Thursday, October 3, 2013

Soul Maintenance

Painting! I have a love, hate relationship with it.  I love how things look after a fresh coat of paint but after a few hours I get impatient and begin getting sloppy.  Then comes the hate!  Buying another house has given me plenty to do.  This house, built in 2002 has had little maintenance  done for many years.  So, with a deck that spans the width of the house with no stain and wood trim having bare wood showing, I knew what needed to happen. Four weeks ago I began.  I switched between the trim and deck and finally today, the outside painting is finished.  One deck completely refurbished and looking brand new and trim painted giving the house a fresh look.  I have to admit during both projects I wondered why previous home owners did not take the time to do a little more maintenance.  I know the amount of time and energy I expended would have been shortened if they would have!

As I think about it, a house isn't the only thing that needs maintenance: cars, boats, lawns, water heaters, furnaces, the list seems endless.  But the most important item is my soul.  My soul is one of those things that if I go too long between "maintenance's" other parts of me begin to show the signs of strain.  You know what I mean?  I get irritated, grumpy, selfish, moody, and that's just in the first few minutes of the day!  Not to mention the anxiety, fear, anger, and just a general feeling of being "ticked off" at those I love the most.  So, what's the solution?  Routine maintenance / care!  For me, my soul maintenance is found in spending time with Jesus through His Word the Bible.  I've been amazed time and time again what happens in my soul when I take time to read, think, pray, and consider who God is.  When I truly see God for who He is, His character, I begin to see who I am because of Jesus and His righteousness in me.  This concept alone feeds my soul.  Soul Maintenance is real and worth the time and effort.  How about it, when was the last time you've been refreshed in your soul?

So, as I sit and ponder the completion of two major projects, I wonder what the next one will be.  Wait, is that the water heater making noises???  Another "project" on the horizon!

Be Blessed,


Saturday, July 27, 2013


Why is that so hard sometimes?  When I have something that is adequate and works why do I think I need something better or more?  The past 5 weeks I have been in more shops (stores) than I have in the last two years combined. I have even made multiple trips to the same store in the same day!  Some of you think that would be nirvana! Setting up a house for the second time in two years can be exhausting.  At first you think, "how fun."  But marathon shopping after marathon shopping and assembling virtually everything you buy, I'm ready to just be!  Although, I am getting quite versed in putting bolts, washers, and nuts together.  I've come to the conclusion that two of those contentment busters is spending time in a store and looking through the local ads.  

How do you do it?  How do you remain content in a world that screams: "you've got to have more!"  We're in this together and like Paul told Timothy, godliness with contentment is GREAT gain!  Contentment is really more about the state of my heart than the state of my bank account/ contents I own.  The question I need to ask is: "is there something missing in me than is driving this lack of fulfillment?"  Hopefully, as I age I am learning that the only real fulfillment comes from the One who is more than enough for me...Yahweh-yireh.  He is the God who will provide!  I'm grateful He is and does.  How about you?

Monday, June 24, 2013


The mere mention of this word in our house can make a grown man cry and send shock waves through the house!  Moving didn't use to bother me.  In fact, I used to enjoy it...starting over, finding a house, meeting new people, etc.  But when a move takes 4-5 months and spans continents, I have come to the conclusion there is one word for it: YUCK (that's the nice word).  We have been in transition now since January when we started the process of getting rid of things and planning our departure from Australia.  We left the land of OZ the 3rd of April and was living with the bare necessities two weeks before and with a friend for the last week.  I have gotten so tired of lugging suitcases around that I am becoming a firm believer in minimalistic travel.  From April 5th through June 17th we were living out of suitcases and spending time with a lot of family and friends.  Now, we are in a temporary location living with the bare minimum by ourselves until we move into our house July 9th (Ruthann's birthday...beat that for a birthday present)!   

Don't get me wrong, we have been truly blessed by all those who have hosted, invited, put up with, and made arrangements for us over the last several months.  But, there is something about being settled in your own space...I'll let you know what that feels like again in a few weeks!  During this time God has blessed us, surprised us, ambushed us, and taught us some lessons on living in community.  We are richer for the experience.  I have learned that no matter where I live there are great people and opportunities to serve.  I also have learned that I really don't want to move again anytime in the near future...say 15 years at least!!!  I still don't like MOVING, but I am starting to anticipate what life will be like as we unpack and settle in.  NOW if we could just get our freight shipment from Australia!!!



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Make A Decision!

Every day I’m making decisions: what do I eat, what do I wear, how I will respond, what should I say?  It's all about choice! It would be interesting to track how many decisions we make each day.  I’m guessing it would be in the thousands. 

Some decisions are easy and don’t take much thought: do I breath today, do I eat, should I wear clothes? YES!  Should I tune the radio to a Country Music station, NO!  Others are really complex: do I tell them the hard truth, do I get involved, when should I pull back?

The last few months have been packed full of some really big decisions for me and my family: should I accept the job, when do we move, where do we live, what do we do in the transition time?  I would hope that even in the midst of some really big decisions there has been one overriding constant.  A decision that’s been a no brainer, the decision to be joyful no matter what…even in setting up a cell phone plan!  I have to confess, the decision to be joyful no matter what the circumstances hasn’t been as easy as breathing, eating, or will I wear clothes today.  To be joyful is a decision much like: will I run today, will I eat healthy, will I do the hard things first?  And, it has some incredible benefits much like exercise, healthy eating, and prioritizing my day: joy brings perspective; joy brings, well…joy.  I’ve seen it again and again out in the shops what a smile will do for a weary cashier, stock person, or frenzied shopper.  Joy can be contagious and affect more than just me.  So, what will it be?  Today, I choose Joy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ode to OZ

Australia, just the mere mention of this country elicits a variety of comments by so many people.  When we began the adventure of moving to Australia it seemed like 95% of American's responded with: "that's one place on my bucket list to visit."  After living there for two years I would say EVERYONE should take an opportunity to travel to this amazing country.  The beauty of the place, the mystic of the culture, and the spirit of Aussie's are what makes this country gorgeous!

I must say, I don't think I'll miss the spiders, the constant thought of looking out for snakes, or the ever present head wind when running or riding my push bike.  But I have already missed fish and chips, gazing on the ocean, and knowing if my thong breaks where to pick up more!!!

People have asked: "what do you think you'll miss the most about Australia?"  That's easy...our dear friends.  It's amazing how quickly the bond of friendship was established.  The beauty of connecting with people who loved life, loved God, and loved adventure is permanently embedded into my heart.  I know I was an alien/foreigner in the country, but there is a part of my heart that is now Australian.  As time continues to tick by the minutes that we have left OZ, the memories and love for the country and people is still strong.  THANK YOU Australia for two years of life!  THANK YOU friends for your love, time, and your presence as we journeyed life together.  My life has been blessed and made much richer because of you.   


Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's "see ya later" NOT "Good-bye!"

I HATE Good-byes.  It sounds so final.  When my very good friend Randy was battling stage four Melanoma, there came a point in time when I knew I wouldn't be seeing him anymore in this life.  As the time came for me to leave his side and drive back home I looked him in the eyes and said: "I'm NOT saying good-bye because this isn't the ya later!"  That thought has shaped me over the last few years.  For those who are following Jesus, there isn't a good-bye, just a see ya later! One word enters my heart with this truth: PEACE!

Our time is coming to an end here in Australia.  In three short days we will board a plane and make our way back to the United States.  As I think back over the last two years many fantastic experiences and dear friends come to mind.  Saying good-bye isn't needed because I KNOW I will see them again, either by way of us visiting OZ or by those who make their way to the U.S.  However, if neither of those options don't materialize, I KNOW I will see many of these dear ones again after this life is over!  So, it is with a grateful and full heart I say: SEE YA LATER to those Aussies who have loved us, done life together, and enriched our lives in so many ways.  We won't forget you or your beautiful country.  You have a special place in our hearts.

Love ya HEAPS, 

Marty & Ruthann

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Holidays in March

March Madness has begun and I'm in a time zone that is upside down when the dance has started.  That could be classified as torture according to International Law.  I have a suggested legislation the House and Senate should take up.  Since not much seems to be happening in D.C., I think they need to declare the first weekend of March Madness (Thursday through Sunday) as a National Holiday!  In South Australia there are 10 full and 2 partial days that are public holiday's.  In America we have 7.  This would bring the total to 11.  Anyone out there with me on this...write your legislator today!  

Beyond that, have you filled out your brackets?  This has become a family tradition for us.  Now, instead of doing a paper bracket we're filling them out on-line.  This should be interesting this year since Ruthann has discovered what the numbers beside the teams mean!  I guess my "expertise" in bracketology may take a hit this year.

Happy Madness,


Friday, March 1, 2013

Ahead of My Time!

Last Friday, February 21st we left Adelaide, South Australia at 12:15pm for a flight back to the U.S.  We arrived in San Fransisco, California on Friday, February 21st at 10:58am!  I can say without hesitation, "I'm a man ahead of my time."  I wonder if we were created for such travel.  Think about it, if we were to travel the same distance at the pace of a car, our bodies would be able to adjust to the many times zones crossed.  With air travel, the shock to my body of traveling half way around the world where night is day and day is night takes quite a while for my body and mind to catch up with the reality of the time zone I'm currently in!  Some say that for every hour the time difference in travel, allow one day for your body to adjust.  So, with there being a 16 !/2 hour time difference from South Australia to Indiana we should be adjusted by March 11th!  The only problem, by that time we will be back in OZ readjusting all over again.  The trip back will result in us loosing a day but jumping ahead in time.  So, I guess you could say we'll be heading Back to the Future!  

Happy Trails,


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Out of the Blue!

Ever have one of those days where you wake up and think it's going to be just a normal day with not much excitement planned or anticipated?  Today was one of THOSE days!  When I woke up this morning I can guarantee you that I didn't think my rear would be planted on the back of a camel!  It's those unexpected surprises that are the best!  Our friend, Nancy and I stepped into the unknown world of Camel Jockidom.  What a hoot!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Someone's @ the Door!

 The view from our front door this am. Great reminder...hmmmm, think I'll "pray." 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

S.O.A.R. in Twenty-13

The first day of Twenty-13 included watching the movie: The Hobbit.  WOW...I am a J.R. Tolkien fan and own the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I believe The Hobbit will be added to the DVD collection some day.  

The Hobbit is packed full of adventure with a constant tension of survival.  Just when you think all is lost, something or someone steps up to turn the inevitable into a way out!  The Eagles are one of those characters.  They come at just the right time, make their rescue and take their  passengers to a better place.  Each time I see this type of scene I can't help but think of Isaiah 40:31 ...those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles....  I want to soar in Twenty-13.

One of the reoccurring things that I hear from people is the frustration with reading and studying the Bible. I have had the same frustration over the years and it's not from a lack of trying or discipline.  But over the last year I have come across a way to S.O.A.R. when it comes to spending time in the Bible.  I keep a journal and jot down the acronym S.O.A.R. on the left side.  Here's how it works:

S   Scripture: select the passage from the Bible I want to read/study.

Observation: what questions, thoughts, or something that stood out to me while reading the passage?

Attributes: what attributes of God are either mentioned or inferred in this Scripture.    Ask, who is this God?  One of the biggest mistakes I've made over the years has been to approach the Bible with the question: how does this apply to me instead of who is this God.  It's in the character and attributes of God I can then discover who I am and what I am to do. Besides, the Bible is God's revelation to help us know who He is!

Response: based on what I read, observed, and discovered about God, ask: how should I respond?  My response maybe: prayer, an attitude I need to work on, an action I need to take, or a person I need to talk too.

Over the last year, my time in God's Word has become more meaningful and full of revelation of our Great God.  In Twenty-13 I'm wanting to soar to new heights of understanding the God who loves me more than I love myself.

Happy New Year's and get ready to SOAR!