Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Red Flags

There's just something about being at the beach that enables me to just take a minute and breathe. My absolute favorite part of the day is at sunrise. (I know, that's a sunset picture. Amy had the camera both mornings.)

The air is still cool and the humidity hasn't quite reached sauna level. I take my book and my coffee and find a chair. The best part is there is NO ONE out yet. For some strange reason it's the only time in my life I don't dread getting out of bed.

It makes me wonder why we don't take more time like that on a regular basis to just be. Our world has forced us into human doings instead of human beings. It's the times like that at the beach though that I feel most alive. Just sitting there looking at and listening to the power and immensity of the ocean I feel so small in the presence of God. It helps me to remember that peace can be found in anything. No matter how powerful the forces against us are.

This weekend at Panama City I heard there was anywhere from 40 to 60 people rescued from the waves. Two people were lost. After being out there for about 30 minutes on Saturday I wasn't suprised. It was brutal. What amazes me the most is that there were double red flags up all weekend. For those who don't know that means STAY OUT of the water. Like I said though, I went in too, (there was only one red flag up at the time but that was because they had been too busy rescuing people to change them).

Why is it that we see the warning signs and just choose to ingore them? So often we think that we can handle a situation or we can be in control. Problem is, we know better and still dive right in. If we could take a second and realize that God has something else in mind, maybe we could see the problems and the waves crashing in and stay back. Like I said, watching the powerful waves pounding the beach is a beautiful experience. Getting knocked under by one and then being pulled out by a rip tide isn't.

We have been given so many examples from His Word, people in our lives, and our own experiences to know when there are two red flags up in our lives. My prayer is that we can learn to recognize those times and step back and say, "Maybe I'll wait a bit and see what God has planned." If we can, I hope we can then look at the waves that were about to take us under and thank God He knows what is best for our lives.

Most of the time we can swim out or God can get to us in time to rescue us. Sometimes though, the waves pull you under before you can realize it's too late.

What double red flags are flying for you today? What is it in your life that you need to take a step back from and ask, "Is this really a good idea?" I pray you can walk along the beach with Him and enjoy the beauty He has given us. If you decide to swim out on your own, Satan might just be there waiting to cause a rip tide that will pull you under for good.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I am a momma's boy. Yes, Amy is fully aware of this and I'm about 98.5% sure she's okay with it. Mother's Day was awesome. At lunch yesterday we had every possible category of Mom there. There were two great-grandmothers, two new grandmothers, one grandmother-to-be, one new mom and best of all my beautiful wife and mom-to-be, Amy. It was quite a celebration of Mom!

I have been blessed to have these mother's (and others who weren't there) in my life more than I can say. A mother's love is something I will never fully understand (for obvious reasons) but I am so thankful to be on the receiving end. It is such a blessing to know too that my baby's momma will love them in that same way.

This time next year I'm sure this day will be a completely different experience. Since I'm not the one who's been sick and miserable carrying this baby it still seems very surreal to me. But every now and then I catch a glimpse of Amy with her hand on her belly and this look in her eyes and I can already see that mother's love pouring out of her.

Thank you Mom for showing me the unconditional love of God. Thank you Amy for being the woman you are who will love our children in the same way.

Most of all, thank you God for blessing my life with all these beautiful women. They truly reflect your glory in their lives.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ten Years, One Good Lesson

Well, I guess now that the rest of my family is blogging I'm gonna try and get on board. I'm not very good about picture taking and journaling but I guess with a new addition to the family on the way I better get some practice.

Anyway, I want to share some thoughts that have been raging through my head the last couple months. As I come up on ten years next week since graduating from high school (yep I'm getting old) it seems like it's been so much longer and just yesterday all at the same time. You know how people say one day you just wake up and suddenly feel old, gain weight inexplicably and talk about "those kids?" They're right. Things don't heal as fast, sleep is harder to come by and the baby's not even here yet!

What I really want to share though is the most important thing I have learned in these last ten years. It's why the title of my blog is "Plan To Be Surprised." When I left for that first semester of college I had everything planned out in my mind. My major, timelines, future after college, everything. It took all of about a month for every bit of it to get blown to shreds. It took about seven years to figure out what my problem was. We all have well intentioned plans and ideas for our lives, we have to. It's ridiculous to just sit back and think things will just happen. We have to plan and we have to work to accomplish those things. However, the one thing we have to plan for at all times is to BE SURPRISED!

Guess what, things don't typically work out exactly how we plan. What it took me so long to realize is that God has things in store for me that I never even imagined. When I finally took a step back and looked at what I was doing I realized something. I'm a control freak! Now, make sure you understand what I mean by that. I'm not one of those Type A personalities who runs over everything in their path to get their way. When it came to what I was doing with my life though I was in total control of me. Turns out, I'm not very good at that. I was trying to make myself happy with all the wrong things.

The funniest part of all though...

God has continued to bless me throughout all of it.

As I look ahead to the next ten years I see so many things I want to happen. There are countless parts of life to plan for and it's necessary and good to do that. I mean come on, show me one person who hasn't freaked out a little bit when they find out they're having a baby! Now though, while I plan for my family's future, the one thing I absolutely know will happen is life will smack me in the face, throw me hard breaking curves and probably at times beat the livin' mess out of me. I can't wait to see what happens. God has blessed me with a wife who is better than I deserve, a family who loves and supports me and the ability to get up every day and have a fresh start. Through everything that comes our way God will continue to provide and the one thing I am planning for through it all is to be surprised!