If you've read any of the last few weeks' posts, you might think the blessings couldn't be any more outrageous, but listen to these. But first off, I want to share the lesson from all of these - it's called Abundance. I'm no expert at the Bible, but I sure had heard this verse before: "...I have come that they might have life, and have it in abundance." (John 10:10)
My lesson is as simple as that - my life is being blessed with abundance in a variety of ways. And I am accepting, hopeful and very grateful. That's what I hope you get from these too.
Four big blessings (even one you'll have to listen to):
1. My mother's wound on her heel is healing. You could actually see her Achilles tendon and the healing was iffy for a while, but she is now to the point where it doesn't even need a bandage! Yes!
2. Friends Jane and Donna once again ran a volleyball tournament to support Imaginaction. Through their efforts, about forty people played in a blind draw fours tourney all day long on Saturday, with all the money raised going to our cause. It's a lot more work for them than it looks like, and they both do it without fanfare. I am very grateful to them.
3. While working at the volleyball tourney, I received a FB message to listen to a few minutes of a radio program from Racine. A former student of mine, David, was being interviewed as the Pick 'n Save Student Athlete of the Week on W105.7, The Fan. Listen to the first six minutes of this link here, and you'll understand the goosebumps I got. Congratulations David - it was a pleasure to teach you.
4. Was asked to video the JV and Varsity girls' soccer games of Milwaukee Reagan High School by my friend Corey, since he's the JV coach. He wanted to show his girls their positions on the field during games as a learning experience. So, on that beautiful Monday night this week, I was there to video a few minutes of each game. The next day, people from the PBS show "Around the Corner with John McGivern" called the school and asked for footage of the girls' soccer team to include in its sports section of the show. How cool is that?!
Are these crazy, or what? Crazy cool and good. Life is good. God is good. Thank you for the light. I sure hope you are receiving light in your life. Which makes me think of one more Bible verse: "The light shines in the darkness, and darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5)
You really can't argue with that. I think I used to, but not anymore.
Blessings and Light to you too.
Okay, it was another crazy week...great blessings and quite the lessons to learn. Let me share some of both. But before I start, I must say that growth sure is a challenge. Even with all the blessings I am receiving, and am so grateful for, my heart and thinking have a long way to go.
There is no way I could share all the blessings I am experiencing via a blog, and some are just a bit too personal right now, but there are still some biggies to at least mention.
1. Met with my editor and had such a nice conversation.
2. I received a request from a woman who read my blog, and would like some inspiration to go into teaching. You bet I can do that!
3. Received another request, this time to present the box project to another group of students outside of my school.
4. Received a really nice email from a former co-worker of mine.
5. Ran into the mom of a former student, who said she read an article about my teaching in a local magazine, and brought it in for me.
There are so many that God is blowing me away. Thank you God for giving me light in my days.
Lessons in the midst of those blessings:
1. Blessings may not be what I expected or what I wanted, but I need to NOT take them for granted. I used to do that and how wrong that was. Joy is when blessings are accepted and received with humility and gratitude, not when I say with attitude "when will I get exactly what I want?" My distorted perspective is getting transformed in a very good way. It was much needed.
2. I am very trusting of friends and know that we are there for each other. I know they will hold up their end of the bargain, or in other words they'll do what they say they'll do. They are good. Has my trust in God been that way? In all honesty, not even close. Although God is perfect love, I don't always trust Him, although He is the most trustworthy being ever. I'm working on changing my trust in God, because if I can trust my great friends, then I definitely can trust God.
With all this change, the only way it's happening is by something bigger than me transforming me, because I can't do it alone.
I hope blessings and lessons keep coming your way, like they have been for me.
I woke up this morning, prayed and ended up saying to myself "Life is good." And then this happens - I cannot make these up!! Just now, ordering my mocha at the coffee shop, a woman walks behind me and says, "Hi Pete." It's Cindy from a church in Milwaukee I attended five years ago. She asks me what's new, so I share a few of the cool things that have happened in the last few months after much pain. She then shares that my name came up at her new place of employment since December, Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church. The pastor was talking to her about visitors that have come and gone, and mentions a tall, Pete...and she knows who he's talking about! And then she runs into me. Crazy!! I have tears in my eyes because God is doing what He said He would do....pull me out of the hell I was in.
You see, when my girlfriend and I broke up in October, I was going through hell. I was so down, I could barely function. Then one morning while driving to work with tears streaming down my cheeks, barely able to see, God spoke to me in a quiet, inaudible voice, saying, "I am going to pull you out of this hell, to show you the power I have to help and change you." In the state I was in, there's no way I could have just thought that. I don't mind sharing this, no matter your beliefs, because I am a witness to that Power right here and now. What's happening is personal, but also needs to be shared. These seemingly small blessings are not small at all, especially when viewed from where I was just a few short months ago. I surrendered control and am now counting on God, and....am so grateful, I have tears of joy coming down my cheeks this time, knowing God's love is winning out. Not everything is the way I want it, but He is with me. He's with you too!
As I've been saying the last few weeks, blessings are everywhere and my faith has been growing through receiving them. Not everything is great still, but I wanted to share these two because they are blowing me away. Thank you God. Along the way, I'm learning some lessons too. Hope these are uplifting.
1. On Tuesday, I went to my favorite coffee shop for my usual baby mocha on the way to work. The woman in front of me looked back, and thinking I was a friend of hers, almost gave me a hug. We laughed about it and went to get our drinks, but with no hug. BUT, on Thursday morning, she was there again and as I walked by her, I said, "No hug?" with open arms. This time, we hugged and I found out her name was Liv. Now, that's the way to start the morning! Thanks Liv. (The coffee shop workers got a kick out of it too!). Lesson? Get out of bed like I want to! I'm not a morning person, although I wake up early. Usually I lay there and ruminate about useless things and finally drag myself out of the bed. That day, I made the decision to get up and go, and look what happened?
2. This next God moment is even wilder, but I need to preface it with the note that I never talk about God in class - I tell students that subject is personal and is something they need to talk to their parents about. Also, as I teach fourth grade, I tend to tell a lot of stories and mix many things together to make lessons enjoyable, interesting and unusual. This time, in a math lesson, House of Sandwiches submarine sandwiches were brought up, and that somehow led to a story of the Jeep accident I was in during high school. One of my best friends to this day was driving that night and rolled a brand new Jeep on Hoffert Drive in Racine, the Friday after Thanksgiving. As I told the story (that was relayed to me by witnesses), I mentioned to students that from the time we got in the Jeep until I ended up in the hospital, I don't remember a thing of it because of the concussion I sustained. When I mentioned to students how freaky it feels to know there are 2-3 hours of my life that I have no recollection of, a student says, "Mr. Wilson, I think God made it so you wouldn't remember, so it wouldn't be traumatic for you." That bit of wisdom came from a ten year old! Wow, I was stunned and thought he had a pretty good point.
As always, this week has also brought growth in faith and living that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. For instance, listening to two sermons guided my heart and mind this week, each providing some wisdom about getting past old habits in thinking. I began to see more that we all have shortcomings, but they don't limit God's blessings. He is not expecting perfection from me to earn blessings. He is blessing me, period. I'm still growing in my discernment of what I should be doing in a few areas of life. But I am very grateful to God, family and great friends for support and blessings. Blessings to everyone!
Here are a few photos too, and below those is a song from Amy Grant. Check it out!
Two weeks away from school/work is a wonderful spring break, but it sure can be hard to get back into the swing of things! You mean all of life isn't just walking beaches, listening to waves, seeing sunsets, and photographing it all?!
Since coming back, blessings are still coming and I hope they are for you too. I've realized that God's blessings are there, and that faith is the key to recognizing them. I'm learning to not try too hard, don't base my self-worth on acknowledgment from anyone, but rather on God's love and integrity, and to be happier, I'm going to look at what IS in my life, rather than what's NOT in my life. In this journey, hope you are learning some things too.
An unexpected blessing yesterday was two of my old high school basketball teammates texting me from out of the blue, to say hello. How cool is that?!
The book shown below, But God, was in the Airbnb place where I stayed in Cannon Beach. It talked about the Bible mentioning many calamities happening to people, BUT GOD was with them. Very cool to know and trust. As I was reading it, a note written by an earlier guest fell out, talking about his journey to Cannon Beach and the answers he found in his search. It was very cool!
With the way life works, going to Oregon was a way to get away, refresh my spirit, and get closer to God. The sights were incredible, and there were several God moments as I was grateful to experience all the beauty. It was definitely great to see and experience, but I also found myself a bit stuck in emotions and thoughts at different times. Sometimes, life is a bit scattered. I want answers now, but that's not how it happens and I had to remind myself to..."Lighten up, Francis!" On a cool trip, some of that craziness still crept in, but still God was there - in the green greens, the coolness of seeing a herd of elk at 6:30 am with no one else around, the sound of the waves, the sheer beauty of the coastline and even in the doubtful, anxious me.
I went to a different church in Wauwatosa this morning, and heard a great sermon. The pastor said, “Maybe we’ve had it wrong - I used to think if I came to believe then I would show my faithfulness. But really, I think it’s the other way around – by striving toward more faithfulness, I will come to believe more and more.” That really hit me, and gives me hope for my trust. God can do things way beyond me and for me that I cannot do, and for that I am faithful and grateful. Here’s to all of us trusting more, letting go more and being at peace, no matter the circumstances, emotions or thoughts.
Enjoy these Oregon photos, in order of my trip!!