Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I've got someone from Mexico working on my team right now and he's helping me to brush up on my otherwise abysmal Spanish.  Learning something this completely out of my comfort zone has certainly been teaching me a little bit about myself, not the least of which revolves around humility.  His English is way better than my Spanish, so there's no doubt who the teacher is in this case.  It's not me.

Something I've come to consider as I spend time with a new language is something simple that doesn't even require a translator.  In this country, and many others for that matter, adios is a word that we hear frequently but don't give much additional thought to.  After all, it's pretty commonly known that this word translates to "goodbye" for most of the understanding we have in this country.  However, a different saying that we don't run across as often in the USA is "vaya con Dios" - "go with God".  Notice something about that... the only thing different about "Dios" and "adios" is the letter A.  And, if my understanding of the Spanish language is correct, "A Dios" could literally translate to "with God".  So, I have to wonder if it makes any difference to live in a country where God is such a fundamental part of the daily secular language. Always.  I have to imagine that in Spanish speaking countries, a person would hear the term adios either directly or indirectly dozens of times a day, if not more.  If anything, I think it serves as a subtle reminder that we are always with God.  God never stops watching us and being with us.

I explained my understanding of this concept to my wife a few days ago using Skype as a metaphor.  Imagine for a moment that you have your parents tuned in to watch your child playing.  Certainly, as grandparents, they would definitely enjoy even just watching, because by watching they are still taking part in this experience.  However, how much different is the joy that the grandparents receive when the grandchild on the other end reciprocates the involvement in the activity.  Instead of just knowing that Grandma and Grandpa are watching if the grandchild actively engages with the grandparents, then the connecting bond grows that much stronger.  It's no different for our relationships with God.  His "webcam" is always turned on, and He is always watching us as we take part in our lives.  He enjoys watching us, with no doubt.  But, when we actively engage our interest as part of His interest, this is truly when the purpose of our creation - Love - abounds.

The next time someone says "bye", "see you later", or any other saying similar to "adios" - put the phrase "adios" in your mind.  Then remember that Dios and God are one and the same.  See if you start thinking about your time with God a little differently.  I know I have.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dare to Dream

God called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to action.  I studied the man's life as an elementary and middle school student in quite a bit of detail - something about him fascinated me.  The idea that someone so resolutely and passionately believed in peaceful resolution to even the most serious conflict intrigued me.  As a figure of memory in American history, most people probably remember what he did for African American civil rights. One of the main reasons he accomplished so much in the time that he did relied on his faith.  I find it interesting that he managed to move the hearts of so many people, and did so without directly referencing God, yet also the entire time managed to do God's work.  He's the face of Civil Rights that I hope we remember today, as we face new and different struggles in our nation in terms of bigotry, hate crime, and discrimination.  His ministry was certainly one of love.  And, though Dr. King was certainly as human as they come, he proved to me that a Christian life can, indeed, be a life built for Good (with a capital G).

We have many reasons to be thankful for the life of Dr. King.  However, as Christians, one of the things we can be most thankful for is a wonderfully accurate depiction of a Christian man deeply rooted in his faith, wishing to bring Good to people all around him - black or otherwise.  We can turn to the Bible to better understand Jesus, His Disciples, His Works, and God's Word.  We can turn to people like Dr. King as an example of how to follow what the bible teaches us.

I pray for the future of this country, and that it can return to being one of the nations that others respect.  I hope that we can remember one of the most respected historical figures we know was also an extremely devout Christian.  I strongly believe that Faith alone can guide us out of some of the dark places we are heading as a nation.  However, as individuals and families, regardless of our nation, know that God is still in control, and still has a plan for the way everything is unfolding.

I have a dream too - that someday, once I'm called home, people just like Dr. King will be waiting there for me with a grand smile on their face.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


God made me into the kind of person that puts the left side of my brain to work quite frequently.  As a software engineer, I create solutions to business problems.  Software, though very technical and logical, has a creative element that many people overlook.  Most, if not all, of the software engineers I know dabble in some other kind of creative expression.  Many of them dabble in many forms of artistic expression.  I find myself not very different.

The great thing is, God created me to be creative.  And, in being creative, I understand just a little better what it means to be a creator.  Obviously, I don't have any idea the kinds of things The Creator is fully capable of.  But, I do understand that creativity lends to further creativity.  One person could write a story, and inspire a painter to paint a scene from the story.  Many movies are inspired by books, many books by paintings, paintings by music, and all kinds of other creative cross-references that logic itself can't dictate.  But, God understands all of these creative underpinnings.  After all, he created the universe to include creativity, which I think helps creative people understand Him.

Most recently, I've been undertaking the task of re-invoigorating my art skills.  God gave me at least a little bit of natural predisposition for artistic rendering (drawing, and more recently, painting) so I've been making it a point to sharpen those skills as time allows for it.  I've learned a couple of things as I start to draw and paint again.  First of all, God has an incredible eye for detail.  If I were going to create an image that contained all of the hairs on a human head, (without a camera) that'd take me a good long while.  And God did it 8 billion times.  Or, at least he made the rules that make it happen 8 billion times.  Second of all, God has great plans for his creations.  When I work on an artistic piece without anything planned, it usually turns out sloppy and otherwise a poor example of my skills.  If, however, I have a plan for a piece I work on, it turns out much better.

God planned His entire creation - which includes you and I.  He designed us, engineered us, and made us into the perfect representation of a unique soul.  God has great plans for us.  So, it's important for us to have great plans for ourselves, knowing that God will support them.  We just need to be sure that our plans aren't selfish, but instead glorify His will.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It Matters

The most important thing of all you can give of yourself is time.  Period.  I realize that you can help others with your money if you have lots of it (or even if not).  I realize you can help others with your non-monetary objects, if you have them to give.  However, God wants an open, loving, and interactive relationship with you, which most of all requires time.

I was reminded of this over the past weekend when I saw my sister.  She uses my child as a story for her peers, and will again once she finishes learning to be an elementary teacher.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my wife went to a party that the daycare threw to celebrate the day.  For the next couple of weeks, my child said "Mommy came. And <Friend's Name> Mommy Came."  My child, who hasn't left the toddler years - and is in fact still early in them - noticed when people were there with her.  Even a simple gesture like taking part in a party matters.  Lots.

When spending time with God, remember that your time with Him matters, too.  God loves you very much, and loves to hear from you and to see you grow into spiritual adulthood, just like we as parents like watching our children grow into adulthood.  Also remember this.  God is always present.  It's where the term omnipresent comes from.  No matter what you're doing, you can be excited that God is doing it with you, because He loves spending time with you.  My child loves knowing that nothing (except God) is more important in our lives.

Do you know that nothing is more important that Him?  I mean, really know it.  You may strive to make that true in your life, but is it?  I'm guilty of putting human interests before God interests much too often.  But, the great thing is, God loves seeing that too - and He'll help course correct us when we need it.  We'll come to self-realization about what's good and Godly, and what's not.  As we "grow up" he'll be right there with us the whole time, partying with each success we find, and holding our hand when we fall down and skin our spiritual knees.  I've got lots of scrapes and bruises that God needs to kiss to make them feel better.  And, in time, I know He will.