Goodbyes

Tomorrow is gonna be a tough one. We leave Hawaii after five weeks on the island. Five weeks with our kids. Five weeks with our grandsons (albeit only three with Camden since he’s just 19 days old today!). It’s not going to be easy to board the plane and fly home.

Yet that’s what has to happen tomorrow. Life moves on and we can’t just stay here forever, believe me, I’ve tried to figure out how to make that happen. But I realize that trying to make the impractical become reality is just living in denial. Instead of focusing on the goodbye and what I’m leaving behind, I choose to look at the hellos that follow. I’m going back to other kids. I’m going back to even more grandchildren. I’m going back to people that I miss at home. Plus, I’ll be back here in June.

No, moping for the next 24 hours is silly. I need to keep my mind focused on the promise of the future. Sure, I’ll miss what’s here, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have wonderful things elsewhere. It might take a big plane with a Hawaiian lady painted on the tail, but through tomorrow’s sadness I will…

—Rise Up!!

High 5

A friend said something to me the other day that was pretty thought provoking. They said that we are the average of our 5 closest friends. That really got me to thinking about who those friends are. I also thought a lot about who they have been. That group has changed tremendously over time, yet there are also some stalwarts who have remained for almost 50 years.

I guess the important thing to also consider is how do I rank in other people’s Five? Am I bringing the average up or am I dragging down the curve? I always liked tests that were graded on a curve because I knew that there were people who would drag down the average so that I didn’t have to work as hard to do well. That’s a bad way to assess life.

I need to do what I can to bring up the average. I hope that I am the top side of someone’s Five. I also need to assess my own group and make sure I don’t bring people into that group just to make life “easier”.

Look around and count your five. Make sure those people help you to…

—Rise Up!!

Eagles and Crows

I recently heard about the eagle and the crow. It is said that the only bird that dares peck the eagle is the crow. All other birds are afraid of the powerful eagle, but the crow will land on the eagle’s back and peck at its neck. Apparently eagle does not fight back. Instead it takes flight with the crow on its back. It simply flies higher and higher. As it gains altitude the air gets thinner. The eagle is built for higher altitudes and can handle the lack of oxygen, but the crow cannot. Eventually, without a fight, the crow has to let go and fly back to a more comfortable altitude and the eagle is free of its tormentor.

Recovery is full of crows pecking at our necks, but we are all eagles. We don’t need to accept the torment of our hurts, hang ups, and habits. We don’t need to flail at the addictions and sins that try to trip us up. we need to trust that God made us better and soar higher than those troubles. When addiction comes to peck at your neck, get out of your nest and…

—Rise Up!!

Walks in the Rain

Spending time in (on?) the island of Hawaii is a wonderful thing. I’ve been here in the past so this trip is not so much about “getting out” or “doing things” as our previous visits have been. It’s kind of a good thing too, because in our almost two week stay now, we rarely seen the sun. Going to the beach just hasn’t been a thing.

I commented on Instagram that the first step in making a jungle is to get a lot of rain. So far this trip we’ve had over 20 inches of rain. That’s almost 3 years worth for my hometown of Ridgecrest! Yes, it’s been a wet trip thus far.

So what do we do in such circumstances? We go out and enjoy the rain, that’s what! Saturday we took a drive and did some nature watching. We went to a town on the other side of the island that has an absolutely amazing playground. Even though it was raining, my grandson had a blast and played for the better part of a half hour before getting cold and tired. Yesterday we went down to walk around at Lili’ukalani Park at Hilo Bay. We just walked in the rain and enjoyed the beauty. We decided not to let the weather get us down, instead we used it to…

—Rise Up!!

(Extra God note: as I finished the last 3 sentences I was straining to see because the sun came up and is shining right and bright in my eyes. God is so good!)

Luc riding in style in the rain.

143

I’m sitting in Hilo and thinking about rain. The annual rainfall here is around 143 inches. That’s about 20 times what we get at home in the desert. It’s crazy. Yesterday I watched a sudden deluge create a pond at the back patio of my daughter’s house. Then literally minutes later the rain subsided and the pond had disappeared. This pattern continued all afternoon and into the night. At home we would have been up to our knees in the house with water, but here, nothing. Just the sound of rain falling down.

When you’re prepared for things, crises can be more easily averted. When you are equipped for a problem it can become a puzzle instead. The challenges of life will still exist, but if you are ready for success, you will probably find success.

Work your steps. Talk to your accountability partners. Reach out to friends. Let it rain and…

—Rise Up!!

Up, Up, and Away!

Im always looking for ways to “rise up”. This week I’ve got one of my faves, we are flying to Hawaii for the upcoming birth of our newest grandson!

Of course, going to Hawaii is great in and of itself, but it’s even better seeing family. Each night my 6 year old grandson Luc asks his Mom how many more sleeps until Papa gets there. Talk about melt my heart kind of stuff.

It’s really nice because for most of his life, Luc has lived in Hawaii. He doesn’t really remember much about his time in Ridgecrest when he was 2 years old, so his memories of me are all built around a few trips to the islands and playing on FaceTime. I’ve been able to build memories and the promise of fun for him through just that.

I write this to say that we might not be able to have the impact that we expect on people, but that does not diminish the impact we have. We are important. You are important. What we do and how we do it matters beyond what we might imagine or comprehend. Someone might be counting the sleeps until your next arrival. So keep doing those good things you do, and…

—Rise Up!! (Aloha)

Belly Button Birthday

In recovery we talk about sobriety birthdays and belly button birthdays. Today happens to be my belly button birthday. 53 years and I still don’t have most of it figured out!

Sometimes, especially in the isolated world of today, it can feel a bit lonely. Sometimes I feel somewhat insignificant because I’m not in the prisons and not meeting for CR in person. But sure enough, early this morning the calls and texts came rolling in wishing me a happy birthday.

It’s good to be remembered and loved. I had a great meal made in my honor yesterday, today my pal PH took me to lunch, and tomorrow I’ve got another friend taking me to lunch. Life is good, sometimes you just gotta look a little harder to find it.

Now I’m headed into another year in order to…

—Rise Up!!

The Right Perspective

My football team won a game yesterday. Leeds was just above us in the standings, so going into the game we all would be happy with a result that saw us holding a lead. Going into the half at 3-0 was fantastic.

In the second half we came out with another quick goal to make it 4 – 0. After that, we played a bit with the handbrake on and allowed two goals. Now the nerves began to twinge and stomachs were filled with acid. By the time the final whistle blew Arsenal held on for a 4 – 2 victory.

As I said, on Sunday morning before kickoff, most Arsenal fans would be thrilled to know we would score 4 goals on the way to a victory. Somehow allowing the “other guys” to score after being up by 4 made it feel a bit more hollow. We get focused on keeping the clean sheet instead of finishing the game on top. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s all about the win, and nothing else.

In my recovery I can sometimes get my mind set on perfection. I let small mistakes seem bigger than they are. I let myself get defeated when my walk isn’t 100%. Now, a day after the win, I’m not as upset by those two goals that got by us. I’m reveling in the win and moving up the table. I’m remembering how fun it is to…

—Rise Up!!

Happy Anniversary!

(Note: I tried to publish this in the morning, but it failed. Sorry it’s late) I did not know it until I opened up my blog app this morning, but this is your MoM’s 6 year anniversary. Wow, it’s a bit hard to believe. I remember when I started this thing. I was sitting in my office at the church where I was working and decided to make some blogs for the staff. I was trying to create this whole online community and experience so we had video of the weekend services, weekly talk shows, a podcast from the service, and blogs. The staff weren’t particularly excited about me creating more work for them so I offered to ghost write for the pastors. A comment was made that they didn’t think I’d be able to come up with enough to say in order to consistently publish a once a week blog. (We all know how hard it is for Paul to talk, right?)

Anyhow, here we are six years later and still going strong. I’ve missed a couple of weeks in the course of those six years. I really couldn’t say how many exactly, but I’m fairly certain it’s less than 10. That’s not too bad. Most of them have been typed up in the comfort of my “office”. That might have been the one at the church, or the one I use now at my house. Plenty have been written at a table in Starbucks. I’ve written in several different states and have even dictated some as I drove down the road on a trip to somewhere. For the most part they happen on a Monday morning as I look at the week ahead.

I’ve never planned them out. There has never been a master list of “upcoming topics” to write about. It’s simply a snapshot of what I’m thinking about or feeling on that particular Monday morning. It’s my chat with myself and God. The overriding message from the blog is supposed to be encouraging. I decided to put the closing lone of Rise Up at the end way back in the beginning and have tried to make that a theme. It’s not because I think that any of you Dear Readers need to hear it, but because I need to hear it. Life can be tough (duh) so I need constant reminders not to wallow in the hurts of yesterday. Hopefully you’ve gained something from it as well. If you have a moment, shoot me a message to let me know which of the several hundred posts you’ve enjoyed most. If not, that’s ok too. Here’s to the past six years, and to the ones ahead as well. Now get out there and…

—Rise Up!!

Not Today…

I’m sure you’ve seen the shirts and cups and stickers that say “Not today Satan”. It’s a great reminder that we will get attacked constantly. We never know how it will happen, but inevitably it does.

Today (as on many days) it’s my back. I went to make myself breakfast and boom, out went my back. My plan today, beyond pumpkin spice pancakes, was to patch some holes in the ceiling at my mother’s house after installing new canned lighting. Not today… the idea of reaching above my head on a scaffold is, well, it ain’t happening. Not today.

But just because I can’t do what I originally set out to do doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. If I allow the pains of life to slow me down, I’ll never go anywhere. I think I probably have some time in bed in my future, but even flat on my back, watch me…

—Rise Up!!