Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hard Things

Ever wonder why people run from God?  Amongst the hosts of reasons for the believer and non-believer, one in particular sticks out for me.  Like Jonah, I have these limits (perceived or real) that I am afraid of God asking me to push past.  For you it maybe the fear of being called into mission work in Africa.  For another it may be God requiring a change of job or friends.  We want God to call us into our comfort zone, not to the hard things.

Read my blog for very long or know me in real life for any length of time and you know I have a dogmatic side that rarely sees shades of gray.  Therefore when people, especially Christians let me down...I struggle with how to properly react.  I probably should not expect more from a brother or sister in Christ but my human understanding of things cannot seem to help itself.  So when they let me down, there is a certain amount of betrayal and hurt that is more biting than normal.

But no sooner than I was able to vent my frustrations to my dad (the Elder I most often seek for Christian wisdom) was I reminded that I too am but a sinner who not only lets others down but God Himself.  I had already practically forgiven this particular guy an hour after the event which sparked the angry passions when I looked up to see him in my office lobby.  He knew that he'd hurt me and made a mistake.  He intentionally drove to see me and ask for my forgiveness in person.

There are few things more powerful than a grown man humbling himself before you, admitting his mistakes, and asking for you to extend grace.  Were it not for Jesus Christ who did the same thing for me, I doubt I would have the ability or desire. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Complicated

It seemed like such a simple question: 

"Daddy, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?"

This weekend I introduced my six year old son to the Dukes of Hazzard.  He had been asking me about my childhood and the kinds of programs I liked.  I showed him the opening title sequence on the iPhone using the YouTube App and he was interested enough to ask for a full episode.

So the next morning we popped in a DVD of Season One and I am not sure who was more excited between the two of us.  It wasn't long into the plot that the questions began. Michael likes to know who everyone is, what team they play for, and how to categorize the characters in his mind.  It's usually only minutes after we turn off the TV that he is re-enacting every detail.

But his question stumped me a bit.  For one thing I felt strange telling him that Policemen were bad.  Or at least Roscoe was.  Enos was really nice but had to work for Boss Hog, so he was still kind of on the bad guys team.  Then you have the Dukes, who are on probation for running Moonshine and spend every episode evading arrest.  But somehow neither the dirty cops, the dirty politician pulling their strings, or the Moonshiners get their just deserve at the end of the day.  Its always some out of town gang that didn't know any better than to come to Hazzard County for the weekend.

I just told him who to root for and left the complexity of these details out of my answer. 

Just wait until he asks me about the Rebel flag!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 52

Category: Good Advice

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: Bathroom Etiquette
Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll. Click on images to enlarge.

Parenting Tips

Restroom Etiquette

Emoticon Wisdom

Even the "correct way" can have repercussions!

Diet Reminder

Aww...but I wanna whine!

Relationship Advice

The idiot's advantage

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dublin VS Goliath = Boycott Dr. Pepper

For me or any other member of my immediate family to boycott Dr. Pepper and its products is a BIG deal.  Upon giving birth my Mom tells me I rejected her milk and would only drink bottles of DP.  At the age of five, I fell to the ground and skinned my knee.  Instead of blood, Dr. Pepper dripped out of the wound.  Another time when the car jack broke and our Oldsmobile pinned dad underneath, I took a quick tug of Dr. Pepper and lifted the vehicle off of him.  And just recently I had a demon possessed man come to me for help.  I prayed from him but being out of Holy Water, I grabbed a can of DP and spritzed him in the face.  I've never seen an evil spirit flee faster!

Ok...so maybe I am exaggerating.  But only a little bit.  Dr. Pepper really has been a mainstay product and staple in my life.  Both my parents, myself, and my brother have consumed it exclusively to just about any other cola choice...so long as its available (Mr. Pibb is NOT an acceptable alternative!).  We typically have a twelve pack or two on hand at any given time at home and order it just about every time we dine out.

So why Boycott this beloved drink of family heritage and lore?  Well its simple...corporate greed reared its ugly head and struck out at the little Dublin bottler and shut down its Dr. Pepper operation.  Dublin Dr. Pepper as it was once called has been in business for 120 years proudly sticking to the original recipe containing Imperial Sugar instead of corn based sweeteners and the time honored tradition of bottling the product in actual glass bottles.  Essentially this small town operation allowed the already excitable DP fan a more nostalgic experience.  In my humble opinion Dublin only made Dr. Pepper all the more great, marketable, and served as the cherry on top.

But someone at corporate came up with the brilliant idea to file suit against the bottler and shut down the manufacturing of the original formula despite having allowed the small plant to do so for a century previously.  Why?  No one knows for sure but Plano-based DP headquarters claims amongst its litany of reasons that Dublin (which accounts for less that 1% of DP sales) was selling outside of their designated 44 mile radius.  I highly doubt this it true but have NO doubt that they have found the product in stores and in homes of consumers that gladly drove into Dublin and bootlegged it out.  My brother has done this many times and Dallas is 90 miles from the bottling plant.

At the bare minimum I ask you, the loyal reader, to consider boycotting Dr. Pepper/Snapple/Cadburry products with me.  Its not enough to just boycott Dr. Pepper, the drink, since they also own:

7 Up, A&W Root Beer, A&W Cream Soda, Barrelhead Root Beer, Cactus Cooler, Canada Dry, Clamato, Country Time, Crush, Deja Blue, Diet Rite, Hawaiian Punch, Hires Root Beer, IBC Root Beer, Margaritaville, Mott's, Mr and Mrs T, Nantucket Nectars, Orangina PeƱafiel, RC Cola, ReaLemon, Rose's Schweppes, Snapple, Squirt, Stewart's Fountain Classics, Sundrop, Sunkist, Venom Vernors, Welch's, and Yoo-hoo.

Also consider signing THIS PETITION, adding your name to the growing list of people that are fed up with this deplorable decision.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Champion's Secret

Making a comeback!
It probably won't surprise most of you that I am a fan of Tim Tebow.  There are many reasons for that, including but not limited to his very public proclamation of Jesus Christ.  But for the purpose of this post I want to focus on another component of his personality that only fellow champions share.

The Never Say Die Attitude!

A person and even a team with this kind of creed has unlimited potential and will quite often take out more talented opponents.  I experienced this phenomenon myself in athletics growing up.  My childhood soccer team was composed of two hot shot players and fifteen very average to sub-par athletes.  Yet they were never say die, never give up types.  Each game was a battle to the finish. 

If the ref hadn't blown the whistle yet, we were after the ball. If we fell down, we got back up. If we missed the ball, we quickly recovered.  If we got scored on, we returned the favor.  We had no business winning as many games as we did and claiming first and second place trophy's each season.  But we did.  Tebow and other great athletes like him have this quality.  Tim, though an excellent quarterback in college was not a top NFL draft pick.  The hitch in his throwing style just will not work in a league where the talent pool is so deep. 

He is still working out the kinks.  Some of his wins this season were pretty ugly.  But he never gave up and he inspired the same athletes that had been playing under his predecessor to do the same.  The Broncos 1-4 record was soon turned into an AFC West Championship and a bid in the playoffs.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another Category

After I stopped laughing at the illustration above, I realized something.  Either they missed an entire category of people like myself or I am an anomaly.  I think the best representation of my stage in life right now using these three criteria is:

  • Have little energy
  • Have little money
  • Have little time

I was tempted to say NO energy, time, or money for the sake of a laugh but that would have been inaccurate and extreme.  Thankfully God provides just what I need, when I need it!  Sure it would be great to have excess measures of all three and perhaps one day some or all categories will swing that direction.  But I think we make the pursuit of excess and the prevention of lack too big an ordeal at times.  You might even say we make this an idol.  Dependence on God for our needs is what Scripture teaches.  Yet many of us, especially in Western Society, over-burden ourselves with this pursuit and leave God out of it.

Your thoughts?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Your Shape

What kind of shape are you in these days?  If you are anything like me, round is the best answer...especially in the middle.  But worse than the dough-boy stomach and chubby cheeks is the physical limitations of being out of shape. 

This weekend I painted our master bedroom.  Up and down the stairs for supplies, up and down a ladder to reach high spots, bending, squatting, and contorting to reach each nook and cranny, combined with the cardio from some vigorous paint rolling and my keester has been officially kicked!  I hate to admit this but I probably got more exercise in the last two days than I have in the last two months (or more).

If you ever told the twenty something me that I would one day wake up after two days of painting and feel just as painfully sore as I had when running long distance, I would have laughed hysterically or perhaps cried for my future self.

Here are some other ways to determine IF you are out of shape:

  • You get winded climbing one flight of stairs
  • You have to suck in to tie your shoes
  • You think its your pants that are shrinking
  • You look down and see a nice table for setting snacks and drinks
  • You get a cramp after sneezing
  • You pull a muscle playing the Wii
  • You roll out of bed and feel like its already nap time
  • Typing makes you sweat
  • You count brushing your teeth as an upper body workout
  • Your workout videos have several dust layers
  • Your workout equipment is just another place to hang clothes
Your turn!  What can you add to this list?  Put your best ideas in the comment section.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 51

Category: Homework

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: EPIC
Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.  Click on images to enlarge.


Perry solves everything!

Technically that's true!

Literal Expansion

Good policy.

Look. A Lion!

Correct Answer!

Ninja Points

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Free Internet?

Unless you've intentionally buried your head in the sand it's highly likely by now that you've heard of S.O.P.A.  This is a bill being considered by congress under the guise of protecting copyright material but in effect allowing the Internet at large be censored.

I realize that I am a very small fish in a very large pond.  But the content I produce and share the most is my Faith in Christ.  That topic is hotly debated already and becoming less and less politically correct as time moves forward.  Throw in a bill that essentially allows the government and/or corporations to censor sites without regulation and you have a recipe for violation of First Amendment Rights.

It seems our government's strategy since September 11, 2001 has been one of security through violation of rights.  The Patriot Act is one of the most unconstitutional bills ever passed but we let it happen.  We decided sacrificing some privacy is/was worth the violation of it.  The slope seems to be getting all the steeper and more slippery.

Your thoughts?

Currently this article can be viewed in the form you just read it in.  If this legislation is passed and small fish like me do become a target, click HERE to see what this article may look like in the future.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waste Of Yellow Paper

I realize not everyone has a computer with an Internet connection.  I realize that print media though in decline is still a cherished experience by some.  There are those that need to feel the pages of a good book or smell the newsprint as they scan the headlines of today's paper.  So I am not going to rant about how ALL Yellow Pages publications need to completely stop.  But give us the option, please!!!

For every person that answers their door and accepts a phone book, there will literally be hundreds of people that say, "No, save your book and give it to someone that isn't living in 2012."  And I might be wrong about this but something tells me even the most nostalgic of readers that like their hard copy in the physical are not lamenting the potential end of Yellow Pages Ads and phone listings.

When is the last time you actually wanted to call a restaurant or doctors office, that you went searching the house for the phone book?  I might consider it if my computer at work, at home, both cell phones, my Nook tablet with Internet access, and 411 services on my land line stop working.  But until then...

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Greatest Apologetic

I've finally done it.  I've poured over all the arguments for and against belief in God and come up with THE argument.  The end all, be all answer that will silence critics and cause mass conversions to Christianity.  The concept is simple really.  It's been in front of my nose all these years but I just never saw it.

I believe this argument once honed a bit will be the end of atheism as we know it.  I'll even go so far as to say it will destroy all other alternatives of theistic belief compared to Christianity.  The only way to hear this and leave the presentation without having changed your mind is to just stubbornly refuse irrefutable facts.  And if that is the kind of thinking you posses, well then...I can't be of much help anyway.

Click my video presentation below and prepare to be amazed!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 50

Category: Unfortunate Names

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: Venereal Lane
Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Leave Mahfood Alone, Robin!

Can I get a different surgeon please?!

In the right line of work.

Comes with free medial mask.

A headline writers dream!

Call me skeptical.

Located on Venereal Lane.

Destined for laughs.

HOV Rant

Violating rules and/or laws be they traffic or criminal comes with a wide spectrum of public outcry and penalty.  We cannot help as humans but to classify degrees of offense from minor to major.  A lie is much more tolerated than stealing someones car for instance.

But I've come to realize another factor (at least for me) that comes into play and incites quite a bit of vitriol.  I've discovered even in what most might believe as "minor" rule breaking that it makes my blood boil when said violations are blatant and proudly put on display.  When there is no shame in your game you've reached a whole new level of moral depravity in my opinion.

Perhaps that is one of the many reasons HOV violators drive me crazy.  Watch my video rant on the topic and let me know what you think:

**This was originally created on Jan 2nd but due to MAJOR computer problems was delayed until now for release.  I realize many of you have been "back to work" for a couple weeks now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Price of Humility

Like something from a Looney Tunes episode, I turned a relatively easy faucet repair and leisurely morning into a wild, adventurous, difficult to believe, painful but hilarious experience.  I can say that now because "the incident" is over.  During the incident, time stopped, panic set in, and there was nothing but horror.  I have no idea if two minutes or twenty passed.  I just knew I had to make it stop and it needed to be fast.

You see this particular faucet repair is one I've fixed before.  It is the shower in the Master bathroom.  It requires that you dismantle the handle components, reposition the stop valve so that the water turns completely off when you turn the handle to said position instead of slowly leaking all day and all night driving you mad.  I've done this off an on again for the last two years.

Tired of this particular fix only working for a short period of time, I decided this time to dig deeper.  To dismantle the entire fixture and figure out how to permanently fix it.  That's when it happened.  With one small turn of my wrench...


A veritable geyser pegged me in the chest and began filling the shower pan faster than the drain could expedite it away.  I screamed, "RACHAEL HELLLLLLLLLP!" at the top of my lungs as I tried desperately to put the piece I just removed back into place.  It was useless.  The force of the water pressure was so great that all I managed to do was cause the water to spray in several directions not unlike putting your thumb on the end of a garden hose.  My screaming for help was riddled with a panicked tone due to three equally concerning facts at this point.

  • The water hitting me with great force is dangerously close to overfilling the shower pan. The last thing I need or want is to turn a minor repair into a water damaged second floor with major financial repercussions.
  • I am in my pajamas and completely soaked.  That is no big deal at first but as this story continues it will become a factor.
  • The water keeps fluctuating between severely hot and severely cold.  This makes me constantly GASP for breath as I continue to call out to both God and Rachael for help.
Rachael finally comes in to see the Looney Tunes debacle and dials her dad whilst screaming, "What did you do?!!" repeatedly at me.  I didn't think it was a good time to discuss what got us to this point so I took her inquiry as rhetorical and exited the shower stall, closing the glass door behind me, crossing my fingers that the drain would keep the water level from spilling over the threshold.  I knew I needed to find the shut off valve to the house.  (Special Note of Advice:  ALWAYS DO THIS BEFORE STARTING A PLUMBING PROJECT).

I started to run through our room but quickly lost my footing due to the slippery conditions of my soaked body and the already normally slick laminent floor.  This was a head over heals, land on your back with nothing breaking your fall kind of splat that only Wiley Coyote could compete with.  I knew when I hit that the ramifications of the fall would come back to haunt me but I didn't have time in that moment to take inventory of my physical well being.  Like a newly born colt, I flopped around sliding and slipping finally regaining my upright position and continued down the stairs and out of the house.

This is where being in wet pajamas becomes all the more interesting and hysterical to any lucky neighbors that might have been glancing in our general direction.  At the street curb, kneeling next to what looks like a sewer cover but a bit smaller, with the word WATER on it, I tried to pull the metallic disc up.  Then I notice it seems to have a key hole.  "This CANNOT be!  Who has a key to these things?"  I decide that there must be a different access panel.  This one looked like a city worker or meter reader would be the only one with capabilities of cracking. 

I scan my yard, standing in dripping wet PJ's, and I see the shut off to my sprinklers.  That won't help.  But there behind it in the flower bed, next to the house, was another circular green lid that might be what I'm looking for.  I dive into the mulch and rip the lid off, and there it was.  A valve.  Not sure its the one I am looking for I decide it needs to be turned off regardless.  After several righty-tighty twists, I can no longer turn the valve further...I go back inside and loudly inquire,  "Is it OFF!?"

It was.  It was indeed.

By the way...they were Superman Pajamas!  God's humility lessons for me know no bounds.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 49

Category: Laziness

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(s): Walking the dog & Counter Intuitive.
If the poll is not visible, click here to see it on Vizu.

"Walking" the dog.

Spongebob & Patrick teach our kids how to make lists

It was easier to paint around it!

Counter Intuitive

Easily Solved

Surf's Up

Define "Emergency"

(insert caption here)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Are You A Softy?

If you've read much of my blog or know me IRL then it's no surprise to you that I am a softy.  Last night I had my heart-strings pulled by both of my sons.  We put the baby in his crib without first rocking him to sleep and let him cry-it-out until his exhausted body fell asleep standing up in the corner, propped up by the rails that his arms were slumped over.  This was excruciating for me.  His terrified screams broke my heart as I knew that he didn't understand WHY we were not responding to him.  You could hear the rejection anguish and utter horror in those deep guttural wails.  Thankfully his memory is short at this age and I will ultimately be the only one permanently scarred by the exercise.

My six-year old son came downstairs unable to sleep.  Presumably because he was anxious and excited about returning to school and setting his new alarm clock for the first time.  The first visit he asked us to tuck him back in and pray for him to sleep and be protected.  The second time, in full panic, knowing he needed every minute of sleep possible he asked me to pat his back and sing to him.  This is something I haven't done for him in years and ironically on the night when the Baby didn't even get the same benefits.  Needless to say both children played my heart like harp and I was emotionally drained by the time I tucked in.

So where are you on the softy scale?  To test your abilities, I challenge you to watch the two videos below and then rank yourself in the poll section at the bottom!  Feel free to also leave a comment on how you did and what kinds of things hit your Achilles Heel.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Beginnings

Technically we can start something new, set goals, break bad habits, and get about working hard on resolutions ANY time of the year.  There is nothing magical about January 1st.  Yet I am guilty and so is a vast majority of people by my observations of putting things off until that date.  The subconscious somehow knows that we only have a few weeks left to procrastinate, to eat to our hearts delight, to avoid exercise, to take off from work or use the holiday as an excuse to delay a project.  I get it.  The New Year allows us to have a clean slate.  We can file our shoulda's and coulda's under 2011 and stare 2012 down with determination.

I made the mistake of trying to implement several new goals for business two weeks ago only to find out that NONE of my clients wanted to interview new prospects until January.  Budgets had not yet been approved, or John would be out until after the Holidays, or they are too busy with End of Year closeout procedures.  As frustrating as that has been it does come with one very nice perk that will disappear tomorrow morning: 

A quick and delightfully easy commute! (since I was apparently the ONLY one stuck working these past two weeks)

But I am glad that everything is starting back up again.  Its time to really get my 2012 resolutions and goals implemented.  Its time for the kids to get back into a good routine.  It's time to say goodbye to the ups, downs, successes, and failures of 2011.  It's time for the opportunity to grab this new year and do something with it...even if that means sitting next to you in miles of traffic in the coming weeks.