Archive for May, 2006

Manners and Authenticity

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

At times in my life, I have really been a big mouth.  I have bragged in the very context of my envy.  I have been rude.  It stemmed from the anger that accompanies keeping score.  I was so self involved.  And I felt like I was losing.

The sad thing is: I fit right in.  I could be totally cantankerous and nobody would notice.  We live in a world that is rude.  You can watch a biography of Mother Theresa and the commercials will include viagara, valtrex, and enzyte.  We do not blush.  Public language makes Richard Prior seem clean.

So I could go on being rude and nobody would really notice.  But is that right?

If my objective is to become a better man than I have been, there is no room for rudeness.  This does not mean that I should be less than plain spoken.  It does not mean that I have to be less sure of myself.  It means that I do have to become more profound and less profane.

Communication is a powerful tool.  Words are both implements and weapons.  It is our business to choose them and use them wisely.  Our words reveal the contents of our hearts.  If we mind our manners, it shows that we are good from the inside out.

Well I have too many responsibilities to keep on being self involved.  I have better things to do than keep score.  I am sick and tired of envy.  Envy is the heart of discontent.  So I have no choice.  When I catch myself being rude, I remind myself that I am not losing and therefore cannot act like a loser.  I have appear to be who I actually am.

The Fallen

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Freedom is sacred. It is worth killing for. It is worth dying for. Try as we might we can never truly express gratitude. Gratitude is one of the few things that are truly ineffable.

How do you speak to the fallen? How do you say thank you to some one who is gone?

I subscribe to the belief that those who have gone before us watch us live our lives as if we were running a race in a stadium. I also believe that they are in the presence of One Who can truly communicate what we are unable to.

The fallen know. They know what their actions accomplished.

The fallen never intended to die. But they were willing to. They were willing to die for me and you.

God bless the fallen. They have great love. Keep them in Your Presence. Tell them how grateful we really are.

Little things I want but cant afford, YET!

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Yes I picked the Baretta! It is more affordable than the one you’re saying I should get.

I could really use a long lens.

I really need a good flash.

I want to do a little product photography.

I am out of shape.

Yeah, I know I just abandoned the whole pricepoint argument.

I like this ride.

You know you want one too.

Well, I need a place to put it all.

Glitches

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Okay! That is better.

I blew up my blog again.
One of the problems with powerful tools is that they are powerful. The very attributes that make these tools useful also makes them dangerous.

WordPress is a powerful tool. Unfortunately one little inadvertent misstep in a post and the whole blog blows up. I love the new blog but we are still getting acquainted.

The blog looks good sometimes. The blog blows up sometimes. But the blog can always be fixed. If only other things worked that way.

Sometimes we have life changing damage. Other times we don’t. It takes sound judgment to know the difference. We have to discern if something is permanent or just a glitch. Do we fix it or change our paths entirely?

Fixing a glitch is good. It lets you proceed on to the Goal. It is sad that sometimes people over estimate the magnitude of a glitch. They change their goals for no good reason. When in truth they should have fixed the glitch.

We can give far too much credence to a little problem. We can also back off, walk around and look at the problem from a different angle. For me the real problem is often a kink in my think. All I have to do is be a little smarter and a little more logical.

Is it not Ironic that I get paid to fix things?

Breaking Boards

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

When I was a high school boy, I had the best after school job any boy ever had. I worked in a Karate Studio. I instructed the little guys. This little job was really quite important for me.

Not all of these youngsters were cute, clean and sharp. I recall two brothers ages 8 and 6. These boys were unintelligent. They were uncoordinated. They were dirty. They were ugly. I use, “were” very literally. During the year that I knew these boys, they were transformed.

Two little boys disrupted every class because they could not pay attention. Two little boys couldn’t even tie their own belts. Two little boys had no sense of pride. Two little boys seemed to have a bleak future. But man alive, did all of that change.

These boys that walked in the door wearing coke bottle glasses had hopes of becoming the next Bill Wallace. Their mother was frustrated with them. They were tough to handle. But, that desire in their hearts made all the difference. I was amazed.

Day after day was spent constantly telling them to get back in line. I couldn’t count how many times I had to get their attention. But, they made progress. Small, slow, gradual progress.

Three months in, the class was ready for belt testing. I was sure this would be the end. The boys were not ready and would surely fail. I knew they would quit after failing. I didn’t like it but, what was I going to do.

To my surprise the boys remembered their Katas. To my surprise they performed at an acceptable level. They looked better than mediocre. Then out came the wood.

Belt testing almost always includes board breaking. This really scared me. I was sure this would be the end. To their own surprise, the boys did well. Both of them side-kicked their boards into pieces. The looks on their faces were priceless. They saw this one little success and understood that they were indeed worthwhile. Suddenly they weren’t so ugly anymore. From that moment on, they were no longer inferior.

The very next Monday, the boys showed up to class with combed hair and brushed teeth. They stood a little straighter. They tied their belts right. They paid attention. They recited the student creed word for word.

Report card day came. The sensei called me over to look. Both brothers had moved from grades in the 60s and 70s to grades in the 90s.

A new parent came in. She looked at the boys and remarked about how cute they were.

It is amazing how small achievements can transform somebody. It doesn’t matter if you break a board, bat one down the middle, shoot a hoop, or swim back into the boat. What ever that little accomplishment is, it is the right one. Confidence is only one little feat away.

Some Poetry you have probably never heard.

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

I’m too tired to write. So here is some obscure poetry I have long enjoyed.

Smoking Spiritualized

Part One: The Law

By Thomas Jenner (1636?)

This Indian weed now wither’d quite,
‘Tho’ green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev’n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil’d with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Part Two: The Gospel
By Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what’s the pow’r
Of Jesse’s flow’r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon’s rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

In vain th’ unlighted pipe you blow;
Your pains in inward means are so,
‘Till heav’nly fire
Thy heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The smoke, like burning incense tow’rs
So should a praying heart of yours,
With ardent cries,
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Mirror Preaching about Worry

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

I’m a burden on my mother. Last night, I had a long talk with her. I ranted and raved and subjected her to too many of my thoughts. And as usual, see brought back my own words to haunt me. You see we have a little trouble with a family member right now. My parents do their best to deal with it. My rants and raves were ones of worry. And there is the real trouble in one word: Worry.

My mother and I are both worrywarts. It is a sin we both wrestle with all the time. There are things we can do and things we can’t do. Our problem is spending too much time on the things we can’t do. Concern connotes action. That is good. But worry is worse than a waste of time. Worry eats away at logic. Worry is stinkin’ thinkin’.

Being a man, I want to fix it. I want to jump in do my best to make it better. It eats away at me. I know this is just a characteristic of the species. Mark Twain said, “To a man all things are possible but one–he cannot have a hole in the seat of his breeches and keep his fingers out of it.”

The thing that burns a hole in my self control is that this aint my problem to fix. Because one thing you can’t fix is people. You can fix a car. You can fix a dog. You can fix a fine meal. But only Jesus can fix a person. And He only fixes the willing.

So all I can do is do what I can. Worrying about the rest just isn’t good for anybody.

Lord, remind me that you have things under control. Help me to butt out of Your business so I can be ready when You call me. Help me to control myself instead of being rash. Give me peace. Give me power. Make my wits and my hands quick. Make my judgment sound. Deliver my family from Evil. Thank You for giving me a mother that remembers and reminds me of my own preaching. Bless Your little fella in the big white hat.