Thursday, November 29, 2018

Through the eyes of a child

Last week, I wrote about my sixth grandbaby, Blakely, being born into this world.  It made me think about how much more I love Christmas because of young children.  I love watching their faces as they are surprised by their gifts.  We have a favorite saying in our house that is a quote from my son, Michael, on Christmas morning when he was a toddler.  As he was unloading his stocking, he pulled out a pair or socks, and exclaimed with excitement, "just what I almost needed".    That sums it up for most of our gifts - just what we almost needed.  But what I really need is more Jesus.   If you need a lift today, take 4 minutes to watch this video telling the Christmas story through the eyes of a child.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Heart Stopping

This week, Caroline and I were blessed with grandbaby number 6.  Lizzy and Trey brought Blakely Grace into the world.   Mom, Dad and Baby are all doing great.   Caroline and I were in the waiting area waiting for the text from Trey that Blakely had arrived.  There was an announcement over the PA system that said, "Code Pink in LDR 11", which we recognized as Lizzy's room.  Not knowing what a Code Pink was, I asked the first hospital employee I could find, and she let me know that the baby was in some sort of distress, but she didn't have additional details.  For the next 5 minutes, which seemed like 5 hours, we were in the dark about what was going on.   Every possible scenario, most of them horrifying, went through our heads - and for me, those thoughts centered around the possibility of serious health problems for Lizzy and/or Blakely. The only thing we knew to do was to pray.  We soon found out that everyone was fine.  Blakely had a somewhat awkward birth, but the amazing hospital staff responded quickly, and Blakely arrived just fine.  I can't imagine the additional pain of getting through this without my God to comfort me.  I give God honor and praise for the miracle of birth and the gift of comfort every day.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Believe it or not?

Our ConnectGroup from church wrapped up our Andy Stanley video series, "What happy couples know" last night.  Andy continues to deliver a message that is fresh, as if I was hearing it for the first time, but grounded in words that were spoken and written 2000 years ago.  In last night's video, he spoke about the gap that exists in relationships between expectations and experiences.  There is frequently a gap that has to be filled with something.  That something is either "believe the best" about the other person or "assume the worst" about the other person.  It feels like a reaction, but it is actually a choice we make each time the gap is created.  Assuming the worst drives the other person away and can actually push them to do the very thing you are scared they are going to do.  Believing the best creates an upward spiral of trust and love that can become the bedrock for happy couples.  Nobody said it would be easy.  It will be hard, but it is one of the most important things that happy couples know.  To see the full message, click here.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Another Country Divided

It would be hard to escape the division of the people in our country over the past couple of weeks.   Some see the division as a plea for power, others see it is a plea for recognition and still others a plea for justice.  

Myanmar is a mostly Buddhist country in southeast Asia that has struggled with its own division for centuries.  While the government currently has an elected parliament, it is largely a military state, in that the military controls all of the local police.  Myanmar has had some ugly moments in its history.  Among 135 different ethnic groups, you will find the Rohingyas.  The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority living in a Buddhist country.  Quite a while back, a small faction of rebels in that area attacked a military base, and the Myanmar government used the incident as a trigger to kill over 9000 Rohingyas people, raping and maiming thousands more along the way.   It is widely believed that the genocide was the result of the Buddhist government's fear of a growing Muslim population.  

This feels like an event that would have occurred centuries ago or even in the first millennium.  Not so.  It was last year - August, 2017.  I'm sure some of you reading are well versed on the event.  I am embarrassed to admit that I am just becoming aware of it this morning.

Reading about this stirs emotions for me.  Disbelief that this could happen.  Sadness for the victims and the victims families.  Anguish over what could be done to prevent this from happening again.  Thankfulness for living in a country where it doesn't.  A desire to make things better where I am.

I read about most of this in an article by Brian Stiller.  For more on his perspective and a ray of hope for Myanmar, click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Just A Spoonful of Sugar

This week I read about pharmaceutical company that reported first year's sales of $4.5K.    Yep, that's a K.  Not a M - or a B.  $4470.  Doesn't sound like much of a year - until you know that the year was 1876.  And the founder was Eli Lilly.   Lilly's first products included gelatin capsules, quinine, and fruit flavors for pills to make them easier to consume.   Bad experiences with drugs that he had received during the Civil War caused him to have an intense focus on quality control, and his reputation as a drug manufacturer grew quickly.  Now Lilly's brands include Prozac, Cialis, Methadone and Cymbalta, and annual sales have now passed $22B - with a B.   I also learned that Lilly is not your typical mega-pharmaceutical company.  In 1879, just three years after its inception, Eli Lilly became the primary patron for the Charity Organization Society in Indianapolis, which was a forerunner to United Way.  Now the Lilly Endowment is one of the top 10 wealthiest non-profit philanthropies in the world with $11.7B in assets.  Grant recipients include Emory University's Youth Theological Initiative here in Atlanta.  The summer program for high school students encourages them to explore the Christian faith and how it can be a powerful force in today's world.   Kudo's to Eli Lilly for establishing a company that still values giving back as one of its founding principles.