Posts Tagged: journey


18
Mar 13

Lost in Cyberspace

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Wow… I had written about two thirds of my blog and somehow I lost it… it evaporated into cyberspace.

It was weird.  You would think that I could simply retype what I had just written, but Noooooo!

I couldn’t remember a thing.  Pretty sad huh?

Just so you know, you should be aggravated too because you missed out on some amazing insights.  Your life is a little less rich because of those little computer gremlins.

So here I am writing about the perils of modern technology.  If not careful I will start sounding like an old fart that spews criticism and annoyance over any new fangled contraption.

I have some years on me but I’m not that old (if you’re a tree).

As I said, I’m not that old, but I do remember…

  • the sound of a coin going through a pay phone
  • that typing classes were noisy
  • what “cc” on an email really means
  • stores were closed on Sunday
  • you dressed up to fly on a plane
  • what 45’s are (if you know what the picture is above then you know what 45’s are)
  • paying extra for Airmail
  • party lines
  • getting up to change the channel

Yep, time flies and the world changes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t miss 45’s or party lines.  I of course have a nostalgic soft spot for these things but I don’t pine away for days gone by.

As you know, keeping up with change is tiring.  But it’s worth it.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were at a conference where the presenter asked that we identify our family values.  We both were able to identify them rather quickly but it was a good exercise to articulate them and capture them in black and white.

There’s something powerful in tangibly getting things out of your head and heart on to a piece of paper.  Seeing it in front of you seems to cut through the clutter.

Our values were as follows… but not in order of priority.

  • Adventure
  • Fun
  • Growth
  • Our Faith
  • Family / Relationships

It was pretty cool to quickly articulate and agree upon our values.

Since one of our values is growth it means that I can’t (must not) hang on to the things that were.  We must hold loosely to the events and things of yesterday and keep our eyes forward.

As one gets a few years under their belt it is an easy trap to begin facing backwards.  It’s logical and natural… but deadly.

What dies are our dreams and ambitions.

One might think that I am talking about someone at least sixty plus.  But I have see people in their forties become dulled by time.  They actually believe that their prime has peaked and the “what could have been” is lost.

How heartbreaking.

I am well past forty and it is an absolutely wonderful feeling to know that my best days are ahead.

How cool is that?

See you Thursday… hopefully.  I haven’t been too good at getting two entries per week written.

Ciao.


4
Mar 13

The Joy of Dirt

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Welcome, it’s good to have you visit.

In the last blog entry I tried to tackle the topic of creativity.  I’m obviously not an expert on the topic but, as you know, that has never stopped me before from having an opinion to share.

I mentioned that the creative genius, which we all possess, is one of the divine DNA markers of our creator.  Yep, we all bare the fingerprints of the one who created us.

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Creativity makes a leap, then looks to see where it is.

- Mason Cooley

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One of the things that stirred me about what I wrote earlier is the joy and happiness one experiences when they create something.

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Side Note: I’m not sure what it says about a person who is stirred by their own writing.

It probably says that I’m weird and I need to get some counseling.  It’s nothing a few meds can’t cure.

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But it’s true… there is amazing joy in the feeling one has after creating something or coming up with a creative solution to a problem.

I remember as a kid building a little town in the dirt for my toy cars and army men.  I would spend hours building roads, clearing a path for a river and constructing cardboard houses.

The interesting thing is that once I completed the town the playtime was relatively short.  The joy was in the creating, not the using.

I am not the only one.  I’m sure you look back on those times as a child when you experienced the joy of playing and creating… just like this person.

We had this big dirt pile in our backyard when I was a kid.  We were back there every day with our Star Wars figures. I would construct these intricate waterways with rivers, dams, and lakes… would work on it dry for hours, and then the big moment would come when I would bury the hose in the side of the pile so that the water would spurt out from the head of the river as if emanating straight from the aquifer. I was filled with satisfaction as the raging headwaters coursed down the winding path I had built.”

Do you remember the freedom you felt during those times of play and creativity?  It was the freedom to explore.

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Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty.

- Bryant H. McGill

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Growing into adulthood somehow dulls our innocent expression of creativity we experience during play.

Our creative juices tend to shift from the innocence of play to the reality of work and life.  Life stuff has a way of robbing the innocence of creativity.

It is this type of freedom we yearn for as adults.

We are made to create… to be creative.

Since I have tapped into the topic of creativity I have at least one more blog on the topic.

See you next time.


8
Feb 13

More than a SMILE

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If you read my last blog you know that I recently visited South Africa on a church mission trip and talked about the difference between the poor in Soweto and the American poor.

I was taken back by the amazing smiles on the people in the poorest of areas.  Beautiful wide-mouthed, teeth showing smiles.

I am in no way naïve to believe they were happy with their situation.  The surroundings are deplorable.

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Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
- Dale Carnegie
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But the smiles, not just the children, were infectious.  Their was an endearing quality about the people that made me want to engage and get involved.

The type of engagement I am talking about was not the kind of “do gooder” involvement where you try to lift someone from the depths of their plight because you feel sorry for them.  NO!

I was saddened because of their living arrangements but their countenance did not demand sympathy.  Their smiles just made the desire for engagement easy.

It was as if they were a neighbor who could use a helping hand in assistance.

It has only been eighteen years since the fall of apartheid and full democracy in place.  One would think that a couple of busloads of white people winding their way through the narrow streets would be viewed with distain or considerable resistance or suspicion.

We felt no distain and little or no resistance or suspicion.  They smiled as we passed and freely waved as we responded in kind.

Somehow the American poor seem different.

I am sorry if this sounds judgmental, I don’t mean to be, but I don’t see the smiles or welcoming wave from the inner-city poor in the United States like I did in South Africa (SA).

So here’s my puzzlement.  Why?  Why such a difference?

The SA poor live in much worse conditions, have significantly less governmental support, with fewer opportunities.  To top it off health issues like HIV are rampant.

The majority of our mission trip was to clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  The principle said that about 40% of the children were HIV positive.

Take a look at this video I took of the kindergarteners walking to their toilet break.

school children 3

Although the school appeared pretty nice is wasn’t… especially by U.S. standards.

I think there is something to be said for uniforms and order.  The teachers maintained a fairly high level of order while still allowing kids to be kids.

Once again, don’t misinterpret what I am saying.  Just because the people smile and engage more doesn’t mean that people are satisfied with their lot in life.

Crime in SA is rampant.  People are scrambling for survival.  The poor there do not have nearly the amount of basic governmental or NGO (non-government organization) support for food and shelter that we have here.

But for some reason they seem to stand taller, look you in the eye more, smile and engage more readily.

I do believe there is a difference between being happy vs. satisfied.

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Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- Abraham Lincoln

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I would really like to know your theory or reason for the difference between the poor in US and SA.  It was fascinating to experience.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


30
Jan 13

Back and better for it

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He’s back!  Yep, I’m back… jet lag and all.

Wow, was Kent Nerburn right.  In the last blog entry I quoted Kent from his book Letters to a Son.

I wasn’t planning to repeat his quote but it’s to apropos for the topic at hand not to.  So here it is again.

“That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder.

Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.

We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take.

But if you take them, you will never regret your choice.”

I’ve had the privilege to travel a good bit.  But for the most part my travels have been what some might say are safe travels.

What I mean is, the countries I have visited have been fairly westernized with the modern niceties that suit our American tastes.

The visits to Europe have been great and I have been stretched by the differences in culture, language and politics.  All of these visits have left their mental stretch marks but nothing to the extent that I faced last week.

I mentioned that I was going to South Africa for a church mission trip.

First of all the flight to and from Johannesburg was about sixteen hours in duration.  It made the typical seven-hour flight to Europe a leisurely Sunday drive.

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Side Note: Wow, that last statement dates me.  Sunday Drive?  I can’t imagine anyone taking a Sunday drive anymore.

Yes, to all of you too young to remember, people would actually just get in the car and drive in the country as a leisurely family activity.

And by the way, I am not nearly as old as the picture illustrates.  Well… maybe.  But I don’t feel that old.

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South Africa is a very interesting mix of cultures and wealth.  There are pockets of extremely nice areas that are jammed packed full of niceties that we pampered American relish.  But all of these pockets were surrounded by extreme poverty.

The focus of our trip was to help clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  It was a church’s version of “extreme makeover” for a school.

Soweto, if you remember your history, was the epicenter for the movement to banish Apartheid in South Africa.  Now don’t worry, this is not going to be a blog about the ills of racism and the overthrow of the white regime.  There are plenty of history books or web sites that dissect those events.

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Interesting factoids:

1.  I thought the name Soweto was derived from some sort of African word.  But in reality it is the abbreviation of Southwest Township.

2.  Soweto is the only place in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

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Over the next couple of entries I would like to share a few things that stirred my comfortable little world.

Surprisingly, it is different than what you may think.  It’s not the poverty, although it was horrid, nor was it the history of racial oppression, albeit extreme.

It has everything to do with what make people good.

See you Monday.


18
Jan 13

Packed and ready to go

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Have you ever had deep stirrings but couldn’t find words to release the captive thought?

I have, all the time.  I still have lots of deep things that seem frustrated with lack of expression.

I attempt to verbalize the inner truth but my words stumble because of lack of clarity.  And sadly the depth and significance of the thought is lost, even undermined, because of my inability to breathe life into it.

In the past I used to think that it was because I wasn’t bright enough to articulate my thought.  That may be true to some degree but mostly I believe that inner truths need time to germinate and then at the right time they break the surface.

Occasionally I am able to bring clarity on my own.  That is the exception rather than the rule.

Usually someone will come along and articulate or we read something that crystallizes a trapped thought.

When that happens there is an amazing relief.  I hear my head echo, “That’s it, that’s it”.

As all of you know I have been poking at the topic of journey for several years.  And the other day I read something that brought me a huge step closer to bringing clarity to the clutter of thoughts and feelings that have been rubbing against each other.

A friend sent me an email that had the following quote.

The quote is about the importance of and the need for us to travel.  But the truth articulated is not reserved for just traveling to physical new locations.

The beauty of the quote is that it articulates many of my thoughts about the journey of life and the trying of new things.

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“That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder.

Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.

We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take.

But if you take them, you will never regret your choice.”

- Letters To A Son. Kent Nerburn

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This quote articulates much better than I the importance of stepping out beyond ourselves.

Life has more than what we settle for.  For those of you reading this blog for the first time, I am not talking about trying new things to feed our appetite for thrills or because we want to run away from life.

No, not at all.  I am talking about things that expand who we are.  Things that make our life richer and deeper.

I am about to do something that I believe will make my life richer and fuller.

I am taking Kent Nerburn’s advice and in two hours I am leaving to go to South Africa for ten days.  This is a church trip thing and it will be fascinating.

So I won’t be posting my next blog entry until the 29th.

I should come back all stretched and insightful.

Ciao.


14
Jan 13

Breakdown or Breakthrough?


Blog Note: I added this sentence after reading what I wrote.  The blog may seem negative at first but stick with it… there may be something for you to learn.

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Hello, me again… for the three hundredth time.

Yep, this is my three hundredth blog entry in three years.  This writing feat of posting 300 entries may not be very impressive to you, but for me… I’m ecstatic.

If you told me four years ago I would be posting two blog entries a week for over three years and have over 100,000 hits per year I would have thought you were nuts.  There are three reasons why I thought this would never happen.

First of all I’m not a writer.  I am not claiming they are good blog entries (only you are the judge of that) but I’m happy with most of them.

Secondly, I tend not to be as disciplined as I would like to be.  My life journey road is littered with discarded projects and miscellaneous attempts of meaningful endeavors.  My pattern has been to start things and then after the luster dulls, my effort and interest fizzles.

And the third reason is probably pretty clear to you after reading reasons one and two… I am really good at beating the crap out of myself.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but it’s true.

It’s one thing to be self-deprecating.  There’s kind of an endearing charm of someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and are confident enough to advertise their shortcomings.

But when someone beats the crap out of themselves it’s neither endearing nor charming.

Wow, I didn’t expect to be this vulnerable when I started writing a few minutes ago.

I feel like someone who has been muscled out of their hiding place and paraded for public display exposed for the world to make their judgments or take their shots.

Now don’t get all weirded out or start feeling sorry for me.

Let me be clear, this open discussion is not a self-flagellating mea culpa to cleanse my spirit of personal demons.  Not at all!

In fact, on some level it is both a declaration and a sign of freedom.

Yes, I have my issues like everyone else…  just like everyone else… just like you.

Every one of you reading this has things that hold you back from living life to the full.

As for me, I recognize and squarely face the things that I tried to keep others from seeing – my flat spots.

This is why this blog has been important to me.  This was one of several steps I was called to take which allowed me to venture beyond the confines of my world.

Maybe you are further along in your journey than I and the insights of this blog entry is old news.

But for some, you remain in your internal “panic room” protecting yourself from exposure to the world.  You’re not about to let anyone know your weakness.

But here’s the dirty little secret – Everyone already knows.

The breakthrough is bringing it to light to face it.

Bringing things to light is risky indeed.  But life is worth the risk.

Hopefully you will show up on Thursday for another visit.

See you then.

Ciao.


10
Jan 13

A walk on the wild side

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Hello again.

Some of you who read my last blog entry may be of the notion to take me up on my offer to step out of your comfortable world and go exploring with me.

There may have been something about what I said that poked a tender spot regarding the possibility that there is more to life than what you have been experiencing.

I am an average guy, with a great life, and blessed beyond measure.  Very honestly, there is nothing special about me.  My wife would say different but that’s because she loves me and can be somewhat biased in her opinion.

But this average guy has a message.  The spark of life you sense has nothing to do with Jerry Rushing.  But it has everything with you cracking the door to begin believing that what I am talking about is real and for you.

Oh my God.  I just re-read the last couple of paragraphs and I sound like motivational speaker Anthony Robbins… only without the big teeth and creepy smile.

But in reality my message to you is nothing like Anthony Robbins.  I am not talking about the power within you to make you great or you tapping into your reservoir of latent potential waiting to be released to change the world.  Nope… nothing like that.

No, I’m not selling fantasies or potential.

I’m not selling you anything.  All I am doing is inviting you to consider that God has more for you to experience and enjoy than you can ever imagine.

There is an interesting scripture in the Bible (Romans 12:2) that says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

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Side Note: Now to all my non-Christian friends don’t get all pissy on me because I used a scripture to make my point.  I am not trying to convert you (that’s not my job anyway).

So just move your curser away from the exit icon and hear me out.  Thanks.

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But whether you are a Christian or not the scripture is true.  Our mind, if not careful, will lock us into a way of thinking that keeps us quietly buried in the shallow grave of life I mentioned in the last blog.  We’re dead and don’t even know it.

Growing and experiencing life to the full is a combination of opening our thinking and stepping out and trying something new.

Some of you reading this blog never try anything new.  There is something about trying new things that breaths life into dead bones.

Once again I know there are some of you who will just roll your eyes at my words and chalk my comments up as the ramblings of a small narrow man’s attempt to be profound.

Maybe.  But what if I am right?

I want to challenge you to do two very simple things.  It is a challenge that may prove you right about me or may open your thinking to the possibility that God has an amazing adventure for you to experience.

All I ask is that you sincerely invite God to open your heart and mind to the possibility that He has something for you.  And secondly… just listen.

What do you have to lose?

Now I have to be really honest here.  I tend to be pretty rebellious.  If someone asked me to do the two simple things I’m asking you, I am very likely to blow it off just to spite the person asking.

I’m not proud of that but true none-the-less.

I hope you will give it a shot.  Just ask… and listen.

See you Monday.


7
Jan 13

Living in a shallow grave

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Hello… welcome back… Happy New Year.

A statement in my last blog entry has been haunting me.  I said that worry robs your life of life.

How sad, but unfortunately all too true.  There are millions of people living in this world who are living with no life.

Something happened to me about five years ago.  I am not exactly sure what but I do know that it was a God thing.  I decided that I did not want to live my life in a shallow grave.

A person in a shallow grave is one who lives in and settles for less than what is available to them.  I believe more and more, and my heart rejoices more and more with the reality that there is so much God has given for us to experience and enjoy HERE and NOW not just in the hereafter.

Yes, as a Christian I knew I would go to heaven and all would be good.  But little did I know that God desires for us to experience life to the full – NOW.

I am not talking about deeper Spiritual insights or tingly feelings.  Yes, those are available and I like those things too, but I’m talking about something different.

I wish I could bring to memory the event or moment that sparked the notion that life had more to offer than what I was settling for.

Here’s the amazing God thing.  I already had a very good life.  It was neither boring nor unfulfilling.  But something sparked an inner ember.

Something struck an invisible soundless note that resonated in my spirit.

All I knew was that God was calling me to a higher place.  It had nothing to do with money, job nor possession.  There was a stirring to things outside my comfortable snug world.

I am sure some you are reading this and are bored out of your mind thinking this guy is weird.

But there is someone reading this that is feeling a stir.  Something inside is rising up and taking notice.

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We long for more but dare not believe that more is possible

- Penelope Stokes

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You don’t know what, but there is something inside that knows or wants to believe that God has more for you… and He does!

That is why I started this blog journey three years ago.

Something or someone was calling me to more.

As I said earlier, I had a wonderful life up to five years ago.  Since that time it has been amazing.  It doesn’t mean simple… but simply amazing.

I have taken risks, started things (like this blog) that I would have never attempted.

All because I listened to a zephyr call to something more.

No, life is not perfect.  Yes, I still have my challenges and setbacks.

But I can honestly say that I no longer live in a shallow grave where my life has no life.  And the amazing thing is that what I have experienced is only the beginning.

This is my invitation to all of you weird people out there that feel a stir at what I am saying.  The voice you hear is not mine.

I am only the instrument that invites you to more.

I hope you join me as I continue the journey.

If you are really serious I encourage you to read the first couple of months of blogs from 2010.  All you need to do is go to the archives on the right side of the page and check them out.

Ciao.

See you Thursday.


11
Dec 12

More Christmas Frivolity

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Welcome, great to have you hang out with me for a while.

Since it is the Christmas season I have been talking about what types of gifts men or women like.  So I will continue to unwrap the topic a bit more.

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Side Note: “…unwrap the topic…”

Yes, I know, that was really bad.  I couldn’t resist the easy layup of a pun.  And yes, I realize that puns of this nature do not reflect well on my intellectual prowess.  But it is what it is.

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The fact that men and women are different is not new news to anyone.  But the fact that we are so different is something for which I am very, very thankful.

In the last entry I mentioned that all you need to get for a guy is something that makes noise, a tool of any kind to take something apart (putting it back together is optional), a toy or some sort of electronic gadget.

Yes, women are different.  The fairer gender tends to like things that fall into one of four categories.  As I started to list them I found that they all started with the letter “S”.

Girls like things that are – Soft, Sentimental, Smell good, or Shiny.  I could throw in another “S” that girls like.  No, not Sexy, even though it is a good guess and it’s something that is both a guy and girl thing.

The other “S” I was thinking about is Silliness.  Now let me explain.  There is “goofiness”, which no girl likes.  And there is cute silliness, which girls tend to like, especially if it involves a cute guy.

I ran across a video that will perfectly illustrate my point.

As a guy I could relate to doing something like this… but would never attempt.  I wouldn’t try it because 1.)  I’m not a cute enough guy; 2.) I can’t dance; 3.) Cute is hard to pull off when you’re over 30.

Girls… enjoy the video.  Guys, it’s ok for you to watch too.  It’s a good idea to consider if you’re under the age of 30.  Make sure you get to the dancing part.

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YouTube Preview Image

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One of the comments below the video had a very good description of this little escapade.  They mentioned that it was so cool and uncool at the same time.

I have never been able to pull off something that is cool and uncool at the same time.  I have mastered uncool pretty well but I’m still working on the cool part.

Regardless of what you thought about the video whether it was cute silliness or just plain stupid goofiness, the guys were having fun.

FUN!!!  Innocent fun.

Regardless of age, cuteness, or ability to dance, fun is for everyone.
You may find this hard to believe, but God created fun.  What really throws some people is the notion that God is really fun.

Most people see Him as a crotchety old geezer that has no sense of humor.  Boy, are they ever wrong.

I think after Christmas I will need to dig into the funny God thing… because He really is funny… not goofy… funny.

Yes, I even believe that God can pull off the cute silliness thing… even though He is over 30 and probably can’t dance.

Ciao


21
Nov 12

Yep… Thanksgiving Meanderings

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Believe it or not… I am still alive.

Yes, your calculations are correct.  It has been nine days since my last blog entry… nine days.

I have no real excuse, but things have been pretty weird.

The unfortunate reality is that this entry also is being typed in a hospital room.  It has not been a good nine days.

Thankfully it looks like my family member is not in a life threatening place… but there were some touchy moments.

So there is a lot to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving.

But don’t get yourself all worked expecting a syrupy sweet, heart tugging, tear jerking, schmaltzy Thanksgiving Day list of all the things to be thankful for.

Yes, there is plenty to be thankful for.  Blessings galore.

You ought to know by now that I am not going to be that predictable.

I love Thanksgiving but I think I love unpredictability more… with a splash of irreverence thrown in.

So I went on a search to find a couple of funny, slightly irreverent, somewhat questionable and not very politically correct videos.

Enjoy.

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YouTube Preview Image

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OK, granted the last video was not the best video in the world but I needed something to break the monotony of sitting in the hospital room.

The next one has some big stars in it and is pretty funny.

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YouTube Preview Image

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Regardless of where you are… make time to be thankful.

Yep, I’m still sitting here in a hospital room and I am very thankful… bored (as you can see from the videos) but thankful.

Gobble, gobble… have a wonderful Thanksgiving.