Blood Stained Khakis

Here’s An Odd Thing

 It was dark when I left this morning. I arrived at my coffee place, went up to order, and then realized my left pants leg was badly stained. Turned out to be blood stains. My left index finger was cut, but I didn’t know. Even worse, my pants are white khakis. Basically, I look like a guy in a knife fight. 

Some Thoughts

The stains were how I new there was a problem. My finger didn’t hurt. There wasn’t any warning. Had I known, I would have put on a bandaid at the house, or while driving, found something to wrap around my finger. But I didn’t know.

Some Kind Of Lesson Here?

There may be some kind of lesson here. 

A while back, I noticed a piece of trim on the front porch railing that looked funny. I got out the paint and a brush and applied a fresh coat. Problem solved. Good job Rick. Way to be Mr. Fix It Guy! 

But I wasn’t, and it wasn’t. In a few weeks the discoloration was back. I started scraping the paint and then realized that the wood was soft. It was rotten underneath. I could apply a fresh coat every week, but new paint was never going to fix the problem. Something deeper was necessary. I had to cut out the bad piece of trim, fit a new piece, then prime and paint it.

Perspective?

What happens when the rotten part is inside of us? Maybe its a bad habit, a character flaw, or something sinful. Such things can be hidden or camouflaged for a while, maybe even for years. But at some point, the rotten stuff begins to surface. We keep applying fresh paint, but eventually, it’s just can’t hide it any more.

If we had taken care of it when it first started, it would have been simpler and less painful. But if we wait too long, then its major surgery, or worse. 

Closing Thoughts

The blood stains on my pants will wash out, I least I hope so. But even if they can’t, I can always buy another pair. 

khaki pants.jpg

Is that true of us? Can the stains of my sinful character be washed out? Can I order a new character from Amazon? Can I Google it? Maybe our favorite big box store will have a sale:

“Today Only, New Characters! 20% Off The First Fifty Get a Free Soul Lift Smoothie!”

Finally

Jesus knows about blood stains. Thankfully, he’s less concerned with how I look and more concerned with how I am.

He redeems. He washes clean. He is the Lamb of God that takes a way the sin of the world.

I think I’ll go buy a new pair of khakis. 

Can I go buy another soul? 

Jesus.jpg

Just a thought, Shalom!

 

It’s A Bulb Thing

Here’s A Thing

The light in our closet went out. It’s a fluorescent fixture with two four foot tubes and one of them had burned out. I bought a pair of replacements, might as well change them both, and brought in the eight foot A-Frame ladder to do the job.  Not a problem.

Here’s The Problem

The fixture uses the smaller, mini-tubes. They are the same length, but different diameter. The tubes I bought were of course the large diameter tubes and wouldn’t fit. 

It’s A Bulb Thing

I’m a big fan of electricity and electric lights. I’ve grown up with them. I’ve never known a day without indoor lighting. Except of course when camping in the wilderness. Even in 3rd world countries without electricity, I’ve stayed in hotels powered by generators. 

There are all kinds of light bulbs in my house:

fluorescent bulbs and tubes

incandescent bulbs

low and high wattage bulbs

energy efficient curly bulbs

refrigerator bulbs

oven light bulbs

tulip style bulbs

mini-lights under the kitchen cabinets

desk light bulbs

flashlight bulbs

three in one bulbs

spot light bulbs

small and large base bulbs

night light bulbs

media room bulbs

bathroom fixtures bulbs

wide/large bulbs for the kitchen “can” lights 

and more…..

Are you kidding me? Really? Mr. Edison would be so happy. 

Why Does It Matter?

It doesn’t matter, not really. But up on that ladder, realizing that my closet’s low-end light fixture utilizes “special fluorescent tubes” just struck me as odd. 

When did I become special, so deserving of so many light fixtures? If I had to replace all the bulbs currently in my home it would take at least twenty different kinds. And some of the individual types would need at least a dozen or more.

This morning, at 6:15, I walked through the house and counted 96 bulbs currently installed. They are rarely, if ever, all turned on at the same time, but still, nearly 100 light bulbs!

Some Questions

  1. Are we afraid of the dark?
  2. When did light become a fashion thing?
  3. Just how bright does every room, corner, and closet need to be?
  4. Are we in danger of catching the dreaded “dark-disease?” 
  5. And besides the 96 light bulbs, there must be a dozen candles in our house. 

Are we lost our minds? 

Finally

 

It’s A Bulb Thing

Here’s A Thing

Our closet light went out. It’s a fluorescent fixture that uses a pair of 4′ tubes. I bought the replacements tubes, set up the big A-frame ladder, and did the deed. No problem.

Here’s The Problem

The fixture uses mini-tubes. They’re the same length, but different diameter. I of course bought the large diameter tubes that wouldn’t fit.

It’s A Bulb Thing

I’m a big fan of electric lights. I’ve never known a day without them. Except of course when camping in the wilderness and the week after hurricane Ike.

light-bulbs-bg-hero

There are all kinds of light bulbs in my house:

incandescent bulbs

low and high wattage bulbs

those energy efficient curly bulbs

refrigerator bulbs

oven light bulbs

tulip style bulbs

mini-lights under the kitchen cabinets

small desk light bulbs

three in one bulbs

spot light bulbs

small and large base bulbs

night light bulbs

media room bulbs

bathroom fixtures bulbs

LED lights

halogen bulbs

the large bulbs for the kitchen “can” lights

and more…..

Are you kidding me? Really? Mr. Edison would be so happy.

Why Does It Matter?

It doesn’t matter, not really. But up on the ladder, realizing that my closet’s low-end light fixture utilizes “special fluorescent tubes” well, it just struck me as odd.

When did I become so deserving of having so many lights?

This morning, at 6:15, I walked through the house and counted 96 bulbs currently installed. They are rarely, if ever, all turned on at the same time, but still, nearly 100 light bulbs!

Some Questions

  1. Are we afraid of the dark?
  2. When did light become a fashion statement?
  3. Just how bright does every room, corner, and closet need to be?
  4. Are we in danger of catching a dreaded “dark-disease?”
  5. In addition to all the light bulbs, do we really need dozens of candles?

pretty lights

We can certainly see well enough, but we may have lost our minds!

Finally

This morning I got to my desk, turned on the lamp, opened my laptop, and began blogging, while listening to music. After a few minutes, I went into the kitchen, flipped the switch that turned on about a dozen lights and made some coffee.

Then I came back to finish blogging about people’s obsession with electric lights.

office desk light

Some people are just so unaware.

My Little Happy Place

house tools

 

An Opening Thought

On Saturday I was waiting for a guy to do some work on the house. He works for a well know company that is highly recommended, and has good reviews. Cool. 

He never showed up. He didn’t call. 

Was There A Problem?

Here was the problem. They committed him to be at my house between 11:00-12:00. By 2:30, when Danielle came home, I was ready to find a different company. However, before I could, she called them and found out some things.

  1. He did show up. He went to the wrong house, but he showed up. Danielle checked and he had the right address, he just went to the wrong house.
  2. He did call. He didn’t have my number, which would have made sense, but rather had Danielle’s number, which didn’t. He called her phone, she was busy and didn’t hear it ring.

Some Reflection

Life happens. It does. As much as we want to be in control, the truth is, we are hardly ever in control. I’m always on time, except for when I’m not. I don’t miss appointments except for when I do. I don’t forget the items Danielle asked me to get on the way home, well, mostly I don’t. 

Not to mention the freeway backups, flat tires, spills on my clothes, or someone else’s urgencies, emergencies, and so forth.

Closing Thoughts

Do these things happen to teach me something? Or are they just random occurrences that afford me the opportunity of learning? 

Is a more patient, calm, and relaxed Rick a better version of who I am at the moment? Maybe? Probably? Definitely!

Trouble is the virtues my mother wanted me to have, not to mention my wife, kids, friends, church, and maybe even the Lord, have to be developed and cannot be installed. The process can be irritating, painful, and lengthy.

Why can’t everyone else be patient, calm, and relaxed and let me be impatient, rushed, and stressed out? Would that be so bad?

Oh well, the house will get done. Danielle will be happy. Life will make sense. 

man-making-repair-to-siding-of-home

Final Thought

Don’t worry about me, I’m returning to my sweet, little happy place.

Shalom!

Spiritual Suicide?

To Get Started

There are different kinds of tests.

Some are taken to demonstrate a level of proficiency. Others are taken to demonstrate something to ourselves.

It’s this 2nd test I want to blog about.

To Gain Perspective

In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote about them needing to examine themselves. This was a test, a discernment of their faith. He said, “Test yourselves, to see if you are of the faith.”

He gave them the same test in I Corinthians 11. He told them to examine themselves before taking communion. Why did he do that?

 I am the bread

Was There A Problem?

The problem was that the church in Corinth suffered from three types of division. They are as follows:

  1. Men/Personalities: “Im of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas…”
  2. Spiritual Gifts: those with “greater” gifts were the “greater” christians.
  3. Economics: those with money discriminated against the poor. 

It was the division over economics that caused Paul to write about self-examination. 

Jesus and Peter

The Application

In Corinth, on the first day of the week, the wealthy gathered early to eat together. Arriving early was about not having to share. When everyone else arrived for the time of worship, they realized the rich had already eaten together and did so to avoid sharing. Paul rebuked them and said their assemblies did more harm than good.

To drive his point home, Paul used the communion meal as an illustration. He said partaking in the body and blood of Jesus was an expression of unity and harmony. To have any division, any discrimination, was injury against Christ, since each believer was a member of the body.

cup and wine

So Paul told them to test themselves, to see if their hearts were right. Their meetings should be edifying and a glory to Christ, not debilitating and discouraging. 

Spiritually, some of them were weak, sick, and dying. These were references to their relationship with God and with each other. Why were they dying?  They were hurting the body of Christ, and they were hurting Christ. They were consuming judgment and wrath. 

eucharist

Final Thoughts

 I shouldn’t be taking communion if I am in division within my church.

Self-examination is a test. I get honest with who and what I am. If there is business to be done with God, or with a fellow believer, then I need to get busy.

Taking the bread of Christ with an unexamined heart could be spiritual suicide. 

Spiritual self-examination?

It’s more than a good idea. It may just save your life.

Shalom

 

 

It’s A Word Thing

Can We Have A Word?

Blog is a word. As in, “I am blogging” or “I have blogged.”

No one seems to know its true etymology. But it may derive from the Latin, “blogitas” meaning, “to blog.” But maybe not. 

Others Perspectives

Blogs-That-People-Will-Read-e1423194992932

Actually, we do know some things. Jorn Barger is credited for first using the “blog” word, on December 17, 1997. What he actually used was, “weblog.” Then Peter Merholz shortened it to just “blog ” back in April or May, 1999. And so we have it, BLOG, thanks fellas. 

An Interesting Question

What does the word “blog” actually mean? Basically, “blog” is an abbreviation for “web-log online diary.” As in keeping a diary, or a journal, online, on the world-wide-web. So 7,000,000,000 can potentially see it.

There are lots of blogs to read. One source puts the number of blogs at 152,000,000. It’s hard to determine since many bloggers abandon their blog within days or weeks. One source estimates there are 1.4 million blog posts per day. Make that 1,400,001 per day.

However, none of this is particularly interesting. 

A More Interesting Question

The question needing to be answered is this, why do people blog?  Or even, why do I blog? Some possible answers, though possibly uninteresting, are as follows:

  1. To inform 
  2. To entertain
  3. To think out loud
  4. To inspire
  5. To fill up my day

Perhaps there are others: 

  1. To share my odd sense of humor
  2. To be sarcastic and snarky 
  3. To share deep insights about life
  4. To share insignificant observations about life
  5. To fill up my day

Here Is An Even More Interesting Question

The most interesting question of all is this one: Why do people read blogs? This is particularly apropos since you are reading my blog at this very moment. Why are you reading this? Why would anyone read it? Here are some possible reasons:

  1. To fill up your day
  2. To give deeper meaning to your life
  3. Because it is there  
  4. Because your are fascinated with the word “blog” 
  5. To ascertain if you yourself should become a blogger

Well, I could go on discussing the word blog all day long. But alas, tomorrow is Saturday and I’m committed to blogging something important, substantial, and world-changing. So I need to spend the rest of my day thinking about what that could be. 

In Closing

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope it has meant as much to you as it has to me.

Stay cool. 

Amazing Things Happen

Let’s Launch

Some of the most amazing things can happen accidentally, or unintentionally.

The Civil Rights Act

LBJ_signs-Civil_Rights_Act_crowd-H

In 1964, a Congressman named Howard W. Smith was bent on defeating the Civil Rights Act. His strategy? He introduced to congress the idea of adding a single word to the bill, it was the word “sex.” Congress agreed and the Civil Rights Act was amended to end discrimination based on, “Race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.” Smith believed that some of his fellow congressmen, who were open to race equality, would defeat the bill just to keep women from voting. His strategy backfired. Not only did the bill pass, it jump-started the era of women’s equality.

Eliminating The Competition

Some of the men who were deeply jealous of Jesus plotted to have him killed. Their strategy? Charge him with breaking the Law of Moses, use false witnesses, then sentence him to death. It worked. The Sanhedrin convicted Jesus and pressured Pilate to approve crucifixion. Wow, they had done it! They eliminated the competition. Jesus was humiliated and suffered a shameful death. Imagine their surprise to see him risen from the dead and more popular than ever.

resurrection-of-christ

For Consideration

Sometimes life happens in spite of our foolishness and ineptitude. Sometimes what is meant to happen does happen even though people are bent on keeping it from happening.

Crossing The Finish Line

Racism, inequality, and political machinations have caused immeasurable amounts of pain, suffering, and conflict. But ultimately, evil is overcome by good. Darkness is exposed by the light. And truth triumphs over whatever stands agains it.

It takes time for the light of truth to emerge victorious. But it does, it will. 

Final Thought

Amazing things can happen “accidentally” and “unintentionally” So don’t give up.

Shalom

Men Shopping, Part Two

First of All

I want to thank everyone for your emails, texts, and comments regarding yesterday’s blog. Your feedback is appreciated. Your remarks were both pithy and persuasive. Some of them were even void of expletives!

pile-of-letters
Fan Mail

Moving On

Your response has motivated me to write part two of Men Shopping. I’m not sure why, perhaps I like the pain.

colin_heap
I Treasure Your Feedback

For Your Awareness

First of all, no, I’m not a sexist pig, whew, glad that’s cleared up.

Secondly, yes, I am aware that men and women are different, but thank you for making that crystal clear.

Lastly, I’m neither ignorant nor imbecilic. Although, I can see your point. 

The Truth

Although men are from Saturn and women from Pluto, or someplace, it turns out we all shop here on earth. Not even Amazon Prime offers shopping on-line for off-world products. Still, shopping on earth is pretty good. 

Consider:

The Top Five Things Men Choose To Spend Their Money On

  1. Investments
  2. Entertainment
  3. Women (dating, gifts, and more dating)
  4. Hobbies and Sports
  5. Betting and Gambling

The Top Five Things Women Choose To Spend Their Money On

  1. Shopping
  2. Beauty/Clothes
  3. Health/Fitness
  4. Love/Dating
  5. Home Furnishings

o-PILES-OF-AMERICAN-MONEY-facebookWhatever we’re buying, we’re buying a lot of it. U.S. retail sales in 2013: $4.53 trillion. A trillion is 1,000 billion. In 2013, Americans spent $4,530 billion dollars on stuff. 

Let’s measure in time counted backwards

  • 1 million seconds is 12 days ago
  • 1 billion seconds is 31 years ago
  • 1 trillion seconds 30,000 BC

Let’s measure in height using $1,000 bills

  • 1 million dollars is 4 inches high
  • 1 billion dollars 364 feet high
  • 1 trillion dollars is 63 miles high

In 2013, Americans spent 285 miles high in $1,000 bills.  

Here’s what I want t to know: Where is all the stuff we bought?

Some Thoughts 

GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN!

Some More Thoughts

Men don’t care to shop, at least not the shopping women do. But truthfully, men really enjoy shopping for things that are important to them:

  1. Cars & Trucks
  2. Rifles & Guns
  3. Fishing & Camping gear
  4. High-End Electronics/Cell Phones
  5. Sporting Goods 
  6. Pizza/Bacon/Donuts (not sure it’s a bonafide category, but still…)

In Closing

I love stuff. I do. I don’t mind shopping and spending to get the stuff I care about.

What’s irritating is the judgmental attitude of people who disapprove of what others spend their money on.

I may think it normal to spend hundreds on a fly rod and reel, then roll my eyes at someone spending hundreds on a watch. (actually, I like watches too) 

I’ve known people who judged others for having a pool but thought nothing of owning a $40,000 motor home. And I quote, “Christians shouldn’t have pools, it’s wasteful and ostentatious.”

Uh-huh. Sure.  

Finally

Perhaps we should spend a little less and save a little more, maybe? Perhaps we could shop a little less and do a little more to help the other guy? 

 We are different. I think tolerance and patience are attractive virtues in diversity. 

Ladies, shop on and be happy. Men, see you at the shooting range. 

Just some thoughts

Shalom

 

 

Shopping, Really?

Opening Thought

Last Saturday, I had the fantastic privilege of shopping with my wife, for 2.5 hours, in a big box home store, for 2.5 hours. At one point, I was dumbfounded as to why we hadn’t packed a lunch. I asked the manager if it was okay to have a pizza delivered. It wasn’t.

Some Perspective

Man-bored-shop

Typically, men don’t like shopping with women. Some reasons:

  1. Men find shopping to be totally boring.
  2. Men lack the fundamental endurance to keep up with a shopping woman.
  3. It’s brutal.

Psychology Today surveyed 2,000 couples about shopping, some results:

  1. Men get bored after 26 minutes
  2. 80% of men don’t like shopping/45% try to avoid it
  3. Half the shopping outings end in arguments. Why? Men find what they want, buy it, and are ready to leave. Women shop in several stores, require more time to make a decision, then go back to the first store to buy it. 

It’s madness.

miserable-men-instagram-men-shopping-with-their-wives-and-girlfriends-27

My Personal Perspective

There is too much stuff for sale. Stores should be regulated for size and limited to the number of items they offer. Let’s cut the stores in half and reduce the number of items by 60%.

People who work in the stores should be monitored by the government. If they can’t find an item quickly or answer a question intelligently, they should be demoted to the stock room, or resign, or something.

Upon entering the store, customers should be put on the clock. They would have 30 minutes to shop and at the 29th minute, an alarm would go off and security would escort them to their vehicles.

PERSONAL NOTE: These perspectives may be a tad harsh. But tough times call for tough measures. I’m not kidding around here. Something has to be done.

Some Final Thoughts

I love my wife and I’m generally happy to do whatever she likes. But when it comes to shopping, well, I’ve put my foot down, and then the other foot too, basically, it’s a double foot put down.

I haven’t shopped in a mall in years. And if it wasn’t for the power tools in the big box home stores, then I wouldn’t much enter those either.

Don’t hate me for telling the truth. Someone had to do it. Does that make me a philistine? Am I a cave dwelling neanderthal?

Some More Final Thoughts

Speaking of caves, I love my home theater room. I love all the little lights and the remotes and the big booming sound. It’s awesome.

In fact, just last week I was in one of the big electronics stores looking at the 80″ 4K and Ultra High Def TV’s, I mean wow!

I could’ve been there all day! They have the coolest stuff and lots of it.

tvs

However, I maintain that shopping is the worst.

The Spice of Life?

A Question For You

William_Cowper_by_Lemuel_Francis_Abbott
Willam Cowper

Variety is the spice of life. Do you know who said that? It was a poet named William Cowper, 1731-1800. Mr. Cowper wrote in The Task in 1785,

 “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” 

Some Perspective

His line about variety is very well know, is often quoted, but a bit surprising. You see, Mr. Cowper suffered from severe manic depression. He was a devout believer of the Christian faith, but due to his depression, he experienced doubt and often feared that he was doomed to eternal damnation. 

What a terrible way to live, to have faith and hope in the resurrected savior while simultaneously suffering from chemical imbalances of the brain causing mental illness. 

Makes me wonder how he ever came up with a phrase of such lovely optimism. Did he imagine that his line would grow famous? That it would travel the world and one day become imbedded within American popular culture? 

For Consideration

I tend to think of myself as being small. I make jokes wondering if anyone will show up for my funeral. Somebody asked, “If you pull your finger out of a bowl of water, how long does it take for the hole to fill in?” That’s me I think, just a little finger in a small bowl of water.

 Within a world of seven billion, a nation of 300 million, and a metropolitan city of six million, I can feel that I’m just another ant in a colony of millions of ants. 

For Daily Value

Unlike Mr. Cowper, I don’t suffer from manic depression. However, I occasionally struggle with having a Godly and healthy self-image. Why? Lot’s of reasons. But probably for some of the same reasons for which some of you struggle. 

I may yet do something memorable. Leave a heritage of words. Make an impact beyond anything I could have imagined. Write a book that changes someone’s life. Live to see my kids reach higher than I ever dreamed of reaching. Maybe?  

Becoming famous, being known by millions, isn’t important. I’ve come to believe that what is important is living a life with faith, serving others with love, and investing in people through lasting relationships.

Some Final Thoughts

In the end, it won’t be the recognition, the awards, or the achievements that will matter; not even the memorable quotes! It will be the people. Not how many, but how close.

Some say that variety is the spice of life. 

I believe that life tastes best when its lived in deep connection with others. 

Make your life count.

Shalom