Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections on New Years Eve

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
It is Thursday morning December 31st, 2015 and I am sitting at my desk sipping on some Earl Gray tea while reflecting back upon the past year. One benefit of taking as many pictures as I do and keeping them well organized is that with a few clicks of a mouse I can easily look back over the past year and see the things that were deemed photo worthy. I also keep a written calendar/planer on my desk that helps me keep track of the less photo worthy events. Between these records I can look back over the year and be reminded of just how many lives Tammy & I have been blessed to be a part of this year.
Holidays with friends & family
Birthdays with friends & family
Saturday morning coffee & conversation with a close friend
Day trips to 30A with Tammy
Sunday morning involvement at First City Church
Trips to the beach with family
Weekends Away with Tammy
Mid-week Small Groups with First City Church
Weddings for friends and friends of family
Trips to Disney World with family
Butterflies, lots of butterflies, with Tammy
Gardening with Tammy
Medical/health issues and challenges for friends & family
Saturday morning coffee with my parents
Bike rides after work with Tammy
Rec sports (t-ball and soccer) with the nieces and nephews
Breakfast dinner with family
Piano recitals by the nieces & nephews
Fall fishing trips with my father-in-law & brothers
Sunday brunch with friends & family
Staff & Shepherd involvement with First City Church with Tammy
Work trips to Ft Worth, Orlando & Crystal City with coworkers
Home Improvements both minor and major with Tammy
Graduations, both high school and grad school friends & family
As I look back on the list above, the photos I have taken, and the monthly calendar I have kept a few distinctive themes emerge. My wife, my family, my friends, my church family, my God.
I am blessed beyond measure!
And while God was not specifically mentioned in any of the items above His presence is in each of them and I count it a blessing to have been able to share life with so many during 2015.
Grace & Peace to All

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Advent Season 2015

Thanksgiving Day is a fading memory, Black Friday is over, college footballs "rivalry weekend" is over and Cyber Monday renewed the Holiday buying frenzy, but a few days ago on Sunday November 29th 2015 the first Sunday of the 2015 Advent season quietly arrived unnoticed by many people. All of the days I referred to are creations of men to focus our attention and produce a strong feeling/emotion/reaction towards a particular event. One day to "give thanks", another to promote buying stuff, another to continue to promote buying stuff but on-line and the last to celebrate the arrival of a baby. 
The word advent is based on the Latin word adventus meaning "arrival" or "approach". The Advent Season is a time, a four week window leading up to Christmas Day, when Christians are encouraged to focus on the arrival of Christ through His birth in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago.  Christians of many traditions are also reminded of His anticipated second arrival. (aka the Second Coming of Christ) and the eternal consequences facing believers and non-believers.

I believe that the answer is a resounding yes!
Worship Fully
Spend Less
Give More
Love All
Grace & Peace

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Guests at 1 Acre Wood

Fall Monarchs
It is great to see so many Monarchs around 1 Acre Wood again this year. Tammy did not have quite as many to release this year as last but regardless of the numbers we do enjoy watching them along their life-cycle, egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

Monarch butterfly. Gulf Breeze Fl
We also have had Buckeyes, Cloudless Sulphurs, Gulf Fritillary's, Swallowtails and several other flying things that I just have not been able to catch a picture of.
Common Buckeye, Gulf Breeze, Fl
Grace & Peace

Saturday, July 04, 2015

4th of July 2015

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.  -Thomas Jefferson
 Patriotism is not a short frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime. - Thomas Jefferson
Today, the 4th of July, 2015 many in the United States will celebrate the day and events around the drafting, approving and signing of the Declaration of Independence by the 56 signers 224 years ago. Celebrating our independence as a nation is a very good thing but as with any holiday or memorial celebration, over time the facts and history behind the celebration become less clear and the celebration becomes more focused on the "how" of the event itself rather than the "why". This tendency to focus on the "How" and not the "Why" is quite common. We need look no further than Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for a few quick examples, but I digress.
The signers of the Declaration numbered 56. These men were the representatives for the people living in the British colonies under British rule. These men and countless others had been working for years to secure liberties and freedoms that were not being extended to the British colonists. By signing the Declaration of Independence and the actions by the colonists in the months and years to follow a nation was born, The United States of America. A nation unlike any other in the history of mankind.
 WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.............
Grace & Peace

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day is upon us once again. As we honor those who have died, while in service to their nation, let us also pray for the family members who live on in their absence.
Thomas G. Dorsett - Mather AFB 1987
Today as on past Memorial Days I find myself thinking about those brothers-in-arms who I served with and who lost their lives in peace time and in war.

Tom D. (Feb 5, 1990, F-111, UK)
Scott G. (Nov 30, 1992, B-1, Texas)
Eric H. (Feb 3, 1991, B-52, Indian Ocean)
Jon O. (Feb 3, 1991, B-52, Indian Ocean)
Jorge A. (Feb 3, 1991, B-52, Indian Ocean)
Dixon W. (Jan 31, 1991, AC-130, Kuwait)
Nick S. (Sep 20, 1992, T-37, Mississippi)
Ken R. (Sep 20, 1992, T-37, Mississippi)
Grace & Peace

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sunday 2015

"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NASB
For many followers of Christ today was a joyous day celebrating our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We were dressed nicely, surrounded by friends and family, we worshiped at our local churches without fear of reprisal and we more than likely enjoyed an abundant meal with our family. Theses are all blessings from our Lord that we should graciously and humbly enjoy all the while lifting up our persecuted and oppressed brothers and sisters around the world.
If you are unfamiliar with the accounts of the resurrection here are 4 accounts from the gospels.

He has risen!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Week 2015

Today Christians around the world celebrated Palm Sunday and the beginning of "Holy Week".  The events of this celebrated week which occurred almost 2,000 years ago have laid the foundation for the Christian faith. It can be quite easy to get caught up and distracted by the beautiful Spring weather, March Madness, Spring Break, or a myriad of other things in our lives and not pause and reflect upon the events celebrated this week. I encourage everyone to take some time each day this week and think about the Jesus and what he went through each day of that week.
Palm Sunday
Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. John 12:12+
Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and cleanses the temple. Matt 21:12+
Taught about faith. Judas bargains with the Sanhedrin. Matt 21:23+
No recorded activities.
Passover is celebrated. The Lord's supper instituted. Matt 26:20+
Jesus is tried, convicted, crucified and buried. Matt 27:1+
Jesus' tomb is sealed by the Roman Guards
Jesus rises from the grave and makes 5 recorded appearances. Matt 28:1+
He is Risen!