Archive for June, 2011

Not many substantive words to share today beyond the title. The video is from a company whose founders have been great friends to my University, and their life mirrors the experience of the video: on the scene to save the day, service with a smile, and keep it simple.


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You smell eternal. You smell for eternity. Two similar phrases, but much different connotations. It’s all in the twist of the words.

Reaching the mid point, and quite possibly beyond, in life’s great timeline has come with a myriad of personal realizations. One of those realizations deals with aromas. I don’t necessarily always smell “the best”.

“That’s not saying much, oh Socrates of the social media realm”, you may say to me. And remember, they sentenced the big S to death for his teachings. “But Socrates, hemlock is poisonous…”, but I digress.

The scented reality comes down to this simple point: How do you come across to others? I had a co-worker begin a meeting in his office recently by asking me if I had just come from visiting the nearby retirement center. He was serious; he smelled “old” in the water. I, too, upon venturing into my closet in recent times have wondered where the octogenarian might be hiding out. It’s a far cry from, and much less acidic than, this space’s aforementioned “teen spirit” that is often present on number one son.

So, what to do? Two of the ladies in my life, Little Frau and Littler Frauline, recently addressed the issue on Fathers Day. They know how they want me to smell for the next few years of eternity. They want me to smell “Eternal”.

Eau de cologne is a delicate thing to put to use. Apply too little, and and it probably is only a nice gesture. Apply too much, and the eyes begin to water on your Facebook friends all the way out on the Left Coast. It is all in the wrist. I last had “cologne”, Polo, to be specific, as a college student. It, too, was a gift from a frauline, but I don’t think old age was the concern. My dad once “borrowed” some of it when he was about the age I am today, but he took the after shave approach to the application. He, his suit, and his car smelled like a “come on too strong” TV commercial for what seemed like a week.

“So where is the always forthcoming analogous application, oh scented Socrates?”, you might say at this point, and you would be spot on in your assessment of this verbal jaunt.

The unscented reality comes down to this simple point: How do you come across to others? And, I don’t mean the presence thru the nostrils. What kind of persona, experience, and “life aroma” do you and I give off when in the presence of others? What “life aroma” do we sense in ourselves in our “closet moments”? Is it old? Is it youthful and acidic? Is it treated, but too heavy and full of suggestion?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says: But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

The NLT equivalent, vs the NIV, says “Christ like fragrance“, and “life giving perfume“. Sounds much nicer than “an aroma that brings death”. So, how do we get there?

To quote a Stamps Baxter song of old “Precious Jesus, hold my hand”. It’s all in the wrist.

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There is a story, three stories actually, about a man named Danny Ocean: charismatic leader, good friend, and crook. Danny had an entourage of compatriots, and that entourage grew as the storyline continued, first eleven, then twelve, and finally totaling out at thirteen.

Ocean is more than just a name. An ocean is a body of water: living, moving, active water. And the ocean picture that follows is the social media profile picture of a different young man, and this one’s name is James: charismatic character, good friend, but he’s no crook.


James, a neighbor and classmate to two of my own personal entourage, recently went to church camp, and the story of this entourage, along with the group’s total headcount, continues to grow. First reported as eight, it quickly grew to ten, and totaled out this morning at sixteen. Maybe the growth is not done, yet? The spiritual growth, certainly not, even if the numerical growth has stopped for now.

Maybe we’ll call this group “God’s sixteen”. Sixteen baptisms, all a result of the time, care, and love recently encountered, together. This picture has a few of them, James included, as well as some of their friends who made a difference. And it excludes a few, like the twin sisters and the family of quadruplets, all who were added to God’s group today. One of the quads, I forget which one, even infamously stood at the top of the stairs in our house many years ago as a youngster and “relieved himself” in an arching stream to the first floor down below. But it is OK: I have forgiven him!

And God has forgiven them all, as they have all taken a dip into a body of water: living, moving, active water. It certainly was moving and active this morning and this past week.

But, I think we’ll go with “Jesus’ 16” as the unofficial name for the group. God won’t mind sharing the credit, and Jesus is the perfect charismatic friend to draw more numbers to the group.


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…and in fact, he is. He is the son of my sister in law, my wife’s nephew, and mine, now that you mention it. He came to “the big town” of OKC for his birthday a few weeks back, and a Thunder game was in order.

He got the opportunity to get his picture taken on the floor after the game, and of course, given the surroundings, what a surprise that a 15 year old red blooded American male would be proud enough to post this shot as his Facebook profile.

You see, he has “an older woman”; a cheerleader, no less, standing in the background, and I bet he was thrilled. But one young man’s older woman is another man’s…daughter, no less, and I wonder if that man is thrilled.

You see, to take the classic Jackson Browne tune out of context, “She’s got to be somebody’s baby. She must be somebody’s baby. She’s got to be somebody’s baby, she’s so…”…naked? Almost. You see (and lots of people at court level in these games do, mind you), these girls are often only 18, 19, and 20. My oldest daughter fits that description, but likely the last time I saw her with that little on, she was getting her diaper changed. And I find that creepy. And yet, some of my neighbors at the finest show the NBA can provide are quite entertained by the presence of these “ladies”. If this game had been held courtside to the Sea of Galilee, Jesus might have told my young nephew, “If a Thunder Girl needs to wear a cloak, offer her your tunic, as well…”.

“So what is your point, today, Oh Master of the old age diatribe?” you may ask me. It is just as both the title to this post and Jackson Brownes lyrics say: “She’s got to be somebody’s baby”. And, somebody’s sister, and, somebody’s friend, and so on, and so on.

And, as we remind our teenage son, she, and others along with her, deserve respect. Respect, and something else to wear. Maybe Divine Intervention will come down in the form of a Newspaper T-shirt dropped from the rafters via parachute (sorry, 100% cotton t-shorts are too heavy to be carried via Dove) and give that girl something to wear…

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The curse of flash memory devices.

To quote the group Kansas, “I close my eyes; only for a moment, and the moment’s gone.”

This morning’s post, 45 minutes in the writing, was pretty good, IMO. I went to make an edit, and, poof, it was gone. Time and emotional investment, gone in a flash.

Maybe I can remember and redraft much of it later, but I don’t know. And, I feel quite certain, there is a good set of life analogies to muse upon with this, but not this morning…

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Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a day for joy, celebration, and saying thank you. For some, it is a day of remembrances and some sadness, for those who have lost their fathers, especially recently.

In celebrating my dad, and remembering with thanks, the following snippets represent grateful memories, and things I want to share for this special day:

Saturday outings – trips to breakfast in Quinlan and watching him cut his fried eggs in his trademark crisscross style – having Dad open the window and let the dog (Scottie) in off her sleeping perch on the cast iron grill to wake me up – trips to explore the Lake Tawakoni dam, inside and out – trips to Gibsons, leather bag in tow, to use the machine for testing tubes on the TV and make the color picture better.

Riding the school bus with him on his driving route to Cash, Texas and back every day. Riding with him to park the bus at the Dallas Circus field trip and asking about being in a no parking zone: you guessed it; the bus got towed!

The trips across the Farm to Market Road we lived on to go dove hunting. We consumed more Laffy Taffy than the number of birds shot, but they were good times.

Having him comb my hair in the Boles Home church lobby, and listening to him visit with the elderly gentlemen who was watching and said “I wish I had my daddy here to comb my hair…”.

The discipline visits on the edge of my bed.

Watching him tune up the family car, and me getting to “use my tools” as well…

See how he interacted with students, from those at Boles who were from bad backgrounds to those at FWC, some who were arguably spoiled and felt “entitled to more”…

Seeing him react to and handle adversity, from young people dying to him counseling families on the verge of breaking apart.

Going to the pawn shop during the recession of the late 70’s to sell our silver dollars and some of his guns in order to give toward the new church building campaign.

Summers in Huntsville. Camping, singing in the prisons, cheesy summer mustaches, etc.

Watching his relationship with his dogs, from Scottie to Baxter to Tanner to Springer. Only one “love/hate relationship” in that mix; you guess which one.

Late night static shock wars on the shag carpet.

Cutting firewood in the early morning fog.

Having him sit by my side as I cried over a girl.

Late night conversations in front of Johnny Carson.

Having him meet me late at night at my job to help me finish, and not be alone, even though he’d had a long day of his own.

Meeting me in the grocery store parking lot at night to replace the recently failed fuel pump on my 71 Chevy. Three of the best frustrating hours I can recall.

Sitting at the intersection stop lights at Pines Road and I-20 – Starks – hitting a dog – dodging a tornado.

Him getting out of bed to take me up to the church building at midnight to baptize me.

“Vote your mandate”. Sammy Kupte. Nuff said.

“What’s the matter boys? That bird not dead?”. Thanks for some good times, Phil. We miss you.

Watching him care for his aunts and his mom. “How about some crispy bacon?”.

Sharing the Bible and his faith.

Going the extra mile…nuff said.

Seeing him in my mirror. Hearing him in my voice.

Thank you, Dad, for all you did, and for the love, example, and commitment.

With Love, your son, Jeff


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Google the words “pictures of forgiving”, and you get lots of various images, some of merchandise, some of couples quarreling, some disturbing, and some funny. But, the most interesting for what I’m thinking about this AM is the one above: there were multiple images of golf clubs that their manufacturers describe as “forgiving”.

Lying therein is my point: even professionals like those in golf are fallible humans, and seek equipment that is forgiving and helps them compensate for their shortcomings and mistakes.

As covered earlier in this space, I have spent quite a bit of time this week scouring and culling from decades of files at my employer’s offices. It has been quite a historical and eye opening journey. For our institution, it is the functional equivalent of an unsupervised walk thru two or three “Presidential Library” sets of papers. Copies of correspondence(pre internet, pre photocopiers, mind you) were found. Decisions made, some good, some not so good, are chronicled in these docs.

Lying therein is my point: even professionals like those in our trade craft are fallible humans. I have, in a vacuum, looked back on decisions, eras, and generations of leadership and wondered “why” and “what were they thinking?”. Now I know a little more to the story. Without a doubt, many who follow me and my cohort will ask the same question.

As I’ve pondered these thoughts today, two songs have resonated in my mind. Taking lyrical excerpts greatly out of context, these words follow, the former by The Human League, the later by Van Halen:

I’m only human
Of flesh and blood I’m made
Born to make mistakes

There is just enough Christ in me
To make me feel almost guilty
Is that why God made us bleed
To make us see we’re Humans Being?

Turning these thoughts to a less lyrical Christ like reality, Paul has some good advice for us.

Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

I only hope those who follow after me can have some insight, context, and perspective in this era and age where we don’t keep minutes of all meetings, or copies of everything we think and decide.

Maybe they will stumble across this blog, instead? Maybe. After all, we’re only human.


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