Monthly Archives: October 2016

Old Windows – New Imagination

WindowsLet there be many windows to your soul, that all the glory of the world may beautify it.”

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The five week Living Forward class at our church is coming to a close.  We have explored the value and reasons for this process.  It involves, using one’s imagination, exercising the discipline of reflection and willingness to confront the reality of where one is versus where you really want to be.  This week, along with others in the class, I am taking my retreat day for the Life Planning process.
Resetting Windows of Opportunity
Normally this would be an annual event, but since I did my inaugural life planning session last February as part of the book launch, it is coming around at the nine month mark.  At the time of the book launch, I had already set my goals for 2016 and was able to place them under the life plan umbrella at that time, but the life plan review fits better at the front of the whole goal planning thing.  Since this is the time of year I review the current year’s goals and begin looking to next year, I am resetting the timing.
Windows of Imagination
I am excited.  As part of the preparation for my retreat day, I have been thinking about this whole imagination thing again.  It’s rather like a window.  It beckons.  It teases.  It stimulates.  The word imagination in Hebrew scripture  means “the making place”.  In Genesis 2, it says that God made or imagined man out of the dust of the earth.  The Hebrew has within it the sense that before God actually made man out of the earth, He imagined mankind.  The making place.  I like that.  We “make” things first in our thoughts or imagination before they are made in the physical.  It works both in the positive and negative and we get to choose.  Life Planning puts us in the choosing rather than reacting place.
Some windows stimulate memories and imagination.  This past summer when I returned to my hometown for a high school reunion, I discovered that one of my classmates lives in the house where my dad’s first employer lived.  Attached to the back of the house was “the shop” (Photo) from where they sold automobile and other vehicle parts.   My classmate graciously invited me over to visit.  It was marvelous to step back into time.  As I walked through the shop I heard the sound of my Dad’s voice, the guy talk as transactions were made and his laughter as he joked around.  In spite of the years that had passed the smell of automotive dust, oil and machine parts lingered.
The Window in the Door
However, it was “The Old Window” that brought things together.  The window in the door that began the transition from the shop to the house.  It transported you from the working, usually a bit dusty, rough working world, through a tidy business office into the elegant, neatly appointed home of the Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs.  It was usually quiet with only the sound of a ticking mantle clock.  The colors were a soft foam green done in a no-classical decor.  There was crystal everywhere.  It was heaven and I was not supposed to be there uninvited or unsupervised.  Too many pretty and fragile things that curious hands might break.
You see?  Old windows.  When explored they fling open the imagination.  Whether the windows of our soul, or a tangible, physical window, they serve to lead us into the making place.  Into places forgotten or tucked away, and to places yet to be found.  I will be peering anew through the windows of my imagination this week.  Daring to dream from the making place.
What windows will you peek through this week?

Leftovers – The Loaves and Fishes of Life

Using leftovers.  I enjoy re-doing and re-making things.  I always have.  Taking what I have on hand and making something useful again:
  • Whatever I might have in the pantry or frig becomes a one-time kind of meal.
  • Scraps of cloth become a comforter, pillow or something for the wall.  S
  • craps of wood become art, wooden trays or even furniture.
Things that began life as one thing are “up-cycled” into a new life.  So where did this tendency come from?
For me, some came out of necessity.  Using and reusing was a way of life in the world I grew up in.
  • Dad, an auto salvage operator took old cars apart.  They were scrapped out for usable parts and metal.   Some parts were refurbished and resold, others just reused as is on another vehicle.
  • Clothes were re-done and handed down.  If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).
  • Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds (no pesticides were used!).
 Today, it is called being “green” by recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing.  For us it was being practical and frugal.  We were not poor, we just conserved cash for what only cash could buy and avoided waste of things and time.  In my small town there was retail, but not the Walmart kind of retail.  Many things had to be ordered through mail order catalogs or we made the occasional shopping trip to “the city”.
In addition, there was my grand-parents farm where nothing was wasted.  Even what did go into the trash was used as fuel for the stove.  Paper, bits of wood and anything that would burn would make it into the incinerator.  Along with some of the methods used by my parents, my grand-parent’s cows, pigs and chickens ate, in addition to their regular feed, vegetable and fruit scraps.  The dogs and barn cats  were glad recipients of meat scraps and bones (after they were boiled for broth, of course).  Bailing wire was the all purpose duct-tape for farm machinery (until a proper repair could be made).  Well, you get the idea.
At the same time, I do not consider myself “cheap”.  I enjoy nice new things.  I have some of the finest Irish China, French and German crystal and German flatware there is.  We only use it a few times a year and I do not feel one bit guilty about it.  None-the-less, that thing in me that is profoundly satisfied when an old object is remade and given new life is undeniable.  Aside from the practical aspects, there is actually a deeper root to all of this.
 Loaves and Fishes – Divine Leftoversleftovers
It is found in the two stories of multiplying loaves and fishes as told in the Gospels*.  In both cases after the multiplication had occurred and everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus had the leftovers gathered up and collected.  Why would the Son of God who had just multiplied food do that?  To show off?  Not really in his nature.  To give a sign to the disciples of God’s ability to provide?  Perhaps.  The answer is in the text/  Jesus said:  “Gather up that which remains so that nothing is lost.”  Jesus did not want to waste the leftovers!  Wow, what a concept.  God, who created everything, does not waste, even leftover bread and fish.

Continue reading Leftovers – The Loaves and Fishes of Life

The Drift – Not a Friend in Life

I have been working with a small group in our church where we have been discussing the book  Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and get the Life you Want.  The authors Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy begin the book by introducing the villain:  The Drift.  They give their own personal examples of how The Drift led them into this whole life planning thing.  I will leave you to read the book to discover these stories.  Essentially, The Drift comes in two basic forms:

  • Not paying attention or being aware. Going with the flow; lettingdrift all the forces around you determine your path and even destination, rather than you taking responsibility and DECIDING.
  • Heading in the wrong direction.  For whatever reason you have a destination in mind but have never really thought and DECIDED, “am I headed where I am put on this earth to be?”

Life Plan – Reviewing and Renewing

In a series of posts last spring,  I introduced a book that was released March 1, 2016:  Living Forward,  A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and get the Life you Want, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.   I have spent some months with it and the Life Plan that I developed. This fall I am leading group of folks at my local church through the process.  It is interesting that all of the folks in this group of ten are 50+ years in age.  We have begun by giving ourselves permission to dream again.  We have looked at dreaming as Spirit-Led Imagination and our life, as God’s gift through which those dreams become reality.
There is no bad age or Life Plantime to begin the process, yet I am glad for this timing.  The fall is when I evaluate where I am in my goals for the current year (although I have been tracking them all year long).  I begin to tie up loose ends in order to finish the year strong while looking to the coming year.  This year I am beginning with a review and adjustment of my life plan.  The opportunity to have some friends along on the journey is a blessing.
Start with “Why”
The first part of the book, which was discussed in Living Forward- Review, Share, Grow talks about the “Why” of and for a life plan .  The remainder of the 200 or so pages discussed the components of and the process for formulating a life plan.  The simple elegance is stunning and goes like this:
– Start with the end in mind by asking, “How do you want to be remembered?”  Write your own eulogy.
– Identify your life accounts and priorities
– Write the purpose of these accounts
Envision what you want each account to look like
– Write what that account looks like as it exists today (the good, the bad and yes, the ugly)
– Commit to at least one step to take to close the gap between the dream and the “what is”.
Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy have a very compelling way of distilling down to a sweet essence a concept that is not necessarily new, yet with fresh life.  Rather like a fresh batch of cookies from a great recipe but tweaked with a yet to be identified ingredient.   It is true that being intentional about one’s life is more critical today than ever, as going with the flow these days leads to some not so good places.  At least it bears evaluation, but I am getting ahead of myself….back to the process.

Living Forward – Review, Share, Grow

It has been several months since I first read Living Forward and went through the life planning process.  Time to review and revise.  This time, I get to take some friends with me.  Ten of us are committed to read, discuss and apply this process over the next several weeks.  I thought I would let you all in on our journey.  To get started I am reposting my posts from last spring.  
 Living Forward Again
When I first heard about the book, Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and get the Life you Want, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, I did not immediately jump on it.  In fact, I had no intention to even get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Mr. Hyatt, am a member of Platform University, listen to his podcasts and am using his book PLATFORM, Get Noticed in a Noisy World, as a guide in designing my personal platform.  In fact, I doubt this blog would even exist but for the spark from his virtual mentoring.  
 You see, I am a planner.  I inherited this from my mother.  She instilled and honed the skill of planning into me as far back as I remember.  From Saturday morning “chore” lists, daily routines and checklists, to delayed rewards until tLiving Forwardhe work was complete, she trained me.  She also modeled good planning in her life with grocery lists, reward goodie bags on long road trips and laying out clothes each night for the next day.  It was natural.  It was not forced, it was the way things were done.
 A Plan for The Planner
So, I plan.  I mean,  what more could there be except to continue with what I was doing?
  • I have engaged in 5-year planning, annual goal setting and other great visionary guidance on living intentionally for 30+ years.
  • I have read and lived Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, used the Franklin planning system and rarely start a week without mapping out where my time will be used.
  • In my air traffic career, I have led teams to plan and execute major airspace restructuring and airport master plans both here and abroad.

I Loved every minute.  I am a believer in this concept and have seen wonderful results in my life.  Continue reading Living Forward – Review, Share, Grow