Monday, September 17, 2012

Nick's Chaplain Blog: "Things That Matter. Things That Don't."

August 20, 2012 ~ “Things That Matter. Things That Don’t.” 
CHAPLAIN NICK BRASCHLER

“Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; 
We will never live it again; it is the only day we have.” 
~ William Arthur Ward 


I typically spend between 10-15 hours making hospital visits and I am usually either speaking for or attending at least 1-2 funerals every week as a chaplain. I have told people this before, and they almost always immediately express sympathy for having to be around sickness and death so much. But these experiences have totally transformed the way I view my life.


I could tell you stories of being in emergency rooms as parents hear news about their child or loved ones. Stories of healthy men and women who find out they have cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Stories that you and I hope and pray are never our own – but for some of us, they are.
These experiences have made me appreciate and understand the gift of today. I don’t know when my day will come. There is no reason why it won’t be today. Tomorrow was never guaranteed. 

It could have easily been on my way to work this morning, when the car behind me (who was apparently late for the most important meeting in history...) tried to pass me and ran me off the road onto the shoulder to avoid oncoming traffic. That very easily could have been it for me. This could have been my day. I used to have this unconscious belief that the tragedies I read or heard about will never happen to me. Yet the truth is, my days are numbered too.

I could respond to this truth with fear. I have chosen to engage life instead! I want to live every day with the reality that it could very well be my last.

This means that I find forgiveness for those who have hurt or betrayed me in the past – and vice versa. It means that where there are dissentions – I make every effort on my part to find peace with that person. With an attitude like this, I go to bed every night with the comfort of knowing that if today were to be my last day, and I did not wake from my sleep the next morning, I could be at peace with what I left behind.


For me, if I were to wake up that next morning, what a blessing a new day becomes! Each day is no longer a burden, but they become opportunities. There are countless things we could live for that brings us enjoyment and momentary happiness. I want to live a life that has eternal significance…don’t you? That means investing our time and resources into things that God truly cares about. It means becoming passionate about the things that really matter.

Some of you have journeyed with loved one’s as they were given a few months or years to live. When you find out that life is coming to an end, it can dramatically change your perspective on things that matter - and things that don't. I have decided that I’m not going to wait for some doctor to give me a timeline like this before I truly start living my life to the fullest.

Will you?

Reflection:
What if you were told that you had ____ months to live? How would you live your today(s) differently?
What will it take for you see each day as a blessing?

“My heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me.’ 
And my heart responds, Lord, I am coming.’” 

~ Psalm 27:8 (NLT)

Click here to read his past posts:
"Reality"
"Attitude of Gratitude"
"Little Things"
"Really...Kansas?!"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dove Hunting

The 1st of September marked the opening of dove hunting season here in Arkansas.  Nick went out several times with his brother and a JBU professor and they shot their limit almost every time!  Nick said Boone dog was a stud.  :)  We love to eat dove around here.  We fix it with pineapple, jalapeno and sometimes cream cheese sandwiched between two dove breasts and wrapped in bacon, cooked on the grill.  Yum!!!  Plus, isn't everything better when wrapped in bacon? 

Here's Nick with Boone.


The crew.


Tyler, Boone (or as Caleb affectionately refers to him as oomie because we call him Boonie), Nick


The guys said this was some of the best dove hunting they've ever done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading Books

Caleb LOVES to read books.  His favorites are The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, his Bible, Are You My Mother?, and a recorded storybook from Grammy and Grandpa Goetz where they read called Thank You God For Everything.  He could read these books (or should I say ask us to read them) over and over and over and over.  And over.






Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nick's Chaplain Blog - "Reality"

Here is another excerpt from the Simmons chaplain blog, written by Nick. 

Click here to read his past posts:
"Attitude of Gratitude"
"Little Things"
"Really...Kansas?!"

August 13, 2012 ~"Reality"
CHAPLAIN NICK BRASCHLER

When you discover that the horse you are riding is dead, 
the best strategy is to dismount.”
~ Dakota tribal saying
My family had a show in Branson for many years called the Braschler Music Show. My grandparents still live in the area, and I went up there a few weeks ago to spend the day with them. My grandpa was telling me some stories about different people that would come to the show and just how funny and quirky some people were. He started into a story that just left me shocked and a little disturbed.
Apparently, one night after a show, he and an entertainer friend, Boxcar Willie, met up at a restaurant after their shows had finished up and were sharing stories from the week before. As the story goes, just after intermission of Boxcar’s show, a man sitting on the front row had a heart attack and had slumped over in his seat. They immediately stopped the show and called the ambulance. They arrived and he had already passed away. Instead of the wife getting up and taking the necessary care of her deceased husband, she was adamant that they had driven 15 hours to be there and they were going to finish the show. She sat her husband back up in the chair and told Boxcar to carry on…
Now to me, this is all kinds of absurd! I mean, really? You know, there are times in life when you need to stop what you are doing and take care of something right that minute…and this is certainly one of those times…I’d say it’s in the Top 3 (flat tires and unruly ear hair also make this list).
I started wondering if this applied to everyday life. What is something in our lives that we would rather just continue on like nothing happened, when immediate action is needed? My mind went to the reality of sin in our lives. We often act as though it’s not there and carry on as though it affects no one else. You may have said before, “Okay, I realize I should probably not do this anymore…but TOMORROW, I swear, I am going to stop ____________. Yeah, I’ll just take care of it tomorrow.” And yet, we carry on as though there are no consequences.  
Just like this woman most certainly ruined the rest of that show for those sitting around them by her decision to not take care of her husband, our sins also affect others as well – whether we know it or not. This is one of the greatest lies that we buy into about sin – that I’m the only one who is affected by it.
The fact is, the best time to spring into action when we are convicted of sin in our lives…is with the very next breath. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, or the next convenient time. You are not guaranteed either. You have right now though. Deal with it. God is merciful and full of grace. I am so thankful that even while He knows our faults and He sees what is done in secret, yet His love covers them all. It is through this great love and mercy, that we are able to overcome sin in our lives and begin living in ways that bring honor and glory to God.     
Reflection:
If your heart is heavy with the regret of poor choices of your past, and you feel like life is going nowhere - maybe you are riding a dead horse. No amount of kicking, pampering or feeding will change the fact that this horse isn’t going to get you anywhere. It is time to dismount. Know that it won’t be easy, and challenging days may very well be ahead. But the blessings of a life which is lived for God far surpass them all. 
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” 
~ Psalm 103:8-12 (NLT)



Monday, September 3, 2012

Cousins

Here are some pics of Caleb with his cousin Jackson.

While we were watching Jack one night, Caleb found my shoes and put them on all by himself.  




He also found Daddy's shirt and brought it to me to put on.  He insisted that he wear it!



Cousins playing.  :)  Aren't Jack's eyes just stunning?






I love these next few.  We're sure gonna miss them when they move to Colorado in December!





They found Jack's paci...


I love that they're both old enough to play together now.  Sometimes they get in screeching contests and they are pretty good at sharing toys and giving hugs and just playing together.  It's so cute to watch.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nick's Birthday Week

My hubby just celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday and around here at the Braschler household - we celebrate things all week long.  Nick's dad came down last weekend to visit his grandsons and spend some time with all of us.  We had a lot of fun with him.  And Todd even took Robyn and I on a ride on his new motorcycle!  

For Nick's actual birthday, we got home from work and Nick opened his presents from us.  He's got the hunting fever bad and so he mostly got hunting stuff plus Settlers of Catan!  Then my cousin came over to watch Caleb so Nick and I could go on a date.  We went out to eat and then to Academy sports store and Wally World.  We're pretty much wild party animals on our date nights, haha. :)  





Happy 25th Nick!  I love you!