Friday, February 27, 2009

What makes a man?

I work at a camp. My job is an office job. In fact, I have always worked more in an office than out of one! Whether working for a church or now at camp, I have spent many hours on the phone, computer and in meetings. I don't often get to work with my hands except around the house.

Recently I have had some self-revelation regarding being a man. At camp we have some great men who manage the facilities on this property. Over the years these "tough guys" work with their hands, and in my opinion, THEY ARE MEN! Hey, wait a minute, what about a guy like me?

Can I still be a man if my work is with my mind or handling people? What if I have never been trained to work with my hands? What if I am not "mechanical" in any way?

One of the cool things about working here and being comfortable in my own skin is learning how to be a man. Conclusion: I am a man who will seldom have calloused hands from labor. I love working on my car, landscape and plumbing or electrical issues around my house. Shoot, I even drove a Bobcat yesterday to clean up some of the camp roads!

What I do, does not make me a man. WHO I AM contributes most to me becoming a man. Someday, perhaps I will be a man who is similar to Jesus!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Person...

It becomes more clear everyday to me that the best way to build a relationship with another person is IN PERSON! Before you laugh, consider how many ways to try to get to know others, accomplish our jobs, communicate without ever seeing another person. While necessary, nothing will ever replace the ability to listen, feel and respond to someone directly in front of you.

In a world with increasing speed this may be one of the best practices to keep us human! I look forward to speaking with you...IN PERSON!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A great response in times like these

The entire Bible is full of examples of "contracts" and "covenants". While we are well aware of a contract, like buying a car or house. We, as a culture, are less informed about a COVENANT!

In the simplest terms I can use, a covenant is an agreement between two parties. Similar to a contract there are parties, terms and promises, BUT, and this is a big BUT! Covenant agreements imply fulfilling your side of the agreement AND helping the other party fulfill theirs!

Of course the same covenant asks the other party to fulfill theirs and help you fulfill does go both ways, but since I am addressing you, then let's work on keeping the covenant and not just cashing in because they failed. This could be financial, but it applies to marriage, work and relationships with family and friends.

Hmmm? Would "covenant keeping" help us during tough times? Would that help us in terms of making a difference for real people? Of course it would. My hope is to help others during times like this. Join me!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just another step in the journey

You know there seems to be a common thread in my experiences over the past few days. From conversations with friends and family to putting a dent into a friends car. All seem to be "part of the NORMAL life".

My sister lost her house and has to move home and there is nothing I can about it. NOT FUN! I have to fix the dent or pay to have it repaired over a stupid mistake. Ironically, I actually pay careful attention while driving BUT...oh well! I talk with friends and have heartbreak or anger over the conversation. There is sickness, both minor and major, for those in my life.

To sum it up, it's just part of being human! As a Christ follower, I am not insulated in any way from normal life issues that come up. However, I can take heart that someone bigger than me is willing to walk along during my journey. Could you be that person for someone else today? Would you be willing to act like Jesus for someone else? Perhaps you don't even care about Jesus, but would you give yourself to aid others in the life?

Imagine the difference it would make if we all cared more about the people in our life!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A word to those who work in churches

In short: THANKS!

What you do as someone who is dedicated to serve others and help them make the most of their life...Thanks!

Because the pay you typically receive is not that high and the expectations you are under are a burden at times...Thanks!

Knowing that the issues of conducting ministry sometimes puts your needs and your families as well as a very low priority...Thanks!

Why would you do this? Well, I am a better man today because of people just like you! Keep doing what you are doing, it makes a huge difference!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good or Bad, it's always good!

I was talking with an old friend yesterday about working with students. We were discussing the power of friendships and community in the context of following Jesus.

It reminded me that during a youth trip that anything good or bad that happens is always a "good" memory for the group. For example, the church van breaks down and you spend hours at a "Loves Travel Center"! This is always a good memory for the group because YOU ARE TOGETHER! It may be inconvenient, it may be bad timing, but in this life all good and bad things like that become good for the community.

The trick is beginning to see the benefit of circumstances not dictating your experience, but learning to see the value in the people you are with! On a personal level, my greatest failures have had the largest benefit on me and my community! I hope you see it the same way! God's view of what is good and bad is very different than ours! So, travel together in life, see whatever comes your way as a good thing and you will find your path to be better than ever.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's next for all of us?

I often vote Republican because I tend to think in more conservative concepts. I am not a die-hard conservative, but there are some definite areas in my life that trend that direction.

For example, we teach RESPONSIBILITY to our children. That means if they make a mistake, they own it and work to correct it.

We teach HARD WORK really makes a difference. We want our children to do everything in their power to provide for themselves through hard work.

We teach INDEPENDENCE! I expect our children to leave this household and go out on their own to make their way in this world.

Along the way, Lori and I will love them and encourage them. We will help assist them when they have needs, but ultimately they will have to stand on their own.

If you read this, my guess is that you agree for the most part about these simple ideas in parenting. What if we apply those same concepts to the people of America? Somehow there is a confused message. Americans may promote these concepts personally, but they want to opposite from Government?

I have been opposed to the recent Stimulus Plan because a good portion of it goes against these ideals listed above. My frustration with Congressional leaders is the arrogance they possess when they act in opposition to the will of the American People.

As a Christ-follower I know that these things are temporary and that the Coyne family will be okay whether or not America is rich or poor. Many times I get fired up over issues like this and that keeps me from being helpful to others and my family. So today, I choose to depend on someone (Jesus) other than my elected officials in Washington! Where is your dependence?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One detail from stimulus!

From the Wall Street Journal "The package would broaden the reach of the child tax credit, lowering the minimum income required for workers to qualify for the credit to $3,000. Under current law, the minimum income was $8,500 for 2008 and is set to rise to about $12,000 for 2009, congressional aides said."

What this means is, in order to recieve the $1,000/child tax credit the earnings went from $12,000 down to $3,000! Sounds like even more dependance on the government!

This is crazy! Stimulus!

Ok, I don't get it! There is not a single person I am aware of that would deal with tight economic times by spending like our government is proposing. Once again, reasonable people like you and I, not politicians will fall back to conservative ways to keep our jobs, lower our expenses, pay off debt. These actions make sense to provide for our families.

However, government officials act the opposite! They act like the only way to fix this is to spend MORE than we can likely repay! My family will likely receive $800 from this plan! I don't want it, but it will come! I don't need it, especially at the expense of my future and my children's future!

Perhaps I will donate the money to help elect better politicians? In the mean time, I am waiting to see what will happen next!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Speaking the important things!

A friend of mine recently commented on how I speak to my wife. Mostly it was how I write about her in public places like this blog or facebook. Well, here is my keen insight! Ready?

Take time to speak and write the "important things in life". I make it a regular habit to write cards and notes to Lori, Maddie and Austin. In a few years I will add Jordan to that list. I write about things I am proud of! I express my love and support. I try to encourage character in my children and affirm my wife!

What about you? Do you take time to write and speak the things that are truly important to those you love? Husbands- make sure you figure out how to express yourself to you wife. Dads- get it in writing so your kids can read how you feel! Big or small, it all makes a difference so begin with a post-it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Money, Economy, Stimulus and more

I read a report the other day that Americans have tripled their savings. 1% was normal and now "we" are saving 2.9%. Of course we are saving more! Perhaps we are returning to some basic ideals like saving cash for purchases or having a "rainy day fund"!

The article went on to complain that the effect of Americans saving more money was having a negative impact on the economy! What??? Americans might actually be doing right. We are intelligent enough to take care of ourselves without Government assistance! So average people are paying off debt, lowering their expenses, saving some money and they will weather this financial time!

Don't you wish our State and Federal Governments could do the same? I, for one, am paying attention to my elected officials in and from Arizona and how they are approaching the economy. Mostly, I read/hear story after story about Americans not wanting Stimulus as proposed or going further into debt, but elected officials doing what they think is best. Our representative government is not really representative. Apparently our "opinion" doesn't really matter. Well, next election will prove our "opinion" DOES MATTER!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My kids, part 3

Jordan Alan Coyne joined our family in the Fall of 2004. Although, we did not plan to have another child, we cannot imagine life without him. He is "all things loud"!!!! He began speaking clearly at about 2 years old and has not stopped since. Tons of personality, articulate, comedian all shoved into a little body.

He does really well in school and practices "first time obedience" with others...not always with us! I would rather have him act better with others! At pre-school (3 mornings a week) he is a leader. The other little boys want to do what Jordan is doing.

All three of our children are amazing. I thank God that I share life with them. Lori and I take seriously our role to help lay a foundation, teach them good work habits, teach them how to handle money, how to listen and communicate and how to be successful in this life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My kids, part 2

Austin David Coyne was born February 1999! He looks more like my wife's side of the family than mine! He is one of the easiest going young men you will ever be around.

He is energized by being home or with family and close friends. Austin does not like being the center of attention., His mind is always racing in some creative venture. He loves to create things, he loves music (plays keyboard and drums), he has a good voice and, like most boys, he is full of GAS!

We call him "buddy" most of the time and that's what he is! Everyone loves him! He played baseball last year and loved it (he's a lefty) and now he is in Basketball. Like his sister, he is great student and works hard with homework! In many ways, he was an answer to prayer for Lori and I! He brought so much peace to us!

Monday, February 2, 2009

My kids, part 1

Maddie (Madeline Renee Coyne) arrived on December 10th, 1995 in Newport Beach, CA!!!

She, from the beginning has been determined and loves people. Today, she has become an excellent student. By this I mean, she works hard to understand her lessons! The Middle School she attends strives for excellence in Character (I love this). During her first year at Mile Hi Middle School, she received the only character award for the entire 6th grade class!

Lori and I were blown away by this honor knowing that our parenting laid part of the foundation, but ultimately, Maddie had to choose what type of person she would become! Our parenting with her has moved more to "coaching". Some of my favorite things about my daughter is her love for others! She, like her mother, knows the value of people in her life. She gets heartbroken over relationships that are torn!

Maddie, I am so proud of you. You are joy to parent and I am proud to be your dad!