Keep Looking Forward

This week my Dad celebrated his 75th birthday.  In honor of him, I would like to tell you a little bit about him.

My Dad is the coolest ever! Always ready with a listening ear and helpful advice.

Many times, when I would go visit him and Mom, we would stay up late into the night having deep theological discussions. Having problems with school?  Just ask Dad!  He was always there to help me.  Frequently, when I called and immediately asked for Dad, Mom knew something was wrong, whether it was my computer or a backed-up sink.

He’s been through several changes in his life; being laid off, moving several times to different states, changing jobs, retiring and changes in his health.

Change is as hard for him as it is anyone else, yet he embraces it with such grace.

How?  I’m sure it is because he has never lost his curiosity.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein

Always curious about the world, my dad, Martin, is constantly learning, experiencing and growing.  As a young child he would read the encyclopedia just for fun!  He was always taking things apart and putting them back together again.

An engineer by trade, he has had many hobbies including woodworking, golfing, biking, photography, gem cutting, making stained glass windows, and reading. He even sewed himself a suit! He is most avid about woodworking.  He makes beautiful bowls and vases with his lathe. He also turns pens. You can check out some of his work here.

Never Stop Learning

After retirement, most people would rest, relax, take it easy.  Not Dad!  He threw himself into his wood turning.  He created a business and website.  He sold several pieces in galleries.  No naps for him in retirement!  Life was good.

As you can imagine, turning wood is a very physical endeavor.  He stands at the lathe for hours and then sands and polishes to create the final product.Mesquite Vase

Major Change

Two years ago he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that affects his muscles. Sometimes his voice temporarily quits working, sometimes his legs quit working.  He is on medication to control the disease.  This has been a major change in his life.  No longer could he spend hours daily in his shop working on his passion.

But he doesn’t wallow in self-pity.  He is a voracious reader and a great story-teller. Just ask his grandkids about his exciting bedtime stories!  Now he is taking that story-telling ability and writing a series of short stories.

“Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.”
– Ronald E. Osborne

When life takes an unexpected turn, don’t just sit there!  Learn something new. Change is hard but don’t look back.  Keep looking forward!

You might try your hand at crossword puzzles or Sudoku.  Check out web courses on Udemy or Creative Live.  If you love to read, pick a different genre of book.  It could be a new hobby like sewing or pottery.  Find a class, in your area, of a hobby that interests or think might interest you.  You will learn something new and make a few friends in the process.  It might just be the thing that keeps you going.

What have you learned new lately?

 

Nevertheless

He was at the top of his game.

After defeating his greatest challenger, he was employed by the top man in the country; being groomed for a top position.  The people loved him!  He was the life of the party!  But in an instant, he lost it all!  He lost his job. No one was there to help him.  He was running for his life!  During all of this chaos, he never lost his faith.  Sounds like a great movie trailer but it’s actually from the Bible.  It’s part of David’s story.

David, the writer of most of the book of Psalms, tells God (and us) his feelings of despair, betrayal, being over-looked as he poured out these emotions in psalms or songs. He usually didn’t relish those dark emotions for long.  He always took time to praise God.

It’s too hot!!

During the hottest part past of this last summer, our air conditioner blower stopped working.  In my neck of the woods, you do NOT want to go with air conditioning even for a few hours.  The temperatures were in the high 90’s and we were sweltering.

The day after it went out, the heat and air worker came out and fixed it.

Two weeks later the air conditioner compressor went out.  This time they couldn’t fix it for a week. A week!!

Boy, was it hot.  We had every fan going, every window opened. No relief!  Tempers were flaring.  It’s hard to be gentle and caring when one is HOT!  It was no fun the Kamm household that week.

Nevertheless

As we look at some of David’s psalms, we see a pattern; a call for help, a complaint, and praise.  Usually, you will find a yet, but or nevertheless right before his praise.

Take Psalm 31 verses 9, 13-15 for example.

“Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life; But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” (emphasis mine)

Another is Psalm 27 verses 7, 10 and 13; “Hear my voice when I call, O Lord, be merciful to me and answer me…Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me…I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

What does this show us?

It’s ok to ask God for help.

It’s ok to complain a little especially to God since He already knows what we are dealing with.

It’s ok to be honest about our feelings.

 

But don’t stay there!  Find the nevertheless in your situation.

Our A/C went out; nevertheless, I thank God for electricity to run the fans and refrigerator.

I didn’t get that promotion at work; nevertheless, I praise God for His faithfulness to me.

I can’t ever seem to lose weight; nevertheless, I thank God for my healthy body.

I have so many bills; nevertheless, I know God will provide.

So when life throws us curveballs; when change is happening all around you, it’s okay to complain a little but then let’s find our nevertheless and keep our minds on the praise!

Success Has No Age Limit And That’s Finger Lickin’ Good!

Do you have a dream?  Something you enjoyed in your childhood but life and bills and other things got in the way? Do you think now you are too old, too washed up to live your dream, your passion? 

No matter your age, you can still accomplish great things!  You don’t have to give up any chance of success if you are past your 20’s or 30’s. You can realize your dreams at any age.  Don’t give up!  Keep that dream alive!  Someday, with a lot of work, it may come true just like it did for Harland Sanders, aka Col. Sanders.

You know who I’m talking about; the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  You still see his likeness on commercials today though he died over 35 years ago.  He’s an icon in the fast food business.

Harland Sanders was old by our standards today when he realized what his purpose was; cooking the best fried chicken.  He was older still before he saw major wealth from it.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Colonel Harland David Sanders. As I scoured the internet to find out who the real Col. Sanders was I noticed a few things.  First, in his early life, he was bumping around a lot, as a friend of mine likes to call it. He had so many jobs just to try to put food on the table as most people did in the early 20th century.  Second, he didn’t give up his passion but worked it continuously.  He finally made a way where his passion and livelihood could collide to be a prosperous living.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Always interested in cooking, he was forced to cook for his siblings when his father died and his mother had to work outside the home.  He held a plethora of jobs by the time he was 40 never really liking any of them enough to stick with it.   He was a street car conductor, served in the Army, worked as a fireman, studied by correspondence and practiced law, sold tires and ran a service station just to name a few.  But he always enjoyed cooking!  He served home cooked meals out of his gas station in Kentucky to road-weary travelers.   In his 50’s (his 50’s!) he closed the gas station and opened a restaurant.  This was when he perfected that ‘finger lickin’ good’ chicken with its secret recipe and pressure cooker.

You’re never too old to succeed!

He sold his restaurant in 1956 at the age of 56. He began franchising his fried chicken process by teaching other restaurants how to make his delicious chicken in exchange for getting a few cents for every piece of chicken sold.  In 1964, he sold the franchise for $2 million ($15.3 in today’s money).  That’s a big chunk of change.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  He worked very hard for that money.  He wasn’t an overnight success but he kept at it and it paid off in the end.

Don’t give up on your passion.  Continue to work it and you never know, you just might make it a reality whatever your might be!

New Year New You…Maybe

Changing the calendar from one year to the next is usually a time of great reflection.  You see lots of ‘year in review’ segments on the news and other television shows. So many clips of major world news events, sports happenings, famous people who have died.  I never expect there to be quite so many.

One reflects on the happenings, good and bad, of the previous year and looks to the new year with hope and expectation.

Will this year be better than last?  Will my life fall into place this year?  Will I win the lottery, be the next YouTube star, find my keys?

As I was pondering my life of this past year and what 2017 would bring, so many thoughts were going through my head.

“Didn’t quite accomplish all of last year’ resolutions.”

“Will I finish this next year strong?”

“What’s for dinner?”

The ONE big thought I had was that old existential question “who am I?”

Who am I?  Why am I here?

I remember many times in my life wondering this; as a teenager, a college graduate, a newlywed, when I turned forty.

As the seasons change in our lives, so will our purpose.

Here is what I came up with.

Who Am I?

I am a Child of God put on this earth now for a purpose; for several purposes, actually:

  1. To glorify God in all that I do. To praise and love Him
  2. To be Mom to my three children. To nurture and discipline, support and teach.  To help raise up the next generation of Christ followers.
  3. To be wife to my husband, Randy. To love, care for, support, cherish, respect, enjoy, communicate with, encourage, make love to.
  4. To encourage other by singing, writing and speaking individually and in groups.
  5. To learn and grow as Christ works in my life (Phil. 1:6)
  6. To love others

May you find inspiration to answer these questions for yourself.  Start with an open mind and heart. If you need more inspiration read Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I know it’s scary but you’ll be glad you did.

What is YOUR purpose?

Welcome to your New Season!

  Life is full of seasons. Seasons of learning, seasons of working. Seasons of striving, seasons of rest.

Life is ever changing.  Spring gives way to summer.  Fall gives way to winter and around we go again.

         

In Ecclesiastes chapter three verse one it says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” (NIV) Sometimes we look forward to a new season like having children or graduating from college. Sometimes we dread the next season in life. Change can be scary especially in our vocation, marital status, health, role as caregiver, spiritual outlook… No matter where you are in your season of life I want you to be encouraged that you are not alone.  Just because you may be finished with one part does not mean you are done with life!  You are not washed up! There are still more things to do and to learn.  God can still use you whether you are over 30, divorced or sick.  The last 15 years may not equal the next 15 years.  God will see you through. Don’t get bogged down with everyday life. Live with purpose. What was your purpose or dream may be changing.  Don’t grieve the change – embrace it. Don’t ignore the now – relish it! We will discover together some of the ways to stay motivated and inspired to live each new season.  I will share stories of people who didn’t start their careers or become famous in their 20’s.  Together we will look at several like Col. Sanders who didn’t start Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was in his 60’s and Grandma Moses who didn’t start painting until 76! I will also share about different seasons in my own life; where I am succeeding and where I am struggling. Finally, some tips and resources to help traverse this new ground is what you can expect! I’m excited to be on this journey with you!