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Celebrate whimsy. Embrace it. Thank you Donald Miller, for putting into words a description of what our friends at Oklahoma Christian University have been doing for many years. The list of characters is long and noteworthy: Stafford North, Terry Johnson, Jim Baxter, Max Dobson, Ralph Burcham, Bob Lashley, Alfred Branch, Jay Jones, Mickey Banister, Dan Hays, John deSteiguer, Jeff Bennett, Lucas Ross, Scott Lamascus, Judson Copeland, Eric Phelps, Jim Baird, Lynn McMillon (and the rest of the Bible Guys), Neil Arter, and I could go on and on.

Videos; they’re called videos, and they are hilarious. What better way to embrace whimsy, and show the “kids” (college students) that we are just regular Joes who like to let our hair down and have a good time.

Tonight was another masterful show at OC’s first week follies. Special thanks to braintrust, Executive Producer, and performer Bob Lashley for 35+ years of great shows and dozens of great videos, and special thanks this year to expert videographer (photographer and editor) Micah Wooten for her hard work and excellent eye for the finished product. And thanks to the original “Dad’s Life” guys on YouTube for the original inspiration and the theme music.

So, without further ado, here is the OC take of “The Dad’s Life”. I hope you have as much fun watching it as we did shooting it. ūüôā

http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=10150268096310703

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Guilty as charged

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My son was chatting with a cousin today in the Texas Panhandle locale that my in-laws call home. Within earshot of his grandmother, a
conversation about hunting broke out.

“What kinds of rifles do you have?”, the cousin asked.

My son’s reply? “Some men go to gun shows; my dad goes to Brooks Brothers…”.

Touch√©. ūüôā

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I went jogging on the beach this morning. Go ahead: begin humming the tune from “Chariots of Fire” here. I will even insert some bad Irish accent dialogue to go along with it: “whenn A runn, A feell HIS strenth“. And, yes, one man’s slow motion is another man’s full speed.

The family was sleeping late today, so off alone I went. I wanted to run in the surf, so I left my iPhone behind. No thought of taking pictures would distract me on this morning jaunt. I also did not want to get a lot of things wet, so I went simply equipped with a wristband given to me by the OC International Programs Office and my trusty old pair of Dallas Cowboys gym shorts. No shirt, this morning. Shocking, I know, but it was 6 something AM, and a man needs his vitamin D. And, of course, I was wearing a garment made by the good folks at Hanes. I may be a rogue at times, but I’m no commando.

Running unencumbered was quite liberating. As mentioned earlier, no temptation to stop for pictures. No fear of losing my keys. No worry about what would get salt water or sand on it. And yet, as I ventured down the beach, I began to wonder “how will people identify me if something were to happen?”.

I began to imagine the musings of my fellow beachcombers, were something to occur. Some might say, “with that physique, he must be someone noteworthy”. OK: it is acceptable, even suggested, that you stop laughing now. Others might say, “he is wearing Hanes, but he is too pale to be Michael Jordan.”. And others “judging by the farmer’s tan, he is most likely not a lifeguard”. Still others, “he is wearing Dallas Cowboys gear: he might be Tony Romo, but where is Jessica?”. Even my “international” wrist band might cause some to suggest that I was some type of international man of mystery from a land called OC.

And they would all be wrong. As my run continued, I even came across three large prawns that had washed up on the beach. Perhaps I could be Survivorman, and maybe I was diving along the reefs earlier searching for food, and I hit my head and can’t even remember my own name.

Nah. None of that is true. And I, for one, am grateful. I’m just a guy, on vacation, whose dear family is sleeping soundly back in the condo. But I’m still a rogue, at least from time to time, or maybe from blog to blog. Taking off for vacation and staying away from email (as much as possible, or more) is but one way to evidence such “rogueness”.

I believe it was Job who said, in a less positive context, of course ‚ÄúI came naked from my mother‚Äôs womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!‚ÄĚ. Of course, positive circumstances noted, I also was not naked: I had my wristband, and my Dallas Cowboys shorts. And my Hanes. I almost forgot about my Hanes.

All that being said, I might suggest, unencumbered is a good way to go. Less to worry about. More time to think. More time to observe. Less distraction. More opportunity to pay attention. Little Frau would say an “Amen” to that. And only a rogue man of mystery like me could have ever landed a woman like her.

And by paying attention, I even met a nice team of people clad in khaki and white and carrying little nets as they walked in a line and studied the surface of the beach. They worked for some company called “BP”, and seemed to be looking for a ball or two, made of tar, of all things, that I can only assume they lost, somehow. More on that in a blog post all it’s own for another time.

So, back to the morning run. As I was heading back to the condo to rejoin my secret agent beach-combing family, I passed another man who was decked out almost just like me. Middle aged, gym shorts, maybe even a wrist band. I don’t recall. I don’t know if he was a commando, but I could tell that he was no rogue man of mystery, like Yours Truly. You see, there was one key difference between he and I. He was not Unencumbered. He was carrying an old style portable compact disk player, held high up to keep it from getting wet. I’m sure it was likely equipped with “no skip” functionality.

He was no rogue agent like me, indeed. He’s probably just some nerdy accountant from the Midwest. ūüôā

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Wordle: bing

What’s in a word, or a collection thereof? Word, Wordperfect, Wordle, WordPress; the list of programs and products devoted to sharing our words and thoughts could go on and on.

John 1:1-9:

In the beginning the Word already existed.
      The Word was with God,
      and the Word was God.
  He existed in the beginning with God.
  God created everything through him,
      and nothing was created except through him.
  The Word gave life to everything that was created,
      and his life brought light to everyone.
  The light shines in the darkness,
      and the darkness can never extinguish it.
  God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

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A John the Baptist, I am not, but like a stump preacher in a digital equivalent to Times Square, viewed by some as crazed, why would anyone want to share so much with so many, in such a public forum as WordPress?

In the words of Paul in I Corinthians 9:22, maybe it is to “Become All things to all men, that I might save some”.

I visited with a distinguished older gentleman in the hallway after worship this evening, and he expressed his respect for campus environments and the opportunity to influence so many for Jesus. Those were just the words
I needed to hear.

As of this moment, I have 464 Facebook friends. Some are friends, some coworkers, some college students, some friends of my teens, and some are people who likely just want to “creep on me”.

There have been 2,881 reads to date on this Blog. Many are likely from the group of 464, but some are complete strangers who “stumbled upon” the space. And, even if from the FB family, I can say things here that I likely can’t say in a conversation to the masses. Things will be read where listening might not occur.

If you are a reader, thanks and apologies are likely in order. In the meantime, this is my voice, and Jesus is my tune.

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Statistics are strange things.¬†¬†¬† Some say you can make statistics say anything you want them to say.¬†¬†¬† I can see how that is possible, but it’s not something I like to believe.¬†¬† I like the phrase “numbers don’t lie” as a better reflection of what I’m out to do in life.¬†¬†¬† As an accountant, hopefully that is always a good thing?

Accordingly, I look at the site statistics on WordPress to see if anyone is reading, and if so, what they are reading.    The things that generate feedback, where viewership is not anonymous, are telling to me as well.   The results are sometimes surprising, and give me some insight into what I say, how I say it, and when (and how often I say it).

Then numbers crossed 2000 total views on WordPress in the past few days, not counting 100 or so views in the 18 months or so on BlogSpot that preceeded this space.    2052 total views to date; 125 posts; 7 months elapsed.     Average (mean) daily views, around 10 per day.     High day, 73, Low day 1.    High post, 99 (and counting); Low post, 1.   Median post (A Society Short on Grace, 11 reads, 2/24/11).

A decade or so ago, our university had a campaign they were calling “2000 by 2000; the campaign for scholarship”.¬†¬†¬† That title passed thru my brain as I saw the view counter was over 2000.¬†¬†¬† The university’s campaign was an effort to reach as many students as possible by the year 2000, and represented a significant growth/stretch goal.¬†¬†¬† As an accountant, writing to make myself better and hopefully help someone else along the way is my own growth/stretch goal.¬†¬†¬† I want to go beyond the numbers, so to speak.

Why does any of this matter, you may say?¬†¬† So may I.¬†¬†¬†¬† But much like “2000 by 2000”, I want this to reach out to someone, and not just be a cathartic exercise for only me.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† If only one person reads and appreciates something from the blog, then mission accomplished.¬†¬†¬†¬† That may be my kids, after I’m gone, or it may be someone in the here and now.¬†¬†¬† I don’t really need to know, but I¬†take heart that, at least as of this writing, the campaign continues….

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I am preparing to participate in the upcoming OKC Memorial Half Marathon. ¬†This will be a first for me.¬† ¬†I’ve gone from not exercising in years to participating in two 5k events during the past year, and my training has taken me up to about the 7 mile mark twice in the past two weeks. It feels good.¬†¬† It has not only been life changing on the health front, but a has provided great time for reflection and clearing my mind.

Life is not a short sprint, it’s a marathon. I’m beginning to try out new ways to finish the race without getting injured or fatigued along the way. ¬†But simply finishing the race¬†is not a sufficient objective; “running (walking)¬†with style and purpose” is.¬†¬†¬†¬†

1 Corinthians 9:23-25 says: I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.   Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

In focusing on the long distance, I need to be aware of the landscape and the fellow runners inside each virtual mile.

So as I was training the other day, a few “walking moments” from my past came to mind, and I thought I’d briefly share what each has meant to me:

1) Plunking with Granddad – Howard Pope was legendary for his walks. My favorite ones were spent “plunking”: throwing rocks down into the deep creek across the street from his house and waiting to hear the splash (the “plunk”). It has been 35 years, but I can recall those moments like it was yesterday. Good memories.

2) Dove hunting with my Dad – in the “early years”, we lived out in the country and could simply walk across the street and go bird hunting. I’m not much of a hunter or fan of dealing with guns, but those were good times. Listening to my dad talk about things, watching our Fox Terrier plow thru the fields in search of game, and seeing the birds fall from the sky after my Dad spotted them and fired all replay in my mind’s eye. My son wants to learn to be a hunter. Gun lover, or not, it seems that these random walk moments may begin a new round of filming soon.

3) The stroll out to the fields with Coach Jackson – ever since I was about 12, I began walking fast everywhere I go. It’s called getting in a hurry, and it’s not always a good thing. Productivity of the mind and feet comes at the expense of seeing the sights going on around you. It was my 10th grade football coach, the man who got me started as a trainer or “athletic program assistant” (underpaid grunt who loves the game that he can’t play) who first pointed out that I walk “too fast”. “Slow down: you will get there. The game won’t start without us”. Good advice, and I still struggle with walking too fast today.

4) Trips across campus – not a lot to say on this one. As a college student, I fell in love with the OC campus on beautiful weather days, but I also recall enduring long distances in high winds and driving rain. Great metaphors for life. I still love the campus, and am blessed to walk it every day.

5) Singing in Europe – thank you, Ralph Burcham, for the draft notice.¬†¬†¬†¬† The walks over several weeks in that summer of 1988, the time after college ended and before “life” began taught me several things:¬†¬†¬†a love of and fascination for Europe, the knowledge that there is life outside these United States, that we don’t have the monopoly on the world that I grew up believing, and that, quoting the later years words from “Finding Nemo”, we need to Just Keep Singing.¬†¬†¬†(OK, it was swimming, but it fit in nicely here)¬†¬†¬† The good Lord may not have given all of us a voice, but all of us have a song.¬†¬†¬†¬† Whether you are tired, hungry, or “your feet are stained” (there’s a long story behind that phrase), you need to just keep singing.

6) Courting the girl – Ah, yes.¬†¬†TCU.¬†¬† Life on a real college campus.¬†¬† That’s what she used to call it, anyway.¬†¬†¬†¬† The academic bastion of the Southwest, I think it was?¬†¬†¬† Anyway, I digress.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Many a walk under the beautiful old oak trees, surviving a near skunk attack, and maybe even a kiss or two (shocking, I know) preceded the inevitable proposal to spend a lifetime together.¬†¬†¬†¬† Fun times to remember.

7)¬†Spatting with the¬†girl – Yes, we have had a tiff, a time or two(shocking, I know) , but such is inevitable when spending a lifetime together.¬†¬†¬† Kind of like surviving a virtual skunk attack, not ever¬†admitting who’s the skunk and who is the victim?¬†¬†¬† I’ll never tell.¬†¬†¬†¬† Anyway, I digress.¬†¬† The point is, when disagreeing, sometimes it is a good idea to step away from the “conversation” and go take a walk.¬†¬†¬† Clearing your head, understanding where you were wrong, and making a case for why she should let you back into the house are all good by-products of a nice walk on a cold winter’s night.

8) Strolling with baby(ies) – Yes, I have done this a time or two, as well.¬†¬†¬† I remember the first time like it was yesterday.¬†¬†¬†¬† Baby H was screaming and hollering and would not settle down late at night, and after giving up on all other potential remedies, mom politely “suggested” that I take Baby out for a walk in the stroller, despite the fact that it was after 11:00 pm.¬†¬†¬†¬† After about 20 minutes of strolling and her crying, the strangest thing happened.¬†¬† She began to laugh.¬†¬†¬† I have a hard time remembering that babies do laugh, on occasion, but not this time.¬†¬†¬† I can still hear it, even now, 18+ years later.¬†¬†¬†¬† I think she was laughing at me.¬†¬†¬†¬† Years went by, and many a stroller walk, both the old “single” and the later “double” followed.¬†¬†¬†¬† Maybe one day I’ll push a stroller again, this time with a GK instead of a simple K, and it will be OK if they laugh at me.

9) Working – I call 200+ of the best acres anywhere home between 8 am and sometime later than it should be every day, and I love it.¬†¬† It comes with stress, but it also comes with joy in the challenge.¬†¬† Academic bastion or not (and I would argue, it is, thank you very much) it’s my university, and I want it to succeed.¬†¬†¬†¬† And yes, I do still tend to walk too fast in the course of a day.

10) Climbing Colorado – “Everybody needs a little time away…from each other”.¬†¬†¬†¬† Those famous lines from a tune by Chicago, while taken out of context here, ring true in terms of the need for vacation and recharging.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And, I will argue, there are few places better to get away than the high altitudes of the mountains of Colorado.¬†¬†¬†¬† “The girl” and I went there together after our wedding, and we are blessed to go back every couple of years with a group from church.¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s an amazing part of God’s creation, and is often best enjoyed in the cool moments during sunrise.

So, back to the Memorial Marathon for a moment.¬†¬† The theme for the marathon is¬†“We Run to Remember” , and preparing for the event has helped me to do just that.¬†¬†¬†¬† A few shout outs and thank you’s are in order here.¬†¬†¬† You see, I mentioned not having exercised in many years, and it was taking its toll on me, physically and mentally.¬†¬†¬† One day about this time last year, good friends and coworkers Neil, Sonya, and Darci¬†showed up in my office on a Friday afternoon and said “we are not leaving until you sign up for TeamOC.¬†¬† So I did.¬†¬†¬†¬† When telling others of¬†my commitment to the upcoming event, my friend¬†¬†Ted said “don’t do it, you will only injure¬†yourself”.¬†¬†¬†¬† I owe those four¬†a big thank you for getting me out of the chair and onto the treadmill, and subsequently on the streets walking and occasionally running.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I don’t know why I did not do it earlier, and it’s been a blessing.

As I was out doing a 6.55 mile outdoor prep one morning a couple of weeks ago, the path took me past the Baptist church whose longtime pastor had just been killed in a motorcycle accident.    It helped me to remember, mostly that life holds no guarantees, at least this mortally confined life, that is.

As I close up this marathon of memories today, the desire to just keep singing is there.¬†¬†¬† And an old song from the younger days is in my head.¬†¬† Maybe it is the song I’ll be singing when it is too hard to do much walking.¬†¬†¬† If so, it should be a fund ride….Roll the Gospel Chariot along, and we won’t tag long behind…

 

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