Category Archives: Snowshoes

Turning A Corner

Turning a corner.  Ever been waiting for that to happen?  A figure of speech, yes, but a very important one when you’ve been waiting a long time for something to happen.

If you’ve been walking with me a while, you know that our destination has been someplace very definite.  These past couple of weeks have been very interesting ones in that regard.  I can definitely say that I have been turning a corner!

I am closer than ever to being able to finally tell you the story behind our destination.  And you’re not going to want to miss this!  I know I have been dropping hints here and there.  But that still hasn’t really given you anything substantial to know what it is that I am talking about here.  What I can tell you right now is that any frustration you might feel about that will be well worth it in the end!  Very soon, I will be able to tell you this fantastic tale.

God’s plan for our lives is so much better than anything we could ever ask for or imagine (His Word tells us that in Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 3:20).  It is when nothing appears to be happening and life seems like it’s just a monotonous day-to-day existence that it is the hardest to remember that truth.  But don’t forget this important fact:  When you do finally turn that corner, it makes what you’re going through in the waiting process totally worth enduring!

And there’s also something else to keep in mind.  God’s plan is also about strategy.  Don’t forget that we have a very real enemy who is also watching to see what God’s plan is.  His intention is to interfere with that plan as fast as he can.  Thankfully, God knows this and accounts for it.  Thus, His strategy is far more a significant factor than we’ve ever thought it was.

So when God’s plan begins to unfold and take shape in your life, be ready!  Quite often it comes as something that doesn’t make much logical sense to do.  Don’t over-think it.  Act.  Act on it now while everyone around you–including your enemy–is still wondering what you’re doing.  You act that fast, you’ll find that you are in possession of your Dream before anyone else even realizes what’s happened.

I can hardly wait to tell you why I know what I’m talking about here!  Make sure you’ve got your snowshoes with you, my friend.  They are a part of this more than you know.

When The Lion Roars

We’ve all heard it before.  There’s no way anyone or anything can ignore it when a lion roars.  An attention-getter for sure.

But when we hear that lion roar, what are we actually hearing?  Now, you’re probably wondering what it is that I’m really asking here.  Hang on for a minute and I believe you’ll see it.

If you’ve been walking with me in my snowshoes for any length of time, you already know two things about me:  One is that I am an adamant follower of Jesus Christ and the other is that I respect your right to believe what you believe.  So even if your belief system differs from mine, I need to lay that foundation real quick for you to see something really good.

We human beings have a very real enemy.  Satan is his name–an archangel whom God banished from Heaven because of his rebellion.  It’s important that you know that Satan couldn’t care less about us humans.  But because he knows how much God loves and values us, he absolutely despises us as a result.   This means then that he is committed to doing everything possible to ruin our lives.  So the Bible tells us that Satan “goes about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

So how is he seeking to devour in your life?  Quite often, it’s whatever you’re hearing that lion roar in your ear at any given moment.  And it could be about anything.  Fear, anger, resentment….you name it, he’ll use it.  The point is, if he can roar loud enough at you with whatever his tool-of-choice might be (a life-threatening disease would be a perfect example), he will succeed in getting your focus on him instead of where it ought to be.  And where is that?

If a person is being honest with himself/herself, something will be very obvious about the human condition and science.  Enough research and study has been made in these arenas to show that there is far more to life as we know it than these three dimensions we live in.  The human spirit is a place of incubation–meaning that we always have something there that we are growing.  Something “faith-based”.  Whether it’s a promise from God (which the Bible is full of) or fear, something is always incubating there.  We were created to always be focused on what God has promised us.  Satan knows that and that’s what that lion roars against!  If he can get your focus off of what God says and onto what he is screaming at you, he wins.

So get focused!  Thankfully, Jesus has made that pretty easy to do.  And once you are, stay focused.  I guarantee you it will pay off in the end.

Let Me Tell You A Tale

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that we’ve been heading a certain direction for quite awhile now.  Maybe you have only just begun to “walk in my snowshoes” with me.  If that’s you, then you need to know that there’s something happening here you’re not going to want to miss.  It will be well worth your time to scroll all the way down to the bottom of my blog and read upwards from there.  The order of these stories and such has been very intentional.  You’ll laugh a lot, but you’ll also begin to pick up on something:   The more you read, the more you will see that a picture of sorts is being painted before you–also quite intentional. (If you just can’t make the time to do that, type “Journey” into the search box and that will give you a bird’s-eye view of what I’m talking about here.  It won’t do justice to getting the full experience, but you’ll get an idea of where we are at this point.)  Of course, if you’ve been with me for a while–especially from the very first step taken together as we walked out that door into the unknown–I’m sure I’m telling you something that you already know!

So why tell you all that?  Well, I have known for about a week now that the time has come for me to tell you “the rest of the story”.  You see, I know what you’re in for and I want you to get the full picture of where we are right now on this journey together before we strike out in that direction.

So get a fire in the fireplace going, pull up a couple of comfy chairs and make sure your snowshoes are at the ready.  I’ll bring mine and coffee for two and then….I’ll tell you a tale!

Things Change

Why do things have to change?  And why, sometimes, do they have to change so drastically?  Good questions with not-so-simple answers.

Take how we travelled as kids.  If you’re anywhere near my age, I’m sure you remember standing in the front seat (or inbetween the front seats) as your family car hurtled down the highway, your Mom holding you by the middle as you held your balance there and everybody laughed.  Or maybe you took your afternoon nap in the same car up on the “back dash”–that open space behind and above the back seat where the back window met the trunk of the car–where you were bathed in warm sunlight and fell asleep to the music coming from the rear speakers that were right by your ear.  Now, in the society of today’s world, the parents who let their children ride in a car like that would be called negligent, careless and irresponsible parents who don’t deserve to have children at all since they obviously don’t know how to take proper care of them in a vehicle.  Interesting, don’t you think?

What about something a friend of mine recently told me?  A local community had a fireworks show in the local city park on the Fourth of July–something that hadn’t been done in a long time and everyone was excited about seeing it again–only to afterwards be told by the local city officials that it won’t be happening at all anymore because “some people felt it was too loud”.  Well, what do they think is going to happen with fireworks??  And, to top it off, it was a handful of people who complained about the noise level.  What about the other ninety-five percent who enjoyed it and had no problem with the noise level?  After all, we are talking about a highly unusual event, this having fireworks on the Fourth of July business.  It just shows how we as a society have developed a habit of bowing needlessly to the wishes of a few which turns trivial matters into huge issues.

So what brings this discussion on?  Well, my family and I attended a local parade in our community that is held every year around this time of July.  Remember the parades you attended as a child?  Lots to see and hear, especially when it comes to all of the police cars, ambulances and fire trucks with all of their flashing lights and periodic blasts of horns and sirens.  Only now–at least in the surrounding communities where we are–you only see the flashing lights.  No horns.  No sirens.  I’m not sorry to say that in my mind, hearing the horns and sirens coming from way down the street is what made a parade back in the day!  What’s up with that?!  Our boys even made the international honk-your-horn signal that kids give to semi-truck drivers and the firefighter in the passenger seat who saw them shook his head, apparently unable to fulfill their urgent request (and mine).  It’s a parade!!  You’re supposed to do that!  What has our society come to?  The firetrucks can’t even activate their sirens or horns in a parade anymore!  So sad.

I suppose the next step will be that we won’t be able to drive 4X4 vehicles anymore due to their being too brutal on Mother Earth.  Surely there’s a small handful of people out there who don’t like them and are determined to see their extinction from our society.  At the rate things are going, they’ll get their way and we’ll have to revert back to snowshoes in the winter.  Hey!  That may not be such a bad idea after all…..

So what are your thoughts on this?  I’d love to hear from you!

A Problem Or An Opportunity

Hello again!  Glad we could hook up one more time as we venture together (here lately there hasn’t been any need for snowshoes!).

I recently had a situation occur that got me thinking about something (it was actually as recent as this morning).  We have a fifty-five gallon aquarium in our carpeted living room.  I woke up one morning to find a couple of six-inch-diameter wet spots on the carpeting that were about a foot away from the aquarium.  I knew I had just done a water change the day before, but found that the water level was lower than it should be.  My heart skipped a few beats as I opened up the doors on the front of the aquarium stand to find that the panel-covered bottom of the stand was all wet, as was the bottom of everything that was under there.

After looking everything over, I still don’t know where the water has come from.  The aquarium and aquarium stand have every appearance of being solid and dry (save the wet paneling on the bottom of the aquarium stand).  So one would logically assume that the water filter is to blame (that’s what sits under the aquarium and cleans up the aquarium water).  But everything around the lid’s seal was dry–no sign of a leak of any kind!  So where in all of God’s great creation has this water come from??

I still don’t know the answer to that question.  So as I sit here puzzling this out and taking the necessary steps to get this cleaned up, dried up and all that jazz, my thoughts go to something my wife told me that was very encouraging.  She gave me a big hug and told me how proud she was of me and my behavior during this unplanned and potentially huge problem (at one point we were having to seriously consider a complete tear-down to get at wet carpeting).  She said that I kept my cool and didn’t react anything like I would have when we first got married–or even as recently as a year ago.  That’s hard for me to see.  Of course, when you think about something like that, when you’re under your own microscope you usually don’t see what others see.  But hearing that simply lets me know that God is indeed at work in my life.

So why am I telling you this?  Well, we all face things every day that we have a choice in how we go about handling.  Do we choose to just react like the ugly side of us wants to do?  (That’s certainly the easiest option.)  Or do we choose to respond in what we all usually know is the “better way”?  I’ll say this:  Responding is definitely harder to do than reacting.  And the “better way” is usually, if not always, the harder of the two paths to go down.  But we both know what we should do…don’t we?

What is a similar situation you have found yourself in?  Did you succeed in choosing the better way?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

A Big Dream

Wow, has this weather changed!  Spring is definitely here.  You probably already realized that we took our snowshoes off quite a while ago.  We’re still heading north, but we sure don’t need those anymore.  The trees are starting to bud, and soon there will be Spring blossoms everywhere you look!  I love Spring!

I am going to state a fact that you are well aware of if you have been walking with me from the beginning:  You still don’t know where exactly it is that we’re heading.  Well, I believe the time has come for you to find that out.  This is going to be in stages, though, so I don’t know how long it will take to show you the whole picture.  But just let me tell you that you aren’t going to want to miss this!  It’s already an amazing story–and every bit of it as true as the sky is blue.  So, let’s have a seat in this clearing over here and take a break….

Let me start by asking you a question:  Have you ever asked God, “What am I supposed to do with my life?….What’s my purpose for being here?…What’s my Big Dream?”  Do you know that every one of us has a Big Dream?  I’m not being corny here; I’m being as serious as I know to be, because that’s one of the most important questions you could ever ask Him.  I know, because I asked God that question for over 20 years before I finally got the answer.  Why did it take that long?  Well, if you continue to walk this out with me, you’ll find that out, too.

A Big Dream.  If you’re not careful, you can put a stigma around a phrase like that.  Granted, the self-help and network marketing industries have over-used these phrases, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  God has placed a Big Dream inside each one of us, and it’s up to each one of us to discover what that Big Dream is….and pursue it (both of which can’t be properly done without God’s assistance).  By the way, one of the biggest indicators that you have discovered your Big Dream is that you realize the only way you can accomplish it is with God’s help.

So let’s continue walking this trail we’re blazing together and I’ll tell you an amazing tale….

Strengthening Unused Muscles

How are those snowshoes working for you?  They take some getting used to, but I’d say you’re doing quite well.  I’ll bet your legs are feeling sore, though!  You’re probably using muscles you didn’t even know you had….

This trail we’re breaking has some interesting aspects to it.  No one has been here before–especially us, and right now that’s what really matters, doesn’t it?  How many times have we found ourselves facing a situation–quite often because of a decision we’ve made, be it a good one or a bad one–where we know we’ve never been here before, but it’s a necessary place to be in order to get where we’re going?

These kind of places stretch you.  Sometimes so thin you don’t think you can be stretched any further.  Yet what happens?  You find that you’ve still got something left…and so you’re stretched some more.  And you find that when you get to the other side of that difficult time, you’ve become a better person–a better you.  Stronger, a more complete person, a thicker skin, a relatability to others and what they are experiencing, an air about you that says you’ve been through the Refiner’s fire and come out of it on top.

You also find something else has happened.  You’ve been put in a situation that requires you to use “muscles” that you haven’t used in a long time–if ever.  These “muscles” aren’t physical; rather, they are parts of you and your personality that are rarely or never used.  And you find that the situation you are in requires the use of these “muscles”….and this hurts.  Sometimes very intensely!  But you know that already, don’t you?  And this is the most crucial point you could be in.  Because it’s your choice and your choice alone as to what happens next.  You either give up because it hurts too much….or you choose to push through it anyway, continuing to grow and change and become who God wants you to be.

Isn’t it amazing how God does this?  He leaves so much up to us–and quite often, that is a responsibility that we don’t like to accept.  Yet it can be found all through the Bible.

Let me leave you with this (it’s from a picture my wife just shared with me and I want to share it with you):

When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen:  Either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.

A Change In Direction

It’s beautiful out here this morning!  Got some fresh snow last night.  I love to see snow glistening on the tree limbs, enveloping us in a huge white canopy.  The sunlight reflecting off of the fresh snow like millions of tiny diamonds is just as impressive.

So, got your snowshoes?  You forgot them?  Well, I’ve got an extra pair for you.  Put these on.  And while you’re doing that, I’ll fill you in on what we’re doing…

You may have picked up on it, but we’ve been heading in a northerly direction since we started our journey.  The trail we’ve been walking is a well-used one, but it doesn’t change direction–and we need it to.  We need to head directly north from this point, so we’re breaking our own trail from here on.  The snow is deep, so it’ll be slow going.  But we’ll make headway!

Choices.  Aren’t they complicated sometimes?  We’re making one now.  And every one of them has a consequence to it–cause and effect, as it were.  When God gave us that freedom to choose for ourselves, it came with the responsibility of shouldering those consequences.  Something many of us don’t like to do and some of us even try to avoid.  Now, I realize that you may not believe what I believe about God and the Bible, but walk this out with me for just a few seconds–after all, you are actually walking in my snowshoes right now.  Even if you choose not to believe this, at least you can understand where I’m coming from.

When God created mankind and gave Adam and Eve freewill, He did so out of His love for the only part of His creation that was made in His own image–us.  He knew that the only way He would truly have our love in return for His was for us to be able to freely choose to love Him back–or not.  It’s that “or not” that makes all the difference in the world.  Because that means it’s our choice–not His–what we do with His love:  accept it or reject it.

The funny thing is, it’s those same people who don’t want to acknowledge Him that get so upset when they’re told that Hell awaits them if they don’t choose differently (that argument of “how can a loving God send anyone to a place like that?”).  But think it through….He’s simply giving that person for eternity what they wanted their whole life on earth:  a life without God.

He certainly has created some beautiful things, hasn’t He?  Look at the beauty of winter that is all around us.  Some would argue, “Where’s the proof that He exists?”  And I would respond, “Where’s the proof that He doesn’t?  Look around you; there is proof everywhere.”

One thing I know for certain:  The person with an experience is never at the mercy of the person with a theory.

I’ll have a good joke to share with you next time we catch up.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

 

The First Few Miles

So we’re on the trail together!  Most excellent.

How about I go into a little more detail about what we’re doing and where we’re going.  I mentioned before that we’re going to walk in each other’s shoes for a while.  When we do that, we experience life together from a unique perspective.  Walk in my shoes and let me show you some truly amazing things that have happened to me–and still are–things that I believe can help you and strengthen you on your journey.

We’ll definitely laugh together (I’ve got some stories to tell); probably shed a tear or two; be challenged together; and generally have a great time as we head to our destination.

And speaking of our destination…..where we’re going is really going to blow your mind.  You’ll be amazed when we get there!  But it’s going to take a while.  This trail we’re on is a good one–it’s used quite often–but some of the journey could get a little treacherous.  No worries, though!    When you see where we’re going, it’ll be worth it.  And by the way, this isn’t some metaphor for Heaven that I’m speaking of (although, just between you and me, that’s going to be even better than where we’re going!).  Our destination is tangible, we’ve got a lot of miles to cover and a whole lot of fun to be had, so let’s get to it….

In The Beginning…..

Hello.(….”My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”)

Sorry.  I can’t help but hear those lines whenever I see the word “hello” (if you don’t know what those lines are from, stick around for a minute and I’ll tell you).

Matthew is my name.  Glad you could join me.  This promises to be a fantastic journey, and I’m thrilled you’re willing to walk this leg of it with me.  Let me post some landmarks before we go….

You should know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ–a “Christ-one” or “Christian” in today’s vernacular.  You should also know that I have the utmost respect for your right to believe what you believe.  I don’t push my beliefs on anyone; I simply want you to know where I’m coming from as we head out and that I speak of Him often (that’s what Best Friends do).

One more landmark to post:  this blog is about walking in my shoes for a while, and me walking in yours.  Life can pass by so fast and before we know it, we’ve missed all kinds of opportunities to touch others’ lives and experience life with them–joys and sorrows and everything in-between.  And why snowshoes??  It has to do with where we’re heading.  I’ll fill you in as we go….

Oh yeah.  Those lines are from a classic 80’s movie called “The Princess Bride” (one of the best “escape-into-a-fun-story-for-two-hours” movies ever made).

Ready?  Let’s get our boots on, zip our coats up and head on out.  We’ve got a lot of ground to cover……