It’s not goodbye, just see ya later

  
I’m not a big fan of goodbyes. I don’t like thinking that I won’t see someone again, ya know?

For as long as I remember, when leaving company I generally say “later” or “see you” or even “talk to you soon.” It has just been a mindset that I have. Where did it come from? Let me explain. 

Goodbye implies something permanent. You say goodbye to college algebra, to bad company and even to Felicia. These are things you just don’t ever want to see again. 

To say “see ya later” says something entirely different. It tells the recipient that you have intentions on returning to the conversation or even that you will just see them again. 

I had some close friends who just lost a dear family member very suddenly and they were hurting beyond belief. I remember telling their son, who is like a brother to me, that this isn’t goodbye, just see ya later. 

It is said that death is “the great equalizer.” Meaning that no matter how rich or poor, fit or fat we are all ending up six feet under or in a fancy jar on someone’s mantle sometime. But is it really an equalizer?

Not everybody gets to say the phrase “see you later” frankly because some folks aren’t believers. They’ve never accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior; therefore, they don’t get to make the trip up high. They get to feel the burn, if you know what I’m sayin. 

The great man who passed was saved and we get to reflect on this verse as we say goodbye to him. It’s out of 1 Corinthians 15:54-57. It says:

 “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tommy is gone, but we get to take comfort in knowing that he’s looking down on us, sitting with Jesus, saying “Hey Jesus, that reminds me of a story…just kiddin.” 

Please take this as a plea to straighten things up and get saved. In James it talks about how your life is like a mist, here one second and gone the next. Also, cherish your loved ones. Call that family member that you haven’t patched things up with, it’ll be well worth it. Y’all be safe out there. 

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To tell the truth…

  
Do you remember the first time you lied? Ok, probably not, but there has been times where you might have fudged the truth a little bit. Right?

I remember when I lied to Jeg one time. It was over a stinkin water bill. I had forgotten to pay it, twice, and the city cut us off. It wasn’t that we err broke or anything, I just didn’t pay it. She asked me what the deal was and I told her that it was an error on the city. Later that day, she found out and it hurt her so bad. It was a hurt that took a while to recover from. But we did and are a better couple for it.

What I’m getting at is that telling the whole truth is is super important to any kind of relationship. My parents always told us, “Tell the truth, no matter what. Even if it gets you in trouble.” 

I have gotten myself into a mess of trouble just for telling on myself, but it helped in the long run. So what does that say? It screams integrity. 

So what’s integrity? Most everyone has a basic understanding of it, but few choose to exercise it. Here’s an idea for you if you are still confused.

  

So is it just about telling the truth? If that were the case, people could get away with telling “their version” of the truth all the time and still be in good moral standing in their mind. 

Integrity is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, all the time. Does it hurt? Well of course it hurts, but you’re gonna be better for it. 

Check out what The Word says:

“The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭MSG‬

Taking the short way around things might be the easy way at first, but eventually, those little lies add up. Your stories become more elaborate and your web of deception will start to ensnare more people. 

You can read all the best self-help books, post all kinds of fancy pull-out quotes to your social media but if your integrity is shot, those words don’t make a hill of beans. 

There will be a day when you realize what you have done; hopefully, it won’t be too late to salvage a friendship or even a marriage. 

I know that this might ruffle some feathers and even downright piss some folks off, but that should just tell you that you got some business that you need to work on. 

Let me know what you think, leave a comment below and share this your friends. Y’all be safe out there. 

Hungry Eyes

  
Well, this isn’t a story about 80s music or an essay on why Patrick Swayze was a beast on the dance floor. I think it is something with a little more substance. 

The “hungry eyes” that I refer to here are the ones that, for lack of a better term, covet other’s lives. Whether it be their clothes, homes, vehicles or any other thing of worth, these “hungry eyes” translate into the perverbial green-eyed monster in one’s life. 

I guess it has been subliminally placed in our minds that if we aren’t “keeping up with the Joneses” then we have to want what they have and must do whatever it is to get us there. 

We live in a society today where that mindset has become commonplace and I guess somewhat accepted. But why? Why do we feel the need to get jealous of what others have? It doesn’t solve what we feel is our problem, yet it persists. 

Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t want to be better and have nice things. In fact, your motivation should be to become a better you. I’m just saying the constant comparisons to other people is tiring and not healthy. 

Generally, when I see these kind of things happening, I turn to the Word to see what God says about it. There are numerous verses that talk about covetness and jealousy, but this one really hit me. James 3:14-16 says:

“But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

This way of living tears you up and it makes you look like, well…a jerk. 

So how do you fix it? How do you recondition yourself to not think this way? Again, go to the Word. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says that he has learned to be content with what he has because of the strength that God has given him. 

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

The biggest key is to humble yourself in the Lord. Remind yourself that God’s got you. He takes care of the sparrows and puts detail into flowers that are never even seen. So don’t you think he’s gonna take care of you and yours? 

So chill out on eyeballing and wanting the things of others. Feed those “hungry eyes” with the Word and be happy with what you have been given stewardship of.

Insights? Comments? Leave them below! Don’t get jelly and y’all be safe out there. 

Chocolate Dog

  

A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, smart or dumb. Give him your heart…and he’ll give you his.—Milo Gathema

There have been very few times in my life where an animal tugged at my heart. I’ve had a cat or two, maybe a rabbit, but not really a dog. I was never really a “dog guy.” Sure we had them on the farm growing up and I loved them, but there was no “unbreakable bond” like White Fang or any of those stories. That was the case until the chocolate dog. 

It was the Summer of 2010. We had just bought our house and were settled in. I was working at the newspaper and Jeg was a secretary at the college. We had busy schedules at work and volunteering with our church. We had decided that we would wait to get a puppy. 

One night while volunteering at our youth ministry, a fellow volunteer said she had some Chocolate Lab/Golden Retriever puppies that she was giving away. I listened to my wife “ooh” and “aww” at the thought of a puppy, but by the end of the night, she said she would rather wait. (I would later find out that she never stopped wanting one that night, she just stopped talking about it to make it my idea.)

Being the awesome guy that I am, I used this opportunity to swoop in and surprise her with a gift. I drove her out to the house and gave her the chance to pick one out. And she picked this guy:  We are big believers in the concept where the dog chooses their own name. Not one minute passed and he was named Count Chocula. What followed was the longest night ever, up to that point of course. 

Count had never spent a night away from his litter mates. So he was used to sleeping on top of other puppies, not by himself. He howled and yelped and kept us awake. Jeg told me I had to do something, so I did what I only knew to do…curl up with him in the floor. I laid my arm out and he cuddled up close in my armpit and fell fast asleep. Right then, I became a dog person. I became HIS person. 

What followed that night were typical puppy antics. Potty training was a slight challenge, but he took to it pretty quick. Chewing was the hardest. We alternated toys to keep him entertained, but the poor guy just couldn’t stay away from cabinets. He munched on the edges and corners of our cabinets in the utility room, which was his “room” while we were gone. Someone told us to dab a little hot sauce on them to deter the gnawing. We followed those instructions and when we came back, he was just licking it off! The little fella loved him some Tabasco! He was eventually broken of this, but it took a while. 

Our next hurdle is one that we are still jumping with him. He just can’t seem to resist swallowing paper towels and dress socks. I don’t think I have a pair of socks that even match. I didn’t even notice it until I was cleaning up colorful poop in the backyard. Even though we have been through two tubes of puppy laxative and a few enemas (that was rough,) it remains a constant battle.

Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs. From drinking two bottles of cough syrup to devouring an entire section of carpet, Count has still stolen our hearts and become our first “child.” 

Everyone said that when we had Little Girl, Count was going to be jealous. He was so confused, wondering why he couldn’t sit on the bed or the couches anymore. The hardest part was not getting to snuggle with his mama.   It took a little while to find his new place in the flow of things, but I think he’s finally warmed up to her (i.e. the top pic.)

Are you an animal’s “person?” I’d love to hear about it! Comment below and be sure to leave a like and share this with someone. There will be more Count stories in the future. Y’all be safe out there.