One of the jewels of the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation system is the Lake Shawnee Trail. Nearly every time I go for a run, I use it in some way. At times, a short loop around Tinman Circle and others around the entire lake with an extension down Berryton Road to reach my target mileage.
Encountering others on the trail is common. Whether it is walkers, bikers, runners, couples, children, or animals, the path is utilized by a wide variety of people. I will make a point to say “Hello” or “Good morning” to people I encounter. It’s about 50-50 on whether I get a response. Some people reply with a similar greeting and others are lost in thought, their headphones, or even a book. Last week, someone greeted me in a way that was new to me.
A smile, thumbs up, and “Good Job!”
Wait, what? This was unexpected. I am glad to get a response, much less cheering on my efforts. There was no way this person could have known my training plan, energy expended, or even how far I was going that particular day. Despite all of these things, the choice of greeting was an encouragement.
Whether it is a colleague with whom you work closely on shared goals, a family member or a random stranger on the path, there is a superpower in offering encouragement to others. Thanks to this encounter, I will be making an effort to provide support to others.
Last year, I downloaded and began using 1 Second Everyday – Your Video Diary. I have found it to be a meaningful way for me to reflect on and remember the days of my life. So, here it is for 2018. Enjoy.
Our family has been pondering the possibility of a pet for some months now. Our children are getting old enough to be able to share in the responsibility and have brought up the subject from time to time. We all thought that a dog would be a good possibility, though Nicole and I could never come to an agreement about whether that dog would ever be allowed inside the house or not. Well, to clarify, I was the only one in our household who felt strongly about a dog being an outside animal. Our house doesn’t currently have a fence, so that was a bit of a sticking point as well. In any case, we had considered the possibility of chickens as a bit of a wild idea. As some ideas do, this one came into reality last Saturday.
We had a free Saturday as a family and there were a few items I had on a list to track down for our home. We decided to explore a bit as a family and headed out on a looking trip to Tractor Supply Co. where it was also Chick Days. It did not take us long to find the chicks in the middle of the store. One of the employees asked if we needed some help and we said we were interested in hearing more about chickens. It turns out that she was a big fan of chickens and shared a lot of information about how much her children enjoyed them, how low maintenance they were, and that there was a deal on coops at the other Tractor Supply Co. in town. It was a good enough pitch that we headed to the other store.
There we asked for the coops that were on sale and found ourselves speaking to the manager who took us to the back to show us the ones that he had on sale and even offered us additional money off so that he could clear out some space in the store’s back room. We took a few minutes to discuss amongst ourselves and came to the conclusion – This is it! We have talked about it for a while and this was a great opportunity. The manager helped us with the heat lamp, feed, feeder and watering equipment. We decided on the coop and paid for it all.
At that point, we thought that the equipment wouldn’t do us much good without the animals so we headed back to the other store where they had chicks for sale. We spoke with the same employee again who picked out eight chicks for us, recommended pine shavings for bedding and sent us off with some encouraging words.
We unloaded all the things, took a break for lunch, and then set about making a secure space for them in our garage. Some spare sheets of wood that were left in the home ended up working great to put an enclosure together. It was a family project from beginning to end (recognizing we aren’t at the end yet…). We have all enjoyed watching, taking care of them, and resisting picking them up so they don’t get too stressed out while they are still young. There are many next steps from here, but for today…
Last week my son and I met Nicole for lunch at Chick-fil-A. This is a restaurant that has hospitality down pat and from which the church could draw helpful lessons. I have come to expect this when I go there to eat, but this time I had a surprise.
We had ordered a Kid’s Meal and was taking the toy (which was a computer game on CD) to the counter to trade it in for the board book designed for younger children. The cashier gladly took back the CD and asked if I would like a cup or a cone. I was confused. I was bringing it back to trade in for the board book. It took me a bit to catch on to what the cashier was telling me.
I could trade the CD in for a board book, or I could turn it back in for a kid’s ice cream cone.
What a great deal. I took the cone and there was a benefit for everyone. I will gladly make this trade again in the future.
This started me thinking about how to pleasantly surprise people at church? What do people (both new and regular attenders) expect when they walk in the doors to worship? In what ways could the church have more pleasant surprises? I haven’t come up with any out of the ballpark ideas yet, but will keep thinking as Chick-fil-A made a great impression on me.