I got a promotion at church this week

Some days God steps in and surprises the gigglies out of me. This Sunday was one of those days.

First, let me back up and fill you in on the week I had that led up to this promotion.

Last Saturday I drove late which meant I slept less than 6 hours before I went to church. A cup of coffee was enough to keep me alert for the sermon. Not that a Chuck Swindoll sermon needs much outside stimulation.

I turned down an early Monday morning driving option for two reasons. 1) I needed a 34 hour reset by federal law…so noon was my earliest start time available. 2) I had an important meeting at church that had absolutely nothing to do with foresaid promotion.

The meeting was to determine who would be awarded the Howard Hendricks Memorial Scholarship this year. Yeah, it is an honor to be included in anything Howard Hendricksish.

We had to pick which male graduating senior and a female counterpart would receive fifteen hundred bucks for college. The guys were relatively easy since there was only two who filled out an application. Six ladies took a bit longer to sort through.

They blacked out the names on the papers so we couldn’t guess who these folks were. They gave each of them a color for us to keep them straight.

The boys were red and blue. Did anybody think this through? Especially coming off the most contentious national election aver. Boy blue never stood a chance. My buddy Steve’s letter of recommendation helped a lot, too.

The ladies required a lot more attention…as they usually do. We whittled it down to two. I felt I contributed when the last words out of my mouth were, “Yellow has my vote.”

We put the required paperwork in the proper envelopes and packed up to go home.

Tuesday I finally got to work with the Apainter Paul again. He had an interior project the folks wanted done asap so they could put the house on the market ASAP.

Since I still owed Paul almost two full days of work to repay advances he gave me to pay May’s rent it worked out well all around.

Wednesday found me driving to San Antonio before sunrise for a 13 hour day.

Thursday I was back to painting for the Apainter again. We got enough done that he could finish it on Friday…cuz.

Before midnight Thursday I was off to LaLA. I’m guessing that since New Orleans uses the acronym NOLA then Lafayette, Louisiana goes by LaLA.

Even if I’m wrong I was praying I didn’t doze off to lala land while the wheels on the eighteen wheeler were going round and round down the interstate. My eyes were heavily suggesting that possibility was possible just before the only rest area along my route in Louisiana.

Since federal law required me to take a half hour break I lost consciousness with the wheels stopped. Which is a good thing.

A couple of hours later I was killing bugs in a motel room I used for more sleep. Even my boots were stored off the floor whilst there.

I drove home the last half of Friday to get the required time off to drive to Houston on Saturday.

Yes, for any mathematicians reading this that’s six days of work in five days. That’s the type of “it never rains but it pours” life I live these days.

I crawled into bed with a potential of six hours of sleep before corporate worship time. I think I slept about four of them. That’s what I get for trying to sleep at different hours of the day and night.

Pastor Chuck delivered another winner of a sermon during first service. Then I was off to C-119 to fulfill my role as the toddler whisperer…or so I thought.

I recognized some faces of kids and adults in the room when I stepped in. Mild chaos was in it’s regular place.

Then Everett was brought into the room. One of the women held him to try to settle his nerves. He squirmed out of her arms and ran around the table straight at me. Since both of his arms were held high I knew that meant one thing. I was his only best source of comfort in that room.

I picked him up as his momentum flung his body toward me. His head landed on my shoulder before his next sob.

We spent some time in a rocking chair while everyone else ate cookies at the table. Our cookies tasted just fine in that chair, thank you very much.

Everett felt at home after a few more minutes together so I consumed the chocolate cupcake that was brought in for me. I like me some perks, too.

Another boy had a meltdown after that so I picked him up only to have another fella want my attention.

With a boy in each arm Everett decided he needed more of me then, too. The only choice I had was to reach around each boy and lift my little buddy up with my hands.

That’s the moment I was promoted from the toddler whisperer to the toddler magnet.

When one of the ladies in the room saw me she offered to take one of my friends. I said, “No, I got this.”

We sauntered over to a rocking chair until. One by one, the tykes decided to go off and play.

I recognized what was happening there. I was being Jesus to those boys when they needed me most.

Have you ever felt like your prayer request is a nuisance to God?

You think He’s got His hands full with another shooting or war or disaster or whatever. He doesn’t have time for little old me.

Stop thinking that way. His arms are more then big enough to reach around every little thing happening in this puny world we live on to stop and give you the attention you want from Him.

Don’t ever hesitate to tell God what’s on your heart…no matter how small it might appear to you.

God adopted you into His family to spend all the time you need with Him.

Even when everything seems out of control, God will stop and give you His full attention as He says, “I got this.”

Fill your love tank with God every chance you get.

He’s got a lot more energy than this old truck driving toddler magnet will ever have.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I’m back from 3 days at Tres Dias

Tres Dias…Spanish for three days. That’s how long I spent near Lake Lavon for a men’s retreat.

This event had a lot going against it for me.

About the worst thing you can do to an introvert is plunk him down amidst 150 guys he doesn’t know. Let’s see how long before he comes out of his shell this time. Gulp!

Another thing this country bumpkin didn’t appreciate is being next to a lake with no time to enjoy the nature of the setting. We hardly had enough time to use the restrooms let alone time of solitude.

And whose idea was it to use a liturgical theme for this event? This free spirit appreciates more spontaneous prayers and such. Why did we have to recite from page 14 of that little book again…and again?

Don’t even get me started about that silly chicken song they made us sing before we could eat a meal.

Does that drummer really have to break my eardrums on every other beat?

Why are so many men discourteous about others when it comes time to go to bed? Can’t those loud conversations wait until daylight…please?

The tradition of this retreat began a long time ago in Spain. That silly chicken song came about while a broken down bus was awaiting a repair returning from one of these retreats. There were originally 99 verses to it. We only had to sing three of them. I guess they were broken down a very long time.

When I remembered the church I’m a member of supports at least three sets of missionaries to Spain I realized this world has sure changed.

The main thing this retreat had going for it is it’s a Christian retreat. As long as they’re honoring God and trying to get us to focus on Him I can put up with some discomfort.

Symbolism was huge here. I appreciated that, too. We don’t use enough of that in this country in my opinion.

One of the first things they did was offer us a white handkerchief to use as a surrender flag if we declared our surrender to God for control of our life. I had mine conspicuously hanging out of my pocket for the entire event.

At one point they gave us a small piece of thin paper and told us to write down the name of someone we needed to forgive or something we needed to forgive someone for. I wrote my ex-wife’s name down.

That evening they gave us time to write down on other slips any sins we wanted to confess and/or something that we desired to give up.

When we finished they had us fold the papers and nail them to a cross, literally. By the time we were done that cross was covered in nails and bits of paper…until they set it on fire.

In a matter of a couple of seconds the things we wrote down were burnt up. We were told we can now let those things go from our lives.

Saturday evening was extremely special. They treated us to a fabulous meal. Then, as someone prayed they snuck a few dozen women in around us. They began singing when we opened our eyes.

My sponsor, Marcia, was one of the first women I saw…before my eyes got too wet to see anybody. I was immediately missing Barb all over again. Not because Barb could sing, but because this was something I wish I could have shared with her.

The other time I cried was when they brought us into the chapel after a talk on prayer. They had some of the cha’s (Christ’s Hands in Action) praying for the speaker there. They explained that they do this with each of the speakers. Then they showed us the papers on the wall that listed the names of folks from all over who signed up to pray for us during this retreat.

They hadn’t given my 100 Prayers of a Writer book out yet. So I couldn’t let anyone know why that spoke to me so profoundly.

Other than my book being given out to everyone there I didn’t know what to expect at this retreat.

The first surprise was when I discovered I was a candidate. Candidate for what I didn’t know. I thought the election was over.

I learned that this was the first step to being able to lead this retreat in the future. Marcia’s son was the rector for this particular retreat. It takes serving at several retreats over many years to get there. I would have been extremely elderly by the time I got there.

I may go back next week on Saturday evening to sing to the women who will be there to repay the favor that was bestowed on me. Other than that I’ll wait on God’s leading about whether to go back to help with other such retreats.

I mentioned cha’s earlier. That’s the first round of entry into this “club.” Many of them actually carried our trays to the tables for our meals. Some of them spent most of their time there praying for us. A few were assigned to kitchen duty.

While I appreciate the ideology behind this it just isn’t quite my cup of tea, I guess.

At my first meal I sat across from a guy who has been divorced slightly longer than me. He lives in Frisco. I got his number so we can connect in the future. I guess God had a reason for me to come out of my shell quickly.

Marcia hoped I could get to know her grandson while we were there. We were both assigned to the same discussion table for the event.

Another guy at the table gave me his number and invited me to call him whenever I need to talk. I told him there’s a good chance I’ll take him up on his offer.

While I missed four days of potential work and a Sunday of worshiping at my home church I’d say the time was well spent for me.

I’ll be keeping my spiritual eyes open to anyone who I feel will be a good fit for this type of retreat.

At least six guys committed their lives to Christ and a couple dozen others re-committed their’s so it’s working to build the kingdom.

De Colores, mi amigos.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I just prayed for 150 men…one book at a time

I first met Marcia on a Sunday morning. She approached me before our adult fellowship time and introduced herself. She said she noticed me a week or two before that sitting by myself. She said I looked defeated.

This was a few years ago…after my wife left me and before I lost my secure job that held me constantly sleep deprived. Defeated was becoming my constant companion.

Marcia and I have become great friends since that encounter. Life, on the other hand, has continued to beat me down, but not out. I keep hoping the pendulum of fate hits the low part of its swing soon. I could use some things to begin working toward the “Blessings of God” side.

Being a prayer warrior, as most 70+ year old women of faith are, I knew Marcia would love my book of 100 prayers.

She took the book home and devoured the last chapter on the 23rd Psalm. She told me my writing ranks right up there with Chuck Swindoll. I didn’t say it does…she did.

One of Marcia’s sons helps lead three day retreats called Tres Dias. She gave him her copy of my book to see if they’d like to use it as a gift book for the attendees. She couldn’t wait to get her original copy back from him so she bought a second book that she could continue to work through.

They decided my book would fit with their work so the retreat coming up next month in north Texas will have 100 Prayers of a Writer in the gift bag all the men receive.

Marcia is making sure I have no excuse for not attending that retreat. I told you she’s a great friend.

I knew the bare minimum I had to do is sign every copy of my book. Knowing how much Marcia, and her prayer warrior friends, are praying for this retreat I decided to take it one step further.

I set the six boxes of books out on my floor before I opened them.

I pulled one book out of the first box and set it on top of a stack of two boxes in front of me.

While on my knees I set my left hand on the book and prayed for the man getting that book.

I don’t know the names of anybody going to this retreat. I haven’t even met Marcia’s son, yet. I let the Holy Spirit guide me through each prayer.

Some of these men are dealing with serious addiction issues. Others are facing hard decisions…health issues…family strife…career choices…secrets.

There are some good apples in the bunch who need to deepen their relationship with God at this point in their lives. A few are about to be used mightily by God soon.

I’ve heard of others doing such praying before, but this was my first experience with it.

I hope it’s not my last.

About a third of the way through my running time came due. I took the break from this spiritual warfare to recharge my prayer battery.

What began after church ended after supper that evening.

I know some men will be blessed by the words God used me to write in those books.

This man is blessed by praying for every man attending that retreat.

Please join me in praying for God’s kingdom to be built by what will transpire that weekend.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Jim passed this morning

Life has a way of becoming stunningly obvious at times.

Take last week for example. My driving assignments have slowed since the Christmas rush has subsided.

Not to fear, the Apainter Paul is getting some big painting jobs he needs help with.

Last week we were painting an exterior in Frisco. We finished the back first. On Wednesday I was painting the front of the house when a commotion occurred next door.

A car stopped in the cul-de-sac. A woman in a burgundy outfit jogged to the front door. She was let in almost immediately.

A few minutes later a woman in a matching light blue outfit walked out carrying a few bags of stuff to her car.

A young man drove up and walked to the door. The door opened. An older man asked one question as he ushered the young man in. “What have you heard?”

This did not sound good. We learned from the homeowner we were working for, Lu, that a Parkinson’s patient was on hospice care in the home.

Later in the morning the woman in the burgundy outfit walked outside to talk on her phone away from the gathering family inside.

One sentence jumped out at me. “Jim passed this morning.” Four words that hung in the air.

Hospice workers are a special breed of people.

A first name is all she needed to tell her listener who she was talking about. These aren’t patients. They’re real people.

When you work around death on a regular basis you have your own code words.

“Passed” means Jim is no longer with us here in this world. His soul has passed into the next. His eternal destiny is fixed now.

We later learned one of the hospice workers led Jim to Christ about three weeks ago. He’s waiting for fellow believers with his Savior now.

Some of the neighbors walked to the door and offered the same sentiment: “If you need anything just let me know.”

If the Good Lord ever gives me the chance to own a home I want two things with it: I want a neighbor like Lu and I want to be the type of neighbor Lu is.

Just before one o’clock Lu drove up to the home. She carried a large bag with a deli logo on it. Four hours later she hefted a large ice chest out of the back of her SUV and brought that to the front door.

Lu didn’t wait to be asked to help. She knew these folks weren’t thinking about what they were going to eat at this time. She filled that need on her own.

Our church has a unique way of handling the missionary outreach we have. It combines the overseas missionaries with the local ways of reaching outside of the church building’s walls.

It’s called “missional living.” It’s viewed as more of a mindset than a division of the church’s function.

We recognize that simply building a big church and holding worship services inside isn’t enough to drawn people into God’s family.

There are so many local means of reaching folks with God’s concern that I probably don’t know of half of them, and I’ve gone to quite a few of their meetings. I just wished my schedule allowed me to get involved with more of them.

Lu is living a missional living life. Her neighbor’s know she’s different in the best way possible.

You better believe that if Lu ever needs help one of her neighbor’s will be there for her. And if she ever asks them if they’d like to go to church with her some Sunday they are very possibly going to take her up on her offer.

That’s why I want to be like Lu. Because she’s more like Jesus than most preachers I know.

Preachers are so busy preparing sermons, coming up with catchy story illustrations and thinking about their next sermon series that they can’t do what Lu did.

That’s why there are so many more people in the pews than there are people preaching sermons.

What about you? Are you reaching your neighbors by meeting their needs without being asked?

Do you have pictures of missionaries stuck on your refrigerator to remind you to pray for them throughout the day?

Don’t tell me you’re one of those folks who simply attends church occasionally and then goes back to your normal life the rest of the week.

That’s not what Jesus wants us doing.

Jesus didn’t die for us to simply provide fire insurance for our eternal destiny.

He wants us to attract as many other souls into heaven as we can.

Let’s help Lu be the hands and feet of Jesus here and now.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

This Week I Lingered at Linger

This past Friday and Saturday Stonebriar Community Church hosted the 2017 Linger Conference.

Why do they call it the Linger Conference?

I wondered the same thing until I received an email from the man in charge when I offered to volunteer for setting up on Thursday. The email came from none other than Chris Linger.

The opportunistic moniker did stand for quite a few references during the conference.

The Linger Room was set up in what Stonebriar calls The Hub. This was the prayer room that had musicians playing softly while folks gathered their thoughts and prayers from how the Holy Spirit was moving in their life.

Oh Yeah, I needed the Linger Room…more on that later.

There was a hashtag used for social media postings. #letuslinger

The goal of the speakers and singers was to get us to stop and analyze our Christian walk. This relationship with God is essential for survival. At least that’s been my experience.

It was after I signed up to volunteer that I learned we got into the conference for free. I wish my personal schedule had cooperated better.

I missed most of Friday to paint for rent money. I did get to hear Pastor Chuck speak. He started out a bit slow, but once he opened his Bible he hit full stride quickly.

He gave us 4 disciplines most effective Christians practice; Simplicity, Solitude, Silence and Surrender. That’s been pretty much the lifestyle God has had me on for quite a while now.

Before I could digest all of what that meant Lauren Diagle took the stage. I love her voice and the messages of her songs. That was a definite highlight I’m glad I didn’t miss.

The church was as full as a typical Sunday morning, except I didn’t recognize very many folks. There were a few buses from other cities in the parking lot. One was from Louisiana, another one from the other side or Wichita Falls.

I expected young people there. There were several of them in attendance, but we had quite a few peers from my age group there as well.

On Saturday Randy Alcorn was interviewed about Heaven. He hasn’t been there personally, but has studied the matter extensively from the Bible’s perspective. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into his book now.

Paul Bolache had a slight homecoming when he sang. He used to be the worship leader at a church in Lindale, Texas.

The final speaker was Jonathan Pokluda from Watermark church. I hadn’t heard of him, either. But I’m a fan now.

I think all the speakers got together to make sure they focused their attention on my marriage/divorce in some way. Either that, or the Holy spirit was convicting me about some things there.

If it wasn’t Chuck bringing up the Ephesian church leaving their first love it was Jonathan telling folks to hug their spouse if they came together.

I spilled a few tears in the Linger Room after that session.

Several seminaries and Christian universities set up booths to try to attract new students.

Hope Coffee made samples for us to drink. Oh yeah, I took full advantage of that offer. Even though it meant I had to slip out of some of the sessions for a bit.

During the final session Shane and Shane sang while I helped vendors put away what they didn’t sell. Lifeway books ended up with quite a few empty boxes. They were happy.

The last song was sung about 9pm. Folks didn’t seem to want to leave. They Lingered around the church for quite a while. I guess that means the conference was a huge success.

Please pray I can get in touch with Barb soon. I don’t know why I keep putting it off. Is it normal for a fella to feel nervous about asking his ex-wife out to lunch?

I told Chris Linger they could come back anytime. I hope they do. That was a true blessing.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I’m More Valuable Than a Bird or Flower

I’ve been shang-hide lately for toddler duty by the fine staff in the early childhood department of Stonebriar Community Church.

I don’t really mind it too much. I mean what’s a toddler whisperer going to say when asked to watch tots so their parents can worship in big church?

This all started on the first Sunday of the year, which was also January first.

They purchased new tee shirts for the department. Shannon insisted I take one…for the summer months, she said. It was in the 70’s today, but that ain’t summer in Texas.

I told Shannon I felt like I was being drafted into the duty. Now I know I should have a jersey with a big number on it and print my name in the program they hand out to the parents.

There’s only been one Sunday I wasn’t with the kids so far this year.

Mateo really needs Mr. Wade to give him attention when he first arrives. He typically settles down in a couple of minutes.

Isabella got tired again, but she didn’t nod off into a nap as she often does.

Emma and Kate, the twins, settled in pretty quickly, too. Even though some of the other adults wanted to set them on the buggy. After Mr. Wade assured them they’d be fine we were all happy.

Today’s Bible lesson covered the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about worrying, Matthew 6:25-34.

He goes on to say the birds don’t have 401K accounts, yet they survive just fine. The flowers don’t shop at the best stores in the mall, but they’re prettier than anybody.

Don’t worry. That’s my paraphrase, not something the church adheres to.

I think about those verses often whenever I run in Archgate Park. Last October we had a fantastic migration of Monarch butterflies moving through.

There’s some native growing plants that were loaded with flowers at the time. Those bugs tanked up on the nectar so they could continue on their trek to Mexico.

One week later the plants that were blooming for the bugs had gone to seed. Not to worry, though. God had the plants that were still green the previous week in full bloom.

That was extremely handy since there were at least three times as many butterflies at the park.

I just smiled and thanked God for proving His faithfulness yet again.

God has had me on a manna diet for quite a while now. The driving jobs that were plentiful around Christmas are drying up. My bank accounts are low, but I’m not worried. Jesus says He’s got me covered.

How about you? Are you sweating the details of your life?

Don’t think you can’t make changes to help your situation out. I’m planning on implementing some business tactics that I hope will get me out from behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler soon.

When the publisher I was using to print my books closed their doors I didn’t fret then either. I was frustrated, but I know God’s timing isn’t for those books to come out now.

An interesting thing just happened at the Super Bowl. The team that won was only in the lead at the end of the game.

Don’t give up, my friend. If you’re still walking the face of this earth God has a plan for you.

He’ll provide what you need in His time. And it will be glorious, just like the flowers and birds.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I don’t have a word for this year, but I do have a verse

Facebook can be such a time waster most days. When I have the time to waste it’s no big deal.

Okay, I admit to spending too much time perusing what folks are posting. It is a good way to keep track of what my siblings and their kids are up to. That used to be hard to do since they live a timezone and temperate climate away.

Some clever folks come up with some very interesting ways to use a person’s Facebook posts to come up with some amazing stuff.

Recently I saw a few of my friends had a verse associated with their Facebook feeds, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I clicked on the link to  Meaww.com. Several options are available once you’re on that site. I chose the one listed as “Which Bible Verse Will Guide You Through 2017?”

Just a few seconds after I gave my permission for them to see my Facebook activity they came back with a verse I had come across recently and considered as something to ponder on.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

The past few years have felt like I’ve walked through fires and waded in water over my head. I think spiritually I have been.

Each year I wonder if this will be my breakout year. 2017 has some things setting up that weren’t there in the past.

The storybook app that’s been two years in the making is gearing up for completion. Both me and Dyann, the illustrator, have passed through some deep spiritual waters in that time.

I have at least one song God has given me recently. I don’t know if I’m supposed to record it or not, but I’ve been taking some online singing training that’s been very rewarding personally.

Other song ideas are coming to me now, so watch out Grammy’s. Nothing like thinking big!

I’m still selling prayer books. Just had a book signing at a coffee store where I sold seven copies and gave one to the store owner for letting me spend the afternoon there. One of the books is going to a woman whose husband is in the hospital. They don’t know if he’ll make it back home at this point. I hope the on the spot message I wrote in it will encourage her.

Tate Publishing says they’re going through some restructuring. Hopefully I’ll be seeing my Christmas books in the near future. I need them by April to enter them in the Selah Awards this year. That could be a huge boost there if any of them wins.

My marriage is still in the divorce stage at this point from my vantage point. I don’t know what, if anything, God is doing behind the scenes with Barb’s heart. I’ll keep y’all posted. Some fires burn hotter than others.

While I’m typing this a storm is brewing outside with warnings being posted all around me. I’m gearing up to drive to El Paso tonight, right through all that turbulence.

It’s nice to know God has me protected from all that water and fire.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

How Did You Ring in the New Year?

Okay. A show of hands, who watched the ball drop on New Years’ Eve? If you’re in Idaho did you watch the potato drop? They actually do that there. The country bumpkin in me believes it.

Full confession…I didn’t even consider it this time around. I witnessed too many midnights in 2016 to stay up for yet another one.

I did see the first one of 2016 thanks to some friends who asked me to help keep some millennials in line with them on that eve of 2016. They were all Christians so it was actually a piece of cake. Not that we actually had any cake…never mind.

I had to work on December 31st. I drove back from Amarillo after delivering some windows in the morning.

The sun had set before I got to Ft Worth. Clifford, the big red van, was the only one at the window factory waiting for me. The building sets on a hill overlooking the south end of Ft Worth.

Shortly after I parked my phone dinged. That meant I had a Facebook message sent to me. Ruth wished me a Happy New Year. I smiled and thanked her.

You see Ruth lives in Uganda. Since it was officially 2017 there that meant I actually celebrated the new year, even though it was just after seven o’clock on my watch.

While I was filling out my log book I heard a crackling sound. I looked up to watch a thirty second fireworks display. Now I DID feel like I celebrated in style.

Since I still had over an hour to drive home I sent up an earnest prayer for safety on that leg of my journey. Fortunately that prayer was answered in the affirmative.

I have no idea what the next twelve months hold for me. I may be rich and famous when the next December 31st rolls around.

I may be famous but not rich, or rich but still a nobody, or just Wade who still has to drive through the night just to pay my bills on time.

I do hope I have a closer walk with Father God by then. That will mean I’ll be more like Jesus Christ, His Son.

I pray I inspire more people to strive for the same goal in some way.

I know that will mean more tests in the days ahead, but they’ll come anyway. Might as well make the best use of them to further God’s kingdom.

Each day will hold its own troubles. Drivers will still take stupid chances on the roads I drive. I’ll struggle to keep my eyes open occasionally on those same roads.

I wonder what I’ll be inspired to write this year. I’m working on songs now. Caught me by surprise, too.

My writing may win some awards. That’s not why I write, but it helps get my stuff noticed more.

If the first week of this year is any indication I’ll have to come up with a better sleep system to keep up with my work demands. Yeah, I’m very tired.

I’ll still pray for others and ask for prayer from others. That’s what spiritual siblings are for. Right?

I’ll keep pursuing Barb and ask God for wisdom, patience and guidance on that front.

I’ve watched enough races to know that it’s not important how you start the race that matters most, it’s how well you finish it that decides the outcome.

Don’t fret if you couldn’t stay awake to see one year end and the next one begin. That will happen with or without you.

Make the most of every moment and decision in your life.

God has a plan for you. Follow that plan.

How do you know how to best do that?

Spend quality time in the Bible, God’s guidebook for people.

Invest quality time with God’s people, your spiritual siblings.

Devote quality time in deep prayer, your link to God’s ear.

Resolve to do those three things and you’ll be more like Jesus Christ when the next December 31st rolls around.

Keep smiling.   Wade

A Look Back at 2016

Well, Christmas was a hot one in north Texas. We set a record high of 80 degrees. You can have your white Christmases. I’ve endured enough of them in my lifetime, thank you very much. Don’t feel too sorry for us. We did endure a couple of nights in the teens last weekend. I don’t know how cold they would have been if we had snow on the ground.

I finally strolled my neighborhood on Christmas Eve to look at the lights on display. There were a few good ones…too few. It didn’t help my mood when I realized I’m still at the same place I was a year ago. Bah Humbug ;-(

Now that Christmas is behind us we can look forward to the coming year. As tired as I feel from this December’s frantic driving schedule it doesn’t feel like much was accomplished in the past twelve months.

But then I looked at my calendar and realized some significant events did happen despite my sleeping through them.

No major deaths or losses occurred like the previous year, so that’s good news.

100 Prayers of a Writer became real in March. I wish I had a better handle on marketing it than I do, but I did sell some copies to family members, church friends and one at a book signing to a family I never met before in my life.

That book signing was a significant milestone as well. Every writer looks forward to the day they can do such a thing.  I have another one coming up in January at a coffee shop. I think that will go better.

I spent a good amount of energy getting three Christmas books published by October. Eek’s Gifts became available October 11th; The Extra Ordinary Christmas and Something’s Gotta Change were real on October 25th. Thanks to a marketing director dropping the ball near the end zone I still don’t have any copies of either book.

I painted more in 2016 than I did my entire life leading up to that year. That made the difference between me being able to pay my bills on time or living out of the back of Clifford, the big red van. I owe a yu-uge thank you to the apainter Paul for helping me out there.

Speaking of Clifford, he cost me quite a bit to keep on the road this year. I wish I could afford to replace him but that doesn’t look like a possibility anytime soon. He broke through the 200,000 mile milestone so I’m not complaining, just tired.

There are some things occurring behind the scenes that should make 2017 a much more successful year than 2016 was. I’ll keep the curtain closed on those for now. Prayer is greatly appreciated for such success to happen.

You know that verse that talks about pride going before a fall? Did you know that’s only half of that verse? The last half of that verse says a time of humbling comes before success.

From what I’ve endured these last few years I won’t be surprised if I’m considered some kind of overnight sensation soon.

If I didn’t know God is in control of everything happening I would have been too depressed to write a post this depressing. I’m sorry if you were looking for more humor from me today. This is all I could think of to write about when I sat down at my keyboard.

Babe Ruth held the record for strikeouts when he retired, too.

Keep smiling.   Wade

 

Do I See What You See?

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. I’m been all over Texas…from Houston to San Antonio to El Paso to Amarillo to Wichita Falls and all over the Dallas area this month. Outside of Texas I’ve been to Oklahoma City, OK, Memphis, TN, and Shreveport, LA multiple times.

When a truck driver does that type of delivering there are two options for sleeping away from home. You either konk out in the back of the truck if it has a bed or you luck out and the company pays for a motel room.

I’ve been fortunate enough to fall in the second camp of camping in a well-equipped, climate-controlled setting.

The last motel room I was in had an interesting phenomenon in it. Each wall had the same picture on it whether I wanted to look at it or not.

It’s not that I was unfamiliar to this picture. I see it often, whether I want to or not.

I think one of the reasons the picture was tiring was because it looked tired, at least the subject matter did.

The glossy surface of the portrait made me a bit suspicious as to the motive of the motel personnel who decided on this motif.

I guess they didn’t want anyone leaving their establishment with the excuse that they didn’t know they had something stuck between their teeth.

Yeah, I was getting paranoid from all of the mirrors on every wall I looked at.

I understand the one in the bathroom over the sink. I fully expect one there. But do I need to look at my reflection while I’m working on something at the desk? And I absolutely don’t appreciate seeing myself sitting on the toilet when I close that door. Let’s get real here.

It got me to thinking about how often folks don’t really want to look at who they really are.

I’m not talking about their outward appearance. Anybody can change that easily enough.

I’m thinking about soul searching deep inside. How often do people do that investigation?

When did you last perform such introspection?

While driving these long distances I’ve had a lot of time to think about many things. Prayers frequently follow my thoughts whether it’s about me or someone else on my mind.

James 1:19-27 is a section of scripture that holds a lot of insight in it. Central to James’s theme is this thought of looking intently into a mirror and deciding what to do about what you see, if anything.

I pity people who don’t change after they’re shown something in the Bible about how we’re supposed to live.

I’ve never been a big fan of new year’s resolutions. I prefer to make changes as soon as I’m made aware of them.

The problem with most folks is they’re too caught up with living to actually live.

Their lives are too busy to step back to analyse anything for long.

Make the most of your reflection time. If you haven’t had any lately then set some time aside soon.

The new year is right around the corner. Now would be a great time to decide what you want to change so your life pleases God the Father.

All those mirrors in my room apparently did little to improve my appearance that day. The last thing the guy behind the check out desk did was point out where they had some coffee I could drink before I hit the road.

When you’re suffering through a cold good sleep can be so elusive. Don’t let God’s design for your life elude you as you decide what changes you need to make.

Keep smiling.   Wade