Posts Tagged: stirring


4
Feb 13

The BIG Surprise

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Hi there… welcome back.

If you read the last blog entry you know that I just returned from a church mission trip to South Africa.  I mentioned that there were several things that stirred me, confused me, and challenged me.

Before I go any further I have to do some damage control.

I may be a lot of things, but one thing I don’t tend to be is a critical person.  It’s pretty easy for me to find the best in people or the situation.

But what I talk about today may seem very critical; critical of a particular segment of our society.  When I tell you the group I am referring to you will most likely think that I am an insensitive arrogant pig.

Maybe… I don’t think so, but I’m open to that reality.

I don’t mean for my comments to be critical.  These are just observations that I am still trying to sort through to gain a deeper understanding or broader insight into some disconnects present in our world.

The group that came to front of my mind during my visit to South Africa and whom I am puzzled about is the American poor.

Yikes!  As soon as I identified the group I could immediately sense the polarization of readers.

Some of you immediately bristled up and began making judgments about middle-class insensitivity to the poor and the inability to breakthrough societal barriers that limit their opportunities.

Others of you spontaneously perked up and started to salivate over the possibility of someone confronting those that seem to be too lazy to do things for themselves and thrive on exploiting the entitlement system.

Both sides share a kernel of truth and both are grossly erroneous and narrow in their thinking.

When I went to South Africa I saw poor… lots of poor… really, really poor.  And I saw wealthy, very wealthy.

The poor in South Africa are much poorer than in the US.  And the proportion of the population in poverty is significantly greater than here.

There are literally millions (seriously millions) of people living in makeshift shantytowns made of discarded tin sheets, board and canvas.

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Side Note: In South Africa the shantytowns are referred to as “informal settlements”.  Some how this seems much too sterile for the reality.

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There were piles of rubbish on virtually on every corner waiting the Friday evening burning.  On Friday evening we saw scattered fires throughout the neighborhood emptying the corner for the accumulation of the coming weeks trash.

Although it was very trashy, one could quickly sense a level of order and organization to the seeming chaos.  Masses of people were moving around seemingly with some level of purpose in their movement.  Survival.

The conditions in South Africa are so massive it seems hopeless.

I can safely say that the poor there have significantly more obstacles to overcome than their American counterpart.

Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to minimize the difficulties nor the tragedy of the American poor… not at all.  The poverty we do experience here is totally unacceptable in my opinion.  But still not nearly as bad as South Africa (or any third world country for that matter).

What I am doing is laying the foundation for the real issue that prompted this blog.  And believe it or not, the disconnect for me was not the severity or extent of poverty as compared to the US.

It was the smiles on people’s faces that I saw there compared to the faces of poverty I see here.

I will share more about this on Thursday.

Ciao.


18
Jan 13

Packed and ready to go

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Have you ever had deep stirrings but couldn’t find words to release the captive thought?

I have, all the time.  I still have lots of deep things that seem frustrated with lack of expression.

I attempt to verbalize the inner truth but my words stumble because of lack of clarity.  And sadly the depth and significance of the thought is lost, even undermined, because of my inability to breathe life into it.

In the past I used to think that it was because I wasn’t bright enough to articulate my thought.  That may be true to some degree but mostly I believe that inner truths need time to germinate and then at the right time they break the surface.

Occasionally I am able to bring clarity on my own.  That is the exception rather than the rule.

Usually someone will come along and articulate or we read something that crystallizes a trapped thought.

When that happens there is an amazing relief.  I hear my head echo, “That’s it, that’s it”.

As all of you know I have been poking at the topic of journey for several years.  And the other day I read something that brought me a huge step closer to bringing clarity to the clutter of thoughts and feelings that have been rubbing against each other.

A friend sent me an email that had the following quote.

The quote is about the importance of and the need for us to travel.  But the truth articulated is not reserved for just traveling to physical new locations.

The beauty of the quote is that it articulates many of my thoughts about the journey of life and the trying of new things.

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“That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder.

Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.

We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take.

But if you take them, you will never regret your choice.”

- Letters To A Son. Kent Nerburn

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This quote articulates much better than I the importance of stepping out beyond ourselves.

Life has more than what we settle for.  For those of you reading this blog for the first time, I am not talking about trying new things to feed our appetite for thrills or because we want to run away from life.

No, not at all.  I am talking about things that expand who we are.  Things that make our life richer and deeper.

I am about to do something that I believe will make my life richer and fuller.

I am taking Kent Nerburn’s advice and in two hours I am leaving to go to South Africa for ten days.  This is a church trip thing and it will be fascinating.

So I won’t be posting my next blog entry until the 29th.

I should come back all stretched and insightful.

Ciao.


7
Jan 13

Living in a shallow grave

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Hello… welcome back… Happy New Year.

A statement in my last blog entry has been haunting me.  I said that worry robs your life of life.

How sad, but unfortunately all too true.  There are millions of people living in this world who are living with no life.

Something happened to me about five years ago.  I am not exactly sure what but I do know that it was a God thing.  I decided that I did not want to live my life in a shallow grave.

A person in a shallow grave is one who lives in and settles for less than what is available to them.  I believe more and more, and my heart rejoices more and more with the reality that there is so much God has given for us to experience and enjoy HERE and NOW not just in the hereafter.

Yes, as a Christian I knew I would go to heaven and all would be good.  But little did I know that God desires for us to experience life to the full – NOW.

I am not talking about deeper Spiritual insights or tingly feelings.  Yes, those are available and I like those things too, but I’m talking about something different.

I wish I could bring to memory the event or moment that sparked the notion that life had more to offer than what I was settling for.

Here’s the amazing God thing.  I already had a very good life.  It was neither boring nor unfulfilling.  But something sparked an inner ember.

Something struck an invisible soundless note that resonated in my spirit.

All I knew was that God was calling me to a higher place.  It had nothing to do with money, job nor possession.  There was a stirring to things outside my comfortable snug world.

I am sure some you are reading this and are bored out of your mind thinking this guy is weird.

But there is someone reading this that is feeling a stir.  Something inside is rising up and taking notice.

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We long for more but dare not believe that more is possible

- Penelope Stokes

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You don’t know what, but there is something inside that knows or wants to believe that God has more for you… and He does!

That is why I started this blog journey three years ago.

Something or someone was calling me to more.

As I said earlier, I had a wonderful life up to five years ago.  Since that time it has been amazing.  It doesn’t mean simple… but simply amazing.

I have taken risks, started things (like this blog) that I would have never attempted.

All because I listened to a zephyr call to something more.

No, life is not perfect.  Yes, I still have my challenges and setbacks.

But I can honestly say that I no longer live in a shallow grave where my life has no life.  And the amazing thing is that what I have experienced is only the beginning.

This is my invitation to all of you weird people out there that feel a stir at what I am saying.  The voice you hear is not mine.

I am only the instrument that invites you to more.

I hope you join me as I continue the journey.

If you are really serious I encourage you to read the first couple of months of blogs from 2010.  All you need to do is go to the archives on the right side of the page and check them out.

Ciao.

See you Thursday.


16
Feb 12

The Elegance of Invitation

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Hi, me again.

I don’t know about you but the picture above tells a lot of story.  My mind can take it in all kinds of directions with a beginning, plot and an ending.

The person who created it (I wish I knew so I could give them credit) took a simple unassuming photo and told a story.

But what fascinates me even more is that each of us can look at the picture and write a totally different story depending on how we view it and interpret it.

I liked it because it made me think.  It invited me to interpret, explore, examine and make assumptions.

There is something amazingly powerful and elegant in simple creativity.

I am talking about the type of simple creativity that from the page, screen or canvas somehow mysteriously extends an invisible hand with the index finger motioning an invitation to come in for a closer look.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

I do understand that some things are done in the name of “artistic purpose” to evoke an emotion of some sort.  That’s okay to a degree.

But like most things in our brash, brazen, “bombard the senses” world, the goal is not to invite or even evoke an emotion, but to grab you by the neck and drag you in.

So many things these days try to force us to think a certain way and lead us to their desired conclusion.

Or even worse, some so called artists (or creative types) assault our senses and sensibility with extremes.

And it’s sad to say, but in far too many cases the intent is to provoke us with a condescending jab at what they view as our narrow, bereft existence.

I don’t know about you, but I am always at caution when faced with anything that tries to forcibly impose a thought, belief or direction.

It could be my own hang-ups that make me cringe at these types of things… but I don’t think so.

It is my opinion that people who are so consumed with forcibly imposing their view in reality are just projecting their own narrow world.

I genuinely want to grow and not be trapped by what I perceive as the “what is” in life.  Because I desire to step beyond where I am, I work hard at being open, inquisitive and explorative.

Life is short and I don’t want to waste time by looking in every nook and cranny.  Because of that, I have become attuned to those things that stir or have a compelling call.

So, if you are looking for a blog that reaches off the screen and grabs you by the throat and drag you to where I am… you are in the wrong place.

Hopefully there is something I say that causes you pause, makes you think, breaths life into a goal or dream, or… just makes your life more enjoyable.

Thanks for hanging out with me today.

See you on Monday.


6
Feb 12

Fight or Flight?

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I went to church yesterday.  Yep, church.

Hell, I think everyone ought a go to church.

Side Note: I just had to say that.  When I use a salty word like “hell” it kinda throws my church goin friends.

For my non-Christian friends you’re probably laughing that I would even consider “hell” as salty.  It is for me.

Now, on the other hand, the “F” bomb would really get everyone’s attention.

But I digress.

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Why I bring up church is that our minister brought out a point that I had not realized before.

Now before my non-Christian friends start getting the yips and start becoming paranoid thinking I am going to get all preachy because I mentioned church and minister in the same sentence… relax.

I am just going to share an insight that applies to us all regardless of what we believe or think about Jesus.

The minister was talking about a very well known Bible story – David and Goliath.  It’s about a young shepherd boy fighting a literal giant.

Side Note: If you are not familiar with the story it is well worth your time to read it.  You can find it in the Bible at I Samuel 17.

It is a fascinating story.

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Every time I have heard this story it is used as a metaphor about “the giants” in our lives we face.

Giants in our lives are things like relationship problems, addictions, health issues, depression, work challenges, personal shortcomings, etc.  You name it and we all have some giant in our lives… we all do.

This time was no different, the minister used it as a metaphor.  But what was new was something I had failed to notice before.

I am going to share the Bible verses and focus on the part that sparked the “ah ha” moment.

The two verses are I Samuel 17:48-49.

“As the Philistine (Goliath) moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.  Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it (with a sling) and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

Take a look at the first sentence.  If you notice, there are two parts.

The first part is Goliath’s (the giant) move.  He moved closer for the attack.

The problems we face and the challenges we have are attacks.  They keep us from experiencing the fullness life has to offer and seem to hit us at the most inopportune times.

But the second half of the sentence is David’s move, “He ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.”

Wow… he ran quickly toward.  This was the “ah ha” moment.

I don’t know about you but when facing a giant I tend to do one of three things – I fight, stand my ground, or hunker down.

We are to run at problems.  Aggressively running toward the battle is so counter intuitive.

If not, the battle comes to you on its terms… not yours.

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Avoid problems, and you’ll never be the one who overcame them.
- Richard Bach

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I have a lot of questions as to what all this means.  I in no way have a handle on this insight.  But I do know there is something here I am to take a look at.

Hopefully it has stirred something in you.

Later… see you on Thursday.


1
Dec 11

Imperfect Perfection

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Welcome back.

First, if have not read the last blog entry please take a minute to do so.  Today’s entry will make very little sense without the backdrop of the story about the mother and daughter as reference.

It was several days after seeing the mother at the business meeting before the impact of her story in my life was revealed.

The amazing thing about a Spiritual walk is that it unfolds in amazing ways if we continue to move forward and remain open to the truths God desires to impart.

One day for some reason I was reminded (I know now that it was a God reminder) of the event with the mother.  I was thinking about the exchange with the mother and I was suddenly struck by the obvious paradox of her story.

When asked about her daughter the mother immediately said, “She’s perfect, absolutely perfect.”  Then she proceeded to go into detail about how bad she was the night before.

The paradox amused me – she’s perfect and a bad girl.

The “Ah Ha”

This divine insight didn’t come in one blinding revelation.  It seemed to unfold with my flow of thought regarding the mother and daughter.

The first thing that struck me was my shallowness as a human and how easily we forget the basics.

As a Christian I believe to the core of my being that God, our Father, loves us with a love far beyond our earthly ability to love others or even comprehend.

So the truth is, as much as that mother loved her child, God loves us more.

OK… I get that… that’s really cool.

Then the next beautiful truth hit me.

If an earthly mother loves her child so much that she sees her imperfect child as perfect, and even says so; then God must be able to do so all the more.

This thought revealed another belief.  I really, really believe in my heart that those who have entered into relationship with Him, enjoy the same favor as the daughter we have been talking about.

I believe God looks down on His beloved child and just like the mother says slowly and lovingly, “He’s perfect, absolutely perfect.”

This does not mean that we don’t have issues we need to deal with, or areas that need disciplining.  But God, because of Christ, sees us as perfect.

This revelation then begs the next question.

If God sees us as perfect and loves us beyond measure, why is it so difficult for us to believe it and receive it?

Why is it so hard for us (me) to see God looking down at me and slowly and lovingly saying, “He’s perfect, absolutely perfect?”

I think that needs to be unpacked a little more.

I will do that on Monday.


25
Aug 11

Hearing a cry is a good thing.

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SLAP!   Whaaaaaaaaaa.

Believe it or not, that’s a good sound.  Those of you who read last Monday’s blog know exactly what the slap and cry means.

I wrote on Monday about the amazing gift of new life stirring deep within.  I was not talking to expecting moms.  I was/am talking to any of you that sense something within trying to struggle its way to life.

It could be a book you have been wanting to write, a new idea for a business, a change in your attitude that has held you back, maybe it’s rebuilding a relationship that has been hurtful, or possibly it’s just trying something different that is totally out of your comfort zone.

Whatever is stirring within you, it is life waiting to be birthed. 

This blog for example stirred about eight months before it finally came to fruition on January, 2010.  Why a blog… I have no idea.  All I knew is that something stirred and I knew it was important for me and my growth.

For some of you my next statement will make total sense.  It will ring true on a deep level.  To others you will read it, tilt your head and go, huh?

It was a stirring that I knew, someway and somehow, would be life changing if I nurtured it and acted on it at the right time in the right way.

Some of you, as you read this, feel the baby kicking.  Whatever it is moving inside is something that you intuitively know is life changing and you need to nurture and act on it. 

For others of you reading this… the rumbling inside is just the burrito kicking in.  Take an antacid and make a quick trip to the bathroom and you’ll be fine.

But those of you who know that what’s going on inside of you is more than a burrito at work… listen carefully.

GOD ALERT!!!  This is a heads up to all my friends who may not believe as I do about God and his involvement in our lives.  Remember, I don’t expect you to believe as I do.

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I believe in the core of my being that anything that is life giving is from God.  He plants a seed deep inside of something that he knows is good for you… important for you.

This new life stirring will change your life… if you nurture it and give birth to it.

Important Side Note:  What I am about to say is pretty heavy.  I will be referring to a very controversial topic. 

I am not trying to make a political statement or make an argument regarding the topic.  I am using it as an illustration.

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OK, back to God and the seed he planted.

We don’t create life.  Only God can give life.  We cannot give life to something… but we can kill it.  We can cause the death of that life by choice or by neglect.  Either way… it is life lost.

I personally think that most of the time the life lost is by neglect.  We ignore the reality of life stirring and allow it to wither and dry up. 

There’s no effort required, no tending to the seed, no risks to take, no rocking of your comfortable boat, till there’s no more moving… and no life.

I do believe sometimes we choose to terminate the life… we intentionally abort the stirring. 

We either don’t want the hassle or we believe fatal lies.  Lies such as, I could never do that, I am not smart enough, I don’t have the talent, etc.

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GOOD NEWS!

There is good news, terrific news, wonderful news. 

God has a lot of seeds in his bag and does not give up on us.  He is continually throwing seeds in our direction. 

I say… Thank goodness.  Because I know that I have killed plenty of seeds in my life.

If you are open and receptive more seeds will come.  Don’t worry about the seeds of the past.  Thinking about the lost seeds is like putting Round Up weed killer on the new plants.

Let the past be and nurture that tiny seed that you sense is starting to germinate.

See you Monday.


22
Aug 11

Oh my, I felt it move!

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Hello again.  Thanks for poking your head in for a visit.

It is my hope that I say something that makes you think, causes you ask questions, or maybe helps you to crystallize a thought that has been stirring inside but the complexity or its fluid nature resisted articulation.

I find one of the amazing gifts of life is when I read or hear something that captures the essence of a belief or thought that has been struggling to find clarity. 

It is as if that person breathed the breath of life into that thing struggling to be birthed in my life.

Humm… think about it… powerful imagery… a new idea or insight birthed into our life.

Most things in life are mysteriously and majestically woven together in patterns.  The birthing process is one of those miraculous patterns that is laced through all aspects of life.

The birth of something is not the beginning.  The birth is the start of a new phase… but not the start of its existence. 

Birth is the point where that something is brought into the light after it is to a point where it is complete enough to live. 

But there was a whole lot going on before it saw the light of day.

At some point there was a seed that impregnated a fertile spot in our heart or mind. 

A seed cannot pierce that which is hard or non-receptive.  For some of you this may be exactly what you want – hard and infertile to prevent something new growing inside.

You like where you are, or you are fearful of what might grow if open to new things.

I am not being judgmental of where you are because I have been there too.  But I do know this.  When a person does not have life stirring in their inner being they have sealed the fate of their existence.  You will never go beyond where you are.

You may be ok with where you are, that’s your decision… but you need to know… this is as far as your life will go.

It takes work to be fertile.  It requires effort to stay open, soft and receptive.  Some may be afraid that if they are open that some seeds of weeds will be sprinkled in and begin to root.

Yep… that’s true.

The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds.
-David Hume

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Weeds grow into something harmful only if you are lazy.  So it does require work.

But you need to know that dealing with the weeds are worth it when you enjoy the fruit of your labor. 

Oh the amazing possibilities… what gifts for us to enjoy.

For me, I can say this from experience; it is a very blessed feeling to feel life stirring inside.  As many of you know I have written a lot about the stirrings inside that caused me to take bold steps in my life. 

Believe me… it has been worth it. 

I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for a mother to feel life stirring in her womb. 

It is both miraculous and exciting because, you know that at just the right time that thing stirring within will be birthed. 

After it is birthed a new process begins with its own challenges and rewards. 

I may talk about that on Thursday.

See you then.

Ciao.

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8
Aug 11

“One small step for man…”

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Howdy… welcome back.

Last Thursday I talked about the difference between “To” and “FROM”.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I encourage you to read the last blog.

If I say so myself, the blog I wrote was a bounty of amazing insight and astounding wit.  They were exquisitely woven together in a well choreographed dance of words that took the reader to another place and left them craving… no, dare I say, demanding for more.

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Side Note: How did I do with my first attempt at self aggrandizement?

Uhhh, not me is it?  It was fun to write but I feel stupid reading it.

OK, please don’t ask where the last couple of paragraphs came from.  I have no idea.  They just popped out my head on to the screen.  Scary huh?

Oh well… back to my humble hole where I peck away at my little blog.   Hopefully there will be some semblance of meaning and thought.

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The purpose of the last blog was to emphasize the importance of knowing what is driving our decisions.

A BOLD PROMISE

Today, I want to focus on the most important aspect of our journey.  It is the thing that WILL transform your life.  I am as serious as I can be and I am not exaggerating.  You will never be the same.

It is the step that changes your life… “your step”.

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“If you don’t take a step you won’t end up somewhere else.”

. . – Me

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You cannot get to where you want to go and stay where you are.  It requires action, a step of some sort.

Whether you are drawn to a higher place or you are pushed out of a lower place, it requires a step.  Albeit small, it still requires a move.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I wished that God would just zap me and miraculously I would be different or be at a different place.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no question in my mind and in my experience that God does some miraculous things.  But it always requires a step… even if it is a step of faith.

Tired of where you are in a certain aspect of your life?  Then get off your ass (My wife suggested something tamer like butt… but it was just a bit too calm for me).  Just feebly standing up is a step.

Now no one guaranteed it would be easy… usually it is not.  For me personally, waking up five years from now and being in the same spot is more horrifying than the fear of the first few steps.

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”
Sir Winston Churchill

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For years I hung out in the same place with little or no growth.  On some level it was easy but the call of “what can be” became a siren song I couldn’t ignore.

It took months for me to wade through the morass of where I was and the thought of writing a blog began to emerge.  Why a blog?  I have no idea, because as most of you know… I am not a writer.  All I knew is that it was the right step for me.

But something was unleashed when I finally took the big step.  That step began to open me on several different levels and has had a broader impact in more ways than I know.

But my big step only came after a desire to be in a different place, a willingness to do something different and a multitude of micro steps.

Are you tired of where you are?  Is there something stirring deep within that is calling you to higher things?

I think you’re ready to give birth to a new phase of your life.

OK, take a deep breath… push… take that step you think you should take.

See you on Thursday.

Ciao.


25
Jul 11

Not just for Rabbits

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Hello, me again.

I know that I may sound weird saying this (well, weirder than usual), but I love the picture of the carrots.  I think it’s great.

It very simply illustrates one of the greatest joys and gifts that life offers… VARIETY.

Yes, you are correct.  I have gushed all over this topic before but the carrots just set me off again.

Side Note: Did you realize there are nearly 70 varieties of carrots.  Who would have guessed?  There is even a carrot museum in the UK.

Don’t worry, this blog is not going to be about carrots… but in case you’re interested the web site is http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk

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OK, enough with the carrots.  But I would like to poke around a little more about this variety thing because the picture of the carrots crystallized a new insight.

I realized that I am moved by the variety that comes from nature but not from variety that comes from human hand.  Yes, we humans have created an abundance of things to entertain us and enjoy.

I am not putting down the fact that we have over a 100 different flavors of soda, 210 cable channels, an endless selection of wallpaper, or 72 reality shows to choose from.  These are all fine… well, except for any of the Housewives reality shows… give me a break.

But nothing created by human hands stops me and causes me to stand in quiet awe as does the variety that is natural

I am moved when I see a hummingbird with feathers with different iridescent colors hovering at a feeder, or a new sunrise blasting an array of color across the sky, or a multitude of variety of spices for our pleasure, or even carrots.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am pleased we have a variety of things in life to choose from to make our life easier or more entertaining.  It’s just that nature is a different dimension.

I know the list is far from complete but here’s how I see the difference between man made variety and the natural variety by the hand of our Creator.

  • Human bombards the senses, natural soothes.
  • Human feels strangely hollow, natural possesses a sacred quality.
  • Human competes for our attention, natural is just there.
  • Human is forced on us, natural is quietly discovered.
  • Human encroaches in our lives, natural expands our lives.

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Take a look around.  If you are open you will gain a newer and deeper appreciation of what we have gifted to us.

Hopefully you will see something that causes a moment of awe.

See you Thursday.  I gotta go to see if I can find some purple carrots.

Ciao.

The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.
-Felix Mendelssohn