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Financial investors know how important it is to start saving and placing those precious finances into income-earning locations.  Parents and grandparents know how important it is to invest as well.  They start young lives with the joy of reading.  Books introduce the world of imagination, learning and life about the world in which they will live.

My first grandchild is two this year.  As the day drew to a close and washing up had been completed, he gathered his blanket and an armful of books and ran into my arms, climbed into my lap, curled up so that he was comfortable and then he pointed to his books, gesturing for me to read to him.

He buried himself deeper into my hug.  I picked up the top book and opened it up to the first page.  These board books are fun to read.

Colorful characters and simple stories with clad truths make it fun.  Even though I have never read these books, it was easy to put in a lot of expression and emphasis.  The meaning of the lesson became more and more clear as I read to my grandson.

There were easy moments for me to ask him to point to colors, animals and objects on the page.  He was participating and no doubt learning while he snuggled in my embrace.  It was my first time in the role of grandfather reader.

I was relishing the moment.  This has been a dream to invest in these little lives this way.  I could introduce him to so many wonderful ideas and reenforce some of life’s most important values.

In brief well designed books, I taught my grandson about friendship, initiative, community, helpfulness and loyalty.  He learned about telling the truth, honesty and industry.  He will need these qualities when he lives his life among people who are not so helpful to others.

All during the reading I was thoroughly enjoying the cuddle moment.  My grandson curled up and tucked himself in a comfortable position, inside Grandpa’s embrace.  It was a special moment.

He is young but I hope that the love that we shared will always be a part of his life.  It will for me.  Reading and books and grandfather’s bonding time are treasures.

Did someone read to you in your childhood days?  Do you remember going to a library in your youth?  Classic novels probably still leave memory moments in your mind, right?

photo credit: KJB photography

IMG_3411Glancing at my calendar sent my soul into an excited ascent.  In a few days I would be making another pilgrimage to Israel.  This would be my fourth trip to that special Land but there was no dullness in the anticipation of again walking where Jesus walked or standing where Paul stood or meditating where Peter once had soulful thoughts.

My checklist kept growing.  It was not just the items to pack or the necessities of overseas travel.  On this trip I had responsibilities.

This tour was being sponsored by Insight for Living with Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll.  I had been invited to serve as one of the professors on one of the buses.  800 guests would be converging on the Holy Land, a record number for this tour.

18 buses were secured to transport these eager pilgrims to the various sites around the country.  I was as interested in seeing how the logistics played out on this mega tour as I was visiting the Land.  However, in particular I was to bring the Scriptures to life for our Bus 11 Caramel group of 40 pilgrims.

Each day I was to prepare a devotion to help these very special people to prepare to see, smell and experience all that the Land had to offer.  On top of that early morning privilege I was also to prepare approximately 23 Biblical presentations that pertained to the various sites that we would visit.  If that seems like a lot of presentations then you would be correct.

I still have a job that fills my days with hours of work and extra duties that fill my weekends.  This is by no means a complaint.  In fact I love what I do!  The complication is finding enough time and energy to add this research and preparation into my study time.

For many nights for months I would set aside time to study a passage appropriate to a particular site in the Holy Land.  My assignment was to show the significance of the event and sites and weave it all together.  My personal goal was to make the lessons practical and challenge these pilgrims to a deliberate way of life once they returned home from their pilgrimage.

I suppose that I am a teacher at heart.  Nothing compares to the glow on people’s faces when they have an “Aha!” moment at a site where a special Biblical event occurred.  Was I excited? That is a big 10-4 Roger Wilco!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

At 9PM Yvonne announced, “Dancing with the Stars is on right now.”  Quickly she and I cleared the dinner table and loaded the dishwasher.  We stored our leftovers and surprisingly relaxed in the Living Room just in time to see the beginning of the show.

This was a results show.  We tried to be objective but it was too late.  Both of us picked the couple that would be leaving with an uncanny accuracy for the past several rounds.

This was a special show.  It would identify the final three couples that would dance for the finals.  One of these three couples would win the coveted mirror ball trophy.

My favorite pro dancer was in the top four.  I hoped that she and her partner would make it through to the finals.  She’s been there before.

Her name is Cheryl Burke.  I don’t remember her partners over the years.  But, she seems to have an amazing ability to teach her partner how to dance.

Her teaching is more than just moving to music.  It’s her love of dance that is also clearly translated.  You can’t be a champion just by learning the steps to make.

Dancing has soul, grace and passion.  Cheryl can do it all.  She hits the floor and amazes with how she moves, how she interprets the music and the radiance of enjoying the art of dance.

She won the second contest of Dancing with the Stars.  Then, she made history by being the first to win two championships on this reality show.

No she hasn’t won the most championships.  But, her inspiration to her partners has amassed 2nd, 3rd, two 4th’s, a 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th and 13th.  That is a consistency that is amazing.

During the show they often show tape of the couples rehearsing during the previous week.  Carefully, Cheryl teaches her partner how to dance.  She is precise, enthusiasm and patience. 

In the very early stages you can sense the amateur’s anxiety, self-consciousness and awkwardness.  Cheryl never dumps on them but leads them, encourages them and show them how they can not just succeed but enjoy their entry into the world of dance.

Perhaps the best commentary on Cheryl’s success occurred during the current show.  Her partner zoomed to new heights in his dance.  After a strong approval by the judges, he exclaimed, “I love to dance!”   She responded perfectly, “I love to dance too!” Go Cheryl!

photo credit: google image