Posts Tagged: life


14
Dec 12

Listen or Discard?

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Ho Ho Ho!

Yep… the smell of the scented candles, sounds of carols and the zip from Egg Nog is starting to take effect.

I feel the joy of Christmas beginning to rumble deep inside.  Or, it could be just the remnants of the questionable fish sandwich I had for lunch.  But something is beginning to rumble and I’m getting into the moment.

Without getting all mushy and Hallmark Cardish there is something very, very special about this time of year.

Sure, you have your occasional curmudgeon (or Grinch) who dislikes anything that makes other people feel good or happy.

It’s kind of weird.  If they’re not happy they don’t want others to be happy.  But of course they don’t come right out and say that.  They put a damper on everyone’s joy by spouting their unhappiness veiled by some very philosophical or insightful proclamation.

The biggest philosophical proclamation that becomes an emotional wet blanket is the verbal barrage that Christmas is too commercial.

Is Christmas too commercial?  Absolutely.  No question about it.  But the gross over commercialization of Christmas doesn’t stop me from enjoying the Holidays.  I still know what Christmas is all about.

If you’re really upset Christmas is over commercialized… keep it too yourself.

Yep, keep it to yourself.  Why, you ask.

NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU!

Usually when people are pontificating (emotionally spouting off) they come across self-righteous, judgmental and pompous.  That alone turns people off.

But there is another reason why people will not listen to your message.

It amazes me that people feel they are going to change the commercialism of Christmas by harping on the negative.  If you want to influence a person’s belief system you don’t hammer on the things that are wrong or in error.

This approach just makes people take a stronger stand on their point of view and makes it easy to discard your opinion like flicking a speck of dust off their shoulder.

If you really want people to hear your message… focus on the positive.

For example, if over commercialism of Christmas is an issue for you; the power is in sharing the joy of simplicity vs. the evil of excess.

Yes, I enjoy the lights, gifts, energy and happenings around the Holidays, but I also the simple joy of the spirit of giving, sharing and love.

There’s no question the glitz can be distracting… but the simple joy in the hearts and eyes of the young (this is not an age thing) is glorious.

Relax… enjoy the simplicity of the season.

Ciao.


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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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


4
Dec 12

Stress of gifts!

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Hi, good to see you again.

It’s early December and I can already feel the intensity of the season beginning to crescendo.

It’s the same kind of intensity one feels when standing between a group of seniors and the Golden Corral buffet – you see the object closing in but helpless to get out of the way.  It’s not a pretty sight.

Christmas is coming at full steam and there’s nothing you can do except brace yourself  for the impact.

I, like most of you, have started feeling the stress of what to get for gifts for the people in my life.  Personally, I think women are harder to buy for than men.

Men are easy (in more ways than one).  The only type of present you need for a guy is to get him 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.

As you can see, we men are easy to tend to for the most part.

But women are a bit more complex.  Selecting a present for the fairer sex requires more thought and consideration than for us guys.

Women are just made differently… not bad… just different.

That’s the problem.  Guys think that everyone should think and see things the way they do.  That’s why we end up buying you wonderful women stupid stuff.

So I have decided to incorporate things into the blog this December that appeals to women… I may throw in a man thing or two but primarily it’s for women.

The first thing that I found that women like (other than jewelry) is anything that has something cute and cuddly gets their attention.

There are few things more cute and cuddly than puppies.

So the video below will give all of you that smiley, happy attitude that only comes from something cute.

Enjoy the video about the Christmas puppies.

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How cute is that?  Yep… a puppy video like the one above will make any girl happy.

I thought the puppy thing would be enough but I ran across a cat video that the girls would enjoy too.

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Okay guys, I know cats are not generally the type of animal that you enjoy.  But the ladies like it.

Visit me in a couple of days and I will try to find something that will appeal to both the guys and girls.

Ciao.


29
Nov 12

Average Joe who desires to be mo.

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Yep, me again.

Since my last blog entry I have been mulling over what I had written.

Toward the end of my mental meanderings I questioned the level of spiciness in my personality.

So I have been exploring the possibility of my possessing a boring, non-descript, yawn producing, bite the side of your mouth lest you fall a sleep type personality.

I used to think that I was a somewhat engaging person with a modicum of humor.  But after watching the video of Silas Robertson I realize that I have about as much spice in my personality as a baked potato.

It’s wholesome and filling but it doesn’t particularly stand out.

The natural question that follows such mental nonsense is, why is having a personality with some spice important to me?

It’s a simple answer.  I want to be unique just like everyone else.  I don’t want to be just one of a billion potatoes.  At least throw on a little bacon (well, lot’s of bacon), sour cream and some chives.

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Oooo… Ahaaa, that’s better.

Of course I am taking this spicy personality thing a bit to the extreme for emphasis, but there is an important point to be made.

Are you comfortable with who you are?

Do you like who you are?

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Now we all have things about ourselves that we preferred were different to some degree.  For example I wish I didn’t look so much like Brad Pitt.

Take a look at my picture.

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Yep… irritating.  I am constantly asked for my autograph.  Where’s Angeline?  Paparazzi sticking their cameras in the window of my 1998 Yugo.  Very tiring.  But such are the “Pitt” falls of looking like a celebrity.

But I digress, fundamentally the question is, are you comfortable with who you are?

I am very comfortable with who I am… uh, for the most part.

Now if I am totally honest I don’t think I would be hung up on this “being comfortable in your own skin” thing if I had it all together and felt totally comfortable with myself

So I am still sorting through what all this means.

But I do know this.  Feeling comfortable with one’s self is based on how much you accept how you were created.  It took me a while but I really embrace how God made me.

I am (and you are) uniquely made.  How cool is that?

Once again, just imagine how boring this world would be if we all had similar likes, dislikes, traits, and temperaments.

Whether you have spice or your strengths tend to be on the more bland side, Viva la difference!

See you Monday.

Ciao.

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27
Nov 12

Bland and Boring or Quirky and Spicy

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Howdy.

I don’t know about you but people fascinate me.  Seriously.  I love to sit and just watch people.

I am continually amazed at the different qualities and unique quirks in people’s personalities.  I can’t imagine how boring this world would be if we all had similar likes, dislikes, traits, and temperaments.

The quirks may be something I wouldn’t do or be but I’m sure glad someone has them.  It’s sort of like what my wife and I say about Christmas decorations.

Yep, Christmas decorations.  I know the decorations reference seems totally random.  But actually there is a point.

We’ll see some strange or tacky decorations  (according to our taste) and usually say something to the effect… “I would not decorate like that but I’m glad someone does.”

The same is true about people.  So like I said earlier, the quirks may be something I wouldn’t do or be but I’m sure glad someone has them.

Yes, there are a lot of great qualities that I admire in people.   But there is one quality that I particularly appreciate.

I admire the people who are totally comfortable in their own skin.  They are who they are and they don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that they may be a bit different than the world around them.

They are totally unconcerned about what people think.

I’m not talking about a person who is selfish, self-centered and symbolically shoots everyone the bird by their outrageous in your face behavior.

I’m talking about people who are good, life-loving characters that are comfortable with their uniqueness.

Maybe this quality jumps out to me because I grew up as a preacher’s kid and I always had to be careful about what I did and what people thought.

I’m not complaining, it’s just a theory why I worry too much about what people think.

I have my unique quirkiness too but it tends to be subtler and socially acceptable.

I ran across a video of a very unique person.  He is part of a reality show called Duck Dynasty.  But even though he is part of a reality show you can tell he has some legitimate quirkiness.

Meet Silas Robertson.

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Now, I don’t want to be like Si but I am sure glad there are people like Si.

People with different personalities and quirkiness are to society what spices are to food.  They add amazing flavor to the world.

Humm… maybe this is what this topic is all about.  Maybe I think I am a bland person and add no real spice to the world.

I will have to mull that over a bit.

I think I’m a pretty spicy person but then again that can be a very relative statement.  It could be that I am the most unique grain of rice in a bland batch.

Maybe I need to liven myself up a bit.

See you Thursday.


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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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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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.


30
Oct 12

Win at all costs!

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It’s amazing to me how a phrase such as “Win at all cost” can on the surface seem so simplistic and singular in meaning.

These seemingly simple phrases are thoughtlessly tossed on the pile of mindless axioms and only used when we want to drive home a point.

The tricky part of all of this is the fact that the words we hear or the phrases we quote are limited by the definitions we are taught and the philosophy of the environment in which we live.

But let’s do something bold and retrieve the phrase “Win at all costs” from our mental pile of mindless axioms.  Let’s step back and broaden our default definitions and hopefully we will walk away better people.

Win – who doesn’t want to win?  I like to win… I tend to be pretty competitive when playing a game.  If I am on a team, I want it to be the winning team.

No one should make it a life goal to be a loser.

But let’s define “win”.  Typically “win” is defined by a score that measures the particular activity in which we are engaged.  Usually it’s the highest number that wins but there are some games such as golf where the lowest number wins.

Regardless of the type of activity, it’s based on the numbers, something tangibly measurable.

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But there are other kinds of “wins” that are not tied to toys or numbers.

I contend that to “win” could be anything that brings you more of what you want.

The last sentence then begs the big question… what do we want in life?  Is it toys, money, to be on top or something else?

There are some big wins that have nothing to do with numbers.

Take a look at this video.  It’s pretty cool.

It’s a story of a competitive team that can teach us a broader definition of what it means to “WIN”.

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Regardless of the score, the team was a winner.

See you Thursday.


25
Oct 12

The Extraordinary Ordinary

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Hi again.

The other day I was talking to a person that thought they were made to do something special.  They are here for more than to just live.

I don’t think that is out of the ordinary.  Most people believe they are here for a purpose.

The problem is, most of the people who feel this way spend their life looking for something extraordinary to do or accomplish.

They are searching for the “Big Splash” moment where they realize their existence.

I fully believe that we all are made to be exceptional.  But few will have a big splash opportunity.

Our opportunity to be extraordinary… is in the ordinary.

This is not a cute play on words.  I am very, very serious.  Too many have believed the lie that one’s impact on the world comes in headline form.  Not at all.

It’s ordinary people being faithful in the seemingly ordinary that makes an extraordinary impact on our world.

All around us are wonderful examples of the quiet unsung heroes that are changing their small part of the world… making it better than the way they found it.

These are quiet strong people who are giving, loving, serving, healing, teaching or nurturing without the fanfare of society.  Yet they are the foundation of our society.

A couple of years ago I shared a video about such a person.  Her name was Susan Izatt.

A few years ago a reporter by the name of Steve Hartman did a series on CBS news called Everyone Has A Story.  I loved it.  He would take a dart and throw it at a map, go to that town, pull a random name out of the phone book and interview them.

Susan refers to herself as boring and has nothing to offer.  Take a look at an extraordinary ordinary hero.

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Do something heroic… simply heroic.

See you Monday.


21
Sep 12

Character or character?

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Howdy… welcome back.

I’m sure that many of you had to look twice at the title and tried to figure out what it meant.

One is a noun and the other is an adjective.  Humm… I’ll make mine the noun.

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Side Note: If any of you knew me in High School you would be shocked that I even alluded to the parts of speech.  Let’s just say that English and dissecting sentences was not my forte.

My wife is probably laughing that I even attempted to use the term noun or adjective.

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I wasn’t planning to talk about the importance of Character until I saw on YouTube a clip from the movie The Bid Kahuna.

Yeah… I know… I didn’t see it either.

But after seeing the clip I definitely want to check it out.

Take a look and we’ll talk more.

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I can’t think of a much better compliment than for someone to say they trust me.

As you know, trust and character are so much more than just saying things that are factual.  It’s when a person trusts who you are, not just what you say.

There is such safety and comfort knowing that you are dealing with a person of Character.

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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
- Abraham Lincoln
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This may sound odd but there is something sacred about Character.

A person of Character has a depth and a strength that need not be spoken.  It’s just there.  It is exhibited in consistent action not words.

Character is not something you are born with.

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Talent is a gift, character is a choice.

- Larry Brown (Basketball coach)

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It is a choice.  It is developed.

This topic begs questions of myself.

Who am I?  Would people say that I am a person of Character?  Can people trust who I am as a person?

Some of you reading this blog may be known for the adjective character  vs. the Character that is a noun.

But that need not be your identity.  If not careful we can lock ourselves into a lie about ourselves.

The reality is, we have all made mistakes.

There is no question that to rebuild Character takes time and consistency.

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
- Helen Keller

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As I said earlier, it takes time.  And people may not trust us for a while.  But it is important to remember; we change for us, not others.

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You can’t talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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Thanks for checking in.

Ciao… see you Monday.


3
Sep 12

A different look at shoes

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The blog today may seem a bit morbid… but it is not.  Not at all.

A friend of mine has only a few weeks to live and is in Hospice care.

When the topic of death surfaces most people avoid it because it’s unpleasant.  We have a natural self protection instinct that keeps our minds from going in that direction.

Somehow we believe that if we don’t think about death it might delay the inevitable.  Fanciful thinking.

Although my friend is facing death we had an extraordinary talk about life.

It is life that I wish to talk about.  There were several things that struck me about life during our conversation.  It is these insights I would like to share.

Our view of life is from the context of life.  Life is all we know.

We look forward and charge the hill of life.  We identify our goals and mission and advance forward the best we can.

A person who is dying views life from the perspective of death.

Unless a person has had a serious encounter with death we cannot fully understand life.  We the living may think we understand… but we don’t.

But I did get a taste of it while visiting my friend.

Relationships and conversations with people who are nearing death are on a different level.

Our time talking together was simple and unguarded.  We laughed, swapped stories, talked about life and death, and ordinary things from an extraordinary perspective.

This is the kind of communication that I believe God intended originally in the Garden of Eden.

Simple, unguarded, open, powerful.

What struck me too was the beauty of the details we the living miss.

As we visited my friend talked about the things that bring him joy.  Interestingly, the things that brought the most joy from a death perspective of life were things he never thought of while going through life.

I asked him to give me an example.  He said the animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes.

Huh?  Animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes?  Please repeat that.

As he shared the details I knew exactly what he was talking about.

When his oldest adult daughter was about two he would transport her everywhere on his shoulders.

She would run to him, jump in his arms and then with the father’s strength that two year olds only know he would throw her on to his shoulders.

After she was safely on his shoulders he remembers grabbing one of her feet hanging next to his chest and lifting it up and look on the bottom to see which animal she was wearing for the day.

This is something he never really thought of at the time.  But this is a view of life from a death perspective.

The joy of life is the small stuff.

His mind did not race back to the career advancements, the deal made or the new car he drove.  Joy was found in a little girl’s shoe.

As we go through life we easily get caught up in career, bills, decision… life stuff.  At times things become so looming that it is overwhelming.

Added to the cacophony of life stuff there seems to be a constant unseen weight.  These are things beyond our control that adds to the already weighty pressures of life.

We worry about the economy, the state of the world and safety for our children.

All I know is that as my friend drifts closer to death, the things that we see as big issues of life have become unimportant.

It is the details of life that are bringing joy… tiny, seemingly insignificant details.  Details that he had not thought of for years.

Although death does take the body it need not kill our spirit or rob our joy.

We may not have much choice over the former but we have full control over the latter.

One of the greatest blessings I have learned in my life is that out of the ugliest of situations there are wonderful joys to be discovered.

Joy comes in the strangest forms.  Even the bottom of a little girl’s shoe.

See you Thursday.