when it is with someone as close as your best friend. There are ups and downs, for sure. But during the down times, it would be really easy to lose faith and handle situations a lot differently if we weren't unified in Christ.

I'll have to use the age-old analogy that having a business partner is like a marriage and say this: It's like comparing a Christian marriage to a non-Christian one. Both will have joys, sorrows, celebrations, and trials. But in the end, the relationship and endeavor that prospers is the one grounded in Christ, the one committed to Him and furthering His kingdom. And in this way, a business endeavor can be more than just a job... it can be a pursuit in spreading the Word through what you do.

Love you all!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Church Note #2

Today will be short and sweet, because I do not have much time.

Tonight's Note:
July 21, 2010

Love is foundational.

What comes to mind when you hear the word "love?" That's right, 1 Corinthians 13. That is what we read. Bottom line of the chapter: If love isn't there, the rest won't last. And the rest doesn't matter!

This is all really quite serious. You could essentially give up your entire life and everything in it, but if it is not done in the name of Christ's love, then it's worthless. Vain. Meaningless.

It's easy to look at this chapter and think, "Oh, well, that just applies to the big sinners out there. Those that steal, murder, lie, and cheat. Or to those who just think that living a "good" life will get them to Heaven."

And well, it does. But it also applies to the Christian who knows something to be good, and doesn't do it. Or the Christian who does something good, but for all the wrong reasons. Or the Christian who poses, pretends, and completes tasks more out of obligation and duty than our of service and love. It's dangerous ground when we get so used to "being a Christian" that we forget that being a Christian means to love... at all times. And to love, everyone. We may not always like people. But we must love them. Because as a soul, any person's salvation is worth just as much as yours.

Don't do things in order to get something in return. Do it out of love.

Love does not keep score. Love forgives seventy times seven times without enabling or rescuing, but with mercy. Love is not proud.

Do you want to know the most important thing about love? God is love.

When we do things out of love, we don't expect the favor returned. Our motive is not for reward or gain, but our motive is for furthering Christ's Kingdom.

This is not a natural human trait. To wake up every morning and perform every action that day out of love does not come easily. After all, if God = Love, we are far from God, and while we strive to be like Christ, the striving is there because we aren't that way in the first place. We do good to remember who we are and who God is, and in that way, we realize that without God's grace and God's help, we are nowhere.

Love is foundational. Why? Because without it, nothing else matters.

Love you all... T

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Church Note #1

First, I will start with some fun Fall pictures. We recently had a family cookout in the park. It was a beautiful afternoon... one of the last mildly warm days we might see in quite some time. Enjoy the pictures, and then I'm going to start something new.

Ollie and me
Lola Mae... a few tears
Beau's marshmallow... golden
Typical Naomi
More S'more Making
5 on a slide!
Tillie swinging
The crazy part about this is that I remember going down this slide when I was her age. Does that make me old?
Oh Sylvia.
Swinging high!

Over the past several months, whenever I attend a church service or bible study, I have been diligent about taking notes. The reason being is largely in part to the way I learn; I learn best visually. If I record a thought on paper and then revisit it later, it does two things: 1) refreshes my memory and 2) gives me a visual cue as to why the thought stuck out to me.

So... I keep this blank paper pad in my Bible and it goes with me everywhere. As I fill up pieces of paper, I paperclip them together and keep the notes with one another. Periodically, I'll thumb through them and be reminded of an excellent thought or wonderful Truth from the Word. Recently, I concluded that I should do more than just review; I should share what I learn.

As often as it moves me, I will blog about a few notes on these papers. I'll probably choose them randomly, because, well, I like to be random.

Tonight's Note:
July 14, 2010

"God specializes in problems to reveal His power and Love."

I remember now that the minister stood up and shared this thought at the beginning of his message. It was very powerful. So often as Christians, we wonder, "Why?" and the cliche question, "How could a loving God allow this?"

The answer is in the quote above. It is IN these problems and these times of trial that God's power and love come forth and His glory is revealed. I don't think God purposely strikes people dead to prove a point, but then again, He could if He wanted to. And it's in scenarios like that... the ones that catch us off guard, make us rub our chins, and wonder what the purpose is... it's in those times that the only thing left to do is to turn to God. And if Christ is in our hearts, He will deliver in a bigger way than we could ever imagine.

The wrap-up of this message was shared by another minister with this:
The Gospel in 3 words:

First it takes faith in God. When that is established, we recognize Jesus' death on the cross as payment for our sins, and we reap the peace of God's forgiveness. Lastly, we have a future of living for Christ and hope of eternity in our lives because of the gift we've been given.

A great summary of the Truth! Are we sharing it?

Love you all!


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Need to Breathe

Well, here I am. Should probably be sleeping. Unfortunately, the hours of 8pm-1am seem to be my most productive. Possibly because no one is bugging me. No one calls at this hour; no one stops over to talk, no meal times. It's great. Just 5 solid hours of work time.

I get distracted really easily. For those who know me well, this is nothing new. If there is such a thing as early onset of Alzheimer's, there is a chance that I qualify. For example, the other morning I was standing in my bedroom and I had a really good idea. I finished what I was doing (which took about 10 seconds) and as I turned on my heel to head into the direction of my good idea, I totally forgot what it is I wanted to do. That quick. It was gone. It wasn't until I was driving to work about 30 minutes later that I remembered what it was. Something in my brain triggered the remembrance. So I guess the good news is that my long-term memory is fully intact. Somewhere along the line, the information gets stored in my brain. It's just not very retrievable on-demand. It takes awhile to shift to the forefront. Crazy.

So anyway, all that to say that the reason I'm certainly most productive when the sun goes down is because there are minimal distractions. Which is a good thing. Being alone with myself is enough of a distraction... my mind is usually already going in several different directions at once. So to add other people and their interruptions or thoughts only throws me off track even more.

The reason I came to the writing board tonight is because I actually have something I'd like to share. I heard it at a Wednesday night service a couple weeks ago and thought it was a real good thought. Here it is...

It's a story about a young man who was walking with an older man. As they were walking along in the woods, the younger man asked the older man, "How have you stayed so faithful to God all your life, and with such a good attitude? How do you do it?"

The older man did not answer but took the younger man to a creek. Once there, he answered by dunking the younger man under the water. At first, it wasn't a big deal but after awhile, the younger man started to fight back. He was panicking, and felt the need to come up for air, but he couldn't escape the older man's grasp. He was drowning.

At just the right time, the older man let go and the younger man burst out of the water, gasping for air.

"How did you feel?" the older man asked.

"Like I needed air," the younger man sputtered.

"That's how I do it," the older man replied. "In the same desperate way you needed air to breathe, I desperately needed Christ to live each and every day."

Love you all!