This Too? This Too.

My wife has been having some health struggles lately. Serious struggles.

This is on top of a life that’s above average on the crazy difficult scale of late.  Work has been harder than it’s ever been, and I’m not wearing the stress very well (at least until my recent vacation).  And even when I was in school, I was able to make it through because Theresa kept things running at home when I wasn’t able to find the attention span.

And when life is at a pace where I’m tempted to give up and say “I can’t take it anymore” God has added this to the pile too.  When I’m saying “no more” God says “actually, this too.”

1Thessalonians 5:18:

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

If you look up the word “all” in your concordance the Greek word there mean (wait for it) “all.”  Give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God’s will for your life.  This one too?  Yup.  Give thanks for everything.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard or that you can handle it.  There’s another all to remember in 1Peter 5:

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Cast all your cares on Him.  There’s not a single one you should try to carry on your own.

If you’re anything like me you forget that.  Pretty much every day.  I try to handle it on my own.  And God’s the One who handles it.  And you’re thinking, again if you’re like me, do I cast this anxiety or care onto Jesus too?  And what does He answer?  Yes…this too.

His burden is light, and yours is hard.  And He wants to trade.

And this is why you can give thanks in all things:  because every hard thing He sends your way is a reminder that He’s got this and that He wants to take it off your back.  So let Him.  Walk in His grace, giving thanks for the hardest of the hard, and He’s got this.  This too.

 

A Year

One year ago yesterday I graduated from college. I got all As this time around and it was a 16 month(ish) EMBA program and timehop yesterday reminded me of the event. More accurately I opened up the Timehop app so that I could see what I’d posted that day. My parents came out for it and we had a great time celebrating finally, at age 45, getting a college degree.

I had big plans for the year that we’re completing. A few of them got done, but mostly I’ve been figuring out what comes next more slowly than I’d like. I had ambitious dreams of what I could do when I wasn’t going to school, and came up horribly short on them.

It has been a good year. I’ve gotten two nice getaways with my wife: one to San Francisco and another recently to Mexico. Our kids threw us a surprise party for our 20th anniversary. I’ve started working with a team of leaders at work on bringing their skills to another level. I’ve implemented almost 25% of the ideas I thought I’d get done, which seems awful, but I probably was overambitious.

It’s been a hard year, too. Our old house is still not ready to rent. That weighs on me, but we’re not financially destitute, so we muddle through. We’ve had some rough health issues at home. Some projects have languished and needed more attention that I’m just getting around to giving them now.

As I look back there is so much to be thankful for, and I have been abundantly blessed. I have a wife who stands with me through thick and thin. I’ve realized that rest and relaxation are crucial to being on top of my game, and the phrase “post-vacation dad” has become a regular part of the family liturgy.

This past Friday we had our organization’s annual Christmas party. Most of the evening I spent in shock as I realized how much we’ve grown and how different things are than they were at my first party in 1999. And they’ll be different in huge ways again next year, too. One constant remains: God takes care of us and watches over us and always does what is best for us. And I should neither forget that nor ever cease to be grateful for it.

Rest. Recreation. Relaxation. Peace.

I wrote this a week and a half ago at the start of my vacation:

This won’t post until after I’m back but as of right now I’ve been on vacation for a whole 15 hours.  I don’t sleep well when I have morning flights and I woke up with an allergic sneezing fit about 3:30am and at this point I’m not going to try to get back to sleep. And I realized that gives me something I’d been hoping for…time to do some writing for the blog.

I’m already feeling more relaxed than I have in over a month. It’s funny, but while I love the fast paced, always busy, crazy, crazy life (as you read this I’m in the office for the first time in almost 2 weeks) I neglect the need for rest.

Not just sleep…rest. I can push through the lack of sleep for quite some time but finding a way to unplug from the normal strains of life and pursue peace of mind is something that I just don’t think about doing until I’m nearing frustrated exhaustion.

This morning (a week before Thanksgiving) I’ve slept for only a few hours after getting just 5 the night before and I’m feeling rested. Relaxed. And vacation is just beginning. I had a lovely evening out with the wife of my youth last night and we’re about to travel to Mexico for six days and six nights of beautiful sun and nothing. We chose Baja because there’s nothing we want to see there. Just us, spending time away from the hurried life. Resting, recreating, relaxing.

And that’s enough to make me feel very peaceful today. And as this posts I’m sure I’ll be ready to jump back in with vigor to do what God has called me to do.

Don’t neglect the need to rest, readers. God gives sabbaths for a reason…and they are a gift to you. Enjoy them.

I Need a Vacation

October was a long month for me.  I’m not entirely sure what made it feel so long, but I remember attending a church meeting on the 31st and being extremely thankful that the next day was a new month.  I haven’t been this tired out since maybe 2009 when I was in my third straight year of very regular and exhausting travel.

I had a vacation recently.  My wife and I took a week and went to Napa and San Francisco in May.  It was a great time, though it was also a very full trip.  And it was six months ago.  Since then I haven’t really taken more than a day off at a time unless I was sick, and I don’t generally get sick.  I’m only recently done recovering from the year and a half of school.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.  And most of the time I think I’m pretty good at it.  And 90% of what I do is emotionally rewarding even when it’s tiring.

But everyone needs to unplug from time to time.  Even when I’m not bringing work home, I’m still thinking through issues I have there and the smartphone will always give me access to the email and work that’s waiting.  And so it gets tiring and I get drug out and get stretched thin.  And everyone needs time away now and then.

This Wednesday at 1pm I’m leaving the office and not going back until after Thanksgiving weekend.  I’m turning off the email to my mobile devices and leaving my work laptop in my office and I’m going to unplug and relax.  There will be good meals, walks with my wife, sleeping in, and no work at all.  Maybe I’ll even get a massage or go swimming.

I’ll be back in the office on November 30th, refreshed and ready to go.  Until then, don’t call me unless it’s an emergency, and don’t be surprised if a comment stays in moderation.  There will be blog posts scheduled to go live here and there, and I’ll tell you about how I spent the time away when I get back.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Broken #optimism

So last Monday I finally changed the name of the blog now that I’m moving on from school.  #Optimism and Irony.

Tuesday I proceeded to break the #optimism mug. One day later.

I told my wife about it and she laughed and told me the blog title was now finally true.  I’ve broken my optimism mug, which is truly ironic.

So this morning I’m conjuring optimism without my Christmas mug.  I’m drinking coffee out of a generic mug that was in the kitchen here at work and trying to remember that my God is bigger than the stuff on my plate that’s weighing me down.  And after today there will be a little less of it, assuming I can take care of a few items before the end of the day.

Time to do the next thing.

Updates and Changes

So I’m not going to school anymore, which means I have lots of spare time now, right? Not exactly.  As you can see (or have seen) the blog has laid blank for some time now.  This is my only post for the whole month of January.

I had intended to do better.

So what have I been up to?  Mostly recouping from a really crazy 16 months.  There were Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.  There were a couple of trips for work.  But mostly I’ve been letting my brain rest…perhaps too much.  It’s time to figure out what I’m doing with the time I’m not using for school besides just letting trivial things fill it in because of nature’s hated vacuum.

My plan was (before I got behind on the capstone and was slammed at work) to spend time in December and early January rebranding this blog.  The title no longer applies to what I’m doing:  I have successfully changed horses.  I have graduated (and maintained all A’s to boot) and I have my degree.  I’m working feverishly (or maybe not) to apply what I’ve learned at work and will be spending quite a bit of time trying to pass what I’ve learned on to others.

There should be some changes here at the blog going forward, most importantly posting beginning to happen again.  I’d tell you what it would look like but, well, I’m still figuring some of it out.  This posts represents my re-entry to the interwebs and the beginning of the transition phase as the new horse takes off.

Stay tuned!