Crossing our Fingers and Eating Donuts

After almost 2 weeks of server problems and related email feed problems, I’m pleased to announce that we are close to being 100% functional — at least in the website department. In anticipation of the last piece coming into focus, hopefully at 5 a.m. on Thursday, August 28, I’d like to treat you to a donut. Similar to this one:

Here’s the catch. My email feed has to work tomorrow at 5 a.m. by sending this post to my subscription list. If it works, I’ll buy a couple of dozen donuts and provide the real thing to any of you who comes by the office in the morning.

So, if you’re on the list and you’re reading this on your email Thursday morning and you live within driving distance of Abilene, come on by 1541 North Judge Ely for a donut. If you’re not on the list, maybe you should sign up tonight. Use the form on the lower right of this page.

And, if you can’t come by, just enjoy the virtual donut above.


(The other good thing is that, if this works, I’ll no longer be staying up hours after my bedtime trying to find the problem. And, I’ll catch up on those posts about our Africa trip. Thanks to Brad Palmore at Branchweaver — unless this doesn’t work.)

Bad Fashion Choices

Have you ever wondered what changes Michael Jackson made after he sang his #1 hit song, Man in the Mirror?

The song, written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, shares the experience of looking around, seeing needs, and then making the commitment to bring change. The song speaks of hungry children, the homeless, and the heartbroken. It is a call to action.

Take a look at yourself and make the change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
Cause when you close your heart
Then you close your mind.

I’m not trying to start a debate over Michael Jackson’s life or lifestyle. A little research reveals that he did, in fact, make some significant charitable contributions. Yet, our glimpse into his latter years showed an increasingly troubled man who surrounded himself with those who wanted to take from him. I wonder how differently things would have been had he chosen to spend time with those who truly needed his help.

The man in the mirror image is a fitting one. Occasionally I’ll look through family albums or videos and steal a glance of my past. Invariably I’ll ask myself, “Why in the world would I choose to dress that way?” or “Why didn’t anyone bother to tell me how bad that hairstyle was?”

I have to remind myself that I was there at the time. I was fully capable of seeing who I was, how I dressed, and how I parted my hair. (Yes, I once had sufficient hair to part. Now, it is merely departed.) But the point is that I failed to see.

Why is it so hard to see ourselves?

And when we do, why is is so difficult to make a change?

As you look around today and see things that need to be done and people who need you, take a look in the mirror. But don’t look away until you genuinely see yourself. For, when you see yourself, you are uniquely equipped to truly see others.

Happy Thanksgiving in a Tenuous Peace

As travelers pour into airports and edge down crowded highways toward Thanksgiving feasts and warm traditions, I can’t help but think of places all over the world that will be less inviting.

If it holds, there will be a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. We would hope that troops on every front could enjoy a time of lessened hostility. Our thoughts even go to those domestic scenes where conflict has been at center stage, that those harsh words and difficult moments could melt away into a time of thanks.

That’s a lot to ask.

For those of us who are fortunate enough not to be in a battlefield the next few days, foreign or domestic, I would encourage you to not only give thanks but to pray that others less fortunate be lifted up — financially, emotionally, physically.

The world we live in may always be broken, but remember, so are we. Thankfully, our brokenness is the source of our faith in One who controls all peace. If He wants to be reconciled with me — even me — then peace among individuals and nations is well within His power. Pray with me that peace will break out and that, on the path to that peace, He will keep all people safe.

The Last Word

Ever take a close look at those recipes? You know, the ones that friends scribble out on a 3×5 card when you tell them you want their recipe?

Me either — at least not regularly.

But I caught a glimpse of one this morning. My eye was drawn to the very last word on the card.


I wonder how it would change things if I ended every little suggestion I make  with that same encouragement? What if you did?


Grateful confrontation

“You probably don’t remember me.”

At that moment, I would have agreed with her assessment, even though her face seemed familiar. She shifted her little boy to her right hip and stepped closer. Other grocery shoppers went on about their business, oblivious to the scene that was unfolding.

“Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I saw you here, I just wanted to say ‘thank you.'”

The young woman, whose name was Kim, must have seen my confusion. She continued to explain that once, several years before, she worked as a temporary receptionist for our law firm.

“I had no idea what I was doing with the phones. My first day, I accidentally hung up on one of your biggest clients — three times. When I went to your office to tell you, you just smiled, told me that you knew the phone number, and that you would return his call,” Kim’s voice trembled a bit. “I just knew you would have me fired. But after you returned that call, you came up to my desk, showed me how to transfer calls, and told me that I was doing a good job.” Her eyes turned a bit misty. “I’ll never forget that. Thank you.”

I muttered something about it “being nothing.” Kim’s smile told me it was indeed “something,” whether I knew it or not.

So, on that day with her soft “thanks,” Kim showed me a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving. For more than 20 years now, I have made it my tradition to seek out and thank individuals who shared a special moment that blessed me. Some of those exchanges were years before. Some just weeks. But every year, either by phone or written note, I get the opportunity to say thanks to some people who have quietly rescued me with an act of kindness.

I don’t consider the small kindness I showed Kim to be worthy of mention. I do find her instant of genuine gratefulness to be life-changing — a grateful confrontation.