1 Timothy 6:6-7 –But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Gratitude Day 830

Sometimes, a story hits me just right, as did “The Story of the Mexican Fisherman.” Originally told by Heinrich Boll, this is one version of the story:

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several freshly caught fish. The businessman asked the fisherman how long it took to catch them as he admired the fish.

The Mexican replied, “Only a few hours each day.” The American then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said he had enough to take care of his family. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, paly with my children , take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and happy life.”

The American scoffed. “I have a business degree and could help you. You should work harder, catch more fish, make more money and then buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats; eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this little village and move to Mexico City, then to LA, and eventually New York City, where you will run your growing business.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

To which the American replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”

“But what then,” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich – you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coaster fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Maybe, small is just OK.

Don’t get me wrong. Some people are driven by bigger and better and more. But for me, small is just fine.

America was built on the promise of the American Dream, where everyone could have an opportunity to do what they wanted and achieve something that they wanted. We hear stories over and over of people who have done this. Yes, America has it’s problems and some people would say there are parts of our history where equal opportunity definitely was not true. Yet, this is a country where there are more opportunities than probably any other country in history.

Which is great. Fantastic. Wonderful.

But not for everyone.

And this is OK.

I remember being in my 20’s and watching my Dad go through his life. A few years earlier, my parents went through a very challenging time in their lives, losing their farm and declaring bankruptcy. Eventually, they both got jobs, bought a house and moved into the next phase of their lives. It was then that I looked at my Dad and thought, “Is this the best I can hope for?” And I wondered if and how my life would be different.

As a 20-something-year-old, I had big dreams for myself. Dreams that would take me far and put me in a place of influence and notoriety. Let’s be honest: none of this has happened. Did I fail my dreams? Or did my dreams fail me?

Neither. Dreams and great and should be encouraged. I have discovered, however, that as we journey through life, what is most important to us might shift. What our passions and priorities may change. It’s OK to let those dreams go and be OK with who you have become today.

My 20-year-old dreams did not factor in what God might have in store for my life. I only considered what I thought I wanted. When a time came in my life when this became much more important, then my thoughts about my future also began to change.

So where am I these days? Do I still have big dreams of what could happen in my life? Yes, to a point. But my dreams are also tempered by other thoughts and priorities. I have Discovered that enjoying every day is super important. We have no guarantee of another tomorrow. My circle of influence is small and that is just fine.

It’s OK to want to dream big and chase those dreams. But for those who are OK with small? Embrace it. Live it. Love it. And play guitar or whatever you wish with your amigos as much as you can.

Other things that are influencing me this week:

This song.

This is the same artist who also sings this catchy song that I have shared before:

How precious is this photo? It just makes me smile. These ARE the important little things.

A little bit of spring.

We found these precious little flowers while hiking last weekend with three of our grandkids. And had a blast. Yes, I had lots of things to do in preparation for hosting Easter dinner at our house. But a hike and lunch with them felt more important at the time. Let me assure you: these kinds of choices are never bad choices. The Simple Is Better me is trying to embrace these moments and let the holiday dinner be just fine however it turns out.

Affirmation? We had an absolutely beautiful Easter dinner and afternoon at our house. We had plenty to eat. Enjoyed the near-perfect weather. Kids hunted for eggs. We played in the yard and ate too much. And it was simple THE. BEST. DAY.

What inspires my heart these days? More of these kinds of days. Weekends. Times together.

I pray you have a wonderful weekend doing things that fill your heart and soul, whether it’s playing guitar with your Amigos or something else.

For the simple reminder that it IS the little things, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – We hear it all the time: more! Bigger! Better! But in this world that clamors for our attention all the time, speak quietly to me and help me hear what really IS most important to me. You. For my life. Let this speak to me louder than the culture around me. Amen.

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