What Am I Grateful For Today… Hobbies

24 There’s nothing better for human beings than to eat, drink, and experience pleasure in their hard work. I also saw that this is from God’s hand— 25 Who can eat and find enjoyment otherwise?— 26 because God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please God (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26b, Common English Bible).

I have several hobbies I really enjoy. I love music. I enjoy both listening to music and playing music. As I write, I am listening to Ronnie Milsap sing “Smokey Mountain Rain.”

As I have said in previous posts (It has been a while), I really enjoy playing my guitars. Yes, I have more than one. In fact I have nine. I know, I can only play one at a time. Two I keep in Lufkin so when I am there I can play. One is in my office at the church. The other six I have here. Further, they all have a different sound, some have electronics to plug into a sound system while others don’t. One is an acoustic electric bass and two are electrics, one is a classical electric (well sort of). My favorites are the classical guitars. I like the sound that comes from the nylon strings and those strings are easier on my fingers.

I also enjoy writing music. I have only written the music for two songs but have written lyrics for several that are sung to hymns and secular tunes. All my lyrics but one song have been Christian lyrics. The one was a gift to Cindy for our 40th anniversary.

Several years ago I took drawing lessons. I have found that my favorite medium is pastels. I love to draw with chalk on velour paper. I have even used my pastels in worship as an element to my sermon, which I am doing in worship today.

In the last year or so, I have rediscovered (sort of) an element of some of my navy work and even before that in the Boy Scouts. Tying knots is something I have pretty well done over much of my life. When I was in the Navy I learned some of the fancy knot tying that can be seen on many Navy ships. I put it aside for some time but about a year and a half ago I picked it up again with paracord. I started out with “survival bracelets.” What I have done the most is prayer ropes. Recently I have learned to tie several new things, Christmas decorations, bolo ties,  and handles for the stainless steel mugs that are so popular today.

Most recently I have started woodcarving. I am not as good at this one as most of my other hobbies but I am learning. Hopefully, as I go on and get more practice, my skills will improve.

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to spend time with three of my hobbies. As I said previously, as I write I am listening to music. I tied a few of those mug handles. And, as I am preparing for that sermon tomorrow I spent a couple of hours with those chalks in my hand.

I believe God wants us to enjoy the hobbies of our lives. They are a great way for us to unwind and relax. With them we take a break to refuel after the things that drain our energy. Some like fishing. I do enjoy going occasionally. Others enjoy hunting. It’s not my thing but I am glad others find joy in it.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that God wants us to have things in our lives that bring us joy. You may enjoy some of the things I have mentioned. I also know some folks who enjoy crochet or knitting. The list of possibilities is only limited by our imagination.

For me, the key is to find ways of giving God some glory in our hobbies. After all, God gave us the skills we use in our hobbies. I try to do that. I have already mentioned that almost all of my music writing is music of faith, both for my enjoyment and playing in worship. I use my drawing skills occasionally in my preaching. The thing I have done with paracord is tying prayer ropes, most of which I have given away to Christians in an effort to help them enhance their prayer life. And, with my wood carving, I have carved several crosses. I know, they are pretty basic but hey, you have to start somewhere.

I am grateful today for my hobbies. What are you grateful for today. Write it down in your journal and then share it with somebody. I just shared mine with you! You never know, what you have to say might be what they need most to hear. God may be speaking to them, through you.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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