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Archive for November, 2011

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Yes, it is “Black Friday”, and I’ve been up since before 5:00, but only because a train rolled thru this town, horns blazing. Speaking of “Horns blazing”, a quick sayonara shout out to our friends at Texas A&M is in order, but I digress.

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The guest abode we occupy south of the border on Black Friday is indeed dark and quiet at this hour, so I find myself checking in on the world via iLight. A friend (thank you, Coach Steph) shared the above picture from a Wal Mart sometime on Thanksgiving night.

And therein lies some of the irony: Thanksgiving Day, and people are sitting inside shopping carts in Waly World getting ready to likely charge a bunch of stuff they really can’t afford.

We watched a lot of football yesterday, and accordingly a lot of TV commercials promoting BF deals and “savings”. One of my favorite lines is “more saving, more doing; that’s the power...”. It doesn’t get much more ironic than that.

There have been several social media comments about this topic in the past 24 hours, but more from people who are expressing why they are thankful. I wish to do the same, so here goes:

I’m thankful for family and good times.

I’m thankful for the wonders of the web that allowed us to Skype with a loved one on the far side of the planet(“AG”), and to share thoughts and memories throughout the day with Little Frau (aka Aussie Girl Mommy) as she recup’ed to our north.

I’m thankful for our Faith.

I’m thankful for football, a two interception limit by Tony Chokomo, and a kicker who can see straight with the clock running out.

I’m thankful for turkey, and cornbread dressing.

I’m thankful for the game of “Balderdash”, and a Thanksgiving family tradition of laughing till we cry. The china cabinet references were living large, for those of you who understand what that means.

I’m thankful for the green tinted picture of Ulysses S. Grant that Santa brought to us all a bit early, and for the great “pre-Black Friday” online only deal on these duck boots at Academy.com.

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Fraught with irony, indeed.

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Urban legend has it that George Washington could not tell a lie. Yeh, yeh: that’s the ticket.

George, meet “the lie guy”. Folks from my generation may well be familiar with the many characters of 80’s SNL star Jon Lovitz. Lovitz portrayed “the Devil” a time or two, but also the humorously bemusing “lie guy”.

Maybe you’ve met the type. He has an answer for everything, and the answers don’t quite seem just right, but you want to believe him. In conversations, he has a “top” or can go one better for everything you might have to talk about. In Lovitz’s case, every conversation at the end of each unique skit would end the same way: “I’ve been there…I went with my WIFE….Morgan Fairchild…yeh, yeh, that’s the ticket. If you are too young to know who Lovitz or Morgan Fairchild are, look them up. Better yet, find an old skit on Hulu and watch it. I had to…cause I’m younger than you…yeh, yeh, that’s the ticket. They will make you laugh.

SNL has recast the role, circa the 2000’s with Kristin Wiig’s character “Penelope”, and while it’s pretty funny, we can all likely relate to the moment when nobody wants to be in the same room with her.

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Penelope Morris is a recurring character on Saturday Night Live, first introduced in Season 32. Penelope (played by Kristen Wiig) is a lady who has a bragging habit. In her sketches, she chimes into other people’s conversations only to brag about something that has to do with the topic while constantly fidgeting with her hair; her assertions become more and more outrageous as the skit continues. It is not long before everybody grows irritated with her, ridicules her and leaves. Even after all of this happens, she continues bragging to either herself or background characters. It is unclear whether or not her outlandish claims are true, as sometimes she follows through on them.. (courtesy of “Yahoo Answers”: Yeh, I’m not that smart)

Anyway, we’ll call an end to today’s walk down Comedic Memory Lane/Soapbox with one parting thought and the requisite scripture: always tell the truth, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it is. People can tell the difference. So can my wife….Morgan Fairchild…yeh.

Proverbs 12:21-23

21 No harm comes to the godly,
but the wicked have their fill of trouble.

22 The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in those who tell the truth.

23 The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge,
but fools broadcast their foolishness.

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Whatever happened to calling “time and temperature” to get the morning’s actual conditions, and what to expect from the day? A mere 10 or so years ago, placing this call was a standard part of my early morning routine.

Now we still pick up a “phone”, but instead hit a button on the iNet and have wind speed, barometric pressure, and radar from around the globe, not to mention outside our own casa.

It’s cold and wet out this morning, and that’s more than I wanted to know. I wonder if there is an App for hibernating till Spring?

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This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:10-14

His name was Daniel, and best I can tell, he never got to go home. He had trial after trial. He was called upon to make hard choices. He defied a king’s decree as a young man, and was honored for it. He prophesied about the demise of another king. He defied yet another royal decree, this time as a part of another kingdom, and he was fed to the lions for it, at least the effort was made to feed him to the lions. And through it all, God loved him very much. Even more importantly, God had plans for him, but those plans did not include getting to return to the way things were before. Daniel was an educated man. I’m sure he knew of the 70 years prophecy, and that given his age he would likely not live to see Jerusalem again.

How did Daniel respond? He prayed. He refused to deny God. He prayed some more. He did not give up.

Which brings me to today’s brief thought: are you currently in Babylon? If so, how can God use you in the place where you find yourself today? If not in Babylon, maybe you feel like part of “the remnant”, those who were left behind in a desolated Jerusalem without the ones they held dear. The same question is true here: what are you called to do? Help others pick up the broken pieces and rebuild, like some did with Nehemiah?

Maybe your captivity is disease or chronic illness, with little if any hope for cure. Maybe Babylon for you is unemployment, or underemployment. Maybe captivity means being courageous and doing the hard thing, again, and again, and again, knowing full well that it will never really get any easier.

Daniel did not give up, as I understand it, and neither should we.

Daniel’s account closes with him receiving a promise, and I think we have hope and a promise for the same.

Daniel 12: 8-13 I heard what he said, but I did not understand what he meant. So I asked, “How will all this finally end, my lord?” But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means. “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration[b] is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days. And blessed are those who wait and remain until the end of the 1,335 days!

“As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.”.

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When you look in the mirror, what do you see? I wonder what he saw? Did he look below the surface? Did he ever think he might be wrong? More on that in a moment.

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Touring a museum has only given me goose bumps twice. Once was in Europe in 2008, while viewing relics of history from an event that changed the world. The other time was today when I accompanied my kids to the 45th Infantry Division museum here in OKC.

I’ve always wanted to visit this museum, thinking it to be a nice collection of old tanks and airplanes. Little did I know how much more was there to be seen. As I was looking in a mirror hanging in the Germany exhibit room, a museum docent approached and said the chilling words: “That is the mirror that Hitler groomed himself in on the day that he killed himself in the Berlin bunker”.

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What did I see in the mirror today? A guy wearing an OCA t-shirt, an EMHS hat, and an OC jacket. Each piece reflected something about me, but were largely just a uniform of externals. What is going on inside the man? What is he about? What does he say? What does he do? If history remembers him, will it be for good or for bad?

How about the mirror’s previous owner? What did he see? What did he think, delusional though he may have been? While it was chilling to look at myself in his mirror, a mirror simply reflects what is currently before it.

What about the lessons of history? I love studying and examining history, and I love the veterans that remain with us and were recently honored during their day a week or so ago. As I have visited other lands and met the generations of citizens who call their home something other than the USA, I wonder what they are thinking. What do they see in us today? What do they think? If we look in the same mirror, do we see entirely different views? Who is right, and who is wrong? Absent an obvious moral issue, do people really see that clearly?

The following pairings of pictures reflect images of the time, the mid 20th Century war to end all wars. The second of each pair is an image from today in the museum in middle America, a reflection as we see it in the mirror of history. The first of each pair of images is from the museum in Europe, albeit not from Germany itself.

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When you look in the mirror, what do you see? I wonder what others see? Do we look below the surface? Did we ever think we might be wrong?

Touring a museum has only given me goose bumps twice, and today was one of those days.

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If a picture paints a thousand words, then no further dialogue is necessary…

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Rules are rules, and sometimes nothing you can do will change them. Laws are laws, and the same holds true.

The Oklahoma Secondary Sports Athletic Association has rules, and they are meant to protect the sanctity of secondary school sports. I heard an advertisement on the radio yesterday for OSSAA promoting years and years of serving students. As I was driving last night to watch my son play in a Junior Varsity high school basketball game, and watch him sit in the stands later as his teammates and friends played in a varsity game without him, I was reminded that rules are rules. That being said, OSSAA’s “service to students” claim seemed to ring hollow in my ears. Rules are rules, and when they penalize people for moving or making the best educational choice for their kids, the accompanying one year sanctions are like salt in a wound. Sometimes, things are out of our control, and it hurts. Sometimes, people find ways to circumvent the rules, but it always comes at a cost.

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Laws are laws. Gravity is one of the most universal of laws. Sometimes, we find ways to circumvent the laws, but it always comes at a cost. The concept of risk/return trade offs is at the heart of this idea. Man taught himself to fly over 100 years ago, and it has revolutionized the world. Good things, great even, like international travel and study opportunities, life saving air ambulance services, overnight delivery, and the like are all a result of man’s desire to learn from his environment. Bad things, horrific even, like arial bombardment in warfare and tragic accidents are all a result of man’s desire to conquer his environment. And conquer it, we may not.

Laws are laws. What goes up must come down. Sometimes, things are out of our control, and it hurts. OSU lost 10 from their basketball family in a plane crash 10 years ago, and it has happened again this week with the loss of Women’s Coaches Kurt Budke, Miranda Serena, and two others in another crash.

What we do know is that there is hope. Its not only about today. There is life after the pain, and there is life after we are gone. Thank God for that.

There is a saying that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I hope that is true for my OSSAA mandated varsity sideline companion for this year, and I hope it is true for those who are hurting in the OSU family today.

James 4:13-14: Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

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