Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rear Guard Conquers Blue Funk

Have you ever been in a blue funk where your perception leads you to believe you’re insignificant? Perception is the keyword here.

Recently, I was in such a place. A pity-party place God never intended for me but used to show me my worth as a friend.

Within a short period of time, two people cancelled their plans with me. Why was I so bummed about this? Well, as a youngster I was taught the value of keeping your word and telling the truth. By doing so you showed respect to others.

So when a friend with a history of backing out on plans cancelled just hours before a ticketed event, I felt disrespected. Another person didn’t tell the truth about her reason for cancelling another get-together. These two situations and several others came at me like rolling thunder clouds. I felt chewed up, spit out and stomped on… repeatedly.

Felt is the pertinent word here.

A celebrity recently said rejection is God’s protection. Hmm. God must have been in the middle of showcasing that He would be myrear guard” (Isaiah 58:8 NKJV). Although I felt rejected, God saw the bigger picture. He had my back.

I must add that since moving to my new Dallas apartment, it’s been harder making new friends. We all desire human companionship as well as a sense of community. God created that need in each of us.

As I poured out my melancholy heart to an out-of-state girlfriend, she prayed for me. Two hours later that Friday night, I stood beside a volunteer named Carrie while serving meals at a soup kitchen for the homeless. Please note I’d never volunteered during that time slot before nor met this lady.

Have you ever had something so unexpected change your outlook about yourself? Something that can only be explained as a God thing? This encounter was one of those moments.

When I told Carrie I was looking for a new church home, she invited me to a service in a Dallas suburb the following night. You know what’s amazing? I’d been visiting that church’s north Dallas campus for several weeks.

A coincidence? I think not.

After that Saturday night service, Carrie, her husband and I drove back to their loft in downtown Dallas. Wow! I was blown away. I’d chosen that historic building where they live as the home of a character in my fiction novel.

A music festival was in full swing at the park across the street from their place, so we stepped outside to enjoy the concert. The sights, sounds, and smells of a Saturday evening in downtown rejuvenated my soul. A calm delight settled in me as I got to know this beautiful couple. We talked about our families and told many of our life stories—some pretty comical. This must be what New York City is like at night when you’re in the company of good friends.

It amazes me I felt like such a failure in relationships the day before, yet there I was having a great time with these people. God is so merciful. He used a chance meeting to show me I am still important to Him, and still capable of cultivating authentic friendships.

Using Carrie’s apartment building in my story was a godsend, showing us something we had in common. With both of our lives built on the rock of Christian faith, what better foundation to build a new friendship?

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” – Isaiah 58:8 NKJV

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Squeaky Gate Hinges

I heard. I saw. I conquered.

Loud, squeaky hinges on the entrance gate where I live are within earshot. Since no maintenance guys were on duty this Memorial Day weekend, I took matters into my own hands today and blasted the hinges with my WD-40!

Aah. Silence is golden once more.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Joggers Couldn't Slow My Pace

I didn’t stick to the plan. What plan is that you might ask? The one I blogged about earlier this month. Let me tell both new and previous visitors why I didn’t adhere to it.

I avoid riding my bike around White Rock Lake on Saturday mornings. The crowds won’t allow for a steady pace at that time of day. My aim is to ride only on weekdays, but I missed the last couple of days and just had to get back out there. Besides, I needed to work off the calories I consumed in the last 48 hours. I surmised that beginning my ride at 6 a.m. would be better than starting off two hours later.

By a fluke, I woke up at 4:30 this Saturday morning. However, I got sidetracked and didn’t leave my place until 6:45. As I rode, I encountered a few walkers, runners and cyclists. My heart rate increased as I pedaled uphill within the first five minutes. I felt exhilaration.

A fisherman stood in his boat flicking his line, his silhouette beautiful against the backdrop of ripples glistening on the water. The morning sun cast a serene glow across the lake as the surrounding landscape slowly came to life. My soul was at peace.

I followed the path around to where it borders the Dallas Arboretum. Botanical scents mingled with the gentle breeze. Aah. What could be more rejuvenating than exercising in such a perfect setting?

Then it happened, suddenly. Joggers appeared out of nowhere in abundance.

No matter what direction you’re headed on the path, you follow the normal flow of traffic in the right lane. Many of the oncoming runners were in their left lane. From my vantage point, that’s their wrong side and my right side!

I weaved in and out of the pedestrians and other cyclists as I pedaled toward the Bath House Cultural Center. At one point, a group of joggers spanned the entire width of the bike path. Did they not read the signs detailing the proper etiquette while using the path? Flinging up my arm, I hoped they would see I was exasperated. Thankfully, they parted like the Red Sea, allowing me to pass through.

The bike path doubles as a seldom-used road near the Bath House. As I approached that Dallas landmark, cars lined both sides of the street. Banners showcasing the name of an athletic retailer alerted me I was in the midst of some sort of group race or run.

I resumed my pace after passing the Bath House crowd and knew I’d meet up with the runners en masse again. Sure enough, the head of the pack came into view near the Mount Vernon mansion. However, this time I avoided the swarm by biking on the street that runs parallel to the path.

I’m grateful there were no collisions. And despite the running event, I made it around the lake in 45 minutes—faster than my last time. That speed is slow in comparison to the pace of the cyclists who race. But, hey, I’m building up my endurance. I’ll get there one day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The David of Goliath Fame: God Looks For The Runt

I just viewed the first in a series of sermons based on the life of David. At one point the pastor used Alice from the Brady Bunch as a parallel to King David as well as to your own idol. Funny stuff!

In every page of the Bible God is looking for the one that nobody else wants—the runt. The prophet Samuel was looking for the future king of Israel based on the outward appearance of the sons of Jesse. David was not even lined up alongside his strapping big brothers when God sent Samuel to their house to anoint him king.

The pastor preaching this sermon assures that you will learn a lot more about David through his humanity than through his heroism. You’ll be disappointed to learn your idol is a whole lot more like you. What do you do with unflattering information about a hero or idol that you’ve revered?

Click on the link below to watch this powerful 33-minute sermon entitled I Am David: the insignificant.

Once you’re on the church website:

  • click the "Resources" tab at the far right
  • choose "Sermons Online" in the drop-down box
  • click on the box labeled "video"

In the coming weeks you can catch the rest of the sermon series by following the same directions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hospital Volunteer Celebrates 45 Years

My newest article published online at:

The online link below is for the same article that was printed in a local neighborhood insert of The Dallas Morning News (paper copy) on 5/18/2012.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bikers and Critters and Gnats, Oh My!

Pedaling my bike around White Rock Lake is so much better at sunrise than it is at sunset. At the break of dawn, there are very few, if any, insects hitting your sunglasses. Swarms of pesky gnats aren’t nearby to fly into an open mouth either.

And in case you didn’t know, speeding through a puddle isn’t a bright idea. Water streamlines off the front tire and hits you smack-dab in the face. Not a pretty sight. Not at all. Avoid the puddles.

Another thing I enjoy about riding in the early hours is the cooler temperature. Even the animals seem to prefer that time of the day. A squirrel on the pathway surely saw me coming toward him this morning. But the little guy held his ground no more than three feet from my tires as I zoomed past. He was more interested in gnawing on a nut than in a bike barreling down on him. And a mallard resting alongside his mate a few inches off the concrete didn’t blink an eye as I whizzed by. Their feathers didn’t even get ruffled.

I like that the bike path is not as crowded on a weekday as it is on the weekend. Not as many spandex-clad cyclists racing at high speed. Or pedestrians darting suddenly into the middle of the bike lane. That combination is an accident waiting to happen.

Yep, I think I’ll stick with riding my bike on weekday mornings.