Friday, November 21, 2014

Right, reason, receptive

Lately I keep hearing that verse from the Bible about the folly of doing things that seem right "in our own eyes." In the book of Judges there are two instances (17:6 and 21:25) where it says, "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." There is also a Proverb (21:2) that says, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart."

As I see it, the idea is... just because something makes sense to us, that doesn't necessarily mean it is what God wants us to do. Being right in MY eyes, and right in God's eyes may or may not be the same thing. What seems reasonable to me is going to be skewed by my humanity. My point is that for someone who wants to follow God/Jesus/HS, we need to be more open and receptive to what we might be told or led to do by God - through Scripture, prayer, or Godly voices in our life - rather than merely trying to make sense of things ourselves. Living by FAITH can sometimes be quite radical, and sometimes make very little sense.

It made no sense to march around the walls of Jericho, to cross the Red Sea, to put mud on blind eyes, and a whole host of other things that happened in the Bible. It made no sense for me and my family to quit our jobs and sell our possessions to follow what we believed to be God's leading and go to Findlay. It makes no reasonable sense for missionaries to uproot their families, for people to give money to people in need; shoot, it makes no sense to forgive people who have wronged us or to love our neighbors most of the time! It makes no human sense anyway. But God's ways are higher than our ways.

So... I don't know what all this means, but it's been in my head for awhile now. Maybe God is trying to tell me/us it's time to follow him in a way that makes little human sense. Maybe not. We will see. I want to be receptive though. I don't want to miss out.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simple lessons to improve your writing

I am not a "writer"... but someday I would like to be. Not necessarily on a professional level, but just as a "dabbler." You know, so I could write something worth reading. I could be better than I am. I would need to spend more time working at it though. Maybe someday.

Anyway, I ran across this in my list of drafts I'd never posted. I should probably read it again. 10 Simple Lessons to Improve Your Writing. http://ajjuliani.com/10-lessons-improve-your-writing/

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Retirement

I was thinking today... When I was a pastor I used to never think about retiring. In fact, I kind of just thought I would do it forever. For some odd reason, now I think about it all the time. Unfortunately it's quite a few years away. I'm kind of 'over' thinking my present job is fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading or not, here I come

Every now and then I like to take a gander back through some of my old posts and see what I was thinking/doing oh-so-long ago. I actually used to write something worthwhile every now and then - especially things I would find in books I was reading at the time.

I used to read quite a bit, and I enjoyed it. Now... not so much. Sure, I'll grab a book now and then, but aside from a couple, I haven't finished a book in quite some time. Yes, I still read a little on blogs, Facebook and elsewhere, but I wouldn't say I'm a "reader" anymore.

It got me thinking one day... I saw a couple places where people posted "Recommended Reading Lists," and I started counting off the books I had read. Then I started thinking about needing/wanting to read more again. But, then, I started to wonder.... was I really better off when I was reading a lot? I mean, certainly I knew more.... But did it help? I don't know. I could probably argue both ways.

One thing I like about the church we are kinda sorta attending right now - they have this saying, "We're not a perfect example, but at least we're a living example." They have these things they call 'pilgrimages' where they invite other churches to come and see how they do the whole 3dm/missional sorta stuff. They admit up front that they struggle in a LOT of areas, but they're willing to offer what they do have for others to see/experience.

It struck me that this is basically all my blog is. I am not a perfect example of a follower of Jesus (or a person, for that matter), but at least I'm a living example. At least I'm willing to put my shit out there for people to see. You can criticize me if you like for being too open, or sharing too much, or... whatever...... But I am who I am, and I'm willing to live my life in front of you and God and everybody else (as much as you can do that through the interwebs).

So, that seems like a lot of stuff that just puked out through my fingers. I'll just stop there. I don't think I'm even going to re-read it. Life... hmm.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First significant snow, and other randomlies

We received our first significant snow of the year yesterday afternoon and last night. It was just a couple inches, but the ground is now covered and the streets are slick. Today/tonight we're supposed to get an "arctic blast" of cold air too. I think that means 20's during the day and possibly single digits tonight. I hate winter.

We had a pleasant surprise in church yesterday morning when I looked up and one of our bartenders was sitting in front of us. We ended up moving to a table with some other friends and she came along. Her daughter (Riley) is the same age as Anna, and it turns out she goes to the same preschool as the daughter of the friends we were sitting with. We also got a nice message from Paul M.

I switched my daily breakfast food today from peanut butter and jelly on toast - which it's been for several months - back to egg beaters. I also put a dab of ketchup on them. I need to get to work on this gut.

I also have a garbage bag full of old dress shirts I'm planning to drop off for Good Will today. Yesterday I was swapping out summer shirts for winter shirts in my closet, and I determined that I don't really need so many dress shirts anymore. Some of them had been my dad's, some were way too big, some were just out of style or were shirts I didn't really like anyway. I could probably go through and get another garbage bag full if I wanted. I never wear dress shirts anymore.

I am not ready for winter. I hope the Escape is at least good on the snow and ice. I don't know, though. It took me two tries to get up the driveway with it last night when I got home. Ugh. I hate winter.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

St. vincent movie

We saw the movie St. Vincent yesterday. It turned out to be a great way to spend a chilly Fall afternoon. I liked it a lot.

I've always been a fan of Bill Murray, but not so much Melissa McCarthy. I was a little worried how they would go together, but it worked. I think she is better in serious roles than comedy.

Perhaps better than that was the point of the film. McCarthy's son is learning about Saints at his parochial school. What exactly is a Saint? I believe many people mistakenly believe they are/were just really nice and pure people. In reality, most people who spend their lives really helping others often aren't that 'nice', and they for sure have a lot of flaws themselves. Anyway, it was a good case-study on how to love your neighbor.

I liked this movie. It is under 2 hours and a worthwhile watch.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A listening session and the new guy

I stuck my toes in the water again last night and attended a meeting with some of the regional leaders in the denomination that holds my ordination. It was called a "listening session." I don't know that I was invited, but it was just down the street from where I live, and I AM still an ordained pastor, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to sort of let people know I'm still alive and that I don't hate anybody. I was also curious as to exactly what a Listening Session is.

As far as the LS... I thought it a noble endeavor, and maybe a good idea, but... you know... it was basically on par with 2 hours of gouging my eyeballs out with a spoon. There were two older gentlemen who seemed to think they needed to do most of the talking. Ugh. In a way it made me happy I'm not involved with this sort of thing anymore. But I felt totally bad for the guy who was trying to run the meeting, as well as most of the other people there. It is amazing how inept some people are at actually sticking with a point and responding to the question that is being asked.

Other than that, though, it was a really good night for me personally. I was glad that I was able to walk into this room of former friends and associates and have a clear conscience and a pretty soft heart. I talked to the Director and we were able to have a nice discussion.

I also met the 'new guy' who took over as pastor at my former church. We had a brief chat and it went well. He seems like a good guy. I know it is hard for some people to believe, but I am really glad about that. I still care about that church community a great deal. For cryin' out loud, I lived and died with those people for 14 years! I didn't want some idiot jerk going there.

Anyway, he actually extended his hand before I was able to mine, and it was "a moment" for me. I was very relieved. Who knows what he's been told. It may not have been much, but for me it broke through a lot of ice. It's amazing how much healing can sometimes take place simply by meeting together with someone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snow start

Ugh. I woke up this morning and shuffled into the living room only to look out the window and see cars and rooftops covered with snow. It seems much too early for that. It has been colder than heck too. I just read that it may not get out of the 20's today, and the average temperature for this time of year is in the 50's! And, like that's not bad enough, they're predicting a couple inches of accumulation this weekend possibly. Egads!

I like seasons, but I do not like winter so much. I could go without snow - even on Christmas. I broke out my winter coat last night...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coaching with a coach pt. 2

Monday night I had my second stint at coaching with an already-certified coach as part of my Mentor Coaching class. This time it was with a well-seasoned coach who is actually the president of a coaching organization.

I thought I was fairly well prepared - I've been reading through my old notes, and Tom sent me several other resources that I've been working through. I also have a couple papers I keep handy while I'm coaching just in case I need to jog my memory. Unfortunately, I didn't do very well.

He was very gracious about it, and even commented that I really did help him with his dilemma. I just didn't do a very good job of following the set pattern they have established. He said I was trying too hard. Which I was. I was trying to put into practice all these things I'd learned, instead of just going with the flow of the conversation. So, in a way, while it wasn't my best coaching, I actually learned a LOT from it.

I had always wondered how I was supposed to make the top of the hourglass last 1/2 to 1/3 of the time. It's sort of the "pre-conversation". I was trying to jump ahead to soon. His advice for me was to have a 9-volt battery handy when I do coaching. Every time I am tempted to speak I'm supposed to stick it on my tongue. :)

Another nice thing that came from this experience, though, is that even though I didn't do as well as I'd have liked... it didn't bother me all that much. There was a day when this would have sent me into a downward spiral. Instead, meh, it is what it is. So I feel pretty good about that.

Today I get coached by another student in the group class.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

She painted the restroom

We have a 2-bath house. The one off the bedroom is considered to be Jane's. The one in the hallway, that serves as the guest bathroom, is considered "mine." We thought that best since I seem to require less counter space for all my... things. I've been going to paint my bathroom for... um... awhile now. It's actually the only upstairs room we didn't paint when we bought the house. It was a project I was going to tackle last year on my... whatithoughtwasgoingtobeasabbatical. Like several other of those projects, I didn't get to it. My lovely Lady had the day off work yesterday, and when I got home from work, she had painted the whole thing and was completely done with it. It looks splendid!

She had been asking me what color I was going to paint it for awhile now. I just figured we might as well use something we already have. So it is the tan-ish color we used in the living room, with white trim. It has white fixtures too, so it doesn't make it look any tinier than it already is. I am thinking about getting either blue or yellow guest towels to hang in there to replace the brown/tan ones that are there now (the shower curtain is tan, blue, and yellow). That should brighten it up a bit.

So, I have a nice clean and freshly painted room to go rest in now. :) And I'm married to a good woman. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

All 3 kids all weekend

There was no time for blogging this past weekend. We babysat all 3 grandkids - Anna, Bennett, and Caleb - from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. And we lived to tell about it!

DrewCarrie were celebrating their upcoming 5th wedding anniversary with a weekend getaway to South Haven, MI. That was the longest Carrie has been away from her kiddles and we were proud of her for staying away as long as she did. Everyone did just fine.

Jane took off work at noon on Friday and they brought the kids over around 2 or so. I picked up a couple child-size sleeping bags for Anna and Bennett, and they were pretty excited when I got home. The sleeping bags were a big hit. We mostly just played and watched movies Friday. As for sleeping, B slept in the crib in the guest room, we set up the portable crib for C in the middle room, and A fell asleep on the couch (early). So I slept in the living room and Jane tried to grab a wink wherever she could. C was up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours that first night. You could tell he didn't feel good. He coughed quite a bit. A and B just woke up once during the night. B went right back to sleep, and A went in and crawled in bed with "Mama Jane." Everyone woke up in a good mood Saturday, but Jane and I were kinda tired (and realized just how out of practice we were).

Saturday was a good day. We all hung around the house and played - in the basement, upstairs, outside - and C's cough was better. B and C both took good naps. In the evening we went to Walmart because we were running out of fruit snacks, juice, and chocolate milk. That was a chore, but the kids were really good in the store. We were going to get supper at Taco Bell but there was a bit of a meltdown over carseats, so we just went through the drive-up and brought it home. Everyone got another bath (the kids anyway), ate supper, and we all went to bed at a decent time Saturday night. Everyone slept pretty good - even Caleb. I got smart, and instead of sleeping on the floor or couch, I brought the mattress from the twin bed out and put it in front of the couch in the living room. That way when A fell off the couch (which she did both nights - and didn't wake up), she would fall on the mattress instead of the floor. Plus it was a little better on my back.

We ALL got a pretty good night's sleep and woke up Sunday in a good mood. The kids thought the mattress in the living room was a good idea, so we left it there most of the day. We even managed to get everyone ready and make it to church. Someone had to show us how to check the kids into their respective rooms. It was a little complicated since we'd never done it before. We finally got their stickers, stuck them on the back of their shirts, and transported them to their classes. They were all pretty happy to go. They were even happier when we picked them up afterward. Sounded like they were all 3 good. After church they all fell asleep on the way home, so we just ordered Spyro's food to go and came home and ate. When we got home Anna started crying and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. Later that night we learned that she was told her mom and dad would be home after church - and she took it literally - so she was sad that they weren't here. I thought it interesting that she talked about them and missed them more than the other 2 seemed to. :)

They were all pretty happy when their mom and dad did arrive home Sunday afternoon. I have to admit, it was pretty nice to sleep in my own bed again last night. :) All in all, it was a pretty good weekend for everyone, I think. Now it's back to work...

Friday, November 07, 2014

Jerry at the embassy

We went to a Jerry Seinfeld show at the lovely Fort Wayne Embassy Theater last night. It was fantastic!

We have always been big fans of the Seinfeld tv show, as well as Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, so when we saw Jerry was coming to town... we jumped on it. Tickets were a tad pricey for us, but there really isn't a bad seat at the Embassy. We got tickets for $62 apiece in Section K, row P, seats 12 & 13. It was "up there," but at least we were towards the middle and on the end of a row.

I could never understand who they said the opening act was, but he was really good. He started just after 7 and had a really nice 20-25 minute bit. Then he ran off stage, and Jerry ran on. Jerry had us laughing almost non-stop for the next hour. Then he ran off stage briefly, and for an encore he came out and just took questions from the audience. I thought that was awesome!!!

Overall, it was a really nice night. It was a good clean show, and it was so nice to see my wife laugh. I also liked that both comedians wore suits and ties. I'm not sure why I liked that, but it seemed to reflect that they wanted their comedy to get the attention. Very good night.