My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Breaking Free From To Do Lists To Savor Texas Bluebonnets

With a house especially in Spring time, there are always To Do’s to keep the weekend busy. House cleaning and yard cleaning can make the weekend as hectic as the workweek. Sometimes, (not always), it is more important to wad up the “To Do List” and give it a toss to enjoy a more than ok weekend. My wife and I did that this past weekend. We used most of Saturday for a Country drive to Wimberly, Texas to look at the Texas Bluebonnets, a wild flower that is the state flower for Texas. Bluebonnets are one of my wife’s favorite flowers. Thankfully our first year in the San Antonio area has been a good year for bluebonnets.

We took a country back roads route to Wimberly from New Braunfels so we could enjoy the wild flowers in the fields and ranches. Also this allowed us to take a slower pace to enjoy savoring the scenery. Country roads help to learn enjoying the journey, instead of rushing from point A to point B like we too often do. Just as we entered Wimberly, there was a field in front of a health services plaza and church that was full of Bluebonnets. It was there where we took most of our pictures.

Since it was our first time to Wimberly we took some time to look around before taking pictures. There were many interesting shops and since our main focus of the day was flowers we said to each other that we have to come again for the shops. It was lunchtime when we reached the town so we decided to grab a bite to eat. We asked at the Visitor’s Center and they gave suggestions and we went with the nearest restaurant named The Leaning Pear. It is just Caddy Corner across the street from the Visitor’s Center.

If you are in Wimberly I definitely recommend The Leaning Pear as a place to eat. The restaurant was clean and neat even the outdoors area where we ate. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was refreshingly fresh and tasty. We shared the Caprese Panini and their House salad which had crispy sweet pear slices on top. Since Wimberly is not too far from New Braunfels we will definitely go back. If you are in the Wimberly area their website is

After lunch we decided it was photography time with the bluebonnets. We went back to the field at the edge of town and parked. We each had our cameras so went to various parts to the field to take photos. I mention in the title to savor bluebonnets. Savoring is allowing the experience to soak in to your inner being. It is not a quick rush click click of the camera and back into the car. We probably spent over a half hour roaming around the field taking panoramic shots and close-ups of the flowers. By slowing down and savoring God’s creation you can enjoy the beauty more fully.

We need balance in our lives. We do need to take care of our homes but during the various seasons we need to take time to break out of routines and enjoy other aspects of life. For my wife and I enjoying God’s creation of flowers in Springtime is one of those breakaways. Our yard and garden is definitely calling but I foresee other short trips around the Hill Country to enjoy God’s creative touch in nature.

Reflection: Are the “ToDo’s” getting the best of you. On a weekend take a day to break away to do something you enjoy. Go to the beach, a country drive, visit a small town you have never been to. Take time to do it at a slower pace to truly savor the experience.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Enjoying the Afterlife in the Present Life

While I was doing some work in my office, I was listening to a song by one of my daughter’s favorite bands, Switchfoot. It addresses a wrong viewpoint about Christians and Christianity. It speaks to the thought that Christians just sit around in their churches waiting to die so they can really live in heaven. Granted there are some Christians that are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. Sad to say I have met people who can not stand Christianity, because they have run ins with Christians like those.

Christians that create these ideas that this life is all sorrow and sadness until we reach heaven are painting a false picture that the writer of the song is reacting to. We forget that Jesus was accused of carousing with sinners and gluttons. His first miracle was at a wedding. The disciples would try to chase children away from Him and Jesus would chide them as He enjoyed paying attention to children. As I have stated before, Jesus stated He came to give us life and life abundantly. Jesus wanted His followers to live in the present fully as well as look forward to the future finalized Kingdom.

Take some time to look over the words to this song. If you click on the title you can even listen to a video of the song.

Afterlife by Switchfoot

I've tasted fire I'm ready to come alive
I can't just shut it up and fake that I'm alright
I'm ready now, I'm not waiting for the afterlife

I'll Let it burn the way the sunlight burns my skin
The way I feel inside, the way the day begins
I'm ready now , I'm not waiting for the other side , I'm ready now, I'm ready now

Cause everyday the world is made A chance to change But I feel the same
And I wonder Why would I wait till I die to come alive?
I'm ready now I'm not waiting for the afterlife

I still believe we could live forever You and I we begin forever now
Forever now Forever

I still believe in us together You and I we're here together now
Forever now Forever now For ever now

Cause everyday the world is made A chance to change But I feel the same
And I wonder Why would I wait till I die to come alive?
I'm ready now I'm not waiting for the afterlife

Everyday A choice is made Everyday I choose my fate

And I wonder Why would I wait till I die to come alive?

Everyday I still feel the same And I wonder why would I wait till I die to come alive? I'm ready now I'm not waiting for the afterlife

I'm ready now I'm not waiting till the afterlife

The song starts out with a metaphorical thought of tasting fire which makes me think of the Story in The Book at Acts of the tongues of fire which was a testimony of the Holy Spirit of God in the early Christian believers. In Christ we come alive as energized like a fire. The song then moves into an analogy of the sunshine burning his skin; heating him up. I don’t know about you but after a few grey cloudy days I always feel more alive when the rays of sunshine break through and warm me up.

His phrase, “I still believe we could live forever “, and the name of the song shows he believes in an afterlife. Heaven that is beyond our imagination in splendor, is a reality I believe in, and the songwriter shows he believes it. I appreciate how he says, “You and I we begin forever now”. The spiritual relationship with God begins not when we die but now. We are not to sit on the sidelines through our time here, but to be active participants in enjoying the journey God has for us for our time on this planet.

I think of how in C. S. Lewis’ writings he portrayed the fleeting nature of this life as a proof of sorts, for the afterlife. This life goes by so quickly there has to be something more out there. This life is a foreshadow of what is to come in a more splendorous fashion. Sure there are many difficulties in this life and we each experience those times. Yet are we made to dwell on those and miss out on good times with family and friends, or appreciating the simple beauty of Spring flowers. “Everyday A choice is made Everyday I choose my fate”. Each day we can wake up and choose to dwell on the negative pains of life or choose to catch the Spirit’s fire and fully enjoy what God has waiting for us each day. A saying of C.S. Lewis states: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither” This puts the song lyrics in perspective. We do not want to have tunnel vision on just looking at life on this earth. Focusing on this life only will drag a person down. In keeping a forever focus we can look forward with anticipation to the promise of heaven. Also we can enjoy the full joy of living in our present life as well.

I have mentioned the organization Natural High before, They are all about helping especially young people live life to the fullest. In promoting Natural Highs they show young people you do not need drugs to enjoy life. Switchfoot in this song expresses the attitude of living a natural high life of living fully alive each day. If you have not checked out their website please do and see what they are doing to make a change in the lives of young people and then tell others, especially educators about their work.

Reflection: Are you staying the same or coming alive on your daily journey? List a few things you can do to come alive in your life!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Learning SFT in Utopia

This past weekend we watched the movie 7 Days in Utopia . We are not golfers so, I had put off seeing it thinking it just a golf movie. As I watched the story unfold, I saw several life principles at work. One primary one was for the young lead character to learn life was more than golf. The movie presents principles that can be transferred into any person’s career life and personal life balance.

The opening of the movie has Luke Chisholm exploding in anger over a disintegrating performance in a golf game. As he is recklessly driving due to his emotions he crashes through a rancher’s fence. The elderly rancher, John, comes to his rescue and requests he stay with him for 7 days to get his golf game back. There are many dynamics in the story. Does Luke really want to play golf? Or was that his dad’s dream for him? There is shown in flash backs the tensions between he and his father, who was his over demanding coach and caddy. This made me wonder if golf was really Luke’s thing or his dad’s.

Instead of just playing golf John, who was a former golfer himself, has Luke do other things that relate to golf but initially seem very strange. Just one for an example, he has him study a golf shot in a wooded area and the instead of just hitting the ball has him paint the view of hitting the ball first. So the ideas tap into creativity and that particular example was encouraging a deep level of visualizing before trying the difficult shot. John is trying to get Luke to explore his passion level for golf and to allow him to see God has a purpose for his life greater than golf. Life is more than just a job or career we need to discover our greater purpose.

I was impressed by the concept of SFT that comes up in the movie early as John is speaking about Luke’s putting. He emphasized to not think but to See, Feel, and Trust. There is a truth in that, that we in our work have to move beyond over thinking to See, which means to visualize the big picture of what you are doing, Then Feel is having confidence in the visualization process to move forward. Finally to trust is to step out and act on that confidence to complete what you are trying to do. As I watched that work out in the film; the SFT concept reminded me of Dr. Cziksentmihalyi’s Flow concept of having a sense of mastery and trust in your competence so that you are not over thinking but you are one with your work that you are doing.

The movie goes deeper into the SFT concept looking at it in a spiritual level. John tells Luke near the end of the movie to make Luke understand that he needs to find a greater purpose in life than golf. How does Luke want to be remembered after his life is over? Here John explains that he needs to See God’s face, Feel God’s presence and Trust God’s love – SFT. Looking at life from a God centered perspective it was no accident that Luke turned towards Utopia. Granted, he could have taken the other turn and gone to another town and not experienced the 7 days in Utopia. But God had a purpose for Luke to be there. In those 7 days, he had the opportunity to understand that relationships are important, reflect on his passion and conviction level for golf and reach a point of feeling the presence of God. As spiritual beings, we need to first know who God is by seeing His face and feeling His presence. Then we can learn to trust in His love and know as is stated in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has good plans for us even after a terrible game or problem occurs. That is a truth and promise we can hold onto in difficult and good times.

At this point in the movie the older ex golf pro gives Luke a box. In it is a Bible, a note from John, a pencil and two pieces of paper. With the papers Luke is told to draw up two lists. One is a list of all the lies he has listened to about himself. For Luke lies such as his self worth lies in how well he does with a little white golf ball. Lies that he told himself such as his father only cared about him if he did well in golf. We each over our lifetime can fill our minds with lies about ourselves which can spiral us down in to subpar just ok existing instead of the abundant life we were created for. That list of lies he was to write was to be buried in the box as a symbol of being rid of the lies. The other sheet of paper Luke was to write down truths about himself that he was to keep as a remembrance to give him strength in his life going forward. What are truths we can write and hold onto? Truths such as God loves us, and has a greater purpose for our lives. That we each have talents, that can be used to help improve the lives of those around us. We need to focus on the truths and not the lies.

If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it. Enjoy the story and acting. Then also think through your life as to how the SFT concept relates to your life. Think through the purpose God has for you in your living more than ok on your life journey.

Reflection: Take some time to write up a list of lies that you have are presently are telling yourself. How are these lies negatively effecting you life? Destroy the list of lies. Then also write down a list of truths about yourself. Post this truth list somewhere you can regularly see it. Also take some time to reflect on your bigger purpose in life.