The Good Ole’ Days…Are now!

1971_Christmas_10

The picture is from 1971.  I was 6 years old (#4 in picture) and my sister was 9 (#1 in picture).  We were having Christmas with our best friends, Rhonda (#5), Wendy (#2) and Brock (#3).  Our families were so close, we referred to their parents as Aunt Pat and Uncle Ron but we were not related in any way.  We just did everything together.  Our dads preached together; our moms sang together.  I’m pretty sure us kids were even spanked together – by whichever parent happen to catch us (that was allowed back then).

Many summer weekends we would go to their house and spend most the time playing under the branches of the weeping willow tree in the front yard.  The tree was a house; then a castle; then a fortress.  It’s branches became whips, swords, ropes and crowns.  It all depended on the moment and our imagination – the days were magical!

On one of these weekends, I was learning to ride a bike.  Unfortunately, the only available two-wheeler was a girl’s bike.  It was probably Wendy’s…I only remember the banana seat and curved handlebars. Girls Banana Seat Bike Somehow, while wobbling down the driveway, I managed to fall forward and hit my shoulder on the curved handlebar.  I felt a funny crack and after one more failed attempt to ride without training wheels, I ended the day at the ER getting a brace for my broken collarbone.

Ah!  The good ole’ days..great memories…good times!


The house was probably built in the days of the Pilgrims but when we bought it in the early 1970’s, it seemed like a new mansion! It was really just a small 2 bedroom house that the previous owners expanded with an extra bedroom and bath.  We lived there for more than 10 years and never added steps to go up to the front door.  I think dad did this on purpose to confuse the Jehovah’s Witness…they never knew how to approach ‘the house with no steps‘.  1981_Summer_05

Winters are brutal in northern Michigan.  They are cold and long.  And when you live in a house that has newspaper and straw for insulation, cold mornings mean “every kid for himself“. I remember getting up for school; taking my bowl of cereal and sitting on the floor in the dining room next to the only register that produced heat.  I prayed ‘hallelujahs‘ every time the heat came on and uttered Christian curse words when it would turn off.  I think my sister went to one of the registers in the living room to eat her cereal – I did not know and did not care!  I had my hot spot and that’s all that mattered.  My brother is 7 years younger than me.  By the time he was school age, I had already staked a claim on the Dining Room Register…he suffered hypothermia for the first 12 years of his life.

Ah!  The good ole’ days..great memories…good times!


But why?  Why do we always look back and see the past through these rose-colored glasses?  I was there back then and they did not seem extra special and “good ole‘” at the time.  So what changed?  Time?  Has enough time gone by that I have forgotten how difficult life was or how much I hated school and homework?  It is like labor pains…once enough time goes by you forget how bad the pain was…and you are willing to have another kid?  Maybe.

Perhaps we all just employ a bit of ‘selective memory’ when we tell old stories or look through the picture albums.  There is probably an aging or ‘fermenting’ process that makes these memories rich with emotion and fondness.  Whatever it is that creates this altered or selective view of our own past, I think is is a gift from God!

I have another thought about our sepia-toned pasts that bears a few moments:  Could it be that when we were living those moments of our past, they did not seem like the Good Ole’ days because we were more focused on the problem of the moment and sure that every problem we faced was the biggest and worst thing possible.  It is only now, 20+ years later, that we realize that our worst fears never happened; our tendency towards pessimism didn’t pan out; our assured destruction never took place.  We are now able to look back and see that the bad things weren’t really that bad and the good things were actually quite wonderful!

So here is my prediction:  In 20 years, you and I will both look back to this time in our lives and say, “Ah, those were the Good Ole’ Days“.  Why wait?  Let’s see today as the good ole’ days NOW:

  • The sleepless nights from that newborn
  • The angry boss that won’t let you do your job
  • The appliances that keep breaking
  • The sickness that won’t heal...

…it will become part of your past and you will realize that (in most cases) it was not as bad as you thought or at the very least, you survived it when you thought you could not.

Elijah was hunted by the king and in the midst of a famine.  I wonder if he looked back at the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 3:3-6) as part of his good ole days?  Or did he recognize protection and provision in the moments they came?  If he did, then he lived each moment as the “Good Ole Day”.

Don’t wait to have fond memories or live forever pinning for the pleasant past.  Enjoy today…these ARE the good ole’ days!

Open Mic: Share your thoughts

  1. What are some of your current struggles that need to be viewed from a more heavenly perspective?
  2. What are some blessings that you have today to make this a Good Ole’ day?
-Michael G

Yo-Yos and Wishing Wells

yo yo

The Sleeper, Walk the Dog, Around the World, and the Lindy Loop/Double on a Trapeze! It doesn’t matter which yo-yo trick you try, it always ends with the yo-yo coming back to you – even if you have to re-wind it by hand, like I always do!  I had a cheap plastic yo-yo when I was a kid and after several failed attempts to produce a Sleeping Something-or-other, I gave it an extra hard toss.  The string broke and the yo-yo did not come back.  I suppose it was just a yo!

It is unfortunate how many cliches we seem to have in our modern churches.  Have you ever heard these?

  • Let go and let God
  • God has a plan for you
  • I’ll pray for you
  • God helps those who help themselves
  • Born again Christian
  • I’ve come to know the Lord
  • God always has a purpose…
  • Put it in the Lord’s hands

It’s not that these statements are wrong or misleading – they are just overused or undervalued.   We find comfort in being able to offer something that sounds positive.  If you don’t know what to say, use a cliche!  However, the classic “I’ll pray for you” is barely off our lips before we have completely forgotten what was just told to us.  It would be better to say nothing than to offer empty or forgotten promises.

So what’s the answer?  Changing the words will only replace one cliche for another.  The answer is in the heart.  When we offer or receive a cliche, we must do something with that statement to make it come alive.  Here’s one I heard recently and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what it really meant.  “Give it to God

When we “give it to God‘ – whatever “it” is – are we just supposed to forget “it” and never think of “it” again?  We pray and tell God all about our problem or issue and then go right back to worrying about it and trying to solve it on our own.  We are like the yo-yo – we throw “it” at God and then pull “it” right back. That’s what makes this a cliche – we say the words but we don’t do the deed.  “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves…” (James 1:22).

5 Things to Consider – What we can do to “Give it to God

  1. Pray – Tell God all about it and ask for His intervention.  He wants to hear it from us – constantly!
  2. Gain – Expect to Gain something from the situation.  This is the ‘purpose‘ or ‘plan‘ that Christians always talk about.
    • growth, perspective, maturity, humility, grace, patience
  3. Lose – Look to Lose something from the situation.  Here is the infamous ‘pruning‘ that ‘removes the dross‘.
    • pride, arrogance, control, anger, bitterness
  4. Stop complaining or having a Pity Party.  Neither God or the rest of us want to hear it (sorry, a tad harsh!)
  5. Start remembering past blessings and answers to prayer.  If you can’t remember any, try reading Psalm 136 or 139.

This is not the final answer on how to deal with the difficult issues of life, but it should be a starting point.  Perhaps we should replace the Yo-Yo with a Wishing Well.  When you drop that coin into a wishing well, it is not only gone forever, but there is the hope that something better  – something greater is waiting for you.  This is not to say that “giving it to God” is equivalent to a magic wishing well or a lucky charm (No!  Not the magically delicious kind!).  God is not sitting idly by waiting to grant our wishes, but He is eagerly waiting for us to surrender our will to His and invite Him to do a great work within us.  So maybe the image we are trying to create is to throw our whole-selves into His care and trust Him to know what is best for us.  More cliches?  Perhaps, but if we really do them, maybe God does have a plan for us after all.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Open Mic:  Share your thoughts

  1. What are some cliches that have not helped or some that have?
  2. How do you turn a cliche into something of worth and value?
-Michael G

It’s a Guy Thing..!

I am sure we have all been in a conversation at one point or another where we are in the middle of describing something and we get frustrated because the person cannot understand what we are talking about.  Imagine a bunch of guys sitting around talking and some girls hear this :

“It’s only a flesh wound!”
“She turned me into a newt…but I got better.”
“This is supposed to be a happy occasion.  Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who.”
“Run Away.  Run Away.”
“What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
“We want a shrubbery!”

The girls will then ask, “Why are you guys always quoting movie lines?  We don’t get it!” Continue reading

Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!

When I was a kid, I was given a book of “Waiter” jokes.

  • Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.
    Don’t worry, sir.  He won’t drink much.
  • Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.
    Quiet, sir.  Everyone will want one.
  • Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?
    I believe it’s the backstroke, sir.

This and the “Bob Vlasic’s Pickle Joke Book…guaranteed to pickle your funny bone!“, may explain my very warped sense of humor.  Admittedly, waiter jokes are not exactly hilarious…most of them are not even mildly amusing; however,

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Love For Sale

What comes to your mind?

Images of seedy neighborhoods; sordid dark alleyways; scantily clad women with painted smiles standing on a street corner?  Or maybe it is one of the many songs by the same title.  Whatever the image, I’ll bet it doesn’t include your spouse or children,  your parents or co-workers.  But maybe it should!

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Painted Or Dyed

 

 

 

 

 

When I was kid, we lived in an old wood-sided house.  Well, it seemed old to me – but then I was only about 7 years old, so anything older than me was nearly ancient.  As is the case with older homes, eventually we had to repaint the siding.  I say “We” because that is how my parents phrased it.  First there was the scrapping…then sanding, painting, touching-up, cleaning brushes… every few years the process would have to be repeated.  Every few years I vowed to move out and live in a tent.  Bless the man who invented vinyl siding!

The point is that the paint was temporary, fading, surface.

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