57

57 mile markerToday is my birthday.  It is a good mile marker.  I can glance over and think about where I am on the road of life.

My mother posted on Face Book, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SON! 57 years ago (now) I was at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky waiting for his arrival. We have weathered many storms. Love you Keith. mom”  She, now 81 years young, is the only remaining member of my immediate family from Paducah. My dad and younger brother died in 2008.  Mom’s post made me wonder what it was like for her in the delivery room birthing her first child. Dad was outside of the room somewhere, no doubt with cigars in hand to pass around. That was the tradition then.

I also ponder today my own immediate family and what each of my birthdays have meant since they have been in my life. My oldest daughter has been a part of my birthday celebration 23 times. She was again today as we had a phone call over Viper from her apartment in Germany. My next daughter, a 21 birthday veteran with me, shared a meal and time together yesterday before she returned back to her final days of school at Lee University. My son, 18 birthday celebrations, greeted me at breakfast on his way out to work and will be home to celebrate tonight with me and my wife, who has wished me a special day 27 times now.

Birthdays are interesting. People contact you on that day with a special acknowledgement that may not come again for another year. It is a special day to remember. For me, I enjoy giving to others so much that it seems a birthday should be filled with such gratitude that I thank others, who have been, and are now a part of my life. I should send my mom flowers on my birthday. I want to let everyone who cares about me know how much I care about them and how much I appreciate their friendship and love.  Even over the years and miles, love continues.

I miss many people who have been a part of my birthdays past. Some I have lost touch with in the drift of time and distance. Some have passed over to life beyond the earth. If they are able to know what happens in the present, I hope they are cheering me on today. I think I will let a helium filled balloon go today just to send them a thank you.Birthday balloons

There are so many types of gratitude I have today, more than I can list now.  Here are 57 of them…

  1. I am a son with a legacy of a mother and father who love me and tried hard to provide for me and my future.
  2. I am a brother with a younger brother who taught me a lot about myself in the way I treated him both good and bad.
  3. I am a nephew with a wonder set of uncles and aunts who have always shown me love and acceptance.
  4. I am an uncle with opportunities to show my love and acceptance to my nieces and nephews.
  5. I am a cousin with cousins who have been a fun part of my childhood and still inspire me today.
  6. I am a husband with a wife who is a beautiful, amazing companion.
  7. I am a father with three children I admire and love so deeply and two that I will meet one day in heaven.
  8. I am a follower of Jesus Christ with an unquenchable desire to know Him more, grow in Him more and show more of Him.
  9. I have heard God’s voice in my inner spirit.
  10. I am prayed for.
  11. I am spiritually aware enough to know to pray for others.
  12. I am a spiritual friend to many other Christians who contribute into my life and receive from me.
  13. I have had the honor of performing weddings and funerals.
  14. I am a life coach with a passion to help others move forward in life.
  15. I am healthy, physically, mentally and spiritually.
  16. I live in a beautiful place.
  17. I have great neighbors.
  18. I have people both near and far who want to learn from me.
  19. I have people both near and far who teach me.
  20. I am open to learn.
  21. I am open to share.
  22. I seek more; not earthly things, but eternal things for others and myself.
  23. I live in the present, less bound by the past and less fearful of the future.
  24. I get to eat and drink safely each day.
  25. I have never really been starving, even though with hunger I have said so.
  26. I have a comfortable, clean bed.
  27. I have more than enough shelter for me and others who share it.
  28. I have learned to stop whining and complaining.
  29. I can read and understand, almost anything in English and a lot in Spanish.
  30. I don’t have to eat butterscotch.
  31. I like to laugh.
  32. I can make others laugh; and sometimes groan with my humor.
  33. I have been able to be a peacemaker in conflict.
  34. I have been able to be a mediator to help agreements come together.
  35. I have been a reconciler of people to God and to each other.
  36. I have been broken enough times to know I need God and others.
  37. I have been wrong enough to know I will never know it all and must be open to be taught.
  38. I have people in my life that will speak to the truth to me in love.
  39. I have forgiveness.
  40. I give forgiveness.
  41. I have come to know who I am in Christ.
  42. I have learned about the power of shame and how to help myself and others with an antidote.
  43. I have finally begun to enjoy playing cards.
  44. I got to fly like a bird in a hang glider.
  45. I have traveled around the world and met people on every continent except Antarctica.
  46. I have met many famous people.
  47. I have met many infamous (unknown) people.
  48. I have been cared for by the very poor.
  49. I am learning to see Jesus in those I hadn’t recognized Him before.
  50. I give smiles away.
  51. I have received so many smiles.
  52. I hug freely.
  53. I have been hugged much.
  54. I dream big and remain filled with hope.
  55. I have rejected passivity.
  56. I have become courageous.
  57. I am just beginning to live, not ready to retire.

So, thank you for reading all the way down to here.  My birthday wish is for you to find peace and joy today in your life. May your mile markers give you pause to reflect and grow in forgiveness and gratefulness in your journey ahead.

As I was writing this my son called to ask me what I wanted to do tonight.  He, my wife and I will be serving birthday cake to the homeless in downtown Nashville. Now that is a birthday party I can enjoy!

 

? ? ? Three Important Questions

Three questionsBeginning Monday, August 26th, I will dedicate at least one blog to each of three questions.  They are important questions that you can answer.  They bring you face to face with yourself.  They allow you to drill down to the core of yourself.  That can be hard to do.  Many people have fear to look deep within themselves and explore what it is that makes them who they are and determines what they do.  It can be fascinating to learn!

My challenge to you (and myself) is to think about these three questions over the weekend.  Allow yourself the time reflect on them. Try to be honest with yourself.  You may not have a complete answer to some of them yet.  You may have no answer yet, that is ok.  You have begun the journey by first knowing the questions to ask.  Each answer will be as different as we are as individuals.

These are Coaching type questions.  I love to ask them of others to draw them out, and up to new levels. Join me in this series by seriously considering these for yourself.  Post your answers below if you have some already.  I would love to share them here to encourage others.  Thanks!

Ready?

1. Who do others say you are?
2. Who do you say you are?
3. Who does God say you are?

You can do this.  Think about them.  Share thoughts or questions here.

 

Where Do I Start?

Together-Header-Web-large.pngThere is a lot to sort through in life.  In our youth the responsibilities were less, time seemed to last a long time, feelings like, “bored” might even be possible.  In the later years of life, we find time flying by, each year seems shorter.  Responsibilities may have lessen, boredom may have returned.

Most likely the reader of this blog will be somewhere in-between those stages of life.  You may be caring for young ones or aging adults. Your vocational choices may not be all that you had hoped and are wondering how to make a change. The search for ourselves, what we will do as we become an adult, the assessment of what we have already tried, the quest for satisfaction and meaning in our days may be where you are  right now.

I want to encourage you to not panic or lose hope.  Begin now to step forward with grace and purpose.  What is holding you back?  The past? The unknown future?  Paralysis in the present?

“Where do I start?”,  I was asked recently by a man overwhelmed by his life circumstances.  My answer my seem simple, yet it works.  Start right here, right now with yourself.  You are the only thing that you can control and for most of the people I know that are losing traction, it is self-awareness and self-control that they need first to move forward.

Know yourself, then know others.  I use those steps to help people be free, confident and in charge of where they are and where they are going.  Let’s talk about it sometime.

Keith Talks

Keith speakingTo arrange for Keith to speak, coach, or train call 615-596-4474 or email keith@keithbranson.com. The topics, listed alphabetically, below can be adjusted to your needs.  Other topics can be presented as well.

Speaking Topics:

1.Abortion and Men – A highly charged topic with surprising outcomes! Learn what Abortion does to men and what they can do about it.  Discussion can be tailored for all ages.

2. Age to Age – Life’s transitions are easier when we know three things; who we are, what we need, and how we can finish well. Understanding the truth about yourself and how to be satisfied through every season of life, is possible!

3. Conflict – We all have it in our lives at some level. Learn how to manage tensions, prevent abuse and create satisfying solutions. There are four key stages that I guarantee will lead to long-lasting, satisfying relationships.

4. Death and Dying – Preparing for departure from our earthly bodies is not as hard as people imagine. Know the basic things that legally must be done at death and options you have before and after death. Alternative funeral ideas are included in this presentation.

5. Leading from back stage – Leadership models, principles and “how-tos” abound. Most have you in charge, leading from the front and center. Strength, guidance, vision and direction can be instilled in a team, a family and other groups without having your face or name on the headline and your place in the front of everyone.

6. Marriage and Family – What else could possibly be taught on this topic with so many resources already available? Divorces are still occurring, blended families are now the majority of households, same-sex relationships in marriage and parenting are legal. A fresh, relevant talk on today’s tough issues.

7. Men – The world needs godly men; men who will step up and courageously lead and serve at home, at church, at work and in their communities. Learn what holds men back, how to bring them forward and empower them to fulfill their role and mission.

 

SAFE CYCLE™

TOGETHER utilizes the safe cycle to help with conflict management.  We help you Stabilize the situation.  Once calming and safety is in place, the people in conflict can be helped to reach an Agreement.  A decision on how to move Forward from where they were leads to peace and even Enjoyment again.

 

Safe Cycle verses the unsafe cycle:

SAFE CYCLE™
CONFLICT → Stabilize →Agreement → Forward → Enjoy

 

UNSAFE CYCLE
CONFLICT → Chaos →Disagreement →Stuck → Misery

 

Four phases from conflict to peace

 

Gray is Great!

• The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair. – Proverbs 20:29

• Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. – Proverbs 16:31

Treatment of our Elders – Respect to our elders, seeking their wisdom, and connection to them are Biblical practices.

• You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God. – Leviticus 19:32

• Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they we will tell you. – Deuteronomy 32:7

• Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent. – Psalm 71:9

• Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father,… to older women as mothers. – 1 Timothy 5:1-2

• You who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. – 1 Peter 5:5

What Older Christians Can Do

• The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon… In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap. – Psalm 92:12,14

• Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. – Zechariah 8:4

What Older Christians should do

What would you put here?

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