Archive for February, 2011


Surprise, Surprise….

February 25, 2011

I stopped into a McDonald’s the other day to have a milkshake. I am not the biggest Ronnie Mac fan in the world but it was close and convenient. Shortly after I got back to the office and no sooner than I finished my milkshake….I got a surprise. I was shocked to find that McDonald’s milkshakes contain seaweed. That seaweed is in the form of an extract called carrageenan, a thickener and emulsifier that keeps the butterfat in the shake from separating out. I guess I should acknowledge, “I enjoyed my seaweed!”

Marine private Gomer Pyle (Gomer Pyle USMC aired from 1964 to 1969 on CBS) used to repeat in almost every episode of his television show the phrase, “Surprise, Surprise!”

Life is full of surprises. Some of the surprises refresh us. At our lowest ebb when we are “under the pile” or “in the tank” a word of encouragement can feel like a replenishing rain. Maybe out of the blue we receive a letter of affirmation. Those lines, though few, life our spirits. It could be an unexpected phone call or a hug of reassurance that sends us soaring. On the day we need to hear or read those words, we are refreshed by surprise. Other surprises rebuke us. A pastor friend had worked with a family for months after counseling and performing a wedding. At the conclusion they paid him with a pair of work gloves. He shared with me how disappointed he was with that token for services rendered. Several weeks later he called me on a Saturday afternoon to share with me when he had attempted to put the gloves on there was a $100 bill rolled up and stuffed in the end of every finger and thumb socket. What a rebuke!

Life is short. God is sovereign. All plans are in His hands, not ours. When God repeats “Surprise, surprise!” through various episodes of our lives, let’s not waste valuable time asking “Why me?” or “Why now?” or “Why this?” Just keep in mind, “He does all things well.” Yes…all things…….


Starting Over….

February 23, 2011

The last few weeks have produced so many people in my path that are starting over…or attempting too! Two weeks ago, an alcoholic…sober again. Last week the struggle of an impending divorce….the most recent of three. And on Monday, a young man with a criminal record who is in his own words was… “trying to pull it all together and find a new start.”

We all have to remember that our lives are trial and error. There are successes and failures. Highs and Lows. The greatest and the least. You will never win the raffle if you do not buy the ticket. We have to keep plugging away. One step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time. I was shocked the other day to learn that Silly Putty resulted from a failed World War II effort to develop an inexpensive synthetic substitute for rubber.  It reminded me that the best intentions do not always turn out as we had first hoped.

God can bring so much from so little. You may have a fresh start anytime you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down but the staying down.

I read a quote several years ago from an anonymous Lieutenant in the Fire Department as he was leading his fireman into a massive fire as a result of a large scale earthquake. He said, “We will see things today we shouldn’t have to see, but listen up, we will do it together. We’ll be together and we will all come back together.”

Those words closely resemble another one that said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)