Social Icons


Monday, June 27, 2016

No Worries

I have been going through a really difficult time the last few months.  I know life is always going to have its ups and downs, but for some reason I seem to be stuck in a bottom of a really deep valley at the moment. A lot of bad things have been happening in my life lately including serious health issues affecting my mom, my wife and one of my children. I also discovered a serious financial problem affecting my mom that was created by one of our relatives. I have also had some really difficult situations to handle at work and just to add salt to the wound, I injured my back worse than ever last week and now I need physical therapy.

So, it would be easy to whine and complain and feel sorry for myself. (And sometimes I do find myself doing that just a little bit.) But I know that if I decide to worry, it will just make everything worse. The word worry comes from a word that means “to divide”. So if I worry... I am actually dividing my energy which leaves me feeling drained and a whole lot worse overall.

So this morning I wrote out a list of the six major problems I am facing at the moment. Then I tried to find a positive take for each problem. It wasn’t easy to find the positive side of each problem, but I focused my energy and thoughts and was actually able to write out something positive for every single one. I didn’t necessarily solve each problem, but I did put each one in the proper perspective.

After doing this exercise I felt a lot better and a lot stronger. I think I discovered that focusing on finding the positive side of a problem is way better than worrying about it, because when we worry about a problem, the problem gets us instead of us getting it.

The other thing I did was to take a moment to pray about the problems. But I took a new approach, a little different than usual. I didn’t ask God to solve my problems, I simply thanked him for all the “positive things” I came up with and for always working in my best interest, whether I understand it or not. I am not naive so I know my current run of bad luck may not be over, and there may be even more problems on my horizon. But I now know that truly focusing on the positive and being thankful for the good things in my life will help me to put my fears aside and have the courage to climb out of a valley, no matter how deep it is.  

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid; 
for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. 
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
~ Deuteronomy 31:6 

Monday, June 20, 2016

And That Got Me Thinking

Last week I had someone comment on my last name, Thrailkill. It’s an unusual name so I get a lot of comments about it, so I have often wondered what it’s all about. Obviously I didn’t get to pick my last name and I actually don’t know much about it, but I’ve been told that it originated in Wales.

And that got me thinking…I also don’t know much about Wales except that the stones that were used to build Stonehenge came from Wales back around 2400 BC.

And that got me thinking…I don’t know much about Stonehenge either, except that it can be used to predict the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year.

And that got me thinking…Hey, Summer Solstice is today, June 20th, 2016!
At dawn in the summer solstice around 2400 BC, the rays of the sun would shine
straight through the "slaughter stones" to exactly strike the "altar stone" in the center
Nobody really knows why Stonehenge was designed to catch the sun’s rays so perfectly on the dawn of the Summer Solstice day, so it remains a mystery. But there are a lot of theories about it revolving around the importance of sunlight, and how light in general represents good while darkness represents bad. So it obviously had something to do with light.

And that got me thinking…I myself have worked with light (in the lighting industry) for a really long time (42 years and counting) and I truly believe it has been a major blessing for myself and my family.

So there you go… I just solved the mystery of why someone named Thrailkill would labor for so long to provide perfect lighting for so many people… because light is good!  
And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light. 
And God saw that the light was good.
~ Genesis 1:3 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Always There

My youngest son has been living in Florida for the past four years. The last time I saw him was two years ago when he came out to California for a brief visit. Since that time it has been really hard to reach him, his phone calls have dropped off and it was becoming obvious he was once again having some serious problems in his life, primarily with alcohol and depression. Then I got a phone call from his girlfriend telling me he had been hospitalized in very serious condition.

As a Father my heart went out to him and I wanted to fly to Florida immediately. But my work schedule and family obligations here at home with my wife and other children made me hesitate. I also hesitated because I knew this was a serious problem that I wouldn’t be able to solve with a hug or some fatherly words of advice. So I went out back and sat down for a minute to pray about it. When I was done, I still didn’t know what to do, but it felt good to unload my worries to God and know He was listening… and that He is always there for me.

Later that day, I told my wife I had made the decision to fly to Florida. She immediately set me up with an airline ticket, rental car and a Hotel room, and a loving supportive hug. I was only in Florida for 2 ½ days but from the moment I saw my son until the moment I left, I knew I had made the right decision. His problems are huge but so is our love for each other. We talked for hours about little things, big things, good times we had in the past and good times yet to come. When it came time for me to leave he hugged me and wouldn’t let go. He kept saying, “I love you Dad” and kept fighting back tears as I repeated back to him, “I love you too.”

It was late in the evening and really dark as I drove back to my Hotel. When I got there I packed my bag because I had an early 7am flight the next morning. I set the alarm on my phone and then sat my watch, bracelet and phone on the nightstand. I had trouble falling asleep but at some point I woke up, glanced over at my watch and saw that my alarm never went off and it was already 6am! My heart started pounding like crazy because I knew I would never make my flight. I grabbed my watch and phone, threw on my clothes, flew down three flights of stairs, jumped in my car and raced to the airport. I was in such a panic I missed the on ramp to the freeway and had to make an illegal U-turn. As I clutched the steering wheel and sped down the freeway I noticed my black rubber bracelet (the one that has “I Am Second” on it to remind me to put God first) was missing from my arm. In my panic and because the room was dark, I didn’t see it and forgot to put it on.

When I got to the Rental Car return area, I threw my keys at the attendant and yelled, “Which way to Terminal One?” He gave me directions for a short cut down an “employees only” staircase. But when I got to the security check-in area, my phone wouldn’t pick up Wi-Fi, so I couldn’t show my boarding pass. The TSA Agent wouldn’t let me through, so I had to run upstairs to the ticket window, get a printed out boarding pass, and then race back down to the security line. I finally made it onto the plane with only one minute to spare.

As I sat down in my seat and tried to catch my breath, I couldn’t believe I had made it onto the flight. I decided to say a quick prayer of thanks, not just for making the flight, but more importantly for the fact that God had gone with me to Florida… and was always there with me every step of the way. As I stared down at my folded hands, all of a sudden I noticed that my black rubber bracelet was back on my arm. How did that happen! I thought about it and I’m positive I didn’t have it on in the car because I distinctly remember looking down at my right arm and it wasn’t there. So how in the heck did it suddenly re-appear on my arm?

I know what you’re thinking… That crazy Joe was in a panic and he probably just didn’t see it, so that bracelet was probably always there. Right? Maybe. But one thing I know for sure… God is always there!

Peace on the outside comes from knowing God on the inside.
~ Anonymous