Labor Day 2016

First of all, Lucy the Wonder Cat thanks you for reading all my blog posts. She would type this herself, but she has called it a night already and is snoozing away contentedly on the pillow beside mine.

Labor Day marks the beginning of the end of summer. Apparently, after today, it’s not fashionably correct to wear white. I suppose the same goes for all my Hawaiian shirts.

It also means we are closer to my favorite season, fall. It officially starts in 17 days, but here in the great state of Tennessee we can expect hot and humid weather for at least another month. That’s the way we roll in the South.

On this Labor Day, I’m thankful to have gainful and meaningful employment. Last year, I was a month into a temp assignment with All American Pest Control. This time around, I am full-time and feeling quite blessed.

If you’ve been one of those who is always complaining about your job, try going without one for a while. I’m not recommending you stay at a job you hate, but I am suggesting that being in a job that is less than ideal is better than not having a job at all.

In general, life is a lot better when you have gratitude and thanksgiving versus bitterness and complaining. Being thankful for what you already have makes for peace while coveting and striving only lead to stress and burnout.

I choose to be thankful every day. Some days I do better than others. But every single day that I wake up is another opportunity to choose to be grateful and thankful, because every single day is itself a gift.

My idea of celebrating Labor Day involves as little labor as possible. Lucy’s idea involves as much napping as possible in a 24-hour period. I think we all know who’s winning right now.


The Workplace as An Altar

“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music” (Kahlil Gibran).

There’s a famous little book written centuries ago called Practicing the Presence of God that came out of a monastery. The author was a man whose livelihood was as a cook and dishwasher.

There has been a false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. There has been an underlying and unspoken rule that you can only worship in places considered sacred and holy. You can only worship on Sunday.

The truth is that the admonition is to do all that you do to the glory of God and to offer your bodies as living sacrifices as your act of worship. That includes your work day.

When you view your job not as drudgery and a paycheck but as a calling and a mission field, it changes the way you work. You go from doing the bare minimum to giving your very best. Your job goes from performing tasks to serving people.

You may not be in your dream job. You may wish that you could be someplace– anyplace– else other than where you are. The best advice I can give to you (that did not originate with me) is to bloom where you’re planted. Thrive in your present circumstances by learning to cultivate a heart of gratitude.

I can certainly attest to what it’s like to go through long periods without having a job. Not only does it drain the bank account but it affects your sense of self-worth after a while.

The best testimony I know of is someone who does everything with joy and gratitude. That’s what makes people stand up and take notice. No one cares about your faith if you have a bad attitude and a poor work ethic.

So make your workplace an altar and your job an offering.


One Year Later

It dawned on my today at work that it was exactly one year ago that I started my first day as a temp at All-American Pest Control.

I remember that I was originally only supposed to be there for two weeks, but they kept extending my assignment and finally hired me in December. I suppose hard work really does pay off.

I do know that what really pays off is almost too simple to be true, but it is true. My goal is to to the best job I can today and not worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.

I love my job because I know what it’s like not to have one. I know what it’s like to feel defeated and purposeless (plus broke from the lack of income). It can be very demoralizing if you let it.

I give thanks every day for having a job, even one that has a lengthy commute (plus waking up at an ungodly hour of the morning). I’m thankful that what I do is making a difference, albeit small, in people’s lives. Me doing my job with a good attitude not only benefits the customer but also my fellow employees.

I truly believe that everything you do to the glory of God is sacred and everywhere you work can be a mission field and a ministry. Your best witness is your work ethic and your attitude. As I was reminded again, you and I are the only Bibles that some will ever read and our actions (way more than our words) will go a long way toward attracting people toward or repelling people away from the God we serve.

Attitude is everything. The best attitude is the one that receives everything as a gift and is thankful for the little things. That makes a world of difference.

Rain, Rain, Go Away: The Sequel

I am officially over the rain. I liked it for a bit, then it got old. Then it continued to rain.

I spent more than double my usual commute time from work to the Starbucks on Franklin Road in Brentwood where my friend and I meet weekly to walk and talk.

Thankfully, I had classic 90’s tunes in the form of the fantastic album, Surfacing, by Sarah McLachlan. I do believe that 90’s music by and large is better than the current pop music playing on most radio stations.

Still, I got stuck in traffic. At times, I’m fairly certain I could have gotten out of my car and walked faster than I was driving.

I don’t know what it is, but being in extended traffic makes me weary. I suppose it’s from being constantly hyper-aware of all those drivers around me (including those numbskulls who STILL don’t have their lights on in the rain EVEN after my last blog specifically on that topic).

Ultimately, being stuck in traffic means that I have a job to drive to and from, a car to drive in, and a me that is healthy and able to drive said car to said workplace. That in itself outweighs and inconveniences caused by traffic delays and the snail’s pace.

It’s still all about perspective. Before you complain about your life, remember that you still have it better than most of the world’s population. In fact, most people would give anything to have your problems versus the ones that they are facing.

Before you whine about being the 99%, remember that if you have a roof over your head, more clothes than the ones on your back, more than one meal a day, running water, transportation, and cash in your pocket, globally speaking, you are the 1%.

Plus, I had a very good chestnut praline latte at Starbucks to reward myself for not losing my everloving mind over being in the car so long.

All in all, I’d call it a good day.


In Whatever You Do

“Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father” (Colossians 3:17 VOICE).

So, this is my 1,955th blog. Tonight, I revisited an old classic, To Catch a Thief, from the year 1955. Coincidence? I think not.

It’s always nice when a Wednesday turns into a Friday. For the lucky ones (like me), that means that we get both Thanksgiving Day and The Day After Thanksgiving (also known in some circles as Black Friday) off from work.

I’m thinking about these words. Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.

Do it all for the glory of God out of a spirit of thanksgiving. How appropriate is this verse? Maybe that’s why the good folks at Bible Gateway chose this to be their verse of the day on this November 25, 2015.

Today, I am thankful for my job. I’m thankful for my car that got me to my job. I’m thankful for good health and legs that were able to get me to my car, which got me to my job.

I’m thankful for friends who refuse to accept bumper sticker answers to hard questions. I’m thankful that I have friends who have stuck around when maybe they shouldn’t have.

I’m thankful for the abundance of turkeys who made the ultimate sacrifice for our feasts tomorrow. Your sacrifice will not be in vain. Trust me.

I’m thankful for 15-year old furry babies who still like to curl up in my lap and lower my blood pressure in the process.

I’m thankful for every single day that I get to live and remember those who didn’t get that chance.

I’m just plain thankful.

The end.



The Right Answers

“There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time!” (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

I can’t believe that yesterday was October 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly jumps to in the movie Back to the Future Part II.

Some of the movie’s predictions came true.

There are flying hoverboards (just not as prevalent as in the movie.

There are flat-screen TVs and 3D movies (just not of Jaws 19).

OK, so the fashions never came to pass. Neither did that 80’s-themed cafe.

Most disappointing of all, the Cubs got swept out of the playoffs, ending that prediction’s chances of coming to pass. I really would have liked seeing that one fulfilled.

Am I where I thought I’d be at this point 30 years ago? Probably not. Honestly, I don’t even remember what I thought about my 40-something year old self, if I thought about it at all.

Maybe I thought I’d be firmly settled into a career. I do have a full-time job (finally), but I think any notion of working one place for a couple of decades and retiring with a pension is as extinct as those self-drying jackets with those adjustable sleeves that Marty McFly wore.

It seems anymore that nothing is permanent, nothing is for certain, and that the only constant is that things will constantly be changing. Most likely when you’ve just gotten used to everything the way it is.

Then I remember that God is forever the same.  Jesus is unchanging yesterday, today, and the rest of the days after that for as long as there are days, and beyond even that.

Oh, I almost forgot. Tomorrow’s Friday. That’s one thing that won’t ever get old for me. That’s the closest thing to a constant that I can think of. That and sleeping in on Saturday.


Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Dwight Yoakum, and The Facts of Life

I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, courtesy of the good folks at the Starbucks on Franklin Road in Brentwood, Tennessee. Never mind that it was 90+ degrees outside and I was sweating like the soon-to-be-Thanksgiving-dinner turkey. It was still the advent of autumn for me (though fall doesn’t officially start until September 23).

I even ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while. That was an unexpected God-wink moment that reminded me that God is still able to work all things together for good in any situation.

Driving home, I listened to Dwight Yoakum and was reminded of what REAL country music sounds like, as opposed to 90% of what you hear on present-day country music radio stations. I didn’t hear anything about “pickup trucks from where I grew up” or “girls in Daisy Dukes.” I did hear some pretty great music.

I bookended all that with a marathon of one of my old favorite TV shows, The Facts of Life. I had forgotten that George Clooney was a regular cast member (and that he apparently used to jiggle his head a lot). I didn’t forget how much I loved Blair, Jo, Natalie and (my personal favorite) Tootie. It was like travelling back to the 80’s.

I still find it ironic that Labor Day is all about rest. Maybe they should change the name to Rest from Labor Day. According to my research, it celebrates the modern labor movement, as well as the fact that most of us no longer have to work 12-hour days 7 days a week anymore (unless you’re a doctor or a nurse).

Heck, it could be celebrating my big toe and I’d take it. Any excuse to be able to sleep until almost 9:30 on a Monday morning is good by me.

I am thankful for those who paved the way for me to be able to get paid fairly for a 40-hour week. I’m thankful for those men and women who fought and died so that I could live free. I’m thankful for a Savior who thought I was worth dying for and redeeming and calling one of His own.

I may not have everything my heart desires, but I have God and that will always be enough.



A Sure Thing

“People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing” (Isaiah 26:3, The Message).

That’s a good reminder for us all. In the Lord God we have a sure thing.

Jobs come and go. Relationships come and go. But God is a sure thing.

Those 401Ks and IRAs? Not so much.

When you’re feeling beat up and the week isn’t even over yet, remember that God is a sure thing.

When those people you counted on to be there suddenly aren’t, remember that God is a sure thing.

When you feel like the last of your hopes and dreams has turned to dust and ashes, remember that God is a sure thing.

When fear and anxiety won’t let you sleep at night and all you can thing about are possible worst case scenarios, remember that God is a sure thing.

When you have to say a last goodbye one more time to someone you love, remember that God is a sure thing.

Everything else will pass away, but not God.

Because you belong to God, you are secured forever, because God is a sure thing.



Five Years Later

It all started on July 25, 2010. That was the day I wrote my first blog for WordPress. It all started as a sort of tribute to one of my favorite writers, Brennan Manning.

Since then, I’ve amassed 1,831 posts (counting this one). That’s one a day if you’re keeping score.

Back then, I had a full-time job at Affinion Group that I liked some days and didn’t like on others. There were days I daydreamed about what it would be like to give my two week notice and other days when I was counting my blessings (mostly those were the Fridays on which I got paid).

Now, after three years of temp jobs and no stability, I look back and see that I really had a good thing there. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But these days, having a job– any job– is a blessing.

I imagine that there are some blogs that get as many readers on one of their posts as I’ve gotten in all my posts combined. I’m okay with that. It was truly never about the numbers. It was about me finding an outlet for what I’m discovering about myself, life, and God.

I’d keep writing these if I only had two devout readers– my mother and me. Heck, even if it were just me reading these I’d keep writing them.

I hope I have at least five more years of these blogs. My next goal is 2,000 posts, which I should hit by early 2016.

So even though I’ve said it already many times, I’ll say it again. Thank you for reading what I write. Thank you for sticking with me when I got off track occasionally and when I wrote 300 words about nothing in particular. Thanks for your likes and your comments and your shares.

50,000 views is a big accomplishment for me and all the credit goes to you.

PS I would have written this on the actual anniversary of my blog, but it slipped on me like a stealthy ninja. In other words, I forgot.