Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Now that's an obvious title for a day like today.

I just wanted to check in....with nobody in particular in mind; though I do know that my sister faithfully checks this blog.

What if I start posting in a disciplined way?

I am thinking about writing a book again. I really would like to do that before I die. This would be a good way to get back into writing.

The one I started this book for is now 13...if you can believe it. I have a lot to say about that too.

I think I might go ahead and take the plunge. (Notice how I am leaving myself an out.)

Later

Friday, November 30, 2012

Midlife Crisis

How funny it is to be going through midlife now....at this time in the history of the world. That time when men especially must face the transition from

YOUNG VIRAL TOUGH GUY

to

OLDER BACK HURTS GOTTA BUY READING GLASSES IS THAT EVEN MORE GRAY HAIR? GUY



I just have to sit back and marvel at the irony that my father....with whom I had "issues" went through his midlife during the greatest economic growth period in our national history....and got to see the USSR fall.

Me....I get to watch our country choose socialism....

the way the USSR did....

before they fell.

Sorry this is so short.

I gotta go hide in my video game world.


And yes, I know I can't hide forever...just 4 more years.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Who ARE you, and what have you done with the child I deserved?

Long time no post.

Lots of reasons...but let me just say, if you need me to help you play video games, well, I am very good right now. LOTS of practice.

My video-game partner said something hilarious, and true the other day while we were playing. I had told him I had to leave at 9. Nine came, and went, and I knew it, but was....video-game intoxicated. He said, "Isn't it 9 o'clock there? And didn't you have something you had to do at work?"
I agreed and said I was thinking about going in a little later but that I really should go now. So he says,

"Thank God I was here...to take the needle out of your arm."

Yeah. To some people, video-games are just like crack. Allows us to avoid the hard stuff of life, for just a little while, while pumping us full of euphoria inducing action.

Anyway, that's been one reason.

But this I can't let pass.

My wife and I have a friend who has not lived a very successful life. Not a very happy person, and is very much down on his luck. He has a talent though, one that really speaks to my daughter and she commented on this talent when she saw a letter from this friend to my wife. Well, my wife wanted to make this friend feel better so she mentioned my daughter's praise in her response letter. We get even more evidence of this talent in the next letter.

Well, me being an overprotective jerk father cautioned my little one, not wanting her to get her hopes up about this person, not wanting her to date this kind of person, not wanting her to get hurt...who knows; but anyway, I said something to the effect of:

"This person has not lived a good life little one. We have to remember that. They are a nice person, but have made many, many bad choices."

So what does she do. She writes her own letter to our friend, shared one of her own talents, and witnessed to him. Told him a little about God.

I felt 3 inches tall and embarrassed to be in the same room with such a beautiful spirit. She is already set toward the good works that God has prepared for her....and is acting on them, rather than thinking about them. Boy can she teach me!

Then, this past Sunday in church, she does this (No, I do not have time to learn how to imbed this youtube video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q82qUwpClQM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I don't deserve her....but then, God doesn't give us what we deserve, we'd all be dead. God gives us life. In this life are many hardships, anxieties, pains, and joys. As much as I would like to believe it is not true, my little one is here for God, not for me. He has plans for her, and will continue to shape and mold her towards those plans, if she can just stay moldable and shapable.

I have been feeling that I am not so much that person of late. Is it wrong that your own child is a better example of grace and peace and faith than you are? Thought so.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Points

I don't really know why, but I never really knew of, or expected to experience the capacity of a child to love his or her parents in the way that I now experience that love from Little One. I wish I could adequately communicate it to those who don't really know how to parent, or are just not very good at it. I would say something like this:




"When you do it right...or as near to "right" as you can, your child will know that they are precious to you, and, as they become conscious of other children around them whose parents are NOT doing it "as rightly" as you, they will come to appreciate you. And they will begin to repay that love with their own. Almost overnight, they will become less selfish, they will ask you how YOU are doing, they will bring YOU something from the store, they will grab YOUR hand. They will tell you that they love YOU, first. That is the point when you realize, among other things:
1) At least you are doing ONE thing sort of correctly
2) Kids do become less selfish as they grow older
3) You need your child at least as much as she or he needs you
This leads me to a funny exchange. Yesterday, my animal loving daughter once again began her apeal to let her have a cat. In fact, she offered to pay me $6 for the priviledge. She even knows which one she wants. I said "no." (I will forever and always say no...there are many good reasons other than that I don't like the smell of kitty litter, like, my wife AND that same daughter are very allergic to cats.)




Anyway:
Although she KNEW I would say no as I have every other time, she started to get herself worked up over it. I started to simply reflect how much I knew she wanted one and that I knew she was disappointed. Finally she stopped asking and stated simply that I had "just lost 50 points."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well last night you told Mommy you had just earned points for letting me have desert" she replys.
"So I just lost 50? How many did I have?" I begged.
"5" and we laughed and laughed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Mirror, Not A Projector

 
I want to thank those of you who keep checking back to see if I have posted any blogs. I noticed this morning that I have just crossed over the 10,000 page view mark. I want you to know that I really appreciate that! Thank you for reading these words.

I'm one of those who has to "work myself up" to face certain situations...like life. No really, like dealing with other people. After I wrote The Gift, I experienced an epiphany. It was as if a complex set of concepts all came together at once and now....I am pressed to view things a bit differently. It's not a complete change in my way of living (though there are things I need to change) rather it is a greater willingness...or responsibility toward boldness.

Someone once described me as a "nervous" person. I have to admit, though I dislike that that comes through...it is true. I won't go too much further, but I am the most introverted person I know. (That's kind of a joke since introverted people don't really get to know that many people.) It's been my excuse for not being more open and available to others. More that that, it's been my excuse for not being more open about and sharing my FAITH with others. My fear is an easy excuse to avoid boldness.



Speaking of projectors (just trust me)...


Projectors are good. I use them every day to flash PowerPoint slides up on the screen while I teach about psychology. They project my ideas, and the many (better) ideas of others up for the students to see. I work hard on those slides and change them every time I teach from them. They represent the best information and the best method for presenting it that I can come up with at the time. You get the picture? (ha ha) I work hard on them, I change them, I put MY slant on the information. I like to explain things as I see them (as you can tell).

Mirrors are different. The mirror doesn't lie, and won't allow me to put MY slant on what is seen, or not seen in the reflection. What is reflected is a perfect representation of what is causing the reflection. I may or may not like what I see in the mirror..but it is the truth.

I am here (on earth) to be a mirror...not a projector. I am here to reflect the Glory of my Creator, my Father God.
I think of the encouragement in the Bible:
"But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
Matthew 10:19-20

That was Jesus talking to his 12 best friends, closest confidants, and brightest students. He didn't want them speaking out of their own wisdom in the most dire times in their lives...He reminded them that they just needed to mirror what God wants them to say, not project what they think they should say or do.

Projecting my own interpretation and "wisdom" into my witness is bound to be filled with inaccuracies. The mirror though, the mirror reflects the truth. Despite the mish-mash of genetics of which I am a product; despite the limitations of my personality, I was designed to be a perfect mirror of His Glory.

Even as I type that I imagine a broken, spotted, cloudy, mirror which fractures the image it is mirroring...but so did Paul:

"Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking round high and mighty!
At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size -- abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 (The Message version)

I don't have to, nor am I designed to project myself...I am uniquely faceted to reflect Him.

I was created to be a mirror, not a projector.

It allows me to greet people a little more often. It allows me to step into someones life AS I AM, not as I think I am supposed to be.

It is hard to imagine this, but, in my Father's eyes, I am exactly what I am supposed to be...just right...His masterpiece...His child.

And so are you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

One Very Special Student

I was reminded yesterday how special it is to have you in my classes. There I was, sharing information I thought was interesting, trying to explain the concepts involved to, what seemed like a room full of very bored, very distracted students.

Some were just too busy with their cell phones (cleverly hidden under the desk, or behind their backpacks) to care what I was saying. Others were locked in fascinating conversations with each other, either out loud or on paper (cleverly passed back and forth when I wasn't looking).

Sure, there were the "eye-rollers" too. Those are fun. I guess they don't realize that I am not trying to keep them from their more important activities outside of the classroom...I'm just trying to concentrate and give them the best chance of understanding the information they need from my class.

Now, to be fair, a few were listening. They looked at me, read what was on the board, even took a few notes. I appreciate them. I appreciate them so much that I give them extra points at the end of the semester. Look at me while I am talking to you and you can not fail my class, I won't let you.

About a year ago I was so distressed by the fact that most of my students don't seem to like me (yes...I take it personally, even though I know that 90% of the time it is not) that I was seriously contemplating dropping the whole teaching gig.

Then I remembered the incredible amount of time off I am afforded and decided I could put up with almost anything. It's a good trade off. I also realized that I can't possibly reach everyone in the class....not even 50%...not even 25%. In reality, I am speaking to 10 to 15% of the room. I may be under-estimating...but I am afraid that is the truth.

Then there is you.

You never nod off. You never text. You never look bored, in fact, if I didn't know better, you look like you are fascinated by every thought I share. You care what I am saying. When I stumble, or mis-speak, your smile is so encouraging. You've given me so many "breaks." Just having you there seems to make it all worthwhile. It re-energizes me; helps me to feel like I am there for a reason, that what I am doing is important, whether parts of it are boring or not.

So I just want to say "thank you". You being with me gives me the joy I've always wanted to feel in my work. You know, without you I don't think I could do it. In fact,

I'm sure of it.

Thanks Jesus.



"Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people."  Colossians 3:23
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Jesus)  Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Drowning...Never


Things have been kind of crazy lately.

Delma had major surgery and came through it very well. She is doing wonderfully in her recovery. At the same time, Little One somehow either injured her leg...or there is something else going on in there that IS NOT welcome and she has been limping for almost a month. Has another appointment, a referral to an Orthopedic specialist tomorrow. If you know my sinful nature, I tend to be a worrier so...I've conjured up every horrible disease known to man for the pain to be a symptom of. (I do know better than to go on WebMD though: "Don't tell me it could be cancer! I my sick, worrisome mind KNOWs it could be cancer...tell me how unlikely that is, tell me how it just has to be something else."

Another incredible possible blessing in the financial department has turned into a nightmare. Not only is there to be no financial blessing...but it is looking like it could cost us quite a bit (no I did not try a get rich scheme....I was just minding my own business).

My car is broken. Like, put her out of her misery broken.

Delma lost perhaps the most important parent-figure in her life over the weekend and this was certainly taxing on her and her family.

But God is FOR me and my family. He is present in these trials that come to "test" my faith. He answers my questions with real reassurances. And praise Him, He reminds me to be wary of self-pity and fear.

These trials are the trials of life...just bunched a little closer than I like.
He is using, and will use them to train me to be the servant I asked Him to make me to be. (WHY did I pray that!?) He is and will use them to grow Little One out beyond herself (sorry Little One...but we all need that kind of training). And He is bringing about His perfection.

I was grumbling to myself last night during a particularly unpleasant part of the weekend and, after rebuking the self-pity and frustration suddenly thought, clear as a bell, "What blessing is there without suffering?"

What knowledge is gained without trial and difficulty.

What good is the tool that never gets "dinged?"

I'm done living in the tool kit, safely tucked into the pockets, all shiny and polished, never used.

God has every right to use the life He gave me however He chooses to do so. There is no drowning in His arms.

"Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."  Isaiah 40:31