“Not Bad For A Tuesday”

MY OPENING THOUGHT

Last week I heard someone ask their friend this question, “How you doing.” The response was, “Not bad for a Tuesday.” 

Uh Huh. 

What does that mean? How is a person supposed to feel on Tuesday? “Not bad for a Tuesday,” suggests that Tuesday’s have something about them that affect our emotional well being. 

SOME PERSPECTIVE

The days of the week with feeling: 

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Mondays feel tired and dreary: its back to work, school, and routines.

Wednesdays feel long but hopeful: only two days left, I can do this!

Thursdays feel intense: nearing the finish line, wrap things up. 

Fridays feel good: it’s the week end; fun, friends, and relaxation. 

LakeTravisZipline1

Tuesdays are empty. Perhaps the person responding with, “Not bad for a Tuesday,” was referring to how Tuesday’s are so bereft of purpose. Maybe he was feeling good about having found something to do?

AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME

Perhaps the time has come for this idea. Since Tuesday’s are dull and pointless, I’m suggesting they be dropped from the work week. It might look like this:

  • Monday: Go to work
  • Tuesday: Don’t go to work
  • Wednesday-Friday: Go to work
  • Week ends remain the same, no change

Tuesdays would become another day off with pay. Employers might disagree, mildly, and some might even complain. But really, nothing gets done on Tuesdays. When you think about it, it’s absurd that business and commerce have been trying to prosper on Tuesdays, it’s ridiculous. 

LET’S GET BUSY

So let’s get busy writing congressmen, senators, politicians, union leaders, supervisors, employers, and whomever it is we write when we write to someone in authority. Let’s get Tuesday’s realigned to where they should have always been: a much deserved day off!

IN CONLCUSION

To help jumpstart this fabulous idea, I’m taking this Tuesday off. I can’t imagine anyone caring, or even noticing. I do have some scheduled appointments, a staff meeting, a church leader’s meeting, and probably some other stuff. 

This could prove difficult. 

 A FINAL THOUGHT

I’ve written this blog at 4:30 on Saturday morning. There’s a small chance it may lack clarity and a high probability that it lacks any redeeming value. 

See you on Tuesday.

Driving Insanity

HERE’S THE THING

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Aren’t Relationships Wonderful Darling?

My thing is that all week long I’ve been blogging about touchy-feely sensitive stuff, you know, relationships and what not. Now I need to speak out about something, so here goes. 

I’ve decided to go off cars. I’m done. Really. I’m off cars permanently. Maybe longer. 

WHY WOULD I DO THAT?

Some reasons for doing that are:

  1. The drivers of the entire western hemisphere are insane.
  2. Some are supergluing their right foot to the gas peddle.
  3. Many have no concept of braking, or slowing down.

It’s insanity. There, I’ve said it. Don’t hate me for telling the truth. Somebody had to say it and I am glad it was me

BTW: If you live in the western hemisphere and are a faithful follower of my blog, then I’m not talking about you, clearly you’re not insane. Naw, I’m guessing you’re just fine. 

WHATS MY BEEF?

Here’s my beef. I was on the I-10 headed towards San Antonio when it occurred to me that I was really on hell’s hi-way. For the past 38 years that freeway has done nothing but get crazier and scarier. It’s more Autobahn than freeway.

People were driving too fast, rapidly swerving in and out with their wacky lane changing, forcing their cars into the tiniest of openings, which forced motorists to brake to avoid collisions. All of the last second braking quickly turned into chaos since the insane ones have largely given up braking.  

It’s all falling apart. 

 Good that I was there though. Being the one sane motorist, I replenished the sweetness that is so sadly lacking in todays motoring experience. Good for me! But it wouldn’t last.

THE REAL PROBLEM

The problem was that the drivers resented my safety sustaining driving techniques. Their facial expressions were not just unkind, they were evil and communicated a high level of hostility. And I have no idea what all those hand gestures were about. I’ll tell you, it reminded me of the Great War, but that’s another story.

Here is a pic I managed to take when a crazy woman passed me while driving in my lane!

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I kept startling and scaring myself with quick glimpses in the rear view mirror, turned out it was me with smiling some maniacal grin. I don’t know. 

Here is a picture of me during an intensely frightening moment on the Hi-Way of evil. 

scary man

FINAL THOUGHT

I may or may not be seeing you soon. 

IN CLOSING

Giving up cars won’t be easy, but I’m committed. I haven’t quite figured out how to get around. But I am not deterred. 

(You think the church might spring for a helicopter?)

Just a thought. Happy motoring.

Man’s Best Friend, Really?

IN THE BEGINNING

God created man and woman. God created Eve because Adam needed a suitable helper. Adam was maybe hours old when God thought, “I think he’s going to need some help.”

From the very beginning of man’s beginning, he needed a best friend.

SOME PERSPECTIVE

The Hebrew word for helper is ay’zer. It was used 21 times in the Old Testament, 18 of which were in direct reference to God’s helping.

Eve as a suitable helper for Adam shouldn’t be considered:

  • a slave
  • as inferior
  • as helpless
  • his assistant

That is unless you are willing to use those words to describe God?

I didn’t think so.

Suitable meant that she was perfect for him and he for her. The perfection, or completeness, allowed for intimacy, emotional connection, and deep friendship. God created Adam and Eve to receive those things and equipped them to provide them for one another. 

LIFE CAN BE FUNNY

But life can be funny. Once sin entered their lives, things changed, and I wonder if the needs and desires they were created to sustain in each other began to be ignored, or fulfilled by someone or something else?

HERE’S A THOUGHT

Women often turn to other women for friendship and emotional connection. Why? Is it because of Eve? Did God create her to need friendship and connection? Maybe? And if women don’t find it in marriage, where do they find it? 

Men seek fewer friendships as they age. The boy who had best friends in childhood grows up and eliminates “best friend” from his vocabulary. Men don’t refer to men as their BFF.

God created man to need connection and created woman to meet that need. If he doesn’t find it in marriage, or if his culture and upbringing failed him, then where does he find it? 

We need friends. I’m not suggesting that marriage ends friendships. 

IT’S AWKWARD I KNOW

Who first said that a dog was man’s best friend?

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No one knows, but a lawyer named George Graham Vest maid it popular at a trial in 1870, at the Warrensburg, Missouri County Courthouse. 

The case regarded a dog named Old Drum that was killed by a neighbor. Seems the neighbor believed that Old Drum was attacking his lambs, so he shot him; and the dog’s owner, a Mr. Charles Burden, was seeking restitution. In his closing summation, Lawyer Vest made the following statement:

“The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.” 

The first six words combined with the last three–“The best friend a man has is his dog.” 

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

Really? If the most loyal and faithful companion a man can have is a dog, and I like dogs, then men are in worst shape than anyone could possibly imagine. Except for George Vest.

Marriage should be a bond between two best friends. 

It should be Husband and Wife, not Husband and Rover. 

mans best freinds

I know. Not everyone is married and not every marriage is mature.

We all need connection and friendship, but friendships that are healthy and helpful. 

irish friendships

God Bless You

Is There Time To Talk?

TO GET STARTED

Robert Frost was perhaps America’s greatest poet.

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He was born March 26, 1874, in San Francisco and was 11 when his father died of tuberculosis.The family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. It made all the difference.

It was in high school that he first became interested in poetry. At graduation he was honored to be the co-valedictorian with Elinor Miriam White, a year later, he married her.

He attended both Dartmouth College and Harvard University, but never earned a degree. Frost died on January 29, 1963, and sadly, four of his six children preceded him in death. 

He wrote books of poetry but is perhaps best known for, “The Road Not Taken,” and “Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening.”

But the Frost poem I want to share with you is, “A Time to Talk.”

        “When a friend calls to me from the road, and slows his horse to a meaning walk,

         I don’t stand still and look around on all the hills I haven’t hoed, and shout from where I am,

        ‘What is it?’

        No, not as there is a time to talk.  

        I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, blade-end up and five feet tall, and plod:

        I go up to the stone wall for a friendly visit.”

SOME PERSPECTIVE ON LIVING

It falls to me to serve the living when the time comes to bury their dead. Over the last few months I’ve officiated the funerals of eleven people, several of whom passed away prematurely, they were not at the end of a long life.

On these occasions there is always a sadness of having not said enough, or done enough, or of having spent enough time together.

Both family and friends mourn over what should have been done, about the things long talked about, the plans unfulfilled, and the good intentions stacked way too high. 

IT’S REALLY HARD

It’s really hard to live thinking each day could be our last, or the last for our loved ones and friends. Life is lived as if tomorrow is guaranteed, and most of the time, it seems like it is. Tomorrow comes, the sun rises, and our family and friends rise with it, day after day. But then a day comes when they don’t.

And then we wish we had done this or said that, or made a greater effort.

LIVING REALISTICALLY?

Realistically, we can’t spend every day with our family and friends. First of all, we have to go to work, we need to earn a living. Secondly, our family and friends probably don’t want to spend every day with us. Or is it just me? Besides, most of them are busy making a living too.But don’t wait to long to see them, to talk with them. You never know. 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Along with our faith in God, our friends and family are all we really have in life. Money is fickle, fame is fleeting, and time is flying. 

So take a moment to reflect. 

Take a moment to walk over and spend some time with a friend.

Is it time to talk?

friends-talking-on-a-bench

Thank you Mr. Frost

 

Friendship’s Pennies

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The Penny!

A COUPLE OF QUOTES

“A bad penny always comes back to you.”

“Friends are like pennies, two faced and worthless.”

 

A QUESTION

When did the penny get such a bad wrap?

Granted, they aren’t worth much, but pennies aren’t the cause of bad things happening and they aren’t an apt metaphor for ugliness between people. 

Sounds to me like a bitter person needed something handy to blame?

WHAT’S IN A PENNY?

  1. Gum balls from gum ball machines
  2. The image of one of our most loved Presidents
  3. The coin of choice for penny loafers

IS THIS BLOG ABOUT PENNYS?

No, it’s not. Actually, it’s about friends and friendship. 

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FRIENDSHIPS

For some, making friends is easy. For others, friendship is akin to the great pyramids: mysterious and elusive.  

PERSONAL PERSPECTVIVE 

Mostly I’ve aimed at being friendly but having few close friends. Why? Maybe because enduring friendships with endearing people has proven difficult. Maybe I’m like the great pyramids: great friendships remain elusive. 

EXCEPTIONS?

There are exceptions. I have a few close freinds, and I’m open for more. 

Yesterday, I spent an hour on the phone with an old friend. It was a work related call, in fact, the friendship formed because of work. But years ago some things pulled us apart. Or maybe it was just me.

Friendships can suffer for many reasons. We experience trials and life altering tribulations. We endure different seasons, our circumstances change, or we ourselves change, and not always for the better.

 Please don’t misunderstand, we weren’t enemies, or competitors, and in spite of the quote, there were no second faces.

But as for me and my friend, our friendship has been restored, it’s been renewed, and the renewal has taken some time. But it was so worth it!

FRIENDSHIP’S SWEET FELLOWSHIP

If a bad penny comes back bad, then a good one comes back better. 

My friend is smarter, brighter, and is a better person, making me better.

SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS

Friends aren’t pennies. They are people. And like all people, like ourselves, friends have flaws, sins and weaknesses. As least I do. I’m learning not to live my life behind an invisible wall. I’m learning to lower my defenses and to drop my arms. The hands up posture to keep people away is no way to live.

One of my closest friends recently said to me:

“People can be difficult and disappointing. But I’m willing to accept that in order to be connected and to have friends. I’d rather risk disappointment than to live without friendship.” Well put.

AND FINALLY

To my treasured friend: Thank you for being patient, accepting, and forgiving. 

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Shalom

 

Choosing Children

OPENING THOUGHT

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

kids

SOME PERSPECTIVE

I’m able to write this blog because Paul and Doris got married. They chose to have children and had three sons in five years. We were the result of their marriage, but my sister was wasn’t. She was specifically chosen from among hundreds of Vietnamese orphans, in South Viet Nam, 48 years ago. 

Haiti has 760 orphanages housing 32,000 children. Could they be adopted? Probably not since most of them aren’t really orphans. At least 80% of them have at least one living parent. Why is this? Because Haitian couples have too many kids and too little money. 

IS THIS BLOG ABOUT ADOPTION?

I’m not writing about adopting children but about our choosing them, preferring them. 

CHOOSING CHILDREN

Jesus chose children, he preferred them to their parents. I think the kids were more fun.

At church, children will come up to hug me. Sometimes they want to sit and talk about school, or a game, or something they’re excited about. Sometimes they sit with us during worship services.

Like Jesus, I find the children to be more fun than their parents. 

It’s awkward when adults are talking with me and kids come up to see me. I usually stop and engage with them. I think the adults get a little annoyed, but I don’t mind. Jesus chose the children; and that’s a good example for me. 

We were recently invited to attend a family birthday lunch. Their daughter was turning ten! The Mom uselessly told me not to get a present. Are you kidding me? I was either bringing a great gift or a card full of cash. You have no idea what it means to me to have a child want me at her birthday lunch.

MAKING IT COUNT

I attended our church’s annual preschool Spring Sing event. There were 75 preschoolers on stage singing their little hearts out. I love it that our church chooses children.

In fact, the church relocated about 12 years ago. They built a gym, a great nursery facility, and plenty of children’s classrooms. They chose the needs of children over a designated worship center. Worship was held in a multi-purpose facility. It was an excellent choice. 

 IN CLOSING

We chose children. After a couple of “not meant to be” pregnancies we ended up with a son and a daughter. They’re adults now and remain the pride and joy of our lives. 

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

Brand new kids are born every day, worldwide. Some are wanted, some aren’t. Millions are sold or abandoned. Millions more are aborted before seeing the light of day. 

Today I choose to speak up for choosing children. 

Today I’m asking you to share this blog to encourage others to choose children.

AND FINALLY

Jesus loves the little children, Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Happy-kids-with-thumbs-up

Shalom 

The Power of Love

TO OPEN

Huey Lewis recorded the big hit song, “The Power of Love” for the big hit movie, “Back To The Future.” The song became iconic for the “Back To The Future” trilogy. 

Here are some of the lyrics:

The power of love is a curious thing.

Make one man weep, make another man sing.

Change a hawk to a little white dove.

More than a feeling, that’s the power of love.

MORE THAN WORDS

I can say, “I love you” and have it mean something different each time. Some examples:

  • To my wife
  • To my kids
  • To my friends
  • To my Life Group at church 
  • To my church
  • To my coworkers
  • To my favorite team
  • To my favorite food
  • To my favorite sport
  • And so forth

Just four little letters, yet they contain so much power. But power for what, to do what? 

THE DIVINE CAUSE

Does it change at all when I say, “I love you God, or I love you Jesus?” Does it change if someone says to me, “Rick, God loves you.” What is the power and purpose of divine love? 

THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY

Paul endeavored to help the church in Corinth understand the difference between divine love and talent, skills, and knowledge. 

We are often impressed with such things. We marvel at great mental capacity, verbal skills, intellectual achievement and scholastic honors. Of course we do. It’s so very human and when one distinguishes him or herself in such ways so superior to our own, then we are duly impressed. 

God’s love isn’t demonstrated by i.q. or intellect or by physical prowess. His love comes from the heart, is sacrificial by nature, and seeks only to benefit someone else. Divine love is divine because it is all about other people. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” 

THE TOUGHER ROAD

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The toughest thing to do is to get people to think and act with divine love. It’s a counter culture. It’s clearly not of our genetic code. It has to be observed, learned, and put into practice. And when it is, it’s often not respected, or even noticed.

But that’s the power of love. It gives without wanting to receive. It serves without needing to be noticed. It helps without seeking to be helped. It is selfless. It is of God.

Shalom

 

Holy Cow, It’s Saturday!

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To Get Started

Is “Holy Cow” something people still say. I’ve said it. What does it mean? Basically, it’s an expression of amazement. When did it start, who started it, and why? 

Who’s Saying It? 

The phrase is commonly found in the US, England, Australia, and Canada. 

When Did It Start?

The earliest know reference was in 1905. Apparently, a Hindu person wrote a letter to an editor protesting an article that made cows appear less than holy. To the Hindu, the cows were sacred, they were holy.

Baseball players were using the phrase in 1913 and probably much earlier. It became a euphemism for Holy Christ. The players said it to avoid penalties for swearing. 

In the comic books, Batman and Robin were using phrases beginning with “Holy” at least thirty years before Adam West and Burt Ward used them in the Batman TV series. 

For those who followed the Simpson’s. little Bart Simpson was fond of saying, “Holy Cow” and lot’s of other “Holy————-.” 

Some Perspective

Some say using the word in common application is disrespectful. That only God is holy and to use the word flippantly is at least discourteous and at most blasphemous. 

Some people may be right.

holiness

On A Personal Note

This morning I got up and got ready and realized that it is Saturday! Without much thought I quipped, “Holy Cow it’s Saturday.” Was that wrong? I didn’t mean any disrespect or blasphemy. 

I’m not trying to make this into a mountain. But I need to be careful with what I say. Especially when I say it around others. 

I agree with Paul that to the pure all things are pure. But I’m not sure using Paul’s perspective allows me to excuse sin or to push the limits of my verbal boundaries.

Some Final Thoughts

If I say, “Holy Cow, it’s Saturday” and then tomorrow at church I say, “Praise God, for He is Holy,” am I not sending mixed signals? If not to others then at least to the Father?

If God is Holy, then is his holiness should not be diminished in my heart. And He is Holy.

And Finally…

I’m glad it’s Saturday, I like Saturdays. I’m repainting the front porch railings. Will do some reading, maybe catch a game on tv and then take a nap. More than likely, I’ll fall asleep watching the game. Later, we may join some friends for dinner.

It’s too good of a day to abuse the name of God.

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Shalom 

The Vine: Preparing Generations

Opening Thought

Last night I attended an amazing event.

What Was It?

It was the Southeast Church of Christ’s preschool: Vine Spring Sing. 

What was inspiring? 

  1. Hundreds of parents, grandparents, friends and family in attendance.
  2. The gym walls decorated with art work and projects from each class.
  3. The silent and public auctions that were robust with enthusiasm.
  4. The refreshments and table decorations that were fun and tasty.
  5. And the kids.

There was about 75 children, two, three, and four year olds who capped the evening with a  presentation of: words of welcome, songs, scripture quotations, and more. They were adorable. They were cute. And they were well prepared. 

Each year I’m amazed by the Spring Sing. How in the world do they get all those kids to learn all those songs and memorize all those scriptures? It baffles me. Then they entered the Worship Center, took the stage, and they were marvelous. What a sight! 

Many will return to the Vine next school year. Some will graduate in a few weeks and start Kindergarten in the Fall. 

Each year, there are kids starting and there are kids finishing. But each child, for as long as they are in the Vine, receives the loving care of some very sweet and capable people. 

Giving Credit

I give a lot of credit to Melissa McAdams, the Vine Director, for her vision, dedication, and leadership. She has served the program for ten years and does a fantastic job. She works hand in hand with Southeast’s Children’s Minister, Janel Hopper, who supports the Vine by leading worship, assisting with events, and giving support to Melissa. It’s a great team!

Final Thoughts

Some of the kids on stage had laser beam focus. Some were jumping up and down with excitement. Some couldn’t stop waving at their families. Others couldn’t stop dancing and some just couldn’t stop moving. But they all shared something in common: each was adorable, essential, and well loved.

Jesus would be proud. He loved children. He would have so enjoyed being in the Worship Center to appreciate and marvel at the children. Actually, as I think about it, he was there. 

To Close

Maybe one of those kids will grow up to be President. Maybe one will cure a disease or  invent something to well serve humanity. Or maybe one of them will one day send their children to the Vine, and one of those kids will go on to change our world.

Just a thought. 

Shalom

Here is a video clip from last night’s event. Thank you Brandi Hinson.

Obsolescence

A Definition

Obsolescence: “The condition of no longer being used or useful.” 

Here’s What Happened

What happened was that a lady at church was selling home made, to die for, out of this world cinnamon rolls to raise money for a mission trip. I ordered three dozen. (don’t ask)  and she delivered them to my office.

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I didn’t have cash so I offered to give her a check. She said sure and so I went and got the checkbook from my desk.

I glanced at the date of the last check I wrote, it was May, 2014.

It felt so odd, I almost couldn’t remember how to fill it out.

Some Perspective

Here are some things that have become obsolete: (or soon will be)

  1. The rotary phone
  2. Drip coffee makers
  3. Printed phone books
  4. DVD players
  5. Desktop calculators
  6. Answering machines
  7. Fax machines
  8. Rolodexes
  9. Alarm clocks
  10. Writing checks 

The Way Of Progress

Is this progress? Will all of this really help me? Am I becoming a better human being? 

Of course I am. Progress is better. Advancement in technology automatically increases the value of the human experience. Absolutely!  

Maybe Not

But maybe it’s not. The laptops, portal computers, tablets, smart phones, the online shopping, ATM Cards, social media, and all things digital are undeniably impressive. And they all have their places.

But its also created distance in marriages, families, and friendships. Do people spend too much time with their phones and devices: checking email, texts, Instagram and Twitter and Facebook? I guess it depends on the person. And BTW: the smart phones have become so smart that we need to call them smarter phones, or brilliant phones.

 I use my phone for everything: banking, buying, travel, plane tickets, theater tickets, email, texting, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, new information, news, GPS, games, puzzles, entertainment, investments, research, Dropbox, file storage, sermon notes, picture and video storage, music, tv, movies, and occasionally, for phone calls. 

Just last night at dinner, my son said to me, “Dad, you seem to be preoccupied with your phone.” I was. I had three text conversations going, one of which was important. 

Some Closing Thoughts

If this keeps going the way it’s going, the coffee makers and fax machines won’t be the only things becoming obsolete.

Nope, I’m afraid families, family dinner, family time, relationships, friendships, and just *time spent together are also headed for obsolescence.

*Note: “Time Spent Together” This was popular in the 20-century when friends and  families would gather in the same space to engage in verbal conversation. It was quaint and somewhat charming, but it peaked around 1998 and was extinct by 2018.

For further information see: http://www.access.archive/tribal-rights/20-century.com

You can use your phone.