Thursday, January 28, 2016


"Simplicity is the glory of expression." - Walt Whitman

The 1978 song Dust in the Wind was a last minute addition to rock group Kansas' album
Point of Know Return. The acoustic melodramatic song would end up being the biggest hit of
 all-time for the popular band thanks to some finger exercises from lead guitarist Kerry Livgren. Yep, that's right. A finger exercise on guitar from Kerry led his wife to suggest he write lyrics to that smooth tranquil sound she heard coming from his fingers.

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can lead to success. And not just success, but can also bring peace and joy.

"I love simplicity, it's the nature by which we all should choose to live." - Me

In San Diego and much of California they have been in a severe drought the last few years. But this winter is the year of El Nino which brings the West Coast rain, and lots of it. In most parts of San Diego the rain brought with it severe flooding, especially for the cities along the ocean. But, with all that rain and flooding came with it rainbows. Some extraordinary rainbows in fact.

(photo credit to Jeff's Photography, San Diego)
One would have to think that with all the damage from the flooding a simple rainbow lifted the spirits of those in need out there. And for some, the rainbows they encountered was simply God saying,
"I gotcha covered!"

A couple of weeks ago I ran across this question over social media,

"Which would you prefer possessions or experiences?"

Of course while most of the youth went whole heartedly with possessions, the adults for the most part chose experiences. After pondering this question for awhile I realized how blessed I have been with some of the experiences I've not only attended, but have gone through. Nothing can take away the experiences you have had in your life. Now you must know that today I am specifically concentrating on good experiences.

As an avid sports fan growing up one simple dream always alluded me..catching a foul ball or home run at a baseball game. And even now as an adult that simple dream still hasn't caught up with me. But, nevertheless, I have been incredibly lucky and blessed to have attended many memorable sporting events unexpectedly. When you go to a game you never expect the unexpected, but that's what keeps life a surprise for sports fans.

One of the most memorable hockey games I attended was during the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 championship season. I had tickets for game seven of round two but didn't think I would be going. The Blackhawks were down 3 games to 0 to the Detroit Red Wings and no chance of coming back and bring it to a game seven. Sure enough, there we were watching game seven in the stands and the Blackhawks would win it in overtime providing an epic comeback in sports history.

Whether it's catching a foul ball or bailing water out of your flooded basement and seeing a rainbow, it's all the simple things in life that bring us one step closer to thinking the unimaginable.
Dare to believe. Expect the unexpected.

Next week, more on experiences.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One Good Story to Another

"Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man.
The biography of the man himself cannot be written."- Mark Twain
Who better to quote on story telling than the great master storyteller Mark Twain. What I've recognized in the last few days is the importance of sharing stories with others. It's those moments in our life that happen that just might be meant to share. The impact of those events can bring someone hope.
In between 2 shifts of feeding the homeless in the city of Chicago on a cold 2 degree night, I found a stranded motorist, a 19 year-old girl who was crying for help when no one she called would come rescue her. Needless to say, I gave her a ride home. It was a 25-30 minute drive to which she would comment, "I can't believe you are doing this for me. I can't believe there are nice people out there."
I am pretty sure this not just brought her hope, but it will be a story she will share even when she gets older.
In case you haven't noticed yet, I love a good story. One of my long time fascinations has been the stories behind songs that were written for our enjoyment. Here are some goodies:
1. Barry Manilow's song Mandy was written about his dog. True story. Barry was lying around his home writing songs one day with his dog lying beside him. That dog must have really been cute!
2. John Denver wrote Sunshine on my Shoulders on a dreary, gloomy winter day in Minnesota.
Denver wrote this song while dreaming of Spring.
3. Another dreaming song came from the great Bing Crosby. He wrote I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas while lying by a pool in sunny Arizona.
4.  One of pop-rock group Chicago's first hits was 25 or 6 to 4. Such an intriguing title that I did not understand for quite a few years. Then I heard an interview with the group with the simple explanation, "We were writing the song one day, stumbled on a title then someone had asked what time it was. I looked at the clock...and there it was! It's ironic that later on they would write another song called Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is.
5. One of my all-time favorite hymns is It Is Well With my Soul written by Horatio Spafford in 1876. Spafford penned this great impactful song while on a ship headed to Europe to meet his grieving wife. His wife and daughters were traveling to Europe when their ship sank and his wife was the only one of the family to survive.
Whether you are a speaker, an author, a song-writer, or just a 9-5 worker on the job you have a story to tell. We all have events or moments in our lives that we may take lightly, but if it's going to bring hope to others, don't keep it to yourself. Your story can make a difference.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ain't That a Kick

                                                         Fight on, my men!
                                                         I am hurt, but I am not slain
                                                         I'll lay me down and bleed awhile
                                                         And then I'll rise again.

I find it ironic that just two days before watching the Minnesota Vikings kicker miss an easy winning field goal in a playoff game, I had just watched a documentary on the Buffalo Bills and the kick that lost them a Super Bowl title.

 In football the field goal kicker either lives a charmed life if they make the kick, or they can be the goat. Either way, it's a hard pressurized job. Just last season 24 games were decided on the last play from the kicker.

One of my favorite Charlie Brown bits is when he lines up to make the kick, and Lucy the holder pulls the football away. Charlie Brown never learns his lesson as Lucy does this a countless number of times.

The ESPN documentary Four Falls of Buffalo tells the story or should I say the unlikely and unfortunate plight of the Buffalo Bills football team. The only team to ever lose four Super Bowls in a row. I love the story of their first Super Bowl which rode on the foot of their kicker
Scott Norwood. He missed an easy field goal on the last play of the big game. Yep, heartbreak city for a town that has never seen a sports championship.
The city still had a parade and rally for their team despite the outcome. The director does a great job of instilling stories from the fans perspective, one of them was that many fathers took the day off work and brought their sons to the rally to teach them a lesson about forgiveness. During the rally, thousands of fans cheered as Norwood approached the podium. Not a dry eye on the stage after that. Forgiveness had overshadowed all of the accolades the team had accomplished during that season.
The next season brought redemption for Scott Norwood, as he would kick the winning field goal to send his team to yet another Super Bowl.
Maya Angelou once said,"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive.
Forgive everybody."
Such a true lesson we could all use to start this new year.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cheesy vs. Bruce Willis

"Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain

Recently over the Christmas holidays I heard a message where the pastor mentioned his wife loved the Hallmark Channel's cheesy Christmas movies. You know the one's, the movies where nothing but good things happen and carrying with them a happy fairy tale ending. And on the other spectrum, he preferred reality-based action such as the Die Hard movies of the 90's. Bruce Willis as detective John McClane fighting the bad guys and stopping terrorism with heroic stunts that leave men wanting more.

The Die Hard films are more relevant with today than anything Hallmark can dish out at us,
 especially when it comes to reality. It's either love will save the day or vengeance is mine saith John McClane, while doing his acrobatic stunts and flinging hand grenades.

In reality we do want love to save the day, but not the Hallmark fairy tale kind of love.

This past year I have been heavily involved with a team from my church in combatting homelessness and those in need by feeding them, and giving out all the winter essentials of hats, coats and gloves.
Since I have taken part in this worthy cause as we partnered with The Night Ministry (linked on my homepage), I've noticed a huge change in my own heart as I continue to serve and give more to those in need. And that is exactly what should and will happen when you begin to give to those in need. You begin to develop a heart of gratitude for the basic essentials, such as this following pic describes:

You may be going through a difficult time right now, but the new year has only just begun. If you can find gratitude in some of the basics such as running water, electricity, food, and a have a roof over your head, you have much to be thankful for as you begin a new journey in 2016.
They say that love changes everything, if your desire is to have a humble heart this year, a year filled with love, joy and happiness, then there is no better time than the present to give to those in need.
"When you identify what makes you cry, and you tap into it, you receive a major piece of the puzzle for your purpose, your why, and begin seeing your pathway to a life that matters."
- John Maxwell
After all, isn't that what most of us want, a life that matters?