Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Without the Sherpas We Cannot Climb

I read an article today on CNN.com that talked about the recent tragedy at Mount Everest that left 13 guides dead and 3 unaccounted for.  The article talked about how many of the climbers waiting to climb Mount Everest have had to abandon their efforts because the Sherpas are refusing to climb right now.  One climber said, "Without the Sherpas, we cannot climb." The article was clear to say that the Sherpas were not keeping anyone from climbing.  They were just refusing to climb themselves out of respect for their fallen comrades.  

Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal who are known for their ability to climb.  They do the hard work of fixing climbing lines all the way to the summit of Everest.  They also transport all of the equipment to the various camps, transport oxygen to other climbers, and help rescue stranded climbers when possible. The article went on to say "Without their assistance, making the long, dangerous journey is nearly impossible for all but the most experienced climbers."  

Reading the article really got me thinking about all of the behind the scenes work the Sherpas do.  They make everything possible for someone to reach the summit. They set the stage for someone else's success.  They rarely, if ever, get the credit, but the summit could not be reached without them.

This post is simply my little shout out to all of those who work behind the scenes.  You do so much that others may never see.  You put in hours others do not know about.  You write letters, make phone calls, give anonymously ... you work where others do not see ... never wanting the credit ... just wanting to make a difference.  Thank you for your hard work!  We cannot climb without you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Learning From Learning How to Drive a Stick Shift

I'm currently driving a 1994 Honda Civic, thanks to some wonderful friends.  I've been driving it for about 3 weeks.  It has a "standard" transmission.  I say that because, all my life, I have driven "automatic" transmissions.  I never had the opportunity or made the time to learn how to drive a "stick."  So, three weeks ago when we received the car, I had to learn how to drive a stick.  It's been fun and sometimes frustrating, but I'm certainly learning a few things from it.  Here's what I'm learning ...

  • You're never to old to learn something new.  Learning new things keeps our minds fresh, helps us tackle new obstacles, and keeps life interesting. Question:  Are you allowing yourself to learn new things?  Is there something you've always wanted to try, but have never made the time to do it?  What is keeping you from setting a goal and saying "This will be the year I try ___________________________."
  • If you stall, you have to start back up.  The thing about learning how to drive a stick is that it takes some time to get the hang of working the clutch and the gas together.  During that process, I have "stalled" the car many times.  But, if I want to get to where I'm going, I have to start the car back up and try it again.  If I don't, I'll just sit there ... well ... stalled.  This reminds me of the fact that I sometimes stall in life.  I want to be a person of character, I have goals I want to reach, I have things I want to accomplish.  In that process, though, I have "stalled" many times.  When I stall, I have to decide to start back up again because if I don't, I'll never get to where I want to be.  Question:  Have you become discouraged because you've "stalled" somewhere in life? Stalling happens.  It's part of the journey.  But, don't stay there.  Start back up and trust God to complete His good work in you. (Philippians 1:6)
  • Some people are very patient.  Some are very impatient.  It's been such a humbling process learning how to drive a stick.  I have stalled out with many cars behind me at different times.  It's really given me a totally different perspective on being behind someone on the road.  With cars piling up behind me, some people have been very kind and patient.  Others have laid on the horn and let me know that I am completely ruining their day by holding them up an extra 10 seconds.  Seriously!  If a 10 second wait is going to mess up a person's day, they may be packing a few too many things in to their schedule and are wound up a bit too tight.  But, this has helped me learn to be a bit more patient with the people I get behind who may be holding me up.  It's helped show me that I can be incredibly impatient at times, especially on the road.  It's certainly not something I'm proud of.  Question:  We can often be more patient with circumstances than people.  Is there a person in your life or a type of person in your life you need to demonstrate more patience toward?  Are you willing to ask the Holy Spirit to give you "love, joy, peace, and patience?"  (Galatians 5:22 - 23)
  • I mess up when I try to go too fast.  Some people have driven a stick a long time and it's just second nature to them.  I'm still in the beginning stages and so I have to be a little more deliberate with everything.  It's not quite second nature yet.  When I take my time and focus and don't go too fast between the clutch and gas, I usually do OK.  When I try to go faster than I'm capable of at this time, I typically stall or jerk until my head looks like a bobble head in the driver's seat.  This reminds me of something John Wooden once said:  "Be quick but don't hurry."  Question:  How's the pace of your life?  Are you moving too fast?  Are you in such a hurry that you're messing up your relationships and what is most important?
  • Sometimes I worry too much about other people.  This happened to me this morning while I was driving.  I had to pull out quickly in to traffic (refer above) and there were a lot of people around.  I started telling myself "I need to do this fast and not stall because there are a lot of people on the road right now."  Anyway, the more I told myself not too stall because of all the people around, the more I began to think about stalling and, wouldn't you know it ... I stalled ... and stalled ... and stalled again.  And, then stalled one more time to top it off.  I got flustered and kept on thinking, "I can't imagine what these people are thinking right now!"  The more I concerned myself with what the other people were thinking, the more flustered and rushed I became and the more stalling I did.  Question:  Do you consistently worry about the approval of others?  Do you feel insecure and what does your insecurity lead you to do?
It's been a fun process for me and I'm definitely learning more than just how to drive a stick.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Strong Family

The weather has been beautiful here the past couple of days which has given us the opportunity to do some things that we haven't had the opportunity to do in a while ... like draw with chalk in the driveway.

This is a picture our son drew.  It's of our family of six.  It's been in the driveway for a couple of days but, before I left for the office this morning, I just stopped and stared at it for a bit.  While doing that I noticed something interesting.  "Mom and Dad" were right in the center of the picture ... right in the center of the house.  I'm no psychologist and certainly no expert, but as I looked at the picture I think our son was showing us something.  He was showing us what the world is like to him ... it's home ... it's family ... with mom and dad at the center.

As a husband and dad, this picture reminded me that the absolute best thing I can do for my kids is to love my wife well.  This picture reminded me that, at this stage of their life, stability and security for my kids starts with stability and security in our marriage.  It reminded me that, yes, my kids want and need my love, time, and attention and I love to give it to them.  I have so much fun with my kids.  But, it is even more important for me to give my wife time, attention and love, allowing my kids to see that I have fun with their mom too!  The more they see this, the greater sense of security they will have.  And, so much can be built upon a foundation that is strong, stable, and secure.  A strong marriage will make for a strong home and family.  Certainly not perfect, but strong enough to handle the imperfections and to seek to  "do everything in love." (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dad Prayer

Feel free to use this prayer as you pray for your family ... 

"God, I pray that my children will have always humble, teachable hearts.  Pride will always hinder them from a greater dependence upon You because they will feel they can depend on themselves.  I pray that they will be humble, allowing them to receive Your grace (James 4:6) and to be led in doing right (Psalm 25:9)." 

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