becoming a golfist

Today I played 9 holes of golf with a very patient friend from our church. I really enjoyed myself and, with his help (thanks John) I improved to the point where I hit par on one hole  and bogies* on several others.

As I sliced the ball out of bounds, into a pond, across a pond Barnes Wallis-style (really!), into a bunker and in other unintended directions it did occur to me that hitting a ball with a stick should not be that difficult. But there are so many variables to get right simultaneously: grip, stance, swing length, club choice, head stillness, arm straightness, straightness of pull back, distance from ball, width of stance, straightness of back, turn of shoulders… that it is perhaps more of a miracle when the ball goes in the direction intended for the distance intended with the amount of loft intended – particularly for non-multi-tasking blokes.

Those rare moments when it does go right are wonderful, though, and make the rest of it worthwhile.

It strikes me that church is a bit like that: there are so many variables (often called churchgoers / members / ministers) that it is a miracle that it ever goes well. And that’s the point. It should not work as well as it does, but the fact that it does is evidence that God’s at work. When we try in our own strength it’s like trying to hit a golf ball with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back, standing on one leg. It’s possible, but nowhere near as good as if we do it right. God’s Spirit helps us to love one another, to accept and forgive one another, to bless and encourage one another, to speak through and to one another. He’s more than a coach (although he does some of that in his spare time) – he is the one who makes it happen.

Heaven preserve us from trying on our own.

Be blessed, be a blessing

Excuses for a bad golf shot…

A fly landed on my ball right just as I hit it.
A squirrel picked up my ball and put it in the bunker.
A squirrel pushed my ball into the water, the good-for-nothing fluffy-tailed tree rats.
After that last shot, I’m just too embarrassed to try and hit the ball.
All the golf schools I liked were too expensive – so I self-taught.
Damn it, have you no etiquette? Please quit breathing when I swing.
Didn’t you hear that sound in the woods during my swing? It sounded like a duck. What’s that smell?
Ever since I made a hole-in-one, I can’t concentrate.
Golf is about etiquette, not playing well.
Golf isn’t fun if it’s competitive, so I don’t try hard.

*juvenile male sniggering commences at mention of ‘bogies’ and continues when looking at a Danish friend’s post on Facebook (in Danish) (Hi Lise) that included the word ‘snot’. Disappointment and anticlimax when I discover that ‘snot’ is the Danish word for ‘snot’.

the toughest challenge

I am about to embark on one of the most challenging tasks of the whole year… putting all of the finishing touches to our Carols by Candlelight service (Colchester Baptist Church, 6.30 pm, 18th December). It is not technically that difficult. We have already chosen all the carols and the readings more or less choose themselves. Many people are already working hard to prepare different aspects of the service.

The reason it is challenging is that in the midst of all the familiarity and nostalgia I would like to be able to offer a fresh perspective on Christmas to those who come along. How can I come up with something original about the most familiar story that has been retold for 2000 years? Last year I reflected on some of the carols and what they reveal about the one who ‘came down to earth from heaven’. But this year, at the moment of blogging, I have nothing.

I am not worried. I know that God’s Spirit is full of inspiration and if I stop trying to think of things on my own and start listening more he will offer me some guidance. The problem for me is how people respond to what I offer. If it is poor people won’t blame God’s Spirit. They won’t suggest that he had an off-day. They will look to me. I don’t mind that as, realistically speaking, the blame is much more likely to lie at my feet than his. But if it is wonderful, people can make the same mistake and give me the credit. While it is nice for to get an ego massage it is entirely the wrong outcome as far as I am concerned.

I want people to leave the service (and all services) saying, “Isn’t God amazing!?” Our aim (whether preparing services or living our daily routine lives) must surely be to point people towards God. If you were given a free sample of toothpaste or soap you might use it and may be influenced by the experience. But you would not spend all your time talking about the free sample, you would go and buy the product. So it is with us. We, as free samples of Jesus, are the means by which people encounter him, and we pray will be positively influenced towards him through us. But never let us (or anyone else) think that we are the real deal.

At this time of year some people venerate St Nicholas (Santa Claus). You see effigies of him everywhere (although it’s unlikely he had a bright red suit). But even St Nick* is not the main event. Jesus is the reason for the season. Christmas starts with Christ.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

*In case you were under any illusions, the person creating this bloggerel is no saint – just ask my wife and family!

the trials and tribulations of making a cup of coffee

Why?? [scream of anguish]

a portafilter, for the unitiated

I have just made myself a lovely tasty cup of frothy coffee with my frothy coffee machine. It is one of those where you pretend you are a barista in a coffee shop. You put ground coffee in a portafilter, tamp it down and put it in the machine, turning it firmly anti-clockwise to create a seal. The machine then pumps hot water through the coffee and creates an espresso. Then I heat up hot milk with the steam nozzle and add it to the espresso for a lovely, fresh, tasty, calming cup of coffee.

There is some cleaning required afterwards. The porta filter is turned clockwise and comes out of its housing. The used coffee grounds are put into the composting bin. The nozzles are wiped (and a cleaning jet of steam blasted through). The surfaces are all cleaned and the machine is put back in its snug little place on the surface.

So why, when I have done this for ages without a problem, does my coffee machine decide today that it is going to do something different? The coffee-making routine went as it normally does. I had my mug of frothy coffee made and waiting for me. I cleaned the nozzles (blasting through a cleansing jet of steam as well). Then I turned the portafilter clockwise (which is the direction to remove it, you will recall) and there was a theatrical “Phooof!” and used coffee grounds showered over the kitchen.


It seems that a degree of pressure must have built up in the portafilter and this was released in a cascade of coffee grounds when I removed the portafilter. [Must make a mental note to release the portafilter more gently next time in case this is a new routine the machine has created for itself]

But why is it doing it now? I have been very caring for the machine, only filling it with water that has come through our water filter jug, so there is no limescale at all in the system. I clean it each time. I care for it. I cherish it (and the coffee it creates for me). So why, now, has it decided to do something different and disappointing?

I have a horrible feeling that this is how God sees me sometimes. Why, after he has lavished his love on me, given me his Spirit, been an active part of my life for 40 years, called me to be a Minister, placed me in a great church, given me a wonderful family, blessed me beyond measure, why do I still mess things up and do things to disappoint him?

I find some comfort in Romans 7, where Paul writes of how he wrestles with sin’s pull on his life. Even Paul felt the tensions I feel. I don’t read Romans 7 with any sense of satisfaction though. It articulates the struggle within us, but does not excuse it. I long to be in a place where Romans 7 is merely descriptive of my past, but suspect that won’t be until I have shuffled off this mortal coil, curled up my tootsies and gone to join the choir invisible. In the meantime I know that God’s Spirit continues to work within me. He helps me to be a follower of Jesus. He prompts, reminds, suggests, warns and helps me to follow Jesus instead of giving in to sin. I need to listen to him more.

And I do find some comfort in the fact that I am dissatisfied with myself as I am. Romans 7 was written because Paul did not want to be that way. He longed to be free of sin. If I ever become happy with how I am that is when I need to worry more.

And I echo Paul’s response to his own wrestling with sin:

“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
(Rom 7:25)

You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.

You sleep with your eyes open.
You have to watch videos in fast-forward.
The only time you’re standing still is during an earthquake.
You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.
Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
You’re so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.
You can type sixty words per minute with your feet.
You can jump-start your car without cables.
You don’t sweat, you percolate.
You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it’s not plugged in.
You’ve built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
People get dizzy just watching you.
Instant coffee takes too long.
You channel surf faster without a remote.
You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
You short out motion detectors.
You don’t even wait for the water to boil anymore.
You help your dog chase its tail.
You soak your dentures in coffee overnight.
Your first-aid kit contains two pints of coffee with an I.V. hookup.
You ski uphill.
You get a speeding ticket even when you’re parked.
You answer the door before people knock.
You haven’t blinked since the last lunar eclipse.

it’s a game of two halves at the end of the day

Sorry, I can’t resist. Football is a funny old game.

On Sunday my favourite team, Ipswich Town, were thrashed 7-0 by Chelsea in the FA Cup. It was so bad that if it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped a long way before the final whistle.

Last night Ipswich played Arsenal in the semi-final of the League Cup. What Ipswich thought they were doing there nobody knows (and few supporters can believe)! After Sunday nobody gave Ipswich a chance. People were predicting rugby or even cricket scores against us. I was not optimistic.

Final Score: Ipswich Town 1 Arsenal 0.

CHARLIE: PLAYERS WERE FANTASTICYes, that is correct! It is an astonishing change in performance and result in just a few days. It was reminiscent of the 1978 FA Cup Final when Ipswich were the overwhelming underdogs and beat Arsenal by the same scoreline with a goal at almost exactly the same time in the match!

Now before I get carried away here I need to remember that the semi-final is played over two matches so we have to go back to Arsenal in 2 weeks’ time and play another 90 minutes. Despite the result and performance last night I am still expecting Arsenal to win in the end, but of course hoping for an Ipswich victory. I also need to remember that Ipswich have just parted company with their manager and appointed a new one because they have lost 7 of the last 10 league matches and are perilously close to the relegation zone in their division. One win against Arsenal cannot change that!

So what do I reflect on here? Several things. One is that if we think the transformation in performance of a football team is impressive, the changes that God can bring about in us by his Spirit are even more remarkable. Amazing Grace indeed! A second thought is that we need to be a little bit like Ipswich in how we deal with letting God down. They did not wallow in their failure but I guess analysed where they went wrong, admitted their faults and determined to do better next time (and how!). So it is with us and God, but moreso. He wants us to admit when we have made mistakes (let’s use the biblical word, sin). He wants us to see where we went wrong and see if we can avoid the same mistakes (sin) again. He wants us to be determined to do better next time. And to help us he gives us his Spirit to prompt us, encourage us, guide us and support us.

So come Tuesday 25th January at 1945 I will be hoping against hope that Ipswich can repeat the performance and maintain their lead over Arsenal. (Sadly I am out at a meeting so can’t watch it even though it’s being shown live on BBC TV (AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH)). But more than that I am relying on God’s grace and Spirit to help me to continue to improve, to be transformed, renewed and encouraged.

Unrelated joke from joke calendar:
Two snowmen were stood in the middle of a field and one of them says, “Can you smell carrots?”

and bonus joke

Two birds are sitting on a perch and one says, “Can you smell fish?”

stuck up

Can you spot the difference?

Yes I know one is a Spitfire and one is a Hurricane.

Yes, I know one is on the left and one is one the right.

Yes I know the paint schemes are similar but different.

The difference is that on the Hurricane (one on the right for those not aware which is which) the stickers with the flag, squadron markings and RAF roundels are home made, whereas the ones on the Spitfire are the ones supplied with the kit.

I was given an Airfix set of the planes in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as a present. It has taken me a while to get around to making these two. (The Lancaster Bomber is yet to be attempted.) But when I was making the Hurricane I realised that the paint job that I wanted to give it was different to the one recommended and that the stickers (called ‘decals’ by those in the know) were designed for a different paint scheme and would not look right at all.

I went to our local model shop but they don’t do spare sets. Instead the man sold me a blank sticker sheet on which I could print the various logos and letters from my printer. Great!

Except I had not realised that each letter and logo would have to be cut out precisely with a craft knife It took ages! And because the sheet had to go through my printer in one pass I only had one go at it. Pressure!

I am moderately pleased with the result. From medium range it does not look too bad, although I am sure purists will find many faults with them.

One of the things that excited me about this was the discovery that you can buy sheets of sticker material onto which you can print anything you like. Ooh, the possibilities! I used up the space on the sheet after putting the logos and letters on it for my Hurricane with some church logo stickers and some sticky address labels, as well as a new sticker to go on the box for my puppet: Stew the Rabbit (right).

A sticker can offer a way of adding your own personal touches to something. It is a way of identifying it as belonging to you (in case it gets lost or someone thinks they would like it). Is the Holy Spirit like a sticker for us? He is the way that God is adding his own personal touches to my life. He is the one who (I hope) identifies me as someone who belongs to Jesus. The big difference is that the objects on which I have placed my stickers had not choice in the matter. They just got splatted.

I have a choice to make, every day, or even all the time, about whether I allow the Spirit to do what he wants to within me, or to hide him and his effect from others.

I had a quick look for an airfix-related joke online, but it seems that it is taken very seriously by a lot of people – it is no joking matter. Have declined to search for ‘model jokes’ as I don’t want to know what I might be offered. So instead, here are some jokes that start with an aeroplane.

The Mum- English Dictionary
AEROPLANE: What Mum impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat food. 
APPLE: Nutricious lunchtime dessert which children will trade for cupcakes. 
BABY: 1. Dad, when he gets a cold. 2. Mum’s youngest child, even if he’s 42. 
BATHROOM: a room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mum to be self-cleaning. 
BECAUSE: Mum’s reason for having kids do things which can’t be explained logically. 
BED and BREAKFAST: Two things the kids will never make for themselves. 
CAR POOL: Complicated system of transportation where Mum always winds up going the furthest with the biggest bunch of kids who have had the most sugar. 
COUCH POTATO: What Mum finds under the sofa cushions after the kids eat dinner. 
DATE: Infrequent outings with Dad where Mum can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting. 
DRINKING GLASS: Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge. 
EAR: A place where kids store dirt. 
EAT: What kids do between meals, but not at them. 
ENERGY: Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something. 
EYE: The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mum, can be “put out” by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife.
FOOD: The response Mum usually gives in answer to the question “What’s for dinner tonight?” See “SARCASM” 
GENIUSES: Amazingly, all of Mum’s kids. 
HAMPER: A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded By, but not containing, dirty clothing. 
HANDI-WIPES: Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc. 
HINDSIGHT: What Mum experiences from changing too many nappies. 
ICE: Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty. 
JEANS: Denim trousers which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals. 
JUNK: Dad’s stuff. 
KISS: Mum medicine. 
OCEAN: What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals. 
OPEN: The position of children’s mouths when they eat in front of company.
OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mum’s nickname for Dad


>Circuit Board 13Have you ever had this experience – your computer has received a message saying that it needs to update a program while you are out of the room and by the time you come back it has installed the update and is in the process of rebooting itself, never mind what else you had running at the time?

If not, you are blessed. It happened to me this morning. I was not happy, although I decided to remain calm and try to reflect on the experience instead – hence this blog entry.

Would my life be easier or better if God installed updates at regular intervals without me having to do anything? Would it be helpful if he interrupted what I was doing and uploaded new and improved Nick v without my asking him to?

Yes and no.

Yes – because I know that I am not always so in tune with him as I should be and so need his Spirit to be changing me and making me more like the person he created me to become. That’s not something I can do myself.

No – because I would like to be more in control of my life than that. I am not sure I like the idea of God being able to intervene at any stage and stop what I am doing in order to make some adjustments to me.

Except that is what he does sometimes. Sometimes the words someone else uses brings me up short and makes me reflect on my own relationship with God. Sometimes (often) events happen over which I have no control and God uses those moments to give me the opportunity to respond to him. There have been times when, admittedly after I have invited him to, God has overwhelmed me so much by his Spirit that it has felt like a complete system reboot, and I have needed it!

On balance, I would much rather God was upgrading me on a regular basis than I was standing still or going backwards in the process of being a follower of Jesus. Today I will be looking for those moments and opportunities when he can do that.

If restaurants operated like Microsoft programs…
Customer: Waiter!
Waiter: Hi, my name is Bill, and I’ll be your Support Waiter. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: There’s a fly in my soup!
Waiter: Try again, maybe the fly won’t be there this time.
Customer: No, it’s still there.
Waiter: Maybe it’s the way you’re using the soup; try eating it with a fork instead.
Customer: Even when I use the fork, the fly is still there.
Waiter: Maybe the soup is incompatible with the bowl; what kind of bowl are you using?
Customer: A SOUP bowl!
Waiter: Hmmm, that should work. Maybe it’s a configuration problem; how was the bowl set up?
Customer: You brought it to me on a saucer; what has that to do with the fly in my soup?!
Waiter: Can you remember everything you did before you noticed the fly in your soup?
Customer: I sat down and ordered the Soup of the Day!
Waiter: Have you considered upgrading to the latest Soup of the Day?
Customer: You have more than one Soup of the Day each day??
Waiter: Yes, the Soup of the Day is changed every hour.
Customer: Well, what is the Soup of the Day now?
Waiter: The current Soup of the Day is tomato.
Customer: Fine. Bring me the tomato soup, and the bill. I’m running late now.
Waiter leaves and returns with another bowl of soup and the bill.
Waiter: Here you are, Sir. The soup and your bill.
Customer: This is potato soup.
Waiter: Yes, the tomato soup wasn’t ready yet.
Customer: Well, I’m so hungry now, I’ll eat anything.
Waiter leaves.
Customer: Waiter! 
Waiter: Hi, my name is Bill, and I’ll be your Support Waiter. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: There’s a gnat in my soup!

The bill:
Soup of the Day …………………………….. £5.00
Upgrade to newer Soup of the Day …………. £2.50
Access to support …………………………… £10.00

it is finished

I have finished. I can’t quite believe it. It should have been a very difficult task. I should be struggling through it. I should be looking for distractions that will keep me from the task. But it happened so quickly and easily that I am now wondering whether I have got it right!

What have I finished?

The sermon I am going to preach at my Mum’s wedding this weekend.

It’s a strange feeling, writing a sermon to preach at my Mum’s wedding. What can I say to her? What will she think? What will her new husband think of his son-in-law preaching to him? Will I get away with some of the jokes? (If I do I may share them on my blog next week – if I am still alive!)

The good news (and what I am relying on) is that I am not basing my words on my experience or being nominated as the best husband in the world. It would be an extremely short sermon if I was! My words are based on God’s word. Preaching is an amazing experience where the same Spirit who inspired lots of different people to write things down about God over many centuries is the same one who inspires as I read those words two millennia later (at least) and is the same one who gives me words to say and then inspires them in the hearts and minds of those who listen. It’s an immense privilege. Not just to do that at my Mother’s wedding, but to do it week in, week out.

TRUE story about preaching

A famous Baptist preacher was on a preaching tour in Africa. It was his tradition to ask his interpreters how you say ‘Good morning’ in the local dialect so he could begin his sermon with those words.

One morning, as he walked from the vestry into the main church he went past two doors which, from the symbols on them, were clearly the ladies and gents toilets. There were words on the doors which he decided to add to ‘good morning’ in the local dialect.

Rustic Lavatory Signs 1Rustic Lavatory Signs 2At the start of his sermon he stood up and said what he thought was “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.”

There was a stunned silence.

Then one or two sniggers.

Eventually the whole congregation was roaring with laughter.

Confused, he turned to his interpreter and asked, “What did I just say?”

The interpreter grinned. “You just said, ‘Good morning water closets and urinals!'”

>Phone Upgrades


Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic Mobile PhoneMy phone has recently updated its software. (There’s a sentence that even five years ago I would not have thought I would ever type). It is not just a little tweak, it has changed the style and format of the user interface (how I access the stuff on it for the non-jargon literate). There are new icons where there were previously no icons. It has upgraded the maps software so I now have a groovy satellite navigation system for almost anywhere in the world. There are extra ways of accessing people’s addresses quickly. It has improved the way that I can access my calendar / diary. It links much more easily and successfully with my computer in order to synchronise songs, pictures, messages and much more.

It confused me considerably when alarm alerts started coming in. It used to be a simple matter of turning them off by pressing a button, but when I tried doing that with the new buttons nothing happened. It was embarrassing at last night’s Church Meeting when the alarm kept going off to tell me that the Church Meeting was happening and I could not stop it. In the end the phone had to be switched off completely. (I have since discovered that to turn off alarm alerts when they happen I have to do a lovely slide of my finger along the button on the screen rather than just tap it. D’oh!)

And it even makes and receives phone calls!

One of the things that has changed is that the touch screen process is improved. It’s not an iphone (my phone service provider doesn’t have them) but it still has a lovely touch screen that enables me to get grubby fingermarks all over the screen in a clumsy attempt to get different functions to happen (see comment above about alarm alerts). But now, with the new software installed, the touch screen functions are more sensitive and smoother. It recognises different movements across the screen. Clever or what?!

Perhaps God needs to install new software into me to make me more sensitive to his touch and guidance. Ah yes. That’s what the Holy Spirit is doing in us… upgrading our software regularly (if we let him) to help us become more sensitive and attuned to God. You may even see his fingerprints on me!

Phone jokes:

Frank wanted to get his beautiful wife, Betty, something nice for their first wedding anniversary. So he decided to buy her a mobile telephone. Betty was excited, she loved her phone. Frank showed her how it worked and explained to her all the different and varied features on the phone.

On Monday Betty went shopping in the local supermarket. Her phone rang. It was Frank: 

‘Hi ya, Betty,’ he said, ‘how do you like your new phone?’ 
Betty replied, ‘I just love it, it’s so small and light and your voice is clear as a bell, but there’s one feature that I really don’t understand though.’

‘What’s that, Betty?’ asked the husband.

‘How did you know that I was at Tesco?’

Having just moved into his new office in Whitehall, pompous, newly promoted Lieutenant Commander Rodney Grant [Royal Navy] was sitting at his desk when Leading Seaman Jones knocked on his door. Particularly aware of his new position, the commander quickly picked up the phone, told the seaman to enter, then said into the phone, ‘Yes, Admiral, I’ll be seeing him this afternoon and I’ll pass along your message. In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir.’

Feeling as though he had sufficiently impressed young Jones man, he asked, ‘What do you want?’

‘Nothing important, sir,’ Jones replied without batting an eyelid, ‘I’m just here to connect up your new telephone.’

>Noises off


What can you hear from where you are right now? I can hear one of my children playing Quidditch (on the Playstation) and the other watching TV. I can hear the click clack of my fingers hitting the keys of my keyboard as I type. I can hear the ticking of a clock I was given when I left Didcot. I can hear the washing machine turning relentlessly in a vain effort to keep up with the unstoppable flow of dirty clothes generated by this family. I can hear the creaking of the chair on which I am sitting. I can almost hear the cogs turning slowly in my head as I try to kick start my brain for the day ahead.

I don’t often stop like that and listen. It is an interesting exercise because now I am very much aware of all of the activity around me. While I am shut in my study, seemingly isolated from the rest of the world, there is activity all around me: I am not alone.

It’s a helpful reminder to me that I am never alone. I have God’s Spirit with me always – guiding, encouraging, prompting, nurturing, wooing, blessing, enlightening, challenging, informing, inspiring, giving, braking, loving, reassuring, growing, speaking, listening, cultivating, empowering, filling, answering, refreshing, exploring, amusing, provoking, leading, wondering, accompanying, suffering, sharing, reminding, interpreting, guarding, strengthening, breathing, acting, humouring… it’s a good thing he doesn’t get tired!

I have sometimes used an illustration where I take a large jar and put marbles in it representing different aspects of our lives (eating, sleeping, watching TV, school, work…) until the jar is full. When people agree that the jar is full I take a jug of water and pour it into the jar. It fills the gaps and surrounds all the marbles. There is space for a lot of water. I suggest that this is what God wants to do in our lives, to be involved in every aspect of what we say and do. This is similar to the following wise words:

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognise that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.” 

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.” 

But then…
A student then took the jar which the other students and the professor agreed was full, and proceeded to pour in a glass of beer. Of course the beer filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly full.
The moral of this tale is:
– that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for BEER