Monday, July 29, 2013

Sometimes You Don't Have to Have Eyes to See

     About eight years ago, I met a remarkable young man and his equally remarkable mother. The 7 year old boy was blind. I was watching him play t-ball. He was hitting the ball again, and again, and again! He was living out his dream with thanks to the doctors at St. Jude Children's Hospital who saved his life even when they couldn't save his eyes. He was living out his dream with thanks to his mother who always told him he could do anything he wanted to do... with or without his sight. He was living out his dream thanks to a t-ball coach who took a chance on the little boy who couldn't see with his eyes, but who had great vision of heart. He was living out his dream with thanks to a God who was watching over his every movement, on and off the field.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with this incredible family once again. Everyone should be so fortunate as to cross the paths of people like this--people with extraordinary faith, hope...and vision. 

I produced a video devotional a few years back, based on some of the people I met... and experiences I had... as a television news anchor. Their story is logged as "The Feature." I'd love for you to watch it... and say a prayer for Jacob and his mom and family. They are doing great and I look forward to updating you on their story very soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's New?

I've been in a funk. You ever get in a funk? 

You know...when your-get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone? When the creative juices run dry?  When you take two steps forward and six steps back?

Sure you have. It happens to all of us. What do you do and where do you go when you get in a funk?

I head to the water.

This morning, that water was the Gulf of Mexico. I threw off my shoes and just started walking. No plan. No timetable. I just started to walk... putting one foot in front of the other...toward the rising sun.

The water was rough today... stirred up and dark. Not unlike my spirit. Great, I thought. The water is supposed to feed and inspire me... not mirror my grumpiness. But, I just kept walking, putting one foot in front of the other.

I read an article recently about these times in life that I call a "funk." Lots of times they happen after a  period of extreme activity or success. Sometimes they happen when whatever it is we do in life suddenly stalls. Sometimes, they simply show up unannounced and don't have the good manners to just move along, already.

Athletes get in a funk. Their strategy for winning suddenly stalls. They run out of hits, putts and goals. Scientists get in a funk. Their experiments fail. Their beakers break. Their lab rats revolt. Writers get in a funk. The words that race through their minds all the time suddenly put on the brakes. I've even heard that ministers get in a funk. The words of the pages of scripture suddenly just look like... well, words on a page.

How do they get out of a funk? Maybe they try a new coach, a new formula, a new approach...a new Bible. Notice the common denominator?


And, so this morning, I decided to look my funky mood straight in the eye by looking at the stormy water in a new way. I decided to view the crashing waves not as dark and mysterious, but as cleansing. Because, I wondered, what if the waves that come in the 'funky' times of our lives do for us what these waves do for their environment: stir things up, move things around, cleanse?

Maybe it's in the funky times of our lives that negative thoughts get stirred up...loosened up... and shaken off, paving the way for a new strategy, formula or idea. Maybe the pieces of the puzzle that comprise our lives, careers, thoughts and dreams get moved around a bit, so that they fit just a little bit better.  And, as I watched the waves crash onto a shore that was strewn with pieces of broken shells, bits of seaweed and a line of footprints.. I thought that maybe the waves in the funky times of our lives provide a cleansing... as they wash away pieces of this, bits of that, and a line of the other thing...  leaving us with fresh, clean sand to begin the next leg of our journey.

I looked up at precisely that moment and saw this.

The sun began to break through a small opening in the dark sky.

I smiled and snapped the picture. Not sure if I'm out of my funk yet, but I decided that... funk or no funk... I would keep walking, putting one foot in front of the other...toward the new day. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chasing the Sun

My eyes flew open at 3:30 a.m. I fought the insomnia monster until 4:30, then cried "uncle" and got up. I figured I could get in an hour or so of quiet time and work before the sun began to rise, and I would get an early start on my morning run. But, just as I opened the door to head out to pound the pavement.. the bottom fell out. Of the sky, that is. Rain, rain, and more rain. I grumped and flumped and stumped around. My first instinct was to go back to bed. That pillow looked really good. But, instead, I flipped on the TV and checked out the local weather radar. The rain was moving away from a nearby beach. So, I jumped in the car, drove across the bridge to that beach, and ended up here.

An hour later, I was exhausted, energized and even-tempered.

As I walked the last few yards for my "cool down," I breathed in the salt air, took in the white sand and the beautiful green water... and, as I stared out at the breathtaking horizon,  it occurred to me that we don't always have to give into the rainy times in our life. Sometimes, if we want to find the sunshine, we have to search for it... we have make an effort to find it... we may even have to chase it down.

And, as I turned from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and headed toward my car, it also occurred to me that if it hadn't been raining over my head earlier this morning.. I would never have ended up on this beautiful stretch of beach. And, it occurred to me that sometimes...

rain in our life can be a blessing.