Posted in Family, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, Scripture, Southern born, travel, Trials

Define “Sandwich”

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

She thought it was funny.  A long time ago, my family and I were visiting with my sister Kathy and her husband Stann.  They lived way down South in the land of grits and hospitality, and we lived just across the river in Southern Illinois.  We had had a great visit with them but soon it was time for us to head North.  All of my sisters are good cooks…something they must have got from Momma.  They also have good hospitality genes.  When you visit you feel welcomed and when you leave, you know you will be missed.

Well, when it came time for us to leave, Miss Hospitality, kindly made us a lunch.  She said, “I packed y’all some snacks and ham sandwiches so you can stop on the way and have a picnic”.  I remember thinking just how kind that she was.  To go through all that trouble and to save us a few dollars to boot.  So, we loaded up and off we went.  The girls were young, only seven or eight, and Sarah was not even a glimmer in our eyes. We drove and drove and then we drove some more and before long it was time for the big picnic.

If my memory serves me right we stopped at a picnic area on Nickajack Lake just north of the Georgia border and right inside Tennessee.  It was a beautiful place for a great picnic lunch.  My mouth watered as I thought about those delicious ham sandwiches with all the trimmings. And, and my wallet was happy too. McDonald’s wouldn’t be getting my business today…thanks to my kind sister.  Did I mention how nice she was?

Well, we found a parking spot and chose a picnic table near the lake.  Could it be any better?  Well, I’m sure we bowed our heads in prayer, thanking God for the food and for the kindness of the one who made it possible.  Judy passed out the sandwiches and strangely, I didn’t see any fixings.  Hmmm. That was a bit strange.  Nevertheless, I was grateful for the sandwich and I must have been the first to take a bite.  Uh, something was wrong.  Something was missing.

As I bit through the bread, there was no ham…there was no mustard…there was no mayo.  All that lay between the bread was a single piece of paper that read, and I quote, “Ha, Ha, Ha.”  Wait.  What? Well apparently my Southern belle, hospitality laden sister had decided to play a practical joke.  There were no ham sandwiches only meatless, slices of bread.  Strangely, I don’t remember laughing. I only remember mourning the loss of my free lunch. Ha.Ha.Ha.

They say what goes around comes around and all my life I have been a practical joker and this time the joke was on me and my dear hungry wife and two precious, little hungry daughters.  I guess the winner of the day was McDonald’s who ended up with my $6.75 after all.  While I don’t remember laughing, I’m glad I don’t remember being mad either.  In fact, I am sure that before long (but after a visit to McDonald’s), we were all laughing and couldn’t wait to call my sister when we got home.

As we journey through life we are going to have a lot of opportunities to either laugh or well, get mad.  Can I suggest, may I encourage you, us, to do the latter and not the former?  Too often we allow the fire of the moment to burn some valuable bridges.  I can imagine a nasty phone call with words of regret and then days, weeks and months of silence from a broken relationship.  Crazier things have happened, trust me.  But gratefully, that wasn’t the way this story ended.  In fact, I wonder if Kathy even remembers this. I do and it makes me smile.

Paul, the guy who wrote a lot of the New Testament, sitting in a Roman prison with NO ham sandwiches said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Well spoken, Paul, well spoken. So tomorrow or the next day, if you hit a bump, try to remember to smile and not frown.  If someone decides to pull a joke at your expense, go ahead and extend a little grace and a smile. When you do, if you do—you can be sure the Father is smiling too.  And no matter what, as always, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, friends, gratitude, life, love, loving others, prayer, priorities, Scripture, travel

Enjoy the Journey

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

It just depends.  Last year, my wife Judy and I returned from a trip out west.  It was a trip that would involve flying and driving.  It was also a trip with one purpose…to get away, to relax, and to enjoy.  It is not uncommon for us to take a trip and encounter some less than perfect weather.  We have learned to say, “Oh well, at least we’re still away.” Away…that’s a good thing.  You see, the purpose of a journey can often determine the success of the journey.  Set your sights too high and too narrow and you will often find frustration and stress.

Let me explain.  The first leg of our journey was simple…get to Colorado as quickly as possible.  Because that was the goal…we flew.  Also, because that was the goal every delay caused me to have a stressful moment.  Long check-in, stress.  Long security, frustration.  Flight delay, double both.  You see, the point was to get there…not to enjoy the journey.  When I was much younger, just the thought of getting to fly was exciting.  I would always ask for the window seat so I could watch the world go by.  The joy was the journey, but now, alas, it is just a means to get somewhere, and the wonder and joy have slipped away.

Leg two of the journey was different.  It was a hybrid of experiences. Renting a new and different car to drive, driving in a new part of the world, and going at a pace that better enabled us to enjoy it. Usually. But honestly, there was still a battle to be fought…an alligator to be wrestled to the earth.  I had to determine if the destination was the goal…or was it the journey?  I mean I know that there is always a destination but if that becomes obsessive, the joy quickly slips away.  It was my call—enjoy the journey or race to the destination.

You see, if I am racing to the destination, then put me on an interstate highway where the roads are wide, and the speed limit is high.  Out in Wyoming, the speed limit on the interstate was 80 mph…Katie bar the door.  Oh, and those long, straight two-lane roads—yup, 75 mph.  That fit my destination minded mindset just fine, thank you.  But then there were the times that we were in the Rocky Mountains on a curvy, mountain road just driving.  There really wasn’t a place we had to be—we were just driving and that changed everything.  If there was a slower driver in front…that was fine. We would just sit back and enjoy the scenery as it slid by the windows.  The journey was the destination and joy was the result.

But here is what I discovered.  As soon as there was a “gotta be there” destination and mindset then that same road and that same slow driver became a stress point.  The only thing that changed was the pressure to get there.  That same scenery was an ignored blur as the only thing that mattered was looking for a passing zone so I could get there—wherever there happened to be.  The end of the day often told the story—tired and stressed or refreshed and blessed—the way I traveled seemed to make all the difference.

There will always be a destination to get to and there will always be slower drivers and unexpected obstacles to keep us from getting there, but joy in the journey changes everything.  Jesus knew that His destination was a Roman cross, but He never let the that stop Him from enjoying the day and loving those around Him.  He loved the joy of the journey.  I can just imagine Him smiling as He changed the life of a leper or blessed a small child…all joy in the journey.  Paul, one of the guys who wrote a large part of the New Testament, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  In other words, have joy in the journey…no matter what that journey looks like.  He did that really well.

So, when you find yourself on a winding, two-lane road, enjoy the journey.  Take a moment to watch the beauty around you slide by the windows.  See what God has allowed to come into your world that day and the destination will come soon enough.  And when you find yourself backed into a rushed corner, there’s a couple of things you can do.  First, plan a little better when you can and then use that extra time to talk to the Father about that day or maybe relax in Him because, “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, food, forgiveness, Grace, life, love, loving others, Scripture, Southern born, thankful

Ham Sandwiches or Not…

Rejoice in the Lord always; again: I will say, Rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4

She thought it was funny.  A long time ago, my family and I were visiting with my sister Kathy and her husband Stann.  They lived way down South in the land of grits and hospitality, and we lived just across the river in Southern Illinois.  We had a great visit with them but soon it was time for us to head North.  All of my sisters are good cooks…something they must have got from Momma.  They also have good hospitality genes.  When you visit you feel welcomed and when you leave you know you will be missed.

Well, when it came time for us to leave, Miss Hospitality, kindly made us a lunch.  She said, “I packed y’all some snacks and ham sandwiches so you can stop on the way and have a picnic.  I remember thinking just how kind that was.  To go through all that trouble and to save us a few dollars to boot.  We loaded up the kids and the car and off we went.  The girls were young, only seven or eight, and Sarah was not even a glimmer in our eyes. We drove and drove and then we drove some more and before long it was time for the big picnic.

If my memory serves me right, we stopped at a picnic area on Nickajack Lake just north of the Georgia border and right inside Tennessee.  It was a beautiful place for a great picnic lunch.  My mouth watered as I thought about those delicious ham sandwiches with all the trimming. And, my wallet was happy too. McDonald’s wouldn’t be getting my business today…thanks to my kind sister.  Did I mention how nice she was?

Well, we found a parking spot and chose a picnic table near the lake.  Could it be any better?  Well, I’m sure we bowed our heads in prayer, thanking God for the food and for the kindness of the one who made it possible.  Judy passed out the sandwiches and strangely, I didn’t see any fixings.  Hmmm. That was a bit strange.  Nevertheless, I was grateful for the sandwich, and I must have been the first to take a bite.  Uh, something was wrong.  Something was missing.

As I bit through the bread, there was no ham…there was no mustard…there was no mayo.  All that lay between the bread was a single piece of paper that read, and I quote, “Ha, ha, Ha.”  Wait.  What? Well apparently, my Southern belle, hospitality laden sister had decided to play a practical joke.  There were no ham sandwiches only meatless, slices of bread.  Strangely, I don’t remember laughing. I only remember mourning the loss of my free lunch. Ha.Ha.Ha.

They say what goes around comes around and all my life I have been a practical joker and this time the joke was on me and my dear hungry wife and two precious, little hungry daughters.  I guess the winner of the day was McDonald’s who end up with my $6.75 after all.  While I don’t remember laughing, I’m glad I don’t remember being mad either.  In fact, I am sure that before long, but after a visit to McDonald’s, we were all laughing and couldn’t wait to call my sister when we got home.

As we journey through life we are going to have a lot of opportunities to either laugh or well, get mad.  Can I suggest, may I encourage you, us to do the latter and not the former?  Too often we allow the fire of the moment burn some valuable bridges.  I can imagine a nasty phone call with words of regret and then days, weeks, and months of silence from a broken relationship.  Crazier things have happened, trust me.  But gratefully, that wasn’t the way this story ended.  In fact, I wonder if Kathy even remembers this. I do and it makes me smile.

Paul, the guy who wrote a lot of the New Testament, sitting in a Roman prison with NO ham sandwiches said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.” Well spoken, Paul, well spoken. So tomorrow or the next day, if you hit a bump, try to remember to smile and not frown.  If someone decides to pull a joke at your expense, go ahead and extend a little grace and a smile. When you do, if you do, you can be assured the Father is smiling too.  And no matter what, as always, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, Scripture, travel, Trials, wisdom

Joy in the Journey

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

It just depends.  My wife Judy and I recently returned from a trip out west.  It was a trip that would involve flying and driving.  It was also a trip with one purpose…to get away, to relax, to enjoy.  It is not uncommon for us to take a trip and encounter some less than perfect weather.  We have learned to say, “Oh well, at least we are still away.” Away…that’s a good thing.  You see, the purpose of a journey can often determine the success of the journey.  Set your sights too high and too narrow and you will often find frustration and stress.

Let me explain.  The first leg of our journey was simple…get to Colorado as quickly as possible.  Because that was the goal…we flew.  Also, because that was the goal every delay caused me to have a stressful moment.  Long check-in, stress.  Long security, frustration.  Flight delay, double both.  You see, the point was to get there…not to enjoy the journey.  When I was much younger, just the thought of getting to fly was exciting.  I would always ask for the window seat so I could watch the world go by.  The joy was the journey, but now, alas, it is just a means to get somewhere, and the wonder and joy have slipped away.

Leg two of the journey was different.  It was a hybrid of experiences. Renting a new and different car to drive, driving in a new part of the world, and going at a pace that better enabled me to enjoy it. Usually. But honestly, there was still a battle to be fought…an alligator to be wrestled to the earth.  I had to determine if the destination was the goal…or was it the journey?  I mean I know that there is always a destination but if that becomes obsessive, the joy quickly slips away.  It was my call—enjoy the journey or race to the destination.

You see, if I am racing to the destination, then put me on an interstate highway where the roads are wide, and the speed limit is high.  Out in Wyoming, the speed limit on the interstate was 80 mph…Katie bar the door.  Oh, and those long, straight two-lane roads—yup, 75 mph.  That fit my destination minded mindset just fine, thank you.  But then there were the times that we were in the Rocky Mountains on a curvy, mountain road just driving.  There really wasn’t a place we had to be—we were just driving and that changed everything.  If there was a slower driver in front…that was fine. We would just sit back and enjoy the scenery as it slid by the windows.  The journey was the destination and joy was the result.

But here is what I discovered.  As soon as there was a “gotta be there” destination and mindset then that same road and that same slow driver became a stress point.  The only thing that changed was the pressure to get there.  That same scenery was an ignored blur as the only thing that mattered was looking for a passing zone so I could get there—wherever there happened to be.  The end of the day often told the story—tired and stressed or refreshed and blessed—the way I traveled seemed to make all the difference.

There will always be a destination to get to and there will always be slower drivers and unexpected obstacles to keep us from getting there, but joy in the journey changes everything.  Jesus knew that His destination was a Roman cross, but He never let the that stop Him from enjoying the day and loving those around Him.  He loved the joy of the journey.  I can just imagine Him smiling as He changed the life of a leper or blessed a small child…all joy in the journey.  Paul, one of the guys who wrote a large part of the New Testament, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  In other words have joy in the journey…no matter what that journey looks like.  He did that really well.

So, when you find yourself on a winding, two-lane road, enjoy the journey.  Take a moment to watch the beauty around you slide by the windows.  See what God has allowed to come into your world that day and the destination will come soon enough.  And when you find yourself backed into a rushed corner, there’s a couple of things you can do.  First, plan a little better when you can and then use that extra time to talk to the Father about that day or maybe relax in Him because, “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne