Wednesday, March 24, 2010

chaise lounges

Last summer we bought two outdoor chaise lounges for our deck at a close-out sale from Smith-Hawkins. They were in boxes requiring assembly and they have been hibernating in our garage during the last six months , waiting for the emergence of spring.

We have been talking about assembling them and last night when I came home from work I considered the task I had talked about the previous day--but never got to. I was tired after a twelve hour day, and ready, following a great home-cooked dinner, to settle into my easy chair for an evening of senseless television.

But I thought about those two chaise lounges secure in their shipping boxes, unable to be employed in that state. The cost of releasing them would be the delayed gratification of my easy chair, but the reward of proceeding with their unveiling would be the immediate applause of my wife and the "sooner than later" utilization of them on our deck.

I opted for the garage and the assembly process, and spurred on by my wife's affirmation "Go, Dale!", I finished the task in an hour.

So what's the big deal? Two chaise lounges?

I made a decision to satisfy my wife and not gratify my own selfish desires> I determined to do something productive rather than mindless. and the benefit--though immediate at one level--will be enjoyed long term...if I followed the directions correctly.

Sometimes doing God's will is like assembling two chaise lounges--there are directions, there is opportunity, there is need. But there are also the competing elements of fatigue, minimal mechanical ability and hard work.

When I survey my life as a believer, and my service to God--sometimes I am impassioned by the opportunity and need, and congnizant of the directives of scripture. But arguing against this on the human side are my tiredness, the self- appraisal of my ability (or lack of it) and the demands of what is required.

I hopefully choose to do God's will--no matter what the competing reasons to do otherwise. Ignoring it--just assuming that if I leave the chaise lounges in the garage they will assemble themselves or someone else will come to do it--is not an acceptable option. Recognizing that the chaise lounges are mine to assemble (with clear directions) is the critical step to enjoying their benefits during the hot summer months when I want to relax in the afternoon sun.

By the way, the two chaise lounges still need some finishing touches. I have some work left to do. So...when will I take the next step?

I can hear my wife calling...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

dark clouds

Driving home from Sacramento on Monday, we headed up Highway 16 towards our turnoff to Sutter Creek and reluctantly traded the sunshine for black clouds that welcomed us with a somber darkness. The change in a moment of time and within the space of a few miles was stunning.

I awakened this morning, having experienced a great day on Wednesday of renewed hope and optimism, to a darkness that followed me most of the morning. I wondered aloud, "Where did that come from?" As I visited with a friend later I confessed that I was caught unaware by the menacing cloud that blanketed me with an overwhelming sense of sadness.

As I sit at my computer facing a full day yet with Hospice visits, premarital counseling and a board meeting, I am reminded how the enemy would seek to bring perpetual darkness to our lives. His desire is to make us creatures of our emotions and to manipulate us through feelings that vacillate from one season to another--from one moment to the next.

I have made a conscious decision today to celebrate my life, and my relationship with the One who said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." John 8:12.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Through the generosity of a friend I was provided a gym membership this year. Because he paid for it, I am doubly-motivated to utilze it, even though some days it is a real struggle to get out of bed at 5 a.m., and dirve the short distance it is from my home. it's that old refrain--"the spirit si willing but the flesh is weak"..and cold, and tired.

Today was one of thos mornings. Awake at 4:20 a.m., I had a quiet conversation with myself about a long fourteen hour day behind me and a twelve hour day ahead of me. I applauded myself for how well I had been doing and contemplated the reward of staying in bed and taking a break--something I have not done in the last eight week regimen (even on my vacation week in Dallas I walked..alot!)

Here's the good news. By 5:30 a.m. I was riding feverishly ona stationary bike t the gym and celebrating my will power that catapaulted me olut of bed and into my regimen of exercise. The goal for me s fitness. I am not seeking to become a Charles Atlas look-alike, nor am I competing with the guys who have the "I lift big bar bells" swagger about them. Some of the ladies bike faster than me and there are some older men who look stronger and certainly thinner.

But I want to be a fit grandpa--able to do all the things that I love to do into the last quarter of my life (I did not say that for effect...there is, hopefully, another quarter left!)

Fitness is a spiritual goal for me as well. Am I spiritually fit? Am I ingesting the Word of God as a part of my daily diet? Am I exercsing the principles of God's Word in my daily life? Am I "beefing up" my spiritual muscle by hiding God's Word in my heart?

Some mornings I am tempted to take a break--"I'll pray later" (I remember when the next crisis emerges), or, "I'll study when I get to the office" (and a day of unannounced appointments ravages my time), etc. When that happens with consistency over a period of time, spiritual malnutrition and weakness settle in.

Next appointment at the gym is Saturday mornng.

See you there...?