How to give a gift that’s truly a treasure

Have you ever been challenged to find the perfect gift? One that’s truly a treasure? Me too! Sometimes it’s just not easy to find the exact special something that conveys the emotion, the appreciation, or the sentiment you’re searching for. Last August as my dad battled stage 4 lymphoma, I knew his 85th birthday present needed to be heartfelt and absolutely perfect. For weeks I searched without success. He didn’t need a new tie, or a shirt, or anything else my eyes scanned in store after store. That’s when I realized what I wanted to give him. I wanted to give him a gift that encouraged him. I wanted a gift that could capture some of the impact he’s had on my life. I hoped to bring him a laugh and a smile but most of all filled with love. That was a tall order! But, I did it! I found just the perfect gift. I have to preface telling you what I gave him with the fact that I’m not a scrap-booker. I’ve never done anything remotely like this before. If you can type or write, cut, and glue, you’ve got what it takes to give a gift like this yourself. So what did I give? For my dad’s 85th birthday I gave him a book of 85 ways he impacted my life through lessons he taught me, appreciations he shared, memories we made, and skills he helped me develop. The compilation became a glimpse into the wonderful legacy he created through his rich character and deep compassion. Looking back, now knowing it was a gift I’d give in...

How Stepping on Toes Strengthened my Faith

I reached my arms straight up grabbing hold of my dad’s hands. Without hesitation my fingers curled around his first two fingers. Enthusiastically I stepped up onto his toes with anticipation. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember exactly how young I was, only that my feet could ride comfortably on his toes and my fingers were dwarfed in comparison to his hands. Excited to see where we’d go together; in my imagination we went far beyond the kitchen, dad taking the steps and me along for the ride. It was a sweet scene that played many times as I was growing up. I was reminded of that time the other day as my dad and I recounted many stories capturing the impact he has had on my life and on those who have been blessed to know him. The priceless mental snapshot of me standing on his feet, holding on to his hands still warms my heart as it provides a valuable reminder of three things that can strengthen our walk of faith. Step where God guides, don’t go where He doesn’t. Standing on my dad’s toes, my steps followed his, some large steps, some small, my movement in tuned with his. When we’re growing and walking in our faith and seeking God’s purpose for our lives, we should look to Him for His guidance for each step on our path. Some steps may be quick or big, others may be small or not moving forward at all. Our steps should be in His timing, and in the direction He leads.  Hold on to Him to maintain your balance. As I journeyed around the...

Treasure Found in a Pile of Sawdust!

  (photo credit/copyright: 123RF.com)   If I close my eyes, I can still smell the sawdust and hear the hum of the saw in my dad’s workshop. Growing up, I used to watch him build and create beautiful woodwork. Too young to use the big equipment, I often pulled wood scraps from the sawdust, added my imagination, a few nails or glue and made my own projects. Although I had fun spending time with my dad and building them, they were a distant memory until just last week. While visiting my parents, they gave me one of my small wooden creations. My dad has kept it in his office all these years. My heart swelled thinking of the joy I had making it and then even more when I realized how much he’s treasured it all these years. The piece not only reflects my relationship with my dad, but also provides three great reminders of our Heavenly Father. What I created was not perfect, but my dad loved it. – One piece is crooked, the nails aren’t symmetrical. And, there are chips in the wood. But my dad loves it just the way it is. God loves us just the way we are too. He knows we’re flawed yet still loves us. He knew we’d make mistakes so He made a way to be reconciled through Christ. We don’t have to be perfect! Even if no one else sees the value in the little wooden object, my dad did. – Someone might look at the wooden figurine and think it’s worthless when indeed, it’s priceless. People may not always see...

What the Video Doesn’t Show…

Have you seen the video?” one friend asked. Another asked if I thought the NFL got it right. I did see the video. You’ve probably seen it too – the one that’s making its rounds on the news. But I don’t think it’s really about the NFL. It’s not even about what happened in that elevator. It’s about much more than that. All across the country news reporters are shaking their heads in disgust. People are angrily taking to social media or conversations around the water cooler to debate if the NFL got it right. But, is that where our focus should be? If every abuser in this nation lost their jobs today, would that make the situation better? Would that really provide justice? Would that heal our society, our families, or our relationships? In all the discussions I’ve heard over the past few days, I haven’t heard one that has used this moment to educate. The reality is, domestic abuse is far too common. It’s the crime that so often hides behind closed doors. It’s our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, our sisters, our brothers, or it’s us. It hides in the shadows. We hope it will go away by itself but, it doesn’t. What angers us about the video is we see abuse for what it is – really, really wrong It destroys families, marriages, and individuals. When it’s right in front of us, we’re enraged, as we should be. But even though we might not see it so clearly every day, the truth is – it is right in front of us on a daily basis....