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Archive for October, 2010

Living in the limelight

College students, Freshmen no less, beware: an apropos lyric vault moment awaits.

This classic Rush tune greeted me on the radio as I drove home earlier today. Great tune, and great poetic musings to lead you into a weekend: enjoy!
 
Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality beyond the gilded cage

Cast in this unlikely role, ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact

Living in the limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme

Living in a fisheye lens caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend

All the world’s indeed a stage and we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another’s audience
Outside the gilded cage

Living in the limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme

 

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A slow blog topic inspiration week is underway.

It must be a fall thing…For some reason, this old 80’s/90’s tune by Mike and the Mechanics (of Genesis spin-off fame) has been running thru my mind this week.

So, here’s another lyric vault moment that could be uttered, again, as a prayer, especially one of repentance after going the wrong way.

Maybe it’s a relationship thing, which is the point our God is looking for with us to begin with.

I said go if you wanna go
Stay if you wanna stay
I didn’t care if you hung around me
I didn’t care if you went away
And I know you were never right
I’ll admit I was never wrong
I could never make up my mind
I made it up as I went along
And, though I treated you like a child
I’m gonna miss you for the rest of my life

(Chorus:)
All I need is a miracle
All I need is you
All I need is a miracle
All I need is you
All I need is a miracle
All I need is you

I never had any time
And I never had any call
But I went out of my way just to hurt you
The one I shouldn’t hurt at all
I thought I was being cool
Yeah, I thought I was being strong
But it’s always the same old story
You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone
If I ever catch up with you
I’m gonna love you for the rest of your life

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Honorary Acorns Bear Fruit

Have you ever wondered if those honorary degrees bestowed at College graduations ever amounted to much of a future relationship for the institution? Sure, it’s nice to recognize a lifetime of achievement by an individual, but what does it really mean to the new grads?

I was sorting out some items from my grandmother’s house this weekend and found a copy of the program from my graduation in 19noneofyourbusiness.   After a 10 year stint in Texas, I moved back to OKC from Texas and have worked with my Alma Mater the past 12 years.

About two years ago, my employer/Alma Mater received a large seven-figure estate gift from an individual I did not recall ever hearing of, much less meeting or seeing. They had not been, to my knowledge, an engaged presence on campus, either in my days as a student, or during my decade of employment. And yet, there in my 1988 graduation program was a Doctorate of Laws, honoras causa, bestowed upon this noteworthy individual.

A generation or two removed, today’s students and those who follow will benefit from facilities and endowments funded by this magnanimously generous but relatively anonymous honorary friend of days past.

I often hear that new relationships formed with friends of the university is like planting trees. Our generation may not ever see or enjoy the fruit of these trees.

“But Bing”, you may say, “Oak Trees come from acorns, and Oak Trees don’t bear fruit”.     Sure they do:  The shade of shared experiences, the timber of resources for growth and expansion, and the acorns needed to replicate the cycle all over again.

Who knows where the squirrels that make up today’s generation of students will plant these new acorns, and how future generations will be blessed in this great circle of life.    Quite the honoras causa, indeed.

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A good friend and newly minted father of an adorable daughter posted the following on Facebook Friday evening: “Left the kid at home tonight with her grandparents and went on a one hour date. It’s funny how it only took two weeks to make something we’ve been doing for over 12 years seem really strange.”
 
My baby girl went “off to college” this year. It’s funny how it only takes two miles of separation to make something we’ve been doing for over 12 years seem really strange, because we’re not doing it any longer.
 
Our younger two, twins, are off at a youth retreat for the weekend, which means 48 hours of kid free living, and it should seem really strange, but it doesn’t. We may be recalling how this couple thing is done.

It started slow; GF pizza and a trip to Sam’s Club. Boring, you say?. And with that question churning in my head as they locked the doors behind us leaving Sam’s, a lyric vault moment emerged:

And the Friday night blues they get in your shoes and they work to get you down
Oh and there ain’t a lady that I ever knew who didn’t need her a night on the town

Have we lost our edge? Is this all really strange?

I think not: a follow up late night to Barnes and Noble was in store, and discussion of days gone by. As we discussed the aforementioned “preoccupied man” lyrics of old, we turned to Pandora, that queen of Internet musical memories, for a fuller walk down memory lane.

Quiet, kid free, coffee and Rice Chex: we could get used to this, in time. We love our junior duo, but like big sis, their transition continues.

As the Box opened wider thru the morning, the cheesy country tunes continued. As we close this random weekend moment, my newly minted father friend and I could take something from the last Pandora poetry enjoyed today, courtesy of Alan Jackson…:

Born the middle son of a farmer
And a small town Southern man

Like his daddy’s daddy before him
Brought up workin’ on the land
Fell in love with a small town woman
And they married up and settled down
Natural way of life if you’re lucky
For a small town Southern man

First there came four pretty daughters
For this small town Southern man
Then a few years later came another
A boy, he wasn’t planned
Seven people livin’ all together
In a house built with his own hands
Little words with love and understandin’
From a small town Southern man

[Chorus:] HIS GREATEST CONRIBUTION IS THE ONES HE’LL LEAVE BEHIND….
And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
(He) was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones HE’LL leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man
(Raised on the ways and gentle kindness)
(Of a small town Southern man)

Callous hands told the story
For this small town Southern man
He gave it all to keep it all together
And keep his family on his land
Like his daddy, years wore out his body
Made it hard just to walk and stand
You can break the back
But you can’t break the spirit
Of a small town Southern man

Finally death came callin’
For this small town Southern man
He said it’s alright ’cause I see angels
And they got me by the hand
Don’t you cry, and don’t you worry
I’m blessed, and I know I am
‘Cause God has a place in Heaven
For a small town Southern man
 
When our time on this Earth is through, may my younger friend and I, City Slickers though we may be, take a few cues from Mr. Jackson’s lyrics… 
 
Bowing our heads to Jesus, loving our girls ( and sons), workin’ the land, and making a difference for those we leave behind.

Doesn’t seem so strange, after all.   Neither is a Date Night.   
🙂

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Good article from my morning email inbox today; “stuff” we should think about: 🙂

DISTINGUISHING ‘NEEDS’ FROM ‘WANTS’
By: Randal Walti
 
We often hear that life is summed up by the things in your life: The more things you have, the happier you will be. I never realized how many things I had in my life until my wife and I moved from a large home to a much smaller residence. Suddenly, many of our things no longer seemed important. If anything, they became an inconvenient burden. In pursuing a simpler life, we recognized a big difference between “need” and “want.” 

 Discerning between need and want. One way to test this difference is “the consequences game.” What are the consequences of not buying a better TV, item of furniture, or some new technological device? Can you live without the item? We also can ask, “If I applied my money toward another cause, would it return a better investment?” Some couples spend all their money on the present, failing to invest for the future. It may be difficult, but once you identify investment alternatives, you might ask yourself, “What would give God more glory?”

 Weighing lifestyle decisions. When a few small reductions in lifestyle would allow a mother to be happy at home or a father to spend more time with his children, this helps to identify whether decisions are about need – or about preferences and wants. If you feel you must buy a new car when a used one would suffice for much less money, you are probably more concerned with lifestyle than good stewardship. Be honest and ask, “Do I need a new car or do I merely want one?” I no longer purchase new cars. I buy cars that are two years old, pay substantially less than new car prices, and still get quality vehicles. If your “want” overrides your values, the object of your desire has probably become an idol.     

 Understanding God’s perspective on things. I like and enjoy nice things in my home, and periodically buy things that will help us enjoy life more. I don’t think God wants to keep us from having nice things. However, materialism, like money, is a huge enemy of God, His good news, and godliness (the process of becoming more like Him). This is why God states it is impossible to serve both God and money. Material things can negatively affect our lives if we start to worship the creation more than the Creator. We see, touch, hear, taste, and smell things. We cannot visibly see, physically touch, audibly hear, or experience God with our senses. With things all around us stimulating our senses, it is easier to seek entertainment rather than the God of the universe.  Attractive, but unnecessary things can deceive well-intentioned people into living more for their own glory and gratification instead of living for God. When in doubt, ask, “How will this purchase help me love God better?”

 Consider what God says about money and material possessions in the Bible:

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

 “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s money, why should you be trusted with money of your own?” (Luke 16:10-12)

 “The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, yes, everyone who trusts in them” (Psalm 135:15-18).

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Ever wish you were super? That you could handle all of life’s challenges, in a single bound, or maybe with a single swipe of the mouse…?

But you can’t. I can’t. We have to slug it out, every day. And in so doing, it makes us better people, with the right attitude toward it all, one day at a time.

When you stop growing, you start dying.

Leaders develop, day by day, in good times and in not so good.

Job learned this the hard way, despite a Plethora of bad advice from his “friends”.

This is all totally opposite to the lyric vault musings of those Heros of the golden microphone: Elvis Pressley, Willie Nelson, and Eddy Arnold:

Make the World Go Away

Make the world go away
Get it off my shoulder
Say the things we used to say
And make the world, make it go away

Do you remember when you loved me
Before the world took you away
Well if you do, then forgive me
And make the world, make it go away

Make the world go away
Get it off my shoulder
Say the things we used to say
And make the world, make it go away

Now I’m sorry if I hurt you
Let me make it up to you day by day
And if you will please forgive me
And make the world, make it go away


The world is not going away, and neither are our problems: …these light and momentary troubles…

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

So here we go. Let’s be super, in a single bound, minded people. The world is not going away, at least not at the moment. 🙂

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The following is a repost of excerpts from a recent article on John Maxwell’s leadership page. The hourglass/egg timer in the picture belonged to my grandmother and is proudly placed at the front of my desk to remind us all that time is fleeting.

By John C. Maxwell

A group of American tourists walked through a quaint English village in wonderment. They were enamored by the town’s winding cobblestone streets, the beauty of its courtyards and plazas, and the sense of history emanating from its ancient churches. While strolling through the local park, the tourists struck up conversation with an elderly gentleman and found out that he had lived in the town for his entire life. One of the Americas, eager to hear more about the town’s history, asked, “Sir, have any great men been born in this village?” “Nope,” said the old man, “only babies.”

Personal Growth Is a Process

In our twenties, we think ahead to when we’ll be ideally situated in our career, positioned to do exactly what we enjoy, and enjoying immense influence in our occupation. Like children on the way to Disneyland, we impatiently await arrival at our destination instead of appreciating the journey there. However, as we age we encounter an uncomfortable truth: growth doesn’t happen automatically. We cannot coast through life hoping one day to stumble across our dreams. Unless we set aside time to grow into the person we desire to be, we’ll not reach our potential.

Leaders develop daily, not in a day. They commit themselves to the process of growth, and over time they reap the rewards of daily investments in their development. In this lesson, I’d like to share five principles to encourage you to adopt a lifestyle of personal growth.

#1 Growth is the great separator of those who succeed and those who do not.

#2 Growth takes time, and only time can teach us some things.

When it comes to personal growth, you cannot substitute for time. Yet, the mere passage of time doesn’t make you wise. Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is the best teacher. To gain insights from your experience, you have to engage in reflective thinking.

#3 Growth inside fuels growth outside.

The highest reward of our toil is not what we get for it, but who we become by it…. With respect to personal growth, take the long view on results. The most important question to ask is not “What am I getting?” from the discipline of personal growth, the most important question is, “Who am I becoming?”

#4 Take responsibility for your own growth.

We have to put together a game plan so that we become students of life who are always expanding our minds and drawing upon our experiences.

#5 Determine the areas of your life in which you need to grow.

You’ve probably heard someone say, “You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.” Sadly, as nice as that sounds, it simply isn’t true. In watching people grow, I have discovered that, on a scale of 1-10, people can only improve about two notches.

Don’t work on your weaknesses. Devote yourself to fine-tuning your strengths.

Focus within those areas of strength; you have incredible potential to make a difference.

If the time runs long, turn the glass over and keep working at it; give life and those you love everything your hours have to offer.

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