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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brother Lynn

Lynn, my brother, died this last Friday. He was born 5 years and 6 days ahead of me.

His death was nothing less than a total surprise to everyone and it seemed to me way to early for it to be happening. Lynn was the epitome of the "all around good guy". He had a great work ethic, he was a good husband, a good dad, and the proudest grandfather one might ever know! Lynn loved people and doing for people.

Our family has not been the closest family in the world as we all live quite a distance from each other. Lynn has been the common denominator in our family in keeping everyone in contact. Many a time Lynn would call and I could hear forklifts in the back ground or machines running. "I was just thinking of you and thought I would call" he would say. I find that, now, some what comforting; during his busy life my brother would have moments of 'thinking about" me. He did a lot of that- thinking of others but I want to tell you about what he did for me.

In high school our relationship was nothing less than the typical brother dislike for each other- like two young bull calves fighting at every opportunity. He wasn't always the most brother friendly person in the world and our tussles would give evidence to that! Lynn began changing- something in his life was different and it frustrated me. Things went from party mode to "doing what is right" mode. As I reached an older age what was acceptable for him at that age was all of sudden NOT acceptable for me. He would tell me not to do the things he had done for years! My young brain was totally confused about this and was very perplexed about it!

Soon Lynn married his wife and moved to Oklahoma City to go to Bible College which really didn't go along with the Lynn I knew as we were growing up! But whatever, he wasn't around any more to worry about his nagging at me.

My father and I had a strained relationship and times were not good between us. I would be often compared to Lynn by him and was often asked why I wasn't more like him. ugh. I had applied for x-ray school while a senior in high school but was turned down. There was then no direction in my life, I had no idea what I would do after school. The day of my graduation Lynn came home and asked me to move to OKC with him and his wife and their first child. Out of the blue this brother that I was glad to see leave my life to live in another city, suddenly appears after not talking to each other for at least months if not years to ask ME to move to another city with them! At the time, I had no reservations to say yes as I needed to move away from home asap, I could work out the logistics of life after getting to OKC.

Lynn was different in OKC. His life revolved around his wife and daughter, work, church and church friends. The party days had disappeared, his coming home in a stupor was long gone, and his dag gum cheerfulness was frustrating for someone that didn't get it!!

Going to the same church as Lynn I met a girl I had known from home, 300 miles away. Granted, we hadn't like each other 'back home' but we knew each other. I dated her room mate and then asked her to marry me while her room mate was on vacation. (another story another time)

Fast track three years to Sandy and I moving to Tulsa. I found Jesus looking for me and we began a relationship that has caused my world to be totally different. Ahhhh...... this must be what happened to Lynn years prior. My life was different when entering to this relationship with Christ. My hate for my father turned into sorrow that we didn't have a relationship that I thought a father son should have. My outlook on life was different, it wasn't about me but about God and others! I get it!!!

I could tell you more about my life and the changes that took place after having my ah ha moment, but my purpose is to thank Lynn for being there for me. This week a lot has come to light for me and how Lynn was very instrumental in my life. It was because of his change in life that caused me to be frustrated in my life. It was because of his love for his family that caused me to see a different relationship of family life than I had seen. It was because of him that I was able to meet my soul mate and wife! It was because of him that did go to school and get a degree. It was because of him that I began having self confidence. It was really because of Lynn that I have found the joy, peace, and love through Christ. If he hadn't came to Missouri to get me, to give me a chance in a new life in a new place, I wouldn't be who I am today. I wouldn't have the awesome wife I do, I wouldn't have the awesome children I do, I wouldn't know the Lord, and I certainly wouldn't have the joy of knowing Lynn Smith like I do today! I wish it wasn't now that this has came to mind, I wish it would of been 8 days ago and me calling to tell him what he has meant to me.

Lynn lived for the minute, he took opportunities at a drop of a hat. Someone needed to talk, he listened, they needed a hand, he was there to give a hand, they wanted his opinion- he had one of those too!!!

In the stillness of this night fond memories have come of my brother. Thanks Lynn for being you! Thanks for caring and loving the way you did. Thanks for being my brother.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mid-life- oh yeah!

4am and I'm sitting at a computer writing out my thoughts about life- can there be any more of a sure tale sign of being in mid-life?!

My journey to good health has been stifled in the last couple of weeks due to being out of a routine. More than being out of a routine it would seem that the addictions to certain foods are primarily the corbrit for being in this funk.

Several months ago I realized that realistically I am well past mid-life; when reviewing my first 49 years of life I see and have the body to show for my decisions of life. What do I do? Repeating the same way of life will produce a continuation of decline in my wellness. Certainly I understand that aging will bring on a different dimension to life but how I live life, what I put into my body for nutrition will effect the way I enter the second half of life........ Lord willing. It is all about God allowing me the opportunity to continue on in life here on earth, He is ultimately in control; not what I do!

I am enjoying meeting people that have accomplished the change in their lifestyle to maintain and improve their health. It encourages me to know that it is possible through determination and grace of God! Keeping priorities of life in check is an important. Although I may be focused on my health, keeping God's work, that is going on around me where ever I am, in focus is vital for contentment in life and for success.

When God gave me new life in Him, He also gave me a responsibility to be His ambassador. My life before Christ was certainly a life that had confusion, unhappiness, and restlessness to it. As I have gone through life's many changes, changes have had to be made! Awareness of being ungodly has been brought to my attention by His Spirit that lives in me is only the first step of change that needs to happen. It is my job to be consciously aware of that and with His power change those things; which will then lead to having a better life, to be more like Him, and having the peace of life that those changes bring.

My journey is understanding changes are not always easy and certainly not something that can always be done by oneself- matter of fact, I believe God doesn't want us to go at change alone. My reasoning is that going through crisis's in life is the way that we are brought to the awareness of the necessity of change. These crisis that have been in my past "oh no" moments for me now are becoming more like, "OK, what do I need to see through this" moments. When I see that crisis's have happened and i rely on Christ to see me through them. Through these things I have a witness to His goodness, His provision and His love. But it doesn't stop there. Whew I made it through and it's done; not so! It is my willingness to share those heartaches, crisis's with others that will even allow the Spirit to work through me more.

The Israelites always seem to have a problem with staying close to God (I only use them because of the biblical illustrations, if my life had a book written about it, there would be a lot of similarities!). God would put them in a crisis situation and they would look to Him, He would deliver them, they would praise Him, they would get self-reliant, and then they would fall away from Him again ONLY to have Him put them back into a crisis so they would return to Him.

This pattern has been all too familiar ring to my first half of life. It is my desire for this second half of life to be different. I want to share with everyone how God has helped me through financial struggles, through martial times of struggle, through my mess ups in parenting, and every aspect of life. In the first half it was just important for me to make it through without anyone recognizing that I had messed up and went to great lenghts to cover things and camouflage the situations as much as possible. I primarily used the church to hide, as long as I attended regularly and be the 'ideal' Christian, all will be good. How destructive of thought process that is! All those years of attending church with a lack of anyone that I could openly, honestly share my troubles with because i was afraid of what may of been thought of me was crazy! Although James stated we are to rely on each other to confess our sins to each other for healing- that is the last thing anyone wants to do at church- be honest. Oh now hang on, I'm not dogging church, I'm dogging the way I looked at church! Church's suppose to be a place where we gather corporately to worship our Lord and Savior, period. My expectations had grown to be more than that, performance driven church attendance was my primary reason for going. I now realize that relationships that have meaning is something that will be obtained by being in a relationship with our closest of friends. Christ went to the hillsides to teach and to worship the Father's love that He has for the world. Christ met in the synagogues to teach of God the Father's lovingness, But it was in times of being with the guys, one on one or two or three, that brought the prospective of oneness and honesty to the forefront. Christ shared His deepest thoughts with them.

It isn't necessary to shame oneself in front of a congregation to have the release of guilt. God isn't into making His children belittling themselves but rather wants us to encouraged each other and helping each other realize that it is by His forgiveness of our sin that we are free from those things and openly sharing those things with others so they can also know that!

Mid-life, yes, but it's going to be a better second half! The first half has all happened for a reason and it is my responsibility to learn from it and to SHARE it! But how!? I DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT- God will put people in my path of life to share His love for me with, I just have to be consciously aware of my surroundings at all time.

My goal is to be a healthier Allen by the time I'm fifty, eight and half months away! It's going to be fun to do this journey and to see who God gives me to share it with!
Striving for being healthy is not a self-centered idea- it is a good thing. We are to take care of our bodies. I'm at a time in life where I can focus my thoughts and ideas towards that . . . and i'm going to meet people along this journey that I would of never been able to without this experience. My life needs to be lived to the fullest, making the most of everything I do AND with trying to see life as I go through it with Christ's eyes. Who is hurting around me, how can I help someone around me, who needs a word of encourgement around me. . . .. I don't have to GO somewhere to do this, I have to LIVE and let God's soveriegnity bring me together with people around me that He want's my life to be a part of. When I attend church now, it is to worship my Saviour with singing, instructions from the Word, and give back what He has given to me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a Great Week!

The anticipation of the last weeks certainly turned out to be everything I had hoped for. Brandon/Mandy and JAMES arrived safely and the action packed week started. We visited my folks and had turkey dinner with them and then traveled on to be with Sandy's folks. B&M was able to visit with friends from Pittsburg and I was able to help put the Christmas Decorations up at Bob and Betty's! My brother-in-law and I got to do some long over due hanging out which I enjoyed.

This morning we loaded Brandon/Mandy and JAMES back into the car as Rachel took them to the airport.

It was a great week of being with my family. What a treasure that I have in mywife, children and now a grandchild; each a treasure given to me by my Heavenly Father! Thanks God.