What are some other life lessons you have taken from shows, books or other forms of media?
So this past weekend is definitely one for the books. I had the privilege to be a leader with my church’s high school youth group. They had planned a Memorial Day Weekend trip to eastern Washington for white water rafting and camping. And let me tell you, it was quite the weekend to be sure! I figured I would outline the weekend, so you can better get an idea of everything that we did.
Saturday Am: Our group, consisting of approximately 40 students and leaders, met at the church at 8:30 AM. Miraculously, everyone was fairly on time, and how often does that happen? We packed up cars and trucks with tents, backs, coolers and other camping paraphernalia. After some quick instructions and prayer, it was time to hit the open road. I was one of the drivers, and my friend Kasey (also one of the youth group leaders with me) rode shotgun. We had a very enjoyable drive and spent the time talking about all sorts of different things and people. From Bothell it was straight to US 2 and up an over Steven’s Pass. We had a brief stop in Leavenworth for lunch (unfortunately no brats on this trip) before continuing our trip through Wenatchee and north to our destination: Alta Lake Camp Ground.
Saturday Afternoon: Everyone rolled into the camp group around 1:00 and we started setting up camp. With so many people helping out, it did not take long at all to get all our tents up and mock-kitchen area established. Then we were all off to enjoy the afternoon. We spent some time talking about the weekend ahead, but we all really just wanted to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather…did I mention it was 75°? A group of us went down to the lake and had a good time just relaxing on the beach. Several people went swimming, and I opted for a nap on the beach. It was such a relaxing afternoon, and definitely needed. I knew it was the start of something great and refreshing. I spent some time praying over the weekend, hoping God would move in the hearts and minds of all of us, especially the students.
Saturday Evening: A couple of us volunteered to make dinner on Saturday, and it was lots of fun. We all worked hard to prepare a taco dinner for 40 people, and I must say that it turned out great!
We sat around the campsite, eating and enjoying getting to hang out with new friends. After dinner we had a great devotional time with words from our youth pastor, Dawn. She is such a great leader and speaker, and I always enjoy hearing her give a good word. After she spoke, Dawn gave us an hour for personal devotional time. This was such a key component of the weekend, and one that I had been looking forward to. A couple of us went back to the beach and enjoyed the time in God’s Word while watching the sunset and nighttime fall around us. We all reconvened at the campsite and spent time sharing and praying with each other. After that, it was time to relax around camp and just enjoy camping. Several people stayed up late around the campfire, and I spent some more quiet time at the beach…it was great to be away from distractions and have a couple hours to think, pray and write.
Sunday Morning: I woke up to a beautiful morning on Sunday, perfect to spend a little time with Jesus and enjoy the peaceful morning. We had a great breakfast and a devotional time focused on learning about what it means to be a disciple. After a personal devotional, it was time to get ready for the central activity of the weekend: white water rafting!!
Braving the River: After changing into swim wear and gathering together, we drove to meet up with the rafting company at the nearby river. They were all great and helped us get the rest of our gear together before pilling us onto a bus and heading north. Once we were at the launch site, we divided up into the different boats. My team, which just happened to be the best, consisted of myself, Caroline, Elizabeth, Dane, Kevin and Andrew and was led by our guide, Michelle. Our boat was the front runner, we launched from the beach and were soon far ahead of everyone else. From there it was 13 miles of fun. From going in huge holes, getting splashed and soaked, to just having a great time with each other. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and there was always something new to see. We worked extremely well as a team and I was so proud of each of the students. At one point, I intentionally jumped in the river and floated along the raft for a bit…while the water was super cold, it was also very refreshing…Caroline managed to pull me up, back out of the water! We had fun drifting and laughing and I know we all wished it would have kept going. When we were back in sight of our cars, I jumped out again and spent the remainder of the time floating, and sometimes walking on the bottom, from boat to boat. What a grand adventure!
Sunday Evening: By the time we got back to camp, we were too tired to do much of anything. I went down to the lake with some of the students and enjoyed getting to hang out with them and relive various parts of the rafting trip…there were so many great stories! We had a yummy dinner once again and spent the remainder of the evening having devotional time, listening to the wise words of Pat, sharing about our lives, praying for each other, and of course eating s’mores. I slept so well that night.
Monday: We were all much slower to wake up on Monday, but we all managed it and worked together to make another great meal. After I shared the morning devotional (I talked about the importance of taking retreats and showing that even Jesus did during His ministry time) we again had individual devotional time. We worked together to clean up camp, and a group of people went for a late morning hike. I opted to relax back at camp and just enjoy the last little bit of peace and quiet. Once everyone was back we had a huge lunch, consisting of everything left over, and finished packing. My car was full once again, and Kasey and I jumped in and hit the road for home. We again talked about so many different things, mainly about the weekend and different things that had happened in both of our lives over the past three days. We hit traffic but were not worried about it, aside from the desire to visit a restroom. We met up with everyone at a pizza place in Monroe and enjoyed one last meal together. Then it was the final push to the church and ultimately to home.
Now that I am back to “real life” I know I will be reflecting on my time at Alta Lake. Here are a couple personal takes-a-ways from my time on a much needed retreat:
What a trip…what a weekend…one naught to be forgot.
I recently came across this online. It is a list of 14 Lessons for Life that Benjamin Frankiln put together. They are all so true and very interesting. Check them out and think about how you may be able to use them in your life. I think they are great lessons for life, no matter where in life you may be or what you may be going through.
1. Less Talk, More Action
“Well done is better than well said.” Talk is cheap. Talking about a project won’t get it completed. We all know people who constantly talk about the things they are going to do but rarely ever take that first step. Eventually people begin to question their credibility. Taking action and seeing the task through to completion is the only way to get the job done.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”With an impressive list of achievements to his credit, Benjamin Franklin was not a man hung up on procrastination. He was a man with clear measurable goals who worked hard to turn his vision into reality. What are you putting off till tomorrow that could make a difference in your life today?
3. Be Prepared
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”You need a plan to accomplish your goals. Charging in without giving any thought to the end result and how to achieve it, is a sure way to fall flat on your face. Think like a boy scout. Have a realistic plan of attack and a systematic approach for getting where you need to be.
4. Don’t Fight Change
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”Whilst many of us don’t like change, others thrive on it. Either way change is inevitable. The stronger we fight against it, the more time and energy it consumes. Give up the fight. Focus on proactively making positive changes, instead of having change merely thrust upon you. Wherever possible, try to view change as a positive instead of a negative.
5. Get Moving
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”There’s a reason we use the expression, movers and shakers. Movers are the ones who take action, the people who get things done, while the immovable are sitting around scratching their heads wondering how others could possibly be so successful. Which group do you want to belong to?
6. Avoid Busywork
“Never confuse motion with action.”We are always running around doing things. We rush from one meeting or event to the next, sometimes without achieving a great deal. At the end of the day, how much of our busywork are we proud of? How much of that running around improves anyone’s life (including ours) for the better? Make your motion mean something.
7. Give Yourself Permission to Make Mistakes
“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”If we fear making mistakes, we become scared to try new things. Fear leaves us nestled in our comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone rarely leads to greatness. Taking risks and giving yourself permission to make mistakes, will ultimately lead you to whatever your version of success may be.
8. Act Quickly on Opportunities
“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” Opportunities are everywhere. The trick is being quick enough and smart enough to seize them when they arise. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that something won’t work or can’t be done, allow yourself the freedom to ask what if?
9. Continue to Grow
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.”We all have vices of some description. The key is to keep them under control or preferably eradicate them entirely. Be kind to those around you, whether they are neighbors, family, co-workers or friends. Never accept that you have finished growing as a person.
10. Keep Going
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”Have you ever looked at a successful entrepreneur or business person and thought how lucky they are? Most of the time, luck has nothing to do with it. Hard work and sacrifice on the other hand have everything to do with it. Successful people deal with failure. They tackle their demons head on. They pick themselves up and keep going.
11. Know Yourself
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”Understanding ourselves is not easy. Sometimes we just don’t want to see ourselves for who we really are. It’s much easier to hold onto a romanticized version of ourselves or to simply view ourselves through other people’s eyes. Start by being brutally honest with yourself. Follow through with understanding, compassion and acceptance.
12. Don’t Self-Sabotage
“Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?”We spend so much time worrying about other people hurting us, yet fail to comprehend the damage we inflict on ourselves. If you are using negative self-talk, lying to yourself or indulging in addictive behavior you are self-sabotaging. Life can dish up enough challenges without us adding to the mix. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a best friend.
13. Don’t Give Up
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”Achieving our goals can be downright exhausting. There will be days when you want to give up. There will be times when your energy levels flatline and you wonder why you bother getting out of bed. Yet you push forward, day after day because you believe in yourself and you have the determination and strength to back up that belief.
14. Wise Up
“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”Benjamin was definitely onto something with this one. Who hasn’t had the thought – I wish I could know then, what I know now? Unfortunately there is no time machine; there is no going back. The key is to wise up as early as you can to start forging a life of purpose, achievement and happiness.
So I want to better myself…as I say it I realize how vague and maybe even a little bit vain that sounds, but it is true. I want to spend time each day working to develop myself in a variety of areas and improve in various aspects of my life. It is important to set aside time to devote to self-improvement…or at least I think so.
Here is what I am going to do: I will be setting aside two hours each day and doing just this. These will not necessarily be two consecutive hours each day, most likely divided up during the course of the day. I will be spending time on things that are good for me and will help to make me a more well-rounded individual. During this time I will be stepping totally away from technology and focusing on different things…yes, this means no Facebook, texting, emailing, anything like that.
You may be wondering what I will be doing during these two hours…and I shall tell you. Essentially, I will be focusing on developing myself physically, mentally and spiritually. My two hours will be spent doing things such as devotionals, research for my book, working out, learning music, spending time in prayer and doing other similar activities. I do not have it all fully figured out, as it will be different each day.
My motivation basically comes from within me, not from the world around me. I have realized that a desire to better yourself must come from within, not from what people are saying you should be like. I will be working towards things that I want to improve in, things that I want to be better in my life. I want to renew myself and put the focus back on what is really important. I also hope that this new ‘system,’ in a way will help me reset my thinking and focus more on God and His will, not on the will of the world. We shall see what happens!
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”. The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…” he told them. “So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.” One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”
Like my previous post, this too is something that has been passed around on various social medias and I wanted to make sure you got the chance to see it too. Throughout your life, make you have your priorities right…your golf balls in the jar first, as it were.
“One drop of water, then another, can become a ripple, a river, a rising torrent… unstoppable…which in time breaks down all resistance to flow free once again to flow towards its destiny…”
This is a quote from a movie I discovered just today on YouTube. It isn’t too terriably important as to what movie it was, but for reference it may help. It’s a fan-made movie based on Lord of the Rings…it’s about the race of men called the Dunedain (and for the record it’s not too bad at all, especially for it’s budget). However, the movie itself is not the focus of this, the focus is rather on the quote. I began to really think about it and a thought began to form in my mind…it went something like this…
What if this quote could be applied to the church?
The water, each drop, represents a life of a single believer. Separated and alone, each drop does not account for much. However, when brought together, something powerful can be produced and serious change can be brought about. Single drops of water come together to form a ripple then a river then a rising torrent. This torrent of water works to break through all resistance and flow. Imagine how much the Church could accomplish if we took a lesson from the water. Let’s the flood-tide that changes and shapes this world in incredible and powerful ways.
Together we can break through any resistance this world tries to erect in front of us.
Together we can join and flow towards the destiny God ultimately created us to reach.
Call it what you will…a flood, a revolution, an uprising…or, what it needs to be: revival.
Drop By Drop…A Rising River.
I feel, in a way, obligated to write down a few of the main lessons I learned in 2011 and a few of the things I will strive for in 2012. I mean, why not?