Love

Christmas 2016

As your heart gathers around memories of Christmases past and delights of Christmas present, as the busyness and stillness collide in something called “holiday,” I pray that like all those involved in the first Christmas, this would be a day of wonder for you.

I pray you would embrace joyfully the beauty of mystery – knowing that the mysterious is a cousin to the miraculous – and you are gloriously free from being able to explain everything in 140 characters or having to control any and every outcome. [click to continue…]

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Dear James

by Andy Wood on November 23, 2016

in Life Currency, Love, Photos

papa-and-james

You first saw the light of day yesterday, a Monday, November 21, 2016. But you first lit our day today. And boy, did you light it. The world is full of pretty babies and we’ve seen our share. After all, you are number nine for us.  But I’ve gotta tell ya, you’re as beautiful as it gets, and it was worth the ride to hold you in our arms for the first of many times.

I should probably point out that you may have set some sort of world record for the most people holding a newborn in his first 24 hours. But there’s a reason.  [click to continue…]

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personal

You never know who’s watching.

You never know who models his or her life after you.  Sure, there are the ten percent who make it clear, but like icebergs, the other ninety are quiet. Below the surface and virtually invisible, but no doubt there.

All the while watching… for a path to follow… a faith to imitate… or a life that’s contagious.

So walk your path authentically. Believe hopefully.  Live abundantly, all the while leaving clues for searching hearts to find.

Because somebody’s watching.  And they’re following you. [click to continue…]

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Gazing

Hold.

Such an ordinary, blue-collar word.

Industrial strength, geared for protection and defense, holding commands attention – not by rising to dizzying new heights of adventure or romance, but by remaining ruthlessly still…

Safe…

Steady.

Boring? Only when, in your desperation for a change, any change will do.

Oppressive? Only when you think the grass is greener somewhere else and you can’t get there.

Holding is a sign that somewhere there is someone or something that is stronger than you are – at least for the moment. You may be held back by your fears. Or held safely by that seat belt and airbag. Or held in the arms of someone who can comfort your heart.

But sooner or later fears subside. Belts are unbuckled. And people, however well-meaning, let go.

But there are everlasting arms and an all-powerful Strength that promises to hold you in love and peace long after all other sources are exhausted or used up.  [click to continue…]

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This post is part of a series of posts celebrating Father’s Day titled, “That Time My Kids Hacked My Blog.” To read more, click here.

bikeDear Dad,

You may not remember the day that I learned to ride a bicycle, but I do. We were living in Fayette, Alabama and all of my friends had already figured out how to ride and graduated to ten speeds. After spending several weeks trying to figure out how, I had resigned to give up.

I am not sure how long it was, in my mind it seems like it was years but I am sure it was only a few weeks, that Mom brought up the topic at dinner. I remember telling her that I couldn’t do it. While I am sure mom said something encouraging it was your response that made a lasting impact. You said, “Yes you can…let’s go.” Then you stood up and the two of was walked downstairs into the basement took the training wheels off my bike and went to the driveway. The next hour I fell several times but each time I did you picked me up, told me I was okay, and encouraged me to try again. It wasn’t long before I figured out how to balance and pedal. Up to that point in my life I am not sure I had ever felt so accomplished and to this day I still love riding a bike.

That day you taught me how to ride, but what I didn’t know at the time was that you were also teaching me how to live life. Time and time again I have seen you act in a similar manner. [click to continue…]

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This post is part of a series of posts celebrating Father’s Day titled, “That Time My Kids Hacked My Blog.” To read more, click here.

Daddy2

Dear Daddy,

You’ve done a lot of things right as a parent, and the three of us are the adults that we are today because of your influence.  You’ve been my greatest teacher, encourager and influencer, and I’m so grateful for all that you’ve taught me.  There have been so many words of wisdom and encouragement over the past 31 years that it’s hard to identify the best or most influential, but there’s one thing that sticks out – there hasn’t been a single day of my life that I’ve doubted your love for me, or your pride in me.  Because you’ve always told me.

I see clients in my counseling office all the time who wonder.  They wonder if they’ve been enough, done enough, or said enough to make their fathers proud.  [click to continue…]

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This post is part of a series of posts celebrating Father’s Day titled, “That Time My Kids Hacked My Blog.” To read more, click here.

dadDaddy,

One of my favorite things about you is how you relate to people. You don’t make other people fit in your box, rather you relate to them in a way that not only allows them the freedom to be themselves but you encourage it. You seek out the unique things about a person that make them, well, THEM. The way you have parented follows suit. I have watched you relate to Cassie and Joel at times and noticed how different it is from how you and I relate. I’ve never felt sad about that because I know this great quality about you. In fact, it makes me feel more special because I know that our relationship is one of a kind, even though you have three kids.

I like to think the way you and I relate is through “moments”. These little snapshots of time that make up significant and meaningful times that we share. We’ve never really talked about it out loud before, but sometimes when we catch each other’s eyes I feel like we are on the same page, having a moment. (If that’s not what you are thinking will you just pretend that it is since this is a public letter??) Some of our moments are big and life changing and some of them are just small conversations that soften my heart. All of them I treasure.

Here are a few of my favorites: [click to continue…]

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Relaxing in the park

If all you knew about love was rumor and reputation,
If all you held on to were wistful hopes or magical memories…
If everything you trusted to carry you relied on fair weather
Or the favor of fickle people,
Then whatever you know of love would be vain.

But there is a Love that is real, that stands and delivers
More than wishful thinking or the Good Ole Days…
A Love that lasts through the strain of the Dog days
And the pain of disappointing people…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth.

If all you knew of love was agreement and approval,
And the whole world danced while you sang your song…
If every morning greeted you with sunshine and rainbows
And the endless praise of life-long admirers,
Then what you call Love is at best empty.

But there is a Love that holds on to you when life pushes back,
And embraces you warmly when people grow cold.
A Love that endures the pelting of blinding storms
And the ignorance of sightless critics…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth. [click to continue…]

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Friends

Did you know that a golf ball has a sweet spot? The next time you tee one up, position it so that you’re hitting the label… hopefully with the sweet spot of your driver.

Did you know that a Christian life has a sweet spot too?

I have made many discoveries over the years, and many of them have been impactful. But this is one of the most important, powerful, and life-changing principles I have ever made in 40-plus years of being a Christian. This is going to sound a little over-the-top, but if you master this one principle, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking.

On a broader scale, if the people you worship and fellowship with could really get this as a church, there is no limit to the influence you display.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

It may explain why you may have a lot of money or no money and not be affected one way or another in terms of your happiness or joy.

Discovering and practicing this one simple (didn’t say “easy”) idea can give you a shortcut to solving problems, healing relationships, and moving forward in every single area of your life.

Interested?

At least curious?

Okay, check back tomorrow.

Just kidding. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Button

One of my favorite pics of Grandpaw and Button

It was one of the many differences between us.  Maybe it was generational. Maybe it had more to do with personality. I don’t know.  To me it was silly at best, annoying it worst.

Corny, that’s it.  It was corny.

But my dad did it without apology, and routinely yucked about it.

“This is so-and-so,” he would say, “but I call him [insert nickname here].”

To know him well enough to banter at all – which for him meant more than one conversation – usually earned you some sort of nickname.

The manager of the local bank:  “I call her Cuz.”

A friend and pastor’s wife:  “Here comes Trouble.”

His and Dean’s friend Dolores got a play on the pronunciation, for no apparent reason:  “Doh-loh-reez.” [click to continue…]

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