Praying for crop failure?

sowing_seed

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galations 6:7 KJV

I consider myself a man of faith, doing my best to ponder and adhere to the principles taught in the Bible.  Which is why, as I’m sitting here drinking my coffee this morning, I find myself caught-up in thought after reading the verse I’ve listed above.

In the KJV, the word “soweth”could be re-written so say “continues to sow”– meaning that the “eth” at the end indicates that this is action isn’t a one-time event, but rather something that is continuing.  This verse is referring to those who continue to sow…whether those seeds and deeds be good or bad.  Which brings me to the question I’m pondering…

what happens if you stop sowing?

It brings a certain sense of comfort in knowing that I have an opportunity to change what I reap when it comes to my shortcomings and faults…just stop sowing.  If I have a critical attitude and I don’t want to be looked at critically by others…stop sowing.  If I’m quick to judge the fathers who disappoint their kids, yet I don’t want others pointing-out my flaws as a father…stop sowing.

Alternately, it gives me a sense of reprieve to know that I have an opportunity to influence the future of my life in a positive way.  Do I want my friends, neighbors and colleagues to look on me with tolerance and longsuffering?  I’ll sow some patience myself.  If I want others to give my children space when they fail in the future (and they surely will), how do I make that happen?  I’ll go sow sow kindness and mercy today.

Finishing my coffee, I find myself looking in my bag of seeds today. Do I need to change my gardening plans?

I prefer to plan and consider now, rather than praying for a crop failure later.

IF

I know little about poetry, but one need not know much to appreciate this piece. It resonates.

fatherson

 

If you can keep your head when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken,
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew,
To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling

Chapters

chapter Chapters… Stopping points. Places to pause. Forced divisions between sections. Any given book you read is filled with chapters. Some are short, others longer. Some showcase critical characters, others simply build the storyline. The Bible literally has thousands of examples.

Oftentimes chapters conclude in large-scale action or because of a noteworthy event that has occurred. Mystery novels or thrillers are a great example of this where usually the main character can be found in a cliffhanging situation…a chase, a fight or some other form of drama. Other times, chapters end uneventfully with no fanfare or particular action taking place…almost as if the author just felt it was time to take a breath before continuing.

~

It occurs to me that the story of our life can be segmented into chapters as well.

Sometimes the change between life chapters is obvious–marriages, births, etc. As I reflect on many of these events in my own life, I can see clear lines of change around these events; i.e. things were one way when I was single, then they shifted to something different when I married.  These particular types of divisions in our lives can be anticipated, planned for…expected.

And yet there are other times when planning isn’t possible. Times when circumstances lurch hard to the left in an unexpected way that forces us to stumble, regain our footing, then travel forward on a path that is not quite the same as before. A new chapter was forced.  We didn’t ask for it, we wouldn’t have chosen it for ourselves at that time, but it happened.  Death is one poignant example of this.

Regardless of how the chapters were formed, they all connect to form a tale of just who each of us are and how we became. While not as enjoyable, even the painful, sudden sections of our stories do serve a purpose– they cause us to be more mindful and thankful of the good times.

As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reminded that I must enjoy the express place I am in now while it lasts. Family, friends, relationships that I have…they are all blessings that should not be ignored or taken for granted, but rather appreciated and enjoyed.

Once this particular chapter ends, the next one will be different; how should I spend my time now so that I have no regrets looking back?

I’m grateful that we cannot see the future, and I am certain God had a purpose in designing it this way. Advice to self: the next chapter will build on this one, and it might be harder…be in the moment now…take one chapter at a time…absorb the content…don’t rush…learn what you are supposed to learn.

Not The End

Happy Sunday!

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Hello everyone, and a happy Sunday to you all! Here’s to hoping you have a great day. Go find something to be thankful for today if you can. I’m posting two of my reasons in the pic above. (Taken a couple of weeks ago during a family vacation to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.) Focus on the important things today!

Talk to you soon.

Warmest Regards,

DH

Just Make It Count

Just another day. Was I able to cross-through those tasks I had on my list? Those break-points in the day, were they memorable? You know, the ones I looked forward to at the beginning of the day? Lunch…the afternoon break at work…heading home for the day. This time next week will I reflect back and note these moments with any significance?

Today the creative drive is coming from (dare I say it), McDonald’s regular! I was on the phone this morning, and didn’t have time for the normal brew so I had to settle for what was convenient. That’s my brew, now here’s my view…

As a result of a post my friend Margaret wrote a few days ago over at Being Margaret, (great blog, check it out if you can), my thoughts have been somewhat occupied. Margaret’s post was a moving, sentimental reflection of where she was on October 2, 1998, and the events that transpired causing her to remember that day so well– in her case the death of a dear family member. The very well-written story gave me pause, and has caused me to reflect. What about today?

I’m guilty of taking most days for granted. I’m sure I’m not alone in falling into life patterns that cause time to pass almost unconsciously. Each week blends into the next, the weekends seemingly connected without interruption–creating an impressionist-like picture of time where days and events subtly blur together, the specific details lost to the monotonous brush strokes of routine. This happens because I allow it.

I purpose to make today memorable. When I look back on today, it may not carry the significance of those days that are bookmarks in all of our lives…marriages, births, the happiest of times, etc., however it’s up to me to make sure that today doesn’t fade into history without any significance. I can choose to make an impact on someone. I can choose to spend time with those who are important to me. I can choose to draw nearer to God.

I choose to make today a step up to a better me.

I choose to make it count.

DH

P.S. Tomorrow, I choose better coffee 😉

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New Morning Brew

At first it’s just a subtle, amber hint of glow, then the edges slowly begin to expand. As I watch, the changes are almost imperceptible. I imagine an army of angels driving away the cold, resistant blackness of night as they push the sun higher into the morning sky. Dawn has arrived. My coffee is fresh. Sitting here in my pajamas, what more could I ask for?

It’s still the “Eight-O-Clock Coffee Breakfast Blend” doing the trick for me today, and sleepy beginnings like this make me evermore grateful for my Keurig.

I do appreciate beauty of nature that morning brings with it. The soft chirp of night crickets still singing, the dew resting upon the foliage, and of course, the spectacular performance of the rising sun– never ceasing to inspire wonder and amazement. These elements are peacefully motivating to me.

That being said, it’s really a little more than that, isn’t it? The real magic of morning is that, somehow each morning represents a new beginning…a clean slate…a canvas waiting to become a work of art. One Bible verse describes morning as bringing with it a new helping of mercy for the day. The happenings of yesterday somehow seems to fade away, and I feel a desire to accomplish something great today!

Hmmmm….maybe it’s just the coffee. Time for another cup.

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The First Cup…

Ahhh…that great feeling when you take the first sip of java on a chilly, autumn morning when your world is still largely quiet and still.  Couple this with a few rare, precious moments to think and now you have at least a few pieces of the secret formula for a good day.

Today it’s ‘Eight-O’-Clock Coffee’ brewed in the Keurig that’s doing the trick, and here’s what I’m thinking about…

The sound of metal clinking against glass cups, the subtle sound of milk being steamed, the awesome, floating scent of strong coffee brewing, and the bright morning sunlight gradually chasing shadows into the corners, all while jazz standards are covertly setting the mood in the background.  It’s the relaxing, “feel-the-stress-leaving-as-we-speak” sounds of the corner coffee shop, and there’s just one thing missing in this picture that would make it absolutely perfect.

What is it, you ask? What could possibly be missing from this scene? It’s that sound of warm conversation taking place between friends and companions.  The sound of old acquaintances who haven’t seen one another for months catching-up.  The sound of college classmates working on that group project.  Or maybe it’s simply the sound of a few friends debating the latest news headlines.

Who doesn’t enjoy stimulating conversation over a great cup of coffee?  As a working, mid-30’s, happily married father of three, I seek out these moments as often as I can.  My name is Dave Howell, and I find that it’s in these moments with my brew that I’m often able to find the simple hiding somewhere in the corners of the complex.  At times, the only thing that’s missing is a few friends to complete the conversation.  But since you’re here now, problem solved!

Thanks for stopping by my weekly blog post (perhaps more if we have time for the occasional refill).  Grab a cup and fill it up!  Let’s enjoy brews and views.

Now…what are you drinking and what are your plans for today?

DH