Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's Mailbag 7.0

President Obama walks into the Bank of America to cash a check. As he approaches the cashier he says, "Good morning, Ma'am, Could you please cash this check for me"?

Cashier: "It would be my pleasure, sir. Could you please show me your ID."?

Obama: "Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am President Barrack H. Obama, President of the United States of America ."

Cashier: "Yes, sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of imposters and forgers, etc., I must insist on seeing ID."

Obama: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

Cashier: "I am sorry, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

Obama: "I am urging you to please cash this check."

Cashier: "Look, sir, here's what we can do: one day Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putting iron and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his check. Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet
and made a fabulous shot where the tennis ball landed in my cup. With that spectacular shot we cashed his check.

So, what can you do to prove that you are really the President of the United States ?"

Obama stood there thinking, and thinking, and finally says: "Honestly, there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can't think of a single thing"

Cashier: "Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?"

To submit your own Email contribution to Today's Mailbag send entries to capturedimage@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Take It Back...

While I will NOT take full responsibility for this Texas drought and record number of triple digit days in the Dallas/Fort Worth area...I will admit that I may have voiced a small complaint a while back.  And I am sure its just a coincidence but since voicing this complaint we haven't had a drop of decent rain waters until I left town to San Antonio a couple weeks ago. 

Hey folks!  If I knew all it took for rain to come was for me to leave town, I would travel more often...trust me.  So when today's brief but amazingly wonderful rain storm hit my area and I was present to witness it, I was...and still am...quite elated about it.

The comment was this...

"Lord...can we just get a rain SHOWER sometime instead of these ferocious storms that have 80 MPH horizontal winds, insane lightning strikes, and tornado producing formations?"

I take it ALL back.  Give me rain and all that comes with it!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 31

Category: Headlines

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed.  Winner: Teen Pregnancy.

It's A Miracle!

Umm...Gross.

A Big Surprise!

And it drops to zero percent at 60!

A Brilliant Sentence

Government At Work

Very Effective Paint

Well...Duh!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Call the Waaambulance!!

This week has not been my proudest, most bright shining display of Christ-like behavior.  In fact, I have been a ranting, angry, lunatic!  Had the proper motivation struck me earlier in the week I might have normally used such fuel to ignite blog-rant-fires and have all kinds of subject matter to cover for several days.  You see between school, several extra curriculars for my kids, and even one group that I participate with...all got started up this week.

Like any start, adjustments must be made...kinks need to be ironed out...new routines must be established.  Hopefully before long we have a well oiled machine of teachers, coaches, parents, students, and peers cooperating together, communicating beautifully, and getting in a groove.  I don't know how I lost sight of that fact but I did.  I was bracing for my kids to have a very large and difficult adjustment but ended up realizing that its been harder on me than on them.

This poor adjusting on my part has also led to poor reactions and behavior.  I have voiced my disdain with more than one group & person this week.  And while that alone is not necessarily a bad thing...I can often make a bigger deal out of situations than is necessary and let simple problems become complex issues.  Call the Waaambulance...Jim is whining again!  I really don't want to be THAT guy...ya know? 

So here is to redeeming myself for a good Friday experience and a great week ahead!  Please forgive me if you were in my cross-hairs at any point these past few days!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We's A Suthern' Peeple

Well, it's time fer yet another confession folks.  If'n ya ain't already figured it by now ya might as well know me to be a Southern boy.  I've spent the majority of that time in two states but rest assured both are below the Mason Dixon line.  And since 1988 I've proudly called myself a Texan!  That's like the coolest Southerner one might ever imagine.

Now I realize there are some negative stereotypes that go along with the South...some of em rightfully so...others that are a bit unfair.  I never wanted people to think me an ignorant hay-seed.  So for much of my youth and early adulthood, I distanced myself from the yeehaw-yesteryears of my Dukes of Hazzard upbringing and tried to git sophisticated-like.

Well a man can only do so much as to spread his own roots when the akern don't fall real far from dem thar trees, ya hear?  So in the spirit of embracing my heritage, my upbringing, and to display the Southern Gentlemen I was raised to be, please enjoy dis here movin' picture show:

Monday, August 22, 2011

3rd, 1st Day of School

Toughness can be measured in three distinct ways (probably more if I stop and think about it).  There is Physical, Mental, and Emotional toughness.  I am a Man's Man in two out of three categories.  Being an athlete for the better part of my life made physical and mental challenges par for the course.  In other words it was all too common to endure above average strains in these two categories and therefore pretty easy for me to excel or at least keep up with the average Joe. 

Where I fail horribly and have in multiple situations put my "man-card" in jeopardy of revocation is emotional toughness.  What can I say?  I am a softy.  I wear my feelings on my sleeve and only managed to conceal this fact long enough through Middle & High School years to NOT be severely beaten for it.  If it matters to me, then I cannot help but care passionately.  And even if I was made of steel...no man can quite defeat the Kryptonite that is his own children.  If anything can make a man jump into action or choke down a Disney-lump-in-their-throats after being forced by those rug-rats to watch Woody and Buzz be given away...I digress.

So I half expected today to be one of those times where some Jim-otions sprang forth a bit.  After all, not only is this the FIRST day of school for my twins...its' the FIRST day of Kindergarten in Public school.  All new kids.  All new teachers and faculty.  They are in Elementary.  Five days per week, all day long.  Also a first is that they will be in separate classes.  And there were some tears this morning.  But none came from me.  Mackenzie realized that it was still dark out when we woke her up and that was too scary a prospect for her to desire to continue her education.

But sure enough we got her to change her mind and after hand-delivering both of them to their classrooms, I simply waved goodbye and returned to the car.  Not a lump, not a tear, not a Jim-otion to speak of other than being happy that we managed to get them fed, clothed, and at school on time.  Have I grown in my manliness?  Did my soft side disappear or just fail to kick into gear this morning?

Nah!  It's probably because this is their 3rd, First Day of school and though there are many NEW hurdles being leapt over today...its certainly not an ACTUAL first.

2nd, 1st Day of School
1st, 1st Day of School

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 30

Category: Paintings

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed. Winner: Wannabe Sports Car

Alien's Day Off

Starry Knight

Wannabe Sports Car

Mona Bean

Playing dead?

Grandma's revenge for that reindeer thing.

Perhaps they should go back.

Simpson Van Gogh

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Transparency

If I am to truly apply the name of this blog, then "Living Out Loud" should come with ups, downs, plateaus, frustrations, victories, and yes...even the humbling and embarrassing.  And I think a quick perusal through my archives will prove that we've been uploading posts that fall into all of these categories.

Today is no exception.  If I have nothing to hide then sharing this with you is my only option. You may find the content of this video to be disturbing, crazy, embarrassing, or disappointing.  Who knows?  I cannot tell you how to feel about me and my family.  We are just sharing our lives with you.  Good, bad, or ugly.  In Christian-speak this is known as living transparent lives.

Mark 4:22 -

For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.

Keep that in mind as you watch today's video post...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Plays Volleyball

Sound ridiculous?  Unnatural perhaps?  Well if you believe atheist argumentation so does much of the Bible's extraordinary claims.  And the prospect of there being a loving and benevolent Creator God that desires to have a personal relationship with you is no exception.

But why should something extraordinary immediately be dismissed?  We live in an amazing time and have evidence everywhere to support the miraculous.  Perhaps a dog playing volleyball doesn't quite qualify for the supernatural but it still illustrates my point because it is amazing.

So please enjoy the second installment of my ongoing series of Atheist Commercials:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bummed Out

Call it an attack.  Call it life in its fallen state.  Call it something else negative all together. Whatever you call it, I am bummed right now.  And perhaps what makes this worse is having just gone through a considerable high on life's roller coaster.

Recent Highs:
  • Billing at my business at a 2011 high
  • Celebrated 500 Subscribers on my YouTube Channel
  • Was asked to make announcements at church
  • Was asked to be guest speaker at upcoming Men's Breakfast
  • Endowed with more Deacon responsibilities
  • Family vacation and much needed break to San Antonio. Got to see family and friends along the way.

But as of today here is what smacked me & mine in the face:

  • My twins are sick with a stomach bug
  • This has caused us to cancel a photo shoot with their cousin for tomorrow.
  • It also puts starting school this week and going to "Meet The Teacher" on Thursday in relative jeopardy.
  • Infant son has mysterious black spot on the back of his tongue on the heels of recovering from his urology surgery.
  • Billing the last two weeks at my business took a dive and is back below break even levels.
  • Rachael and I had a disagreement last night where I behaved less than Christlike.
  • And if none of those reasons are good enough to be bummed...I am BACK from vacation.
This too shall pass.  But in the meantime I am marinating in disappointment.

How has your week gone so far?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 29

Category: Beat The Heat

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed. Winner: New Texas Rain Gage

New Texas Rain Gage

You Know It's Hot When...

IceCream Truck Meltdown

Ice Chairs

Ahhhh!

"I told him to stay hydrated!"

Cooling Off In Freezer Section

Apparently not just a figure of speech!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sabbath Rest

Rest is apparently so very important that God Himself, leading by example rested on the seventh day after the six days of creation.  But He didn't just stop there.  He took it further by giving Moses the Ten Commandments where we find the fourth of ten commands declaring that we too must have a day of rest. Of course its not all about relaxing and refraining from labor.  It also has a worship element to it as God declares that we keep this time of rest holy.

Upon Christ's arrival and the New Covenant birth we now find that Christ IS our Sabbath Rest.  He is the fulfillment of Law and as Paul writes:

 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.

In other words our freedom in Christ now allows for us to consider everyday an opportunity to rest in Him and give Him worship or we can also reserve a special day/time.  Which ever option a person elects, they need to be convinced and dedicated to the purpose behind it.  I fall into the category of considering each day an opportunity to rest in Him but actual relaxation-rest is a rarity for me and many modern-day folk.  The speed of life and the demands of our responsibilities often render the idea of taking "time off "to be a very foreign one.

But me and mine are going to try and do just that.  This weekend we travel to San Antonio with a brief stop in Austin to visit family.  I almost don't care at all what we actually do or go see.  I just need some rest.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Signs Are Clear...

The End Times are upon us!  Forget about the economic indicators. Forget about the increase in global disasters over the past decade.  Forget about the Middle East and all the scary headlines it generates each day.  Forget about the food shortages. Forget about the drought.  Never mind the annual pandemic scares. And try not to think about the wars or rumors of war.  These are all symptoms...sure.  But every generation to some degree has dealt with them.

No...the reason to take shelter and to run for the hills just occurred this past weekend.  Be afraid folks!  Be very afraid.  The NUMBER ONE reason and biggest sign to date that the impending Apocalypse is near is this:

My mom, dad, and mother-in-law ALL . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
. . .got iPhones!

Oh the humanity! 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Operation Free Willy

Why was there no Photo Friday post last week you ask?  How could I do (or fail to do) such a thing after 28 consecutive weeks in a row?  Why would I dash your hopes and dreams of voting on more hilarious photos like that?  Ok...so none of you asked but I will tell you anyway.  My infant son had surgery to correct a minor issue with his baby boy-bits.  I will spare you the details but will give you the general idea that the title of this blog post isn't about a whale movie.  Nuff said!

Leading up to the surgery Rachael I had been trying various feeding schedules so that the required fasting, four hours before the operation would not be too traumatic.  But no bedtime changes or feedings up to or before the 4AM cutoff seemed to work.  In fact, the more we messed with his routine, the more times per night he would wake up.  And as wonderful and as easy-going as this baby is...the one thing he panics and screams about is feeling hungry. 

Thankfully on the day of (by the grace and miraculous hand of God) Joshua somehow made it from 3AM to 7AM without food and without screaming or crying.  That was the one and only day he needed to be able to accomplish such a feat and in fact, the only day he ever has.  Rachael and I had been so worried about this one factor that we sort of forgot to be concerned or worry much at all about the actual medical process and recovery.  An underestimation that we are now painfully aware of and dealing with.

All three kids have needed some type of procedure or surgery that has tested the limits of insurance policy deductibles and bank balances.  With Mackenzie it was a heart valve.  With Michael it was a skull correcting helmet.  But overall we are very blessed with good health and I am not complaining.  Besides...all these grey hairs are like individual badges of honor & accomplishment. 

That is what I tell myself anyway!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Is God A Geanie?

Texas is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record and is only days away from having the MOST consecutive days of triple digit heat here in Dallas.  Water supplies are depleted and rationing signs are popping up in several places.  Lawns are now patchworks of green interlaced with scorched sections of brown.  One cannot help as a Christian but to wonder about God's role in all of this especially in light of yesterday's Governor-led prayer and fasting gathering.

I have listened to and read an opinion or two about this event including one from my Pastor located HERE.  But in true blogger fashion I must have my own take and my own article on the matter, no?  Honestly I do not dare judge the sincerity or possible lack thereof any attendee or host involved.  God knows the hearts of men and who I am I to pretend to have any insight?  A praying people is a good step in the right direction.  And IF Perry is employing political maneuvers it would not be the first time God used a leader with selfish intentions to accomplish His goals.

I do have one suggestion though.  And its based on a personal revelation in my own experience.  I preface it as such so that you might prayerfully decide if it even applies to you or not.  I've discovered that I often treat God as a Jeanie in a bottle.  He is contained in my little lamp that I rub when I'm in need of something.  "My will be done Lord." is often the impression I give as I join others in praying for an end to drought conditions or for that special blessing for me and mine.  But do I trust in Him and have the kind of relationship to say, "Thy will be done Lord"

If it is His will to make Texas the next Sahara Dessert, do I trust Him to take care of me and do I trust that His will serves a much higher purpose than the independent needs of my suburban slice of lawn?  I would encourage you as Christians to join in prayer and fasting in this uncertain time.  But as you do, consider praying that His will be done and bringing to Him the confessions of your heart.  Don't belittle His role of loving Father who knows how to bless and gives good gifts to that of Mythical Jeanie who must grant us our watershed wishes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Today's Mailbag 6.0

My Living Will


Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them,

"I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependant on some machine and fluids from a bottle.  If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

They got up, unplugged the computer and threw out my wine!

To submit your own Email contribution to Today's Mailbag send entries to capturedimage@hotmail.com.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

3 Reasons

This post and corresponding video were produced for three reasons:

1. Gratuitous Pride - Not the kind where I get all puffed up and full of myself...but rather the kind a dad feels when he realizes how amazingly blessed he is to have kids like mine.  I couldn't have ever imagined when meeting Rachael that these three miracles would enter my life and bring to it even more love, deeper meaning, and a passionate desire to be better in all things. 

2. Baby Steps - Upon watching my infant son (who is actually not even close to walking yet) make the herculean effort to move himself a few feet across the floor, I've concluded that Baby Steps are misunderstood.  We use this phrase to imply a gradual and somewhat easy progression of growth or conquering goals and problems.  But for an actual baby there is LOTS of effort involved.  Just to take a couple of steps without falling or aid of a walker is incredible.  The amount of learning and neural connections being forged combined with the exhaustion of just a few minutes effort is eye-opening.  To truly take Baby Steps in life is to accomplish much more than we often give credit.

3. Encouragement - As you will see in the video below, Joshua had a cheering section.  Made up of his older siblings and parents we celebrated his every victory as he claimed an inch of ground at a time.  His brother and sister were chanting..."Go Joshua Go!" or telling him "You can do it!".  How many of us could benefit from such a display of love and inspiration?  I believe this is something we should all strive to do more often with one another.  Encourage and "cheer on" your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and fellow man!