Archive for December, 2012

How absorbent are you? Don’t misunderstand my question: do you let things soak in, or do they just flood over you and wash away?

Absorbency is a natural trait, unless you are too full to take in anything new. Allow me to explain.

I have taken advantage of the Christmas break to go through our library of old family video tapes and back them up on DVD’s. Along the way, my older technology being what it is, you have to sit and watch as they are being copied. This project has been 5 years in the making: its been that long since I bought the DVD recorder from Overstock.com. I shouldn’t take credit for the inspiration to get the project started; it was one of my daughters who asked if we could break the videos out to watch. She would be so inclined; she’s obviously more absorbent than her old man.

The problem is, this stuff takes time.

What better time, than when off from work and relaxing with family, to do a little absorbing? Truth be told, I’ve seen things this week from my life between 1997 and 2001 that I have no memory of ever happening, and I’m not that old. Really, I’m not. Seriously. Maybe my sponge was just a little too full to soak it all in.

But that’s OK. You see, sponges may be naturally absorbent and able to hold a lot in, but what do they do after that? They sit on the ocean floor and retain water. And you thought I was old? Only when a sponge is taken out of its natural element and squeezed out can it be able to take more in.

Hopefully that’s where this analogy grows some legs and goes for a walk on its own. If we get too loaded down with the environment life surrounds us in, we lose our ability to take more in. That’s where rest comes in handy. It’s also where getting out of our comfort zone comes into play. It is in those moments that everything we are holding inside begins to pour out, thereby freeing us to drink anew.

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
(Psalm 22:14)

…as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:16-18)

Maybe being absorbent opens us up to taking in new vital nutrients. Take all of this with a grain of salt, as its coming from a guy who hasn’t missed too many meals, even back in the day. I’ve got the old videos to prove it..



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“It’s going to be a cold, chilly day out there”.. The words of Sunday morning’s weather forecast rang in my ears as I looked away to finish my newspaper article about the life and ways of OKC Thunder Coach Scott Brooks.

They both had garnered my attention, both the weather caster and the coach, but for different reasons. One, for using hyperbole to artificially inflate the conditions of a day that would be sunny and mild, like so many others. The other, for how he goes about his work, deflecting from opportunities to promote himself, and garnering praise in the process.

It reminded me of the early days of TV weather, and yes, sadly, I can say I was alive and watching within that era. Harold Taft, he of 1960’s and 1970’s DFW Channel 5 fame would garner my attention as he talked about the weather and showed his hand drawn charts of what was happening in our atmosphere.

Even in “those days” weather was big business, and the personalities would use tools at their disposal to draw our attention and garner viewers. In this age of computerized models and high tech visual aids, the personalities, and the hyperbole, still rule the day.

As Sunday’s weathercast snippet played out, my mind went back to the article about Brooks, his upbringing, his work ethic, and what it really meant to garner the attention that he has. And, what does this word garner really mean?

Verb garner – acquire or deserve by one’s efforts or actions
acquire, get – come into the possession of something concrete or abstract;
letter – win an athletic letter

Garnering attention. Garnering favor. Garnering praise. Garnering minutes. Garnering results.

We do lots of things in this day and age to garner attention. How we dress, what we drive, where we live, what we say: we Facebook and we blog, but I digress. Touché?

I know some garnerers. I also know some Garners. In this instance, they might be one in the same. As my son’s most recent high school basketball game ended, and ended badly, I said to the eldest namesake “your sons played well tonight”. The bewildered look I received back spoke volumes, so I clarified my thoughts: “they played hard and aggressive; they never quit working”. His eyes cleared, and hopefully he understood my point. His boys are garnerers, like their dad.

Garnering, in the truest sense of the word, takes effort. It takes work. All the fancy moves, fancy gear, and fancy words, in weathercasts, in basketball, and in life won’t win the battle for you. It takes hard work. It takes persistence. It takes dedication. It means putting your nose to the grindstone, sometimes even to the breaking point.

No one ever said garnering was easy; just ask this guy…
*photo by Bonnie Howard

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Resolve versus rhetoric: what would you do?

WWJD? What would be out of character, for him, or for me?

Yes, I played that card.

There has been a high volume of emotional response to the Connecticut tragedy, in both of the medias, the Industry and the Social. “Guns are the problem”. “Guns are not the problem”. Which is right? Does it really matter?

When you’re weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

Simon and Garfunkel may have penned those words, but I can hear Jesus sing them just the same. In a hostile situation, what would Jesus do? I’m sure violent scenarios played out in first century Judea, with Roman occupation, poverty, bands of robbers, etc, and He may have been in the neighborhood at the time. Would Jesus have brandished a weapon to save the day? The Gospels do not tell us of such incidents, save Him disarming the band ready to stone the woman “caught” in adultery, and we know how that story played out.

WWJD? What would Jeff do? I own a firearm or two, neither of which I have ever fired. They were gifts from a friend. I’ve fired other weapons in the past while hunting, but have never really been a “gun guy”. So, the question, WWJD? What would Jeff do? I’m in a mall with my family, and someone starts shooting. Choosing to not have a permit and not have a gun strapped to my calf is defining point #1.

Paul said “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. If I believe that, and I believe my family and friends are ultimately in a better place in Heaven than here, what would I do? In the words of our mythical Star Trek friend, Lieutenant Worf, “perhaps this is a good day to die”.

Don’t get overly lost in the analogy, and I pledge to do the same. I believe Americans have the right to bear arms, among other things. But, I also believe we are ultimately citizens of a Kingdom far greater than The United States of America, and just like “Cowboy Worf” is out of character in the picture above, we might be the same as gun drawing followers of Jesus.

If faced with the choice, I would stand to defend or shield my family or friends, but if that is my time to be called home, and possibly theirs as well, then the gain will have been ours.

Like the song says:

I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Who knows: Worf might have said it just the same…(and I promise, this picture was already on the web, and not of my own doing…)


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A concentration, as of groups, forces, or interests, about two conflicting or contrasting positions

The tragedy of the moment has dignitaries, not-so-dignitaries, and even friends spouting off about the issues. Guns? No guns? It is a difficult moment. Innocents are taken. Passions are ignited. People are arguing, while the victims grieve. I fear that somewhere the Devil is laughing, but not for long….

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit.

2 Corinthians 4:8

Revelation 22:20-21: He who testifies to these things says,“Yes, I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

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Last night in our home, it rained testosterone. And look what sprung up all over the floor this morning: boys. Big boys. Where did they come from? Where did they go? No, I’m not singing The Cotton Eyed Joe, here. The littler versions of the same boys, I mean.

You see, it was not so very long ago that this same group of boys, now with a couple of more recent additions, was running around our house and our yard playing with the dog and their Nerf guns. Now they are “in the arena”, playing big boy basketball while others watch, flirting with girls, and giving chase to the neighborhood after dark, but still on foot, thankfully.

Let me take you down,
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

These lyrics were made famous long ago by another group of boys, become men, known then as The Beatles. While their song is widely believed to have dealt with drugs, not so this go round, which is one of my points.

You see, speaking of strawberry fields, our eldest, a girl, once upon a time loved to pic wild strawberrys with her Pa-pa at his farm. One day we went to visit when they were no longer in season, and I heard her tiny little voice utter “they gone; they were mine”.

But, sadly, and not, they never really were hers. They grew but for a season. They same is true for our eldest, the boys to men still asleep at this mid morning moment on floors all over my house, and our youngest, doing the same from the sanctity of her bedroom.

I had a conversation with some co-workers at Old Alma Mater earlier this week about different groups of young men, and how our society does not have some of the adventure filled defined rites of passage for males that others do, and so our young men often gather and manufacture a few such memories on their own. In the end, our role may very well be to play “Marshall” and keep them from getting into trouble along the way, while allowing varying degrees of adventure and independence as they experience male bonding and learn to make their way in a bigger world, and in allowing just such in a more controlled environ, avoiding the lure of the delusions of The Beatles, and more.

But, be not deceived, the Marshall, and his Frau, made sure to lock up the Magnificent 7 before the night grew cold, and no gun play (or cigarettes, or even toilet paper) were involved, even gun play of the Nerf variety. 😦

Yes, it rained testosterone in our home last night, and I’m watching the growing by-product pop up even as we speak. 🙂

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