Month: August 2015

One day, a difficult task presented itself to me and I looked to the wisest masters that I could find. Here is what I found …

One day, a difficult task presented itself to me. In the end I realized that God is holding out many blessings to me (as He is to all of us). And, He is lighting another step in front of me. Why should I stop here? It all started with a choice … Here is what I heard from people much wiser then me. 

“Always do right. This will gratify some and astonish the rest.” ~ Mark Twain 

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” ~ Confucius

“An ounce of practice is worth more than a ton of theory.” ~ Ernst Schumacher. If I haven’t experienced the solution yet, I’m still learning the steps for myself. Do I only know theory? 

If I cannot accomplish that task to its perfect result, does that mean that I am broken?

“Life doesn’t get better by chance. It get’s better by change. ” ~ Jim Rohn. If I apply what I already know, it won’t take me to anywhere new. Is that okay? 

I am unique with my skills and experiences. Does that mean that I have to tweak the proven path that has been given to me? Am I open to looking for the potential change?

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” ~ Rumi

Two wrongs are only the beginning.

The quality of your listening determines the quality of your experience. “Yout attitude determines your altitude.” ~ Zig Ziglar. Am I opening up to listening without judgement?

“The question should be, is it worth trying to do, not can it be done.” ~ Allard Lowenstein

“Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you’ll be able to see further. Light tomorrow with today.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett browning. 

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer then I was yesterday. 

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life is a succession of lessons which must bee lived to be understood.” ~ Helen Keller

I love a good challenge.

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But, if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And, they’re very beautiful” ~ David Lynch

I am like a piece of wood. In order for the master craftsman to make me into a masterpiece (as has been promised to all of us), I must be sanded and cut to become something new. Should I focus on the cuts or the end product that I am becoming? Didn’t God only promise only enough light for the next step? How does that jive with having confident expectations for a bright future?

Here is what I found. 

One day, a difficult task presented itself to me. In the end, I decided that new ideas are like fish. Don’t be satisfied with the small ones. After all, God is holding out so many blessing to me and He is lighting another step in front of me. Why should I stop here? 

If God using each step that I take in order to make me into a masterpiece (as promised to all of us), shouldn’t I listen? If God is honing the skills and the passions that I already possess, shouldn’t I be overflowing with hope? Should I choose to follow?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

It all starts with a choice … choose hope.

STGrimes.com

“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a bright tomorrow”

Whether seen or unseen, life begins with a decision. Some people wait all their lives to choose. When choosing, if you want to predict the future, create it. Choose hope. 

I electrified my stomach today, again and again and again and again. It bubbled and it churned and it boiled and it popped. And it rolled around and around and around and around like a churning sea with nowhere to go. “Oh please, let me find a job today!”

My sight grew sharp and my lids grew angry. They were looking for a place where I could not go. I walked around and around and up and down. And then I ate my fill again and again and again. “Please let that telephone ring! I’m running out of money and I don’t know how I’m going to feed my family.”

The decision that needed to be made floated just outside of my reach. All I could do was wait for a decision that was no longer mine to make. It taunted me like an angry and spoiled child. “Maybe if I stare at that phone long enough, it will ring.”

I longed to control the situation that could not be controlled. My mouth stood ready to share this torture with any poor soul that would care to hear – or would not care to hear.

My friend listened to me as I ate the lunch that she had bought for me. “They must really hate me. They laid me off. Maybe I can’t do the job. Maybe they laid me off because I stink at what I do. Maybe I should just give up.”

My friend quietly listened to me without interrupting. Then she responded. “I’ve been where you are. You’re doing fine even though it doesn’t feel like it. Everything that needs to be done you’ve already done, and you’ve done it well. Just keep doing it. There’s a perfect job out there waiting for you.”

I smiled as best as I could and said thanks as she left.

After she left, my thoughts went right back into full speed ahead. My self doubt kicked right back in. I cant do this. My stomach tightened into a giant ball of knots. Maybe I should just flip some burgers and arp trying. My palms began to sweet and my breath grew short. I just knew that I was going to die!

Then suddenly a voice spoke out. “Anxiousness is a horrible beast that churns the seas of all it touches.” Then the lights grew dim and a hand reached out sent me to another place. “These are the halls of life.”

As far as the eye could see, this hall was filled with tapestries. But, there, in front of me, hung my life’s tapestry. I leaned in close to see it all. Each piece of yarn when on its own held one event that formed my world. Each piece of yarn that touched another made perfect sense when seen together. If the event was fabulous it always “made perfect sense to me” and “I deserved it.” Yet, when I first experienced the bad events I said things like “this makes no sense” or “life wasn’t fair” or ” no one deserves to be treated like this” or “how could I have been so stupid” or a thousand other things that spoke out about how “idiotic” the event was.

I stared harder at my life’s tapestry. All my my events, whether good or bad, weaved together to form a magnificent work of art. I spoke out to no one, “There’s no way I could have planned things out this well.”

The voice spoke in response. “I created the perfect plan for you that allowed you to choose the perfect path for your life. The good and the bad have worked together to make a great life for you. I promised that to you when you chose to follow me.”

Romans 8:28 tells us that “All things work together for good for those who love God.” 

I was perplexed, “How can I have hope in you? This is too hard. I can’t feed my family. I cant even feed myself? How am I supposed to have hope?”

The voice answered, “Make a decision to find and grow your hope. Take baby steps and learn to trust in the small things that I give to you each day. When your trust grows so will your hope. Just pray for hope each day and watch for me to answer. Don’t forget that you’ll be able to show others how to get out of the bad events because you’ve been there!”

I once again found myself in my kitchen. I was still out of work. I was still having trouble. Then I prayed for hope.

My answer was a knock at the door. My friend who had bought me lunch stood there with an armload of groceries. “This should help you and your family out. More will be coming from some other friends too. Also, here’s the address for a group of people that helps those who’ve lost their jobs. They’ll help you with your resumes and your cover letters. They’ll help you with interviewing. And, they’ll help with a bunch of other things. They’re a great group of people.”

Tears welled in my eyes. “I don’t know what to say. Thanks for showing me the way. Thanks for the hope and encouragement.”

She quietly spoke. “Christopher Reeve said it best. ‘When you choose hope, nothing’s impossible.'”

STGrimes.com
“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a great tomorrow”

Blank Canvases – The Power of Perspective

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln.

The too well dressed mailman stood perfectly straight at my front door. Black eyes pierced me. Quiet words cut through the noise that filled my life. “What is perspective, Mr. Radcliffe? Well? No answer?”

I struggled to shut the door on this bizarre apparition. A steel toed boot blocked my attempts.

He continued on as if nothing had happened. “Perspective is the difference between driving a Ferrari or a Datsun B210, as you drive. Perspective is everything, Mr. Radcliffe. Would you prefer to be the Ferrari who glides through the hairpin turns of San Francisco or continue to be the ancient Datsun B210 and roll and bounce and struggle to keep from rolling over?”

I stared blankly back. How could this stranger know that my life is falling apart? Drafting airplane parts doesn’t pay for daycare expenses that are higher than my mortgage payments. It doesn’t put food and medicine into the mouths of three little children. And it certainly doesn’t pay for ex-wives. 

The mailman smiled serenely. “Mr. Radcliffe, I see that you are confused. It’s a good thing that I brought this package for you. Good day sir.”

I took the package, slammed the door, and promptly threw the package away. 

30 minutes later I picked up the package out of the garbage and examined it.  

The package was addressed to Ian Radcliffe, me, with no return address. I should have asked that guy who the package was from. Curiosity got the best of me … and I didn’t care if it was a bomb.  

I opened the package. The package contained some sort of a fancy blue-ray disk player with a letter attached to it. I thoroughly inspected the player before putting it on the kitchen counter. Then I picked up the letter and scanned it. I couldn’t put it down. I read it more then five times before I had to stop because my hands were shaking too much. 

The letter discussed a myriad of things about me that no one was supposed to know about. The letter ended with “Plug the player into your computer and it will change your life. All you have to do is to install the software.”

I called the post office and asked if I had a package delivered to my house. They confirmed it. 

I searched my house for hidden cameras and microphones. I didn’t find any.  

I spent the next week trying to decide what to do. I couldn’t concentrate. Some days I couldn’t eat – other days I ate like a horse.  

I did enough to get by at work, only enough. I could have skipped work entirely and I don’t think that anyone would have noticed. It was pathetic there. 

I doubled my running routine, played loud music to an empty room, spent a lot of time at the sports bar, and totally ignored my computer. I called my ex-wife and asked her why she sent me a package. She hung up on me.

I threw the player out five times. I retrieved it 6 times. 

One week later, I stared at the computer screen. “Unknown Publisher. Continue Installation?” My finger hovered over the enter key. If I hit it now, there would be no turning back.

I hit the enter key.

The software installed quickly, the lights dimmed, and my speakers crackled to life.  

A melodic computer voice, filled with passion, identified herself as Eve. “The canvases of history glisten with the brush strokes of lines and curves expertly crafted into words that jump out of the pages at us. Their insatiable desire is to kindle the fires of our imagination. There are stories of swash buckling adventures … and crafty pirates … and of true love found … and lost.” 

“Our heroes, each and every one of them, have made their indelible marks. We hang those cherished masterpieces, with care, on the walls of our lives. We can look at them, at any time we want, and experience them all over again. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Romeo and Juliet, Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr. to name but a few. Those stories are magical.” 

To my amazement, the player was a holographic projection unit. The room went completely black and a painter’s canvas was slowly circling in front of me. “All masterpieces start with a blank canvas, Ian.”

Eve continued. “Within each one of us, lies a master craftsman who takes history’s masterpieces and expertly recreates those works of art with the express purpose of hanging them in the walls of our memories for our own pleasure.”

For a moment I thought about turning off the computer. I had no idea where Eve was going with this, but I was totally impressed with the program and I wanted to see more.

Eve said, “Which side of the canvas will you choose for your work of art, Ian?”     

I responded, “Does it matter?” I arbitrarily poked at one side of the canvas floating in front of me. 

Suddenly the room filled with light. I gazed upward and gasped at the river of twinkling lights that flowed across the nighttime sky. I tried and failed to remember the last time I witnessed the beauty of the sky without the influence of the city lights.

I asked, “Where are we Eve?”

“We are in the town of Boston, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It’s 2am, April 19th.” 

My breath caught in my throat. “What am I doing here?” Then, I heard voices. “Eve, what are those voices?”

No response.

Curiosity got the better of me. “Eve, take me to the voices.”

I found myself in the midst of men with fancy red wool coats and white pants. Then I spied their muskets with bayonets. British soldiers? I was impressed. These guys were the elite, the best of the best. They should be happy, but they weren’t. Their eyes were ringed with black and their faces were downcast. “What’s wrong with them Eve?”

“They’ve been waiting around for three hours and they don’t know why …”

“They’ve been up for more than 24 hours and they’re tired …”

“And their feet are wet.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh poor babies. Who cares if their feet are wet?”

“Their silk stockings and shoes are wet from having to march through a stream. If they have to make a long march now, they will get painful blisters.”

“I hadn’t thought of that.”

I watched the commander walk up. His voice boomed out in the stillness of the night. We have more rations for you, but I see that you don’t need them. We have been ordered by King George III to put down the civil unrest that is rocking the colonies. We have reports that the colonists have cannon in Concord. You are to immediately march to Concord and take them.”

I suddenly found myself being rowed across the bay, dressed as a British Soldier. The heavy field pack was already tearing into my shoulders, even through the thick red, wool jacket. The musket and bayonet didn’t help matters any. I looked down at my feet and I found them to be decidedly wet. “Hey Eve. How far is it from Boston to Concord?”

Eve quietly responded back. “As a British soldier, you will march in three rows at 80 steps per minute. It’s 20 miles to Concord.”

I groaned. 

Before I knew it, we were out of the rowboats and were marching. For a while, I tried to keep count of the steps as something to do. I soon lost track. So, I focused on staying in step with the soldier in front of me. Time moved on at an agonizingly slow pace. I was happily surprised when I saw the sun rising out of the east.

I practically ran into the soldier in front of me when the commander called us to a halt. We weren’t in Concord yet. I wondered why we had stopped. Then I saw it. We were on the commons in the small town of Lexington. Seventy seven armed colonists were blocking our path. 

I heard our commander’s voice boom out. “Drop your weapons you rebels and disperse!”

They said something back, but I didn’t hear it.

A shot rang out. I tried to see who it was who had shot, but I couldn’t tell. Then all pandemonium broke out. When it was over, eight colonists were dead and ten were wounded. Only one British soldier died, but the commander’s horse was wounded. 

I thought that we may rest here for a bit, but I was wrong. We were on the road again marching to Concord. We arrived sometime in the morning. 

The commander immediately sent us out in search of cannon.  

I thought about the cannon. There was only one use for them, war. It’s not like you can shoot duck with them. 

No one could find any cannon. The commander sent us out again, but the results were the same. It was plainly visible that the commander was extremely worried. The commander then ordered 98 of us to guard the Concord bridges, which seemed like a sensible action to me. 

We reached the bridge and, to my surprise, we were ordered to take a nap. That was a most welcome order considering everyone’s lack of sleep.

I cherished the sleep. I hated the wakeup call. Terror ripped through me upon my sudden awakening. Hundreds of armed colonists were bearing down on us. They fired. We didn’t even have a chance to fire back. We broke ranks and ran. 

The colonists didn’t stop. They continued to fire on us from behind rocks and trees and stone walls. We tried to fight them, but we couldn’t find them. We even tried to jump over the stone walls, but we were unsuccessful. 

We finally made it back to Lexington and, to our surprise, we found reinforcements. The Governor was concerned that he had not sent enough soldiers, so he had sent more. I was extremely grateful to see them. Surely the colonists would stop attacking now that we had reinforcements.

I was wrong. 

The colonists chased us and the reinforcements all the way back to Boston where they laid siege of the city. We suffered heavy causalities. 

I was filled with more despair then I have ever felt before.

Then I heard a voice that I had completely forgotten about, Eve. I smiled until I heard what she said. “The brush strokes of this story have inspired millions and millions of people to -”

I yelled at her. “What are you talking about? What an unmitigated disaster! You have some seriously flawed programming. I should just throw you out.”

Eve’s voice had a sadness to it that I wasn’t expecting. “Ian Radcliffe, did you know that a single story has the power to bring endless despair … or incredible hope?”

Yelling at a computer is a waste of time, but at this point it felt seriously good. “Eve, you’re wrong. Where is your off switch?”

My room went dark once again and the spinning canvas reappeared in front of me. Eve continued. “Each and every one of us has the power to see our stories in any way we choose -”

Interrupting, I shouted back. “That is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard!”

“Would you like to see the other side of the canvas of this story now?”

I groaned. “Do I have a choice?”

“Compliance.” 

I groaned louder when I saw the stars reappear. “Okay, okay, where am I now? I don’t want to get shot this time.”

“It’s 2am, April 19th. You are standing by a farm house near the town of Lexington.”

“What am I doing here? I don’t want to be here!”

Eve’s voice tinged with some anger in it. “I am responding to your query that my data is inaccurate.”

Okay, okay. Who am I supposed to be this time Eve? I’m not dressed like a British soldier.”

“You are a farmer.”

“Eve, news flash. It’s 2am in the morning in April. It’s planting season for farmers and I have a rifle in my hand. What is it that I’m planting? Gold? At least let me plant a money tree.”

Eve said, “We are here, waiting for Paul Revere.”

“Okay Eve, I’ll play along a little longer. I’m waiting for Paul Revere with a rifle in my hand? Does he owe me money? Who is Paul Revere?”

“The colonial army has spies in Governor John Gage’s cabinet. They have learned of King George’s orders from April 14th to put down the civil unrest in the colonies. They also know that the Governor is under the utmost pressure to comply with the order. The spies have learned that the Governor will order his troupes to march. They know that the Governor has narrowed down his choices to two towns, Worcester and Concord. They just don’t know which town he has chosen.”

I took a deep breath. “Eve, focus. Who is Paul Revere?”

“Paul Revere is one of the spies. He is currently waiting outside of the town of Boston and staring at the old North Tower. He has spies in the tower that are watching the British. If the British march to Worcester, which is by land from Boston, the spies will put one light in the tower. If the British are marching towards Concord, which is across the bay from Boston, then the spies will put two lights in the tower.”

I couldn’t help but get excited! “Eve, you’ve made me a spy? This could be fun!”

Eve continued on. “Paul Revere is just about to see two lights in the tower. Then he will be riding though Lexington to Concord and to the surrounding towns. He will be banging on farm doors and yelling ‘the British are coming’. He is calling all of the Minutemen to fight. You are a minuteman, not a spy. Minutemen were so named because of their ability to be ready to fight in a minute. You are armed with a tomahawk and a rifle.” 

This whole scenario wasn’t making sense to me. “Are you serious Eve? I’m a farmer and I’m going to fight? If I don’t plant now, my family could starve in the fall. I do have a family right?”

“You strongly believe that you are being miss-treated by the British and you are willing to fight for your rights. Your leaders have also done a great job with the press in keeping your moral up and providing information on what is happening. It’s a remarkable accomplishment. ”

“Eve, wait. Why do I have a rifle and not a musket like the British?”

“Your rifle is more accurate and can shoot farther then the British musket. You use the rifle to hunt for food and for the protection of your farm.” 

I was impressed. “The colonists have a smart plan.”

I waited around for a while till I heard a horse pounding down the road and a voice yelling out “The British are coming! The British are coming!” I watched as he banged on the farm house doors, waking people up. 

The next thing I knew, I was standing with 77 other Minutemen on the commons in Lexington. I heard the British commander’s voice boom out. “Drop your weapons you rebels and disperse!”

Then I heard our commander say, “If the British want a war, then let is start right here! Don’t fire unless fired upon!”

Then a shot rang out and pandemonium broke out. When it was over, eight colonists were dead and ten were wounded. Only one British soldier died. I retreated with the rest of the minutemen.

I struggled to keep up with the events. “Eve, why don’t we fight like the British?”

Eve seemed surprised. “Of course you are well versed in British tactics. You learned of them first hand in the French-Indian war. You also know that the British will handily beat you if you use their tactics. Therefore, you have adopted tactics that play to your strengths. You will fight like hunters. This is the same tactic that the Indians used. These tactics, coupled together with your leader’s usage of the press, has created an extremely potent combination.”

I didn’t know that. “Really?”

“Yes Ian. Watch what happens in the next turn of events on this day of April 19, 1775.”

I found myself with hundreds of other Minutemen. We attacked the British on the bridges in Concord. Then we drove the British, with their reinforcements, all the way back to Boston where we were joined by 16,000 other colonists in our siege of Boston. The siege of all land routes in and out of Boston would last for nearly two months.

I thought about what Eve had shown me. It didn’t make sense to me. “Eve, this battle still doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. So, we won a small battle. Why make such a big deal about it?”

If computers could smile, Eve did. “With this battle, you declared your freedom from the most powerful country in the world. You fought them and won. And, you created a constitution, ratified by your peers, that still works to this day. This act, which started right here in Lexington, became a beacon of hope for the entire world. This act would be heard by nation after nation who would also declare their freedom. The United States would soon become the bastion of freedom.”

“Eve, that’s really cool! Why didn’t you just tell me this in the first place?”

Eve paused before responding. “Remember Ian that each and every one of us has the power to see our stories, and our heroes, in any way we choose. You have now experienced, though this story of The Shot Heard Round the World, that every story has the power to bring endless despair, or incredible hope.”

I wasn’t buying Eve’s argument. “Eve, this is a wonderful story that happened hundreds of years ago. This has no application in today’s society. This is not a big deal anymore.”

Eve said, “Abraham Lincoln said, ‘We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.’ Ian Radcliffe, with perspective comes power and hope. Within the painful situation that you are currently embroiled in, you can choose to see the thorns or the roses. You can become bitter through the divorce and money challenges. Or, you can choose to see the hope of a new life emerging. The choice is yours to make – as it always is. Module complete.”  

Suddenly, the lights came back on in my room. 

I sat in silence for a long time. 

I heard the words of my ex-wife shrieking at me – seeking to destroy the very ground that I walked on. I saw her walk out of my life and the lives of three little kids. I heard all the hatred. My heart throbbed. My hands shook. My stomach curled into tight little knots. Then I heard something different.

Slowly, ever so slowly at first I began to hear the words of my friends showering me with encouragement and helping hands. Hands that brought food to feed my kids and me. Hands that sewed the kids clothes. Hands that taught me how to cook. Hands that watched the kids for me. Hands that were teaching me how to make money from making wooden cabinets so that I had two incomes that would meet my needs. 

Do I have a life that is falling apart? Or, am I being remade into something amazing?

I decided that my thorn bush really does have beautiful roses. Roses that bloom into hope in all sorts of shapes and colors. 

With perspective comes the power of hope. 
STGrimes.com

“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a great tomorrow”

Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution. That’s not the way the Apostle Paul lived. How can I discover the peace and perspective of the Apostle Paul?

Life is good and everything is going great … then suddenly I’m derailed by a bad piece of track or a wrong turn. We’ve all had our bad days, some worse than others. Still, most don’t compare to what the Apostle Paul endured.

The Apostle Paul was shipwrecked, attacked by murderous mobs, beaten, starved, imprisoned, threatened with death many times, and betrayed by friends. Paul was stoned and left for dead, beaten with rods three times, whipped with 39 lashes five times, attacked by an angry mob, shipwrecked three times and floated for 24 hours, held under arrest for two years without a trial, and bitten by a viper. Just to name a few things. Where can anyone find peace through such hardships?

Here is what I discovered.

The life of a teacher can be going great – like being on the fast tracks of a fabulous day. Then suddenly be derailed by a bad piece of track or a wong turn. As I learned from Jeanne Catherine Gray, my thoughts don’t merely report on my derailment or wrong turn. My thoughts are the engine that fuels my train. My thoughts can take me further down the bad turn. Or, my thoughts can look for a turn back onto the main line. 

I remember the time when I was teaching a programming class. I greeted each of the twelve students as they walking into the computer lab – a full class of students in a typically dark room and … I knew no one. I noticed that one older gentleman looked particularly grumpy and it concerned me. My suspicions were confirmed when I asked him about his expectations for the class.

He said, “I hope I learn something. I’ve been programming with this language for about twenty years.”

My train just derailed. My confidence suffered. How can I teach this class? They have more experience then me! I’ll look stupid. I’m a failure! And on and on …

At this point, my thoughts aren’t just reporting on my situation. My thoughts are a part of the situation. And, they taking me in a bad direction. 

I have a choice. I could continue to make assumptions as to why a man with twenty years of programming experience is in my programming class and continue to mentally beat myself up. Or, I could take a turn back onto the main line, where life is good. I needed to look for a way to make the class sucessful and stop beating myself up. With that in mind, I asked him a question, “Why are you here?”

His answer was simple and logical. “You’re teaching a newer version of the language that I don’t know. I need to know the new version to do my job. And, I can’t afford to waste my time.”

My problem just got solved because I choose look for a turn back onto the main line. I didn’t want to continue to mentally beat myself up unnecessarily. I looked for a way to make the class successful. By asking him why he was in the class I discovered that I could help him. And, better still, he could help me as a subject matter expert. The class turned out great. 

As the saying goes, “When God closes a door, look for an open window.”

Perspective is everything. Think about a piece of wood being sanded and cut in order to turn it into a masterpiece. I’m like that piece of wood. I can focus on the cuts and scraps and miss the point. Or, I can focus on becoming a masterpiece and see the purpose behind the hard ships – which gives me a great reason to keep going.

I don’t fail when I fall down. I fail when I stay down. I don’t fail when the cuts and scraps come. I fail when the cuts and scraps stop me. Paul didn’t fail when the shipwrecks and stonings and beatings came. Paul didn’t fail because he saw God’s purpose and kept going. Paul’s perspective past his short-term challenges to God’s long-term perspective gave Paul a way back to the main line of a good life. And, that perspective gave Paul God’s peace. I want that peace.

How about you?

Stgrimes.com
“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a great tomorrow.”

We all make choices for a great ending. In the end, our choices will make us.

Today, I choose:

To live by choice, not by chance.
To live for the greatness in me, not the failures.

To be motivated, not manipulated.
To be useful, not a burden.

To see the new, not the excuses.
To see the magnificent ending, not the broken start.

To hear the sweet sounds of life, not the noise of hatred.
To hear the crys of the needy, not the blockade of narcissism. 

Today, I choose to see the beauty of creation.
Today, I choose to be a part of that beauty.

Today, I choose!

 STGrimes.com
“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a great tomorrow”

The ultimate measure of all of us lies in our deeds, not in what we think

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King Jr.

And, lest we never forget what Joseph from the bible taught us. We must prepare ourselves during the times of bounty so that we can survive during the years of famine.  

What are we doing in this moment that will shed a beautiful light during the years to come? Building relationships? Helping coworkers be sucessful at work? Helping the needy out of the fire? Sharing from our own abundences? Helping the children to grow? 

How can we take the pain of the present moment and turn it into the confident expectations of a great future?

Philippians 4:13 – Am I Believing In or Giving In or Giving Up?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Belief lies in what I do, not what I think.

If I truly believed that I can “do all things”, why am I so filled with the noise of my own thoughts that I’m not listening to the opportunities that surround me every day? Belief lies in what I do, not what I think.

If I truly believed that I can “do all things”, why am I not quieting my thoughts to discover what my boss needs … what my best friend needs … what the children around me need … what my friends and neighbors need? 

Belief lies in what I do, not what I think.

If I truly believed that I can “do all things”, would I waste my time with hatred … would I waste my time intentionally hurting people with my words or deeds … would I waste my time misleading or manipulating other people?

Belief lies in what I do, not what I think.

The bible says, “I can do all things” not “I can think all things.” When events occur, my thoughts do not merely report on those events, my thoughts interpret those events for me. When I realize that, the words from the bible take on even more meaning because they contain amazing wisdom. Belief lies in what I do, not what I think.
We are all in this together. We all have a different part to play. We all want to do the best with what we have. We all want to offer a helping hand to those around us. 

Belief lies in what I do, not what I think. Is it “I can do all things by myself”? Or, is it “We can do all things togther if each of us does everything that Christ has asked us to do”?

Am I believing in, giving in, or giving up? Belief lies in what I do, not what I say.