30 September 2014

Hearing and Doing

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

- Matthew 7.24

A morning prayer of stillness and quiet thankfulness for all that I am and all that I have, Lord. Help me seek always in hearing Your words in my head and heart and do Your words in my everyday actions. Let the love that dwells in my heart be real and personal. Part of my every moment.

By hearing and doing, let Your will be done through me. Make me an instrument of Your purpose, and help me feel full and satisfied with what I have been given, with overflowing joy of Your love in my heart. May I always keep a constant acknowledgement of Your presence.

Sometimes I cannot see clearly through my own wretchedness and pit of despair, Lord, but it is my own doing, so guide me back to the ever-present light. Let my life be led by this thought of G.K. Chesterton:

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

Let me live, Lord, as if I cannot stop thinking about You. I seek to define the adventure of life as a travel experience with Your love along every step. Help me see Your fingerprint on every moment and set my sights on You and not the world.

29 September 2014

Venice Charms

My hometown has many charms to offer. Since I haven't been a resident of Venice for about nine years, each time I go back to visit I like to be a tourist. That means going downtown, browsing an antique store, finding a local coffee shop where everybody knows everybody. To stop at the beach and taste the salty air on an early morning before it gets too hot.

As we drive to the beach, my head glances over to the tree that was planted in my Dad's honour by friends of the family, which is a little oak tree growing taller and fuller each day. It sits about two blocks from Venice Beach. It reminds us how Dad was like a mighty oak tree, himself. He was a lover of nature and trees.

Watching my little niece play and squeal with delight in the Gulf waters you cannot help but smile at the innocent wonderment that she holds. I love watching her with curiosity in her eyes, and the joyful abandon she has.

While I love to be at my home relaxing, it is nice to get out of town and slow down to a different beat of family. No chores beckon to me while I am away. And I listen to the gentle waves with new appreciation. As if on vacation.

26 September 2014

At The Week's End

The week is almost over and you've made it through with only a few falters and annoyances, but we are all human, right? The sun shone on some days, and rain fell on the other days, but no feeling of Autumn has yet arrived. In your heart you ache for the change of seasons, especially when you see other areas drop in temperature. But you wait patiently.

You were challenged this week but you took time to give it a little thought and you made the right decision. You accomplished something, even if it felt like you didn't. Whatever task was set before you this week, there is new wisdom in your soul gained from it.

Take a minute to give thanks to our Creator. He is the One who made this week possible. He is the One who gave you the breath in your lungs and the ability to see the world with wide open eyes. The childlike faith of wonderment in the everyday brings new light to something seemingly mundane.

25 September 2014

Five Years

What can happen in five years?
So many things. So much growth of wisdom and maturity. Dynamic experiences and important people added to life. And the memories of one so dear, who was lost.

I feel like I mark the point in my life when I lost my Dad, as the point where many changes began to take place in my heart and mind. Perhaps it is a conglomerate of losing a parent and also growing up. Something like deep loss does cause one to grow up very quickly. It forces one to think about death and the inevitability of it.

Some of us do not remember dates or anniversaries. Even for loved ones, remembering a birthday is a challenge. I am not one of those people. For some reason, I remember birthdays, dates, and anniversaries. I don't know why. Perhaps my detail-oriented self picks up on that. And perhaps I get that from my Dad because he always remembered those tiny details.

Five years ago today I lost my Dad. My Mom lost her husband. My brothers lost their Dad. My Aunt lost her brother. The world lost a truly good man. I felt completely unprepared for handling such a tragedy of losing a parent. I had absolutely no idea I could feel such intense sadness. But there it came, rushing like a swift river with such a strong current there was no way to go back. There was only one way to go. Through it. Through the mourning and the sadness.

People ask if it gets easier with time. It is not about getting easier, but about getting through the mourning that is important. Opening ourselves up to God in a time of grief is how one gets through the tunnel of darkness. That is how one moves forward.

And that is what I have done over these five years. My heart has grown, my wisdom, my eagerness to learn and continue to. I've become a much better person, more caring, more open, and more willing to take on challenges, and I wish my Dad were here to see it. That is a selfish thing to say because he is in a far better place than this. But because his character was of the highest quality, I aim for that high mark. My memories of him are filled with reminders that he did everything in love. For example, he picked out a car for me when I was in high school. A 1991 BMW 525i. It took me awhile to realize that the attention he gave to making sure my car had enough oil, fluids, and air in my tires was his way of showing love. And the countless times that he and I would wash my car on the driveway were moments that he and I could talk about what was going on in our lives.

I probably say this every year, but keep telling stories. Keep the memories alive. I will always be glad to talk about my Dad. Many times the stories will involve funny things he would say or ways he would say things. For he loved to tell stories.

24 September 2014

Glorious Times Ahead

The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

-Romans 8.19-21

All of creation waits for the glorious times ahead. In anticipation, we all wait on the edge of our seats. All of creation. That means the trees and the sky. The animals. The river. The city. You and me. The created world is almost bursting it can hardly wait. New creation is just over the hill there. It is beyond what we can see.

Several paragraphs in Romans 8 create so much wonder in my soul in the way the best stories do. Tiny glimpses of a creation waiting to be redeemed. Waiting in the story becomes our own real waiting because we are in the Story. We are creation. It is not a tale from a book, and yet it is.

We can sit in wonder and have souls filled with wonder and then read passages in Romans or books that capture new creation and the vision of it so beautifully. It requires a lot of imagination, which might be why it is difficult for many to think about. I think in my mind about the vision in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis or in Lilith by George MacDonald. These are the most breathtaking of visions, which captures my imagination and creative soul, and yet they both fall short off what it will truly be. It will be familiar, but far better than we know.

No words we have can convey such perfected beauty of creation that will come. We can scarcely imagine. This should be exciting to us and create that joyful anticipation deep in our hearts.

(I took this photo at the Tynemouth Castle and Priory Ruins, Tynemouth, England. A breathtaking place of history and beauty on a cliff overlooking the North Sea)

23 September 2014

Morning Scenes

I delight in the morning. I have always liked the softer light, the quietness of the sun rising. I feel more in tune with things in the morning, being freshly awoken. My heart is usually not cluttered with worries and questions yet. I look at shapes and colours with a discerning eye and notice how the light comes through the curtains there at such a lovely angle, sweeping a new day into my space. The shadows are softer. The light is gentler.

Even on grey mornings, the misty light passes through lace and sheer curtains. I have noticed that the days are starting to shorten. When I wake up now it is too dark to see. This excites me because it means my favourite time of year is on the way. It is the first day of Autumn, and anticipation rises in me for it to show up on my doorstep.

22 September 2014

Give Me A Weekend


Give me a weekend and I will give you some (hopefully) charming images of time well spent in relaxing and enjoying things that mean a lot to me.

My weekends lately have been slow. They have included a lot of resting, reading, and drinking coffee and tea. I have needed that. My brain has been in a multi-tasking overdrive. Here are a few things that have been included in such enjoyable activities.

Visiting an antique store and thrifting books from the library is enjoyable, especially when I end up with a few treasures for myself all while spending less than $5. Normally I go to the library every few weeks, and when I leave there I spend anywhere from $.50 to $2. I don't go to antique stores very often, even though I live about two blocks from at least three stores.

Trying on hats with my niece, Elliott, was quite fun. She gave me her thoughts and opinions on them and for herself selected a crimson wool hat, which she put on her head and shrugged her shoulders as we asked "where's Elliott?" The fact that she couldn't see didn't stop her. She has a girly fashion sense, grabbing a bright pink purse and carrying it around. And she has a sweetness of character as she held my hand when we browsed the purses after trying on hats.

The rainy, drizzly morning and early afternoon was marvelous, to me. It was that misty, soft rain that continued, but wasn't windy or intense. It was so much like England, and I loved it.

My need to slow down on the weekends has caused me to read books in a short period of time. This weekend I read The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, being one of the Narnia books.

19 September 2014

The Charm of Rain

I cannot help myself. A good full day of rainy drizzly weather and overcast grey clouds is so enjoyable to me. I am not one who needs perpetual sunshine and clear skies to be cheerful about the weather. I really think I might have a Winter gene in me.

I know I know. Most of you pine for the sunshine if we have a day of rain, but I relish the day of rain.
It's best when you wake up to the pitter patter of rain on your windows. Sure, it does tempt me to stay in bed, but eventually when my mind is too awake to even consider going back to sleep I will emerge from my cosy white sheets and grey quilt and take a morning stroll around my tiny place, listening to the rain fall all around.

It's a comfort. The sound of the soft, steady rain.

Then, I will get some coffee brewing. The steam will rise from my mug. And musings will follow.

18 September 2014

Adventurously Expectant

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.
It's adventurously expectant.
- Romans 8.15

I am feeling adventurous today. Like I can go off and climb a mountain and even fight a dragon along the way. Like I can step outside a jump up to touch the moon. I feel like there could be something waiting just outside that might lead me to step into another world full of wonder on a deeper level. It just means that my imagination is roaming and venturing out of the regular dullness that could be this moment. What other realm could be open now?

Of course, the tales of George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis are what occupy my thoughts. Narnia, or the moody world from Lilith. A world with grass that seems more real, trees that seem to breathe, and a sky that changes colour with the mood of the Maker. Sometimes it is the way we see things in our everyday. Imagination like a book set open.

I could wander these lands for a long while, through story so engrossing it becomes a live vision of your mind. A beauty that doesn't fade after a while, but that keeps its steady shine over the ages because it is not of this place. It is something deeper, more wonderful. Today, I am wonder-filled.

There is an adventure waiting just around the corner, or just over that hill.

17 September 2014

Broad Street, Oxford

The Gothic looks solemn,
The plain Doric column
Supports an old Bishop and Crozier;
The mouldering arch,
Shaded o'er by a larch
Stands next door to Wilson the Hosier.
c.1817: John Keats

I was just perusing my draft posts and stumbled upon this one, from 2011. It's been tucked away in the dark realm of blog drafts for three years! I had all the photos loaded, and even the quote, but no words of my own. It was just out there waiting for some words to be put to the lovely, late afternoon sunlit walk in Oxford.  I don't remember why I chose this quote other than I think I read that John Keats was writing about Oxford. These cell phone photos (courtesy of my phone from the age of the dinosaurs) look grainy and lack the clarity I prefer in my photos. Thank goodness I have an iPhone now. 

But as I scrolled through these images my imagination was invigorated again, with aches to be walking along Broad Street. All these photos were taken walking from Cornmarket Street down Broad Street, passing by Trinity College, the Clarendon Building (which the the original location of the Oxford University Press in 1715 and is now part of the Bodleian Library), the Sheldonian Theatre, Blackwell's Bookshop, and the corner of Broad Street and Catte Street.

Ahhh, to walk this street again soon would be such a delight....

16 September 2014

Coffee Shop Musings

It's nothing short of folly to pound away after a vocation without drawing from the wells of salvation.
- Lanier Ivester

Why is it that I find my mind open up and pour out countless words whilst sitting in a coffee shop amidst general chatter, comings and goings, and many distractions? Why is it that I find it easy to let it all fade to the backdrop of my mind and write as if it had been ages since my pen hit the open page?

I kind of wonder myself. Usually, I am one who relishes in the quiet atmosphere where my thoughts are the things that fill the space. But in a coffee shop where people gather and chat and the coffee machines are constantly going, it is somehow an inspiring place for me. It's odd, because another noisy spot may not be that to me in the same  way.

In this place, though, past memories float to me and although they are filled with some grimness, the time spent here was always my enjoyment. My escape from a cold world. And now I can sit here afresh, as if I were just a person living close to downtown who came over the short distance for a soy latte to start the day by scribbling words on these pages.

When I do look up from my page I take notice of how I am very different. If I didn't meld into the brick wall any more. I am the only person with books and a journal. The only one sitting alone. I hear some southern accents. I see families with babies. I see older folk sitting in groups. But God made me exactly like this knowing I may not fit in. And I am okay with that. I have always liked being different. I find myself diving into prayerful thoughts and musings as I ponder about what each person's story is.

My writing is a trifle. It is a meager attempt to use a talent that has a long, long way to grow before it is something great. It is always something good, but has plenty of room to grow into something better.

For that to happen, I need to make sure that I am writing as much as possible, and wherever possible. Be it in a coffee shop, on the edge of a lake, in a garden adorned with blooming flowers, or on the train speeding toward another destination. Different places offer sights and sounds that engage my thoughts in ways that may produce something I wasn't expecting or couldn't have manufactured if I tried elsewhere. Hence, my love of traveling so much.

Coffee shops alter my environment to allow conversations to reach me as I scribble away. It is a place that opens my mind by way of good coffee and words. Words in my head. Words on my pages. Words spoken all around me.

Visiting such public places is fodder for my wonderment to grow. It makes my normal become the abnormal, and that stirs my thoughts as I stir my coffee.

Goodness grows when I am in such a milieu. 

15 September 2014

One Sunday Afternoon


One Sunday afternoon I was forced out of my yard so my landlord could mow the lawn. It's crazy how tall weeds can get, and how quickly they grow. They were up to my knees.

So, I headed out on a hot afternoon to Starbucks for an iced soy chai latte and then for a little drive. I found myself at Florida Southern, my old familiar college, and parked in front of the chapels.

Their sturdy concrete block structures seemed to withstand the blazing heat from the sun, somehow. How were they not melting? I wondered. Big, soft looking clouds rise above the buildings, and I wished for those clouds to bring some rain.

It is funny because I love Florida Southern and the architecture; here is the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on one site in the world. And I forget how close I live to it all. Literally, about four streets away. So, on a forced afternoon coffee break, I come here to kill some time whilst my grass is being cut.

I look at it as an extra dose of atmosphere. The chance to drive around campus a little bit thinking back to my college days, but now, nobody is around. The campus is resting. Quiet. No roaming students passing under the esplanades.
It is Sunday, after all.

12 September 2014

Pretending It Is Autumn

It smells like vanilla chai in here. Like Autumn. I'm going to go ahead and pretend it is Autumn. I am going to pretend that the candle lit is to add warmth to the atmosphere because it's not warm enough. I am going to pretend that my feet need to stay warm, so I better wear some short boots. And I am going to pretend, even when I walk outside, that the piles of wood stacked in my neighbor's yard are for the nightly fires we all need in our fireplaces to keep our evenings cosy.

I cannot help myself. The Autumn season that is approaching is what stirs my soul into excitement after such a long Summer. It's not here yet, but I know that one day in the next few months it is possible that the temperatures could drop.

After all, it is only proper to think of six impossible things before breakfast (according to the white queen in The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland) and I am actually thinking of possible things, even though it would more likely to snow in the hot desert in July than get chilly here so soon. But one can dream, can't she?

11 September 2014

Reading Appetite

Over the past few weekends my appetite for reading has been insatiable. Literally, I have been reading entire books within a day or two and then finishing others. I ask myself what is causing me to be devouring books like mad?

It's just me, really. I don't have much of a conclusion except that there isn't much else to do on such a hot day. I am tempted to go out in the morning to the farmer's market or on a little adventure somewhere, but I step outside and it is 100% humidity but no rain. Any plan to spend more than a few minutes outside is scratched, until the weather improves. I almost wish it were rainy all day, and then I could emerge with an umbrella and then at least the humidity is falling through the air all around me. And the temperatures are knocked down with the rain.

So, the conclusion is that books are my companions, and the worlds they draw me into.

Here are a few books I haven't been able to put down lately:

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis - This is not your typical C.S. Lewis book. It is set in a strange pre-Christian time with sacrifices, rituals, and gods. It is the re-telling of the myth Psyche and Cupid, which is originally from a Latin novel in the 2nd century. It is written from the perspective of Psyche's ugly older sister, who loves Psyche in a possessive way, but who ends up as queen. It would be assumed that a story like this may not appeal to a modern reader, but the way Lewis writes is like a suspenseful story that I read it so quickly because I wanted to find out what happens.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - I've only read this book once, and it was so many years ago that I really didn't appreciate it. Reading it again I am picking up on all the intricacies of Jane Austen's writing, and how she knew each character so deeply as she wrote their stories. This is the story of Fanny Price, whose family sends her to live with her aunt and uncle at the grand estate of Mansfield Park, so she grows up around her four cousins, two boys and two girls. Fanny grows close to Edmund, which turns into love for her. But then the fashionable Crawfords come to the estate, and things are never the same. It is such a good study of behavior, morals, and how we can be blind to things in front of us and blinded by people so easily.

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath - I read McGrath's biography on C.S. Lewis several months ago, so I feel like this is a little continuation of it. He comes from the perspective that we are having lunch with C.S. Lewis and imagines what we might ask him about. Then he dives into some things that Lewis would say and how he would answer. This isn't a long book, so someone curious to learn a bit more about Lewis and his beliefs and life would gain a lot of good knowledge from this book.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton - Set in the future and yet everyone wears top hats like in old London, the newly appointed King of England, who won his place by being next in line on an alphabetized list, jokingly creates little nations within London. Taking everything as a joke, he never thought that someone might take the change seriously. But one man does; adapting his Notting Hill pride and ruling over it as if it were its own tiny nation with enemies surrounding it. While Chesterton writes with such humour and silliness, there is always deeper truths being told behind the scenes. This book doesn't disappoint. It is much of what I have come to love about Chesterton.

09 September 2014


I finished reading Acts this morning and I read it as if I were reading it for the first time. The last several chapters had me glued to the pages like a good story. Well, that is what it is. A good story.

Paul is arrested and brought before many different leaders, pharisees, governors, and eventually King Agrippa. It seems they are all quite curious about what Paul so firmly believes and you can almost picture a few of them finding room their in hearts for the story of Jesus, but fear grips them back and they let the laws of the land rule their hearts. The fear of upsetting the public overrules them. And yet they cannot find fault with Paul and do not charge him, but because Paul requested an audience with Caesar he is sent to Rome.

He travels by sea and endures long weeks of bad weather and a shipwreck on the island of Malta. Paul keeps a cheerful countenance and the natives of Malta are good to the travelers. Even so, Rome is the final destination and after a few months they make it there.

It amazes me that a mere man, such as Paul, can shake their world such that they don't even know what to do with him. God uses mere mortals to do amazing things. Because of Paul we have these stories and letters of truth and encouragement that God's will is what will come to pass and He will see us through even the darkest of times.

Paul had such confidence in that, and it reflected in his life and speech. Even while under arrest he spoke kindly and graciously and used all his travel to speak about "the way" that is Jesus.

We are not all vibrant and bold like Paul, but can't we grasp even a little of his exuberance for sharing the Gospel? If we all did have a little bit and acted upon it, we'd be sharing some genuine words about Jesus' love with strangers and even enemies.

May we strive to have such a slice of zeal and the confidence to act. Isn't that what Acts is about?

08 September 2014

Rainy Thoughts....

Ahhh, my dreams are lofty today. The grey clouds reach down into my mind, cascading the dim light into my thoughts. The air is still, so my thoughts dwell on the same thing for there is no wind to stir them up. Then, as a swift wind comes through the area, the rain begins.

As the rain falls this afternoon in a usual thunderstorm, I watch how it rolls off the rooftops into a waterfall to collect on the ground below, eagerly soaking it up. My home is quickly drawn into the dark as the storm grew out of nowhere. Just the Summer heat to fuel its fire.

The problem with our afternoon rainstorms is they don't last but for a short time. Sometimes even mere minutes. I want a good rain to last hours so that I can reap all the cosy benefits of it and the cooling of the air. When the wind dies down and the constant heavy rain falls straight down, that is the storm at its best.

Today, the storm lingers and gives me exactly what I wanted. Heavy raindrops fall fast and the intensity increases with some added thunder for good measure. I go about finishing some afternoon chores and starting to make dinner with the soundtrack of the glorious rain all around my home.

05 September 2014

On the Edge

I stand on the edge
of some precipice,
dwelling amidst uncertainty.
The day swells with inklings
of the good
pouring over into questions.
Another step closer;
about to dive in;
Letting the air catch me
and then sink into
all the unanswered questions.

We're always on the edge of something, aren't we? Awaiting an answer. Waiting for the bend in the road. Anticipating something to come to pass. We are all part of a big, beautiful plan that is much larger than is possibly imaginable, so don't worry. Your part is small, but important, and you will do it marvelously.

The life we are living is really quite amazing. We have so much to be thankful for in the everyday, even if we are waiting on the edge of something. Something big and exciting is on the horizon. Everything we are doing now is prepping us for it. The goodness that is coming.

This day we are in is really quite important. For we can make the best of whatever we are given, whether it be in abundance or not, and we keep close watch over it. We make the choice each day to be satisfied with all that we have, or become bitter in wishing for what the world tells us is important.

This moment here and now is really quite precious for it doesn't come around again and it won't repeat itself. Rejoice in the sweet moments. The quiet moments. The thoughtful moments. The moments that make you laugh. The moments that make you feel special. Take them all in, and treasure them in your heart.

04 September 2014

Books and Knowledge

Oh, for a booke and a shadie nooke,
Eyther in doore or out;
With the grene leaves whispering overhead
Or the street cryes all about;
Where I maie reade all at my ease,
Both of the newe and olde;
For a jollie goode booke whereon to looke
Is better to me than golde.

-Old English Song

A stack of books, several open, sit in front of me on my table. There's simply no better thing to be surrounded by, in my opinion, then a stack of books! I can be comforted in a railway car, bare and metal with no seats and no heat going through some frigid land, if I were sitting amongst some books.

Really, I think there are few things in life that I need more of. I could forgo getting more clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, but not books! Do not deprive me of the best invention of man. The best companion. The best scent that are old books. It is learning new words, new stories, and gaining knowledge. It is the imagination running free. It is looking at the world through another's eyes.

Indeed, let me live among them and if stacks get high, start another book tower. I've been sitting here all morning flipping through various books and reading poems and passages.

Words centuries old are entering my mind and bits of wisdom stick, I hope, for reflection. The more I read the more I understand, even if I don't feel the immediate declaration in my mind say "aha!" It compiles on top of another concept and as they meld together the wisdom grows. Let that never end. This continuous growth and gaining of knowledge. My brain soaks in as much as possible.

Today, I am a sponge. Every day I am a sponge. And I cannot help but be just that. It is a desire deeper than understanding. It is just part of me.

03 September 2014

Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- Proverbs 4.23

I realize that we live in a time where our lives have become more and more like open books partially boosted by all the social media that has grown to be countless websites that allows us to share a multitude of personal things with relative strangers. While there is a fun aspect to sharing something every now and then, I occasionally scroll through my newsfeed and see some people opening themselves up way too much.

I am a naturally introverted and private person. You might laugh at that because here I am writing on this blog everyday with details about my life and musings that I have, and that is scary to me. However my love of growing as a writer and letting my imagination run free is assisted by the challenge of writing everyday, and it is even more challenging because I need to come up with something that I think is worth posting. Sometimes I write a post and delete it, or completely modify it so it is something different, or leave it for a week to brew into something worthy of being shared.

But when it comes down to it, we should all be careful to keep our lives quiet and to ourselves and not feel the need to share everything. Allow the mystery to stay alive. Random people from your high school years that you don't ever talk to don't need to know everything about you. Too much information being shared comes across as ego-centric, anyway. One may wonder what they do all day but think about what they can post about just to get a reaction and attention. Most importantly, as we share we should always guard our hearts, for being out there opens us up, and we should be aware of how that affects us.

It is just something that has been on my mind lately and I think needs to still be learned in this modern tech age. 

02 September 2014

Welcome, September!

Hello September! This month always gets me excited for what is to come. Things don't change yet, but I know they are on the horizon. The seasons that are my favourite are to come - Autumn and Winter.

As I see glimpses of seasons changing in other places before us, and as everyone goes back to school, I started thinking about why I blog. Because it's not something I have to do. But I love it.

It's not about fame or followers.
It has nothing to do with receiving recognition.
In fact, I used to think my writing wasn't worthy of being shared.
Until I realized that perhaps the thing I love so dearly and need to do as much as I need to breathe, was something that was given to me to share with others.

It took me a little while to realize that the things I write matter. It matters because I am God-made and He has placed His likeness in me. Pieces of what we all are, in fact, or tiny glimpses of what God has in store.

That is, indeed, why what we do matters. Each of us has certain talents that drive us. That excite us. That we know means something. You might be particularly good at something -- drawing, running, crafting, teaching, writing. You might a genius with technology. You might be able to build and construct amazing things. You might be a spectacular cook. Or you might be the best parent a child could ask for.

And you might not even think yourself great at these things, but you don't see how much you shine. But I do. And more importantly, God does. And when you receive recognition or praise, and you immediately acknowledge that it is possible through God, the direction of the praise goes upwards, exactly where it's supposed to go. And when we thank others for sharing their talent, we are thanking God, who is the giver of all talents.