Reconnecting to Heritage and Home

The little girl, second from the right, is my grandmother, Bonnie. When I saw this picture on the internet this morning it brought back a flood of memories and emotions. How good it is to reconnect to heritage and home.

My thanks to my cousin who has begun recording the life of my Uncle Donnell. I'm so thankful they have partnered together to record his life story.

Our heritage and home stories aren't just for us but they are for all. Donnell's story is part of the story of the U.S. It is part of the story of a generation and part of the story of our world. The more we know of each other's stories, the more we know each other.


May I Ask: When was the last time you just listened to someone else's story?

May I Suggest: In your next conversation, take time to listen and learn about the other person. Ask questions not to gain knowledge but to gain a friend.

Paint It Purple in Hawaii!

What a wonderful Christmas present to all Pirate fans!



Thanks Coach Holtz and the Pirates for a great season!

Merry Christmas from the Haglers!



Hope ya'll have a Merry Christmas!

From Credit to Cash to Contributions - Why the crying?


Yep, it is the time right before Christmas and there is grousing and complaining that people aren't spending money like they used to. Really? And that is a bad thing?

For the third year, the American Research Foundation has found US Americans are planning to spend less. Excuse me but I would think that would be something to celebrate! I don't know but I would guess that with the problems with mortgages and consumer credit, the fact that for the third year, we're being a little smarter in spending would be a good thing!

Maybe you missed that the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Okay, I didn't know such an organization existed either) reported that U.S. charitable giving surged near $300 billion in 2006. I don't know but that sure sounds like some good news overall too. Could it be that the two are connected?

I'm not a statistician nor am I trying to play one on the internet. I just can't help but notice there seem to be people doing good things. People appear more aware of wasting money. People appear more aware of needs in the world around them. I'd say that would be something to celebrate!
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:20-21 NASB)


May I Ask: What have you found to celebrate this season?

May I Suggest: Look for things to celebrate and give thanks for. Be sure to tell someone else or thank someone else and pass it on!


Picture by sskies

Pssst...Whad U Get Him?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

The Season for Patience

All of us are born being impatient. Spend anytime around a baby and you realize they have no desire to wait for anything and are happy to let you know it. Unfortunately, many people also leave this world still struggling to overcome impatience. Through the years I’ve had people ask me to pray for them for patience. I try to counsel them against it and this writer explains why: “I asked God to grant me patience. God said “No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is earned.”

I think in part that is true. Christmas is certainly a time of tribulation and thus a season for patience. Consider the lines in stores as you buy your last minute items. How about the bidding on Ebay trying to outbid for the perfect gift? Consider waiting on the deliveries from UPS, FedEx and the US Postal Team. What a great place to experience tribulation: the roads around metro Atlanta. Of course let us not forget counting the days on the calendar till Christmas. What is the tribulation you find yourself facing?

Last year about this time, Brandon and I drove out the Monastery in Conyers. In talking with the monks, it struck me how down to earth they really are. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don't they become monks so that they don't have to deal with the world? Yes, that's true. So imagine how impatient this monk was...
The more he tried, the more impatient he became, so he decided that he must get away altogether, to learn to be patient. So he built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.

Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself. The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient. The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied: seven years. Stunned, the traveler asked, "If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?" Annoyed, the monk replied, "Get away from me, I have no time for you."


Patience isn’t formed in private. Patience is formed with people.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5:7-10 NASB)

The monk in our story didn’t get this but the traveler did and so does James. Patience is something which is formed with people. If we are praying for patience in the midst of dealing with someone, rest assured, God is answering your prayer!!!

Patience isn’t procrastination. Patience is perseverance.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:25-26 NASB)

I have been procrastinating going to the dermatologist knowing she’d recognize the spots on my face as early skin cancer. Procrastination puts up with delay. Patience hopes and looks forward. We aren’t the first ones to long for the coming of the Christ. Simeon was looking with patience.

Patience isn’t just a modification in behavior. Patience is the Spirit’s gift of making us better.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)

Patience isn’t just a modification in behavior. Patience is the Spirit’s gift of making us better. You aren’t going to positively think your way to patience. There are no techniques that will truly make patience happen. It is part of the journey to wholeness, what the Bible calls holiness.

So when we look at the story of God, we discover finally that

Patience isn’t just good. Patience is of God.

We know from Moses’ words that God is “… compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; (Exodus 34:6 NASB). Patience resides in the character of God and so is a gift made possible by His love for us.

Christmas is indeed the season for patience. The stories of the Old Testament and prophets reveal not the patience of humanity but the patience of God. It is the story of God waiting patiently and acting compassionately and justly to humanity…“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption…” (Galatians 4:4-5 NASB)

Tis the season for patience. Do you remeber the prayer for for patience at the beginning? After God said “no” to the writer's prayer for patience, she, “…next asked God to help her LOVE others, as much as He loves her. God said…Ahhhh………. finally you have the idea!” The more we come to live and love as God does, the more patience becomes our way of life.


May I Ask: How often do you find yourself impatient? Why?

May I Suggest: Pray first for God to help you love others and then act throughout your day with compassion - practicing patience.

Kroger's @ Crossroads Helps Cub Scouts

My thanks to the management and staff of Kroger's @ the North Paulding crossroads!

The boys of Pack 1916's Bear Den 9 have been working hard on their achievements all year. For December, we saw the opportunity to complete their religious and saving well and spending well achievement. We set aside our den allotment and some boys added their own money to buy meals for needy families.

Kroger's made space available to us and were patient with us going through the line. The boys were able to put together seven balanced meals with non-perishable items. These will go to help needy families this holiday season as part of Pack 1916's holiday meal drive.

It was a great evening. All of us are proud of our boys and I am proud to be a part of a community in North Paulding and businesses like Kroger's that supports their neighbors. This is what it means to be connected!


May I Ask: How are you allowing your community to support you and your work?

May I Suggest: People really do want to help so look for ways for people and businesses to serve. Share your ideas here - it might help someone else!

Proud to be a Pirate!!


It is easy to jump on bandwagons but some of us are connected to schools and traditions by dollars, years and families. Most of the time, I don't have the time or money to support my teams the way I'd like. I get a bit out of control when it comes to sports (I can share stories and so can some friends and family).

Needless to say, in my humble, little world, it was a great week in sports for my alma mater and my 'boys...

1. I was so proud when I heard the news that East Carolina fans are giving tickets to military. Like most, I can't make it to Hawaii but I'm going to have to find a way to join them in support.

2. I'm totally pumped that myECU Pirates ended their ACC basketball losing streak. Against NC State no less...ah, the irony!

3. With the Pirates awaiting their bowl date, the Cowboys take the east.

Just a little Carolina on my mind!

Making, Saving, Giving - Are we?

"Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly, saved all you can, Then "give all you can." (Sermon on "The Use of Money") Those words of John Wesley are certainly prudent especially from one who was as big a tight-wad as Wesley. But are they realistic?

My friend Jerry Clegg at Right Financial highlights how important the save part is:

Determine your retirement income needs
Many experts suggest that you need at least 60 to 70% of your preretirement income to enable you to maintain your current standard of living in retirement.

Calculate the gap
Once you have estimated your retirement income needs, take stock of your estimated future assets and income.

Figure out how much you'll need to save
By the time you retire, you'll need a nest egg that will provide you with enough income to fill the gap left by your other income sources.

Build your retirement fund: Save, save, save
When you know roughly how much money you'll need, your next goal is to save that amount.

Reuter's did a story in the summer in England on Young People Underestimating Retirement Needs. By all accounts, the same seems to be holding true in the U.S.
"Whether I would do it or no, I know what I ought to do..."

Considering that Wesley included this sermon in his Standards, it seems we ought to consider how we are using our money and how we are teaching others to use it. Certainly, if we are not using it rightly, we have little grounds for teaching others.
"Whether I would do it or no, I know what I ought to do...Not to use, is effectually to throw it away."

Sermon 51 of Wesley is entitled, "The Good Steward," and a question we ought to ask of ourselves: Are we with equal passion good stewards of what we've made, saved and given?


May I Ask: When was the last time you considered your earning, saving and giving?

May I Suggest: With the approach of a new year, take time to examine your use of money.

Get Some "Kung Fu" Grip on Faith.

I was in Wal-Mart a few weeks back and saw the re-release of the GI JOE ADVENTURE TEAM with Kung Fu Grip! My son has gotten into GI Joe and we actually found my old GI Joe (complete with the fuzzy head).

Over the Thanksgiving break, I discovered all kinds of cool GI Joe stuff out there including:

Club Hair for GI Joe. Does your "old Joe" have that bald spot? Never fear! Visit Club Hair!

Home of GI Joe and the Elite Brigade.
If your GI Joe is a little worn, have no fear, this is better than rebuilding Steve Austin! (We actually ordered a new arm for my old Joe from here and it fits great - though the skin tone is a bit off)

All this got me thinking. So often in "pop-spirituality" people act like you can just pick up a few pieces here and there and piece together faith. I've always been a little bothered by the marketing of "stuff" for Christians. There always seems to be some new insight or item that promises to "completes" what is missing in our lives. Jesus told Martha, "...only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42 NASB)

Last year I spent time most everyday, reading from the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. I read it over and over again. I journaled my thoughts and I prayed. My focus was to get to know Jesus. I started reading the Gospel of Matthew now. I'm going to follow the same plan, my goal being to get to know Jesus.

My GI Joe is never going to be perfect again. He lost some hair and an arm along the way. He now has some replacement parts but he isn't whole. It seems to me, without having a faith in Jesus that is genuinely mine, then I'm about the same as my Joe.

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB)

Sounds like a pretty tough assignment...YO JOE!!!

May I Ask: What are some of the "vintage" experiences that have shaped you and your faith? How often do you draw from those times during your day?

May I Suggest: Take time to connect to your spiritual heritage during this season. Don't settle for the "re-release" - find the classics.

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