It was quick but always a pleasure....

She got in at about 10p and was gone by 7a the next morning but I loved every second.  Who? My niece, Kristen Neves.  

She is only about 10 years younger than me and has always been more a little sister than a niece, but either way I love her.

She's a wife, mom, ministry leader in her church and still has time to pour her life into those that she loves.

She was on her way to Nashville and made our house an overnight stop to love on her family.  The next morning we got up VERY early and grabbed an IHOP breakfast before she hit the road again.   We laughed and talked and shared a meal and it was over so quick.

Yes, I am one proud (and blessed) uncle Bobby.

Sticks and stones.

I find pictures like these fascinating.


They are fascinating because of the sliver of time they catch.  If you looked at the bottle of water or cloud at any other time it would tell a very different picture.  It's a matter of timing and perception.

Recently these words were used to describe me: mentor, funny, dedicated, faithful and talented, but so were these: negative, demeaning and condescending. Ouch.

So how can both sets of words be used to describe describe me? Timing and perception.

At your best - hopefully your norm - you are all the things you strive to be.. at your worst, well um.

The problem is - or can be - that it takes so much positivity to overcome a single negative or bad perception!

I can respond kindly, I can work tirelessly, I can serve without complaint or question 95% of the time, but the other 5% has a tendency to become all some see.  Whose fault is that?  Mine.

Just like it's not your fault for seeing what you see in the above pictures - it's the photographer's - he or she framed it that way.  It's also not your fault for seeing what you see in me - especially when sometimes it is there.

It is my responsibility to grow the 95% and decrease the 5%, it's not yours to see things differently... I am afterall the one who framed the picture.

Check off another life lesson learned.

It started with David...

It started with David - the man who God said was 'after His own heart'. It has happened with Jimmy Swaggart Jim Williams and most recently Discovery Church Pastor David Loveless. A pastor or some other leader in the church that is disgraced by something they did. I am sure we can all think of other names that could be on that list, but my question is beyond the why. My question is how do they 'get back' or even should they return to a role similar to the one they had. 

With this on my mind you can see how this article from the June 19th edition of the Orlando Sentinel caught my eye.... 

In a letter read to the congregation at Discovery Church, Pastor David Loveless admitted adultery, deceit, sinfulness, selfishness, broken trust and a violation of "everything I knew to be true and right."
"I am broken beyond description," he wrote. Loveless resigned last month from the Orlando church he founded 29 years ago and, like many fallen preachers before him, now begins a restoration process. It won't be easy, say experts.

[Read the entire article here.]

Please pray for Boston...

I sat stunned. Stunned. Another attack. It wasn't in a foreign country, or some far off building. It was an attack at a sporting event... and a sport that I hold dear... running.

Running is my time with God. Running is a part of my identity.

In an attempt to gather information abut the attack I came across an article written by Bonnie D. Ford... a contributor to ESPN... one paragraph she wrote reached out and grabbed me. It - in part - is why I love running...

'Marathons, more than any other event I've covered in 20 years' worth of international sports experience, are a celebration of a range of achievement, not just the top percentile. The amateurs run in the footsteps of the elite. The pride is palpable from the front ranks all the way to the back. The massed color and movement at the start are an impressionist painting of accomplishment. Because -- honestly -- most normal folks would tell you that getting there is achievement enough. The training they invest and the self-belief they develop in the process are worth it, no matter how long it takes them to finish.'

I invite you to read the rest of this article here. And don't forget to pray for those in Boston and runners around the world who will no doubt do what I did this morning - in order to process this whole event. 

Go for a run.

All dogs go to heaven....

A friend of mine recently lost his dog....  though I have never thought of myself as a 'crazy' pet person but as I look back upon my life I can say I have been emotional about every pet that I have lost.  (Except one cat - but that's a different story.)

With his loss in mind and perhaps for you if you have ever lost a pet I present this...

 "The Rainbow Bridge"

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. 
Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. 

Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. 

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Mrs. Lawrence....

In the summer of 1979 my family moved to Walhalla, SC and that fall, I enrolled in a new school with new friends and a new way of life.  I loved a challenge - even then.  It was fun and exciting until Christmas....  at Christmas, everything changed because that's when Ms. Lawrence arrived.

I started the 4th grade year with a young, talented and caring teacher by the name of Ms. Barrett... she loved life and us kids.  Just before Christmas she told us that she was leaving to start a family... she was to have kids of her own and that a new teacher will be here after Christmas.  Mrs. Lawrence.  Mrs. Lawrence was a seventy year old retired teacher who was in South Carolina by way of New York and Miami.  She hated life and took it out on us kids.  No one liked her... certainly not me.

I do thank Ms. Lawrence for one thing.... a lesson on communication.

One day towards the end of the year and near the end of the day, Mrs. Lawrence said, 'o.k.  we're almost done, let's get ready to go'.  So I did.  I closed my book, grabbed my coat and stood by the door... I got ready to go... just as I was told to do.  Mrs. Lawrence was not happy!  She scolded me for getting ready too fast.  She even made me go out and get my parents so we could have a conference to about my behavior. 

It wasn't until years later that I realized what really happened - Mrs. Lawrence didn't say what she meant.  What she said was, 'o.k.  we're almost done, let's get ready to go' but what she meant was 'o.k.  finish your work, clean up your area and start to get ready to go'.  She failed to fully communicate and then was upset with me for not understanding what she meant.

There is the lesson - or lessons to be learned.

One, clearly communicate what you expect have happen.   If  you take a short cut in communication and then don't get the results you want - you are the one to blame - for at least half.    Don't get mad at the other person and especially don't make a big deal out of a situation that you helped create.

Two, if you are the one following instructions stop and think about it for a moment and if you don't understand or are unclear, ask questions.  Ask lots of questions - the other half of the blame is here by the way. This will better define what is to be done - or communicated - and force the sender to be more prepared next time for effective communication.

Thank you Mrs. Lawrence...wherever you may now be.