Thursday, June 29, 2006

God's Grace In Restraining Me

Today I've been floating peacefully in a endless pristine river that is God's grace. Only God's grace is powerful enough to have controlled and restrained me during an extremely tense and potentialy dangerous situation that occurred last night. Since moving on from the incident all my mind keeps going back to is the overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit protecting me, my children, and the other party involved. You could say I am on a mountain top right now when it comes to experiencing the presence of God in a very real way across all my human senses. I take no credit what so ever for my current state of being, I personally have done nothing to bring it about...that is the beauty of it all. Have you ever heard the phrase "But for the grace of God...there go I"?

The incident last night involved my daughter, one of my sons, my neighbor, a car load of teenage boys and girls, a speeding car, and me. The speeding car, loaded with the teenagers, shortcut a curb right in front of my house. The car with tires squealing, rounded the corner, hit the curb, bottomed out, and approached me, my kids, and my neighbor - with in 20 feet of us. The driver never slowed down and all five teenagers inside laughed as they looked at us.

I asked my neighbor if she could watch the kids for a moment while jumped in the minivan and chased the car down. I was happy to see that it turned into a culdesac just a block from my house. But the teenagers had already entered one of the houses. I found the car and started writing down the license plate info and car description. We have a deal with the local police department. They've told us to send in license plate info of cars that are driving recklessly in our neighborhood and they'll write citations based on our word alone. I was going to take them up on their offer.

I was pretty pumped up as well and wanted to see the teenagers face to face. So I started to honk my horn in order to prompt someone to come out. Keep in mind I was not in any state of rage or anything - I was on a mission though and dead serious. No teenagers came out but a couple of adult women did. Neither one knew what house the teenagers were in but I suspected one of the women did because she seemed to be acting like a concerned mother. God's grace covered this moment because I am not sure what would have happened if any one of the teenagers came out. Or, what about if all of them came out? I figured there were at least four boys and I was ready to show'em all how disappointed I was in them. At that moment, it was only God's grace that protected me and them. There wasn't much I could do so I returned home.

With in a half hour of returning home though I saw the car coming back down the street from the culdesac. I walked out into the street and forced it to stop, by standing in front of it. I got the teenage boy to admit what he did. It was by God's grace alone that all I had to do was simply ask, even though I felt prepared to be a bit more aggressive. It was also grace alone that restrained me during the conversation as I listened to this punk mouth off to me. Again, I was not in rage of any sort, I was not shouting, I was not swearing, I was not threatening...but I was pissed! Thank God I remained controlled. Thank God the kid didn't have a gun or a knife (anything is possible today, right.) A few words later, I backed off and the punk moved on.

My daughter brought up the incident right before bedtime and asked about what she saw. I told her she saw Daddy in action protecting her and her brother. She wasn't scared for me but the punk. I told her how much I loved her and that God was right there protecting all of us.

Praise God!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Fist To Palms, Blackberrys, and PDAs

There is a revolution occurring in the productivity world, from hitech to lotech, away from digital back to analog. I am still on the fence...and so therefore not all that productive. I envision going back 100% to paper someday soon. The age of the knowledge worker is upon us, those that are able to harness all the knowledge will yield more influence. I think personal productivity is an area of life with tremendous potential for a Christian to capture the attention of culture to the Glory of God. People will look at an above average productive Christian an wonder, how? The Christian will of course respond "Because of Jesus." Spreading and living out the Gospel couldn't get any more practical than that. For the Glory of Jesus I am close to dumping my Blackberry and dissing the PDA craze of the last decade.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mars Hill Mens Advance Audio Series

If you call yourself a Christian Man, please listen to this series Mens Advance Audio 2006. I've been awakened to irresponsible living in certain areas of my life. More importantly, the desires of my heart to glorify God in all things have been deeply renewed.

Alligator Treats

In this story a guy losses his small dog to a hungry alligator. From the report I get the impression the guy's world is no bigger than his dogs, oops, dog that is. Living in Florida, around a lake with alligator warning signs should have been a clue to the man. I know most people don't like cats but I do - they are smart. I can't stand, however, miniature pretentious foofoo dogs that waste oxygen barking all the time and fart everywhere. I call these footballs. I love taking my boys for a walk and they yell out "Dad, there's football dog!" as we approach the yippers.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Random Thoughts

Goate's and Haircuts: How can you take anyone seriously after you've been on the receiving end of this? "Oh, you cut your hair, it's shorter, I like it, never did like how you we wearing it before." Or, "Huh, shaved your Goate. That's good because I always thought you look like and an a*#hole with it." (wow!)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

17 miles

This morning's skate couldn't have been much better. Other than getting home later than my wife asked me to be, this morning was a great training session.

I skated 17 miles in 1 hour and 24 minutes - that is exactly 12 miles per hour and right where I want to be. I had planned to skate 20 miles today but cut it back because of the hard labor mandatory volunteer opportunity I participated in yesterday.

Ya'know, I am kidding about that, being forced to volunteer. It was just how the opportunity was originally presented to me. The irony was that I did want to volunteer on the project and was actually thankful to be able to take off work, I just resented the approach and so I resisted (yes, that is what you call passive aggressive dysfunction. Burton, can you confirm that in the DSM?) I did actually volunteer yesterday out of my own free will and it was a fantastic experience. Afterwards I was grateful and full of community pride. But I digress.

Back to the topic of inline marathon training. If I can maintain a 12 mph pace from here on out I'll have a good marathon. Even better is to be under 2 hours and that will take 12.5 mph. I'll be fighting for that over the next 60 days. Amazing, 60 days does not seem that long. I would also like to drop at least 10 pounds of fat before the race. This is totally achievable but I want to make sure. I will be cutting back on my calorie intake, stop eating after 6:00, and focus more on higher protein meals, less complex (sugary) carbs.

Why am I doing this?

It is the one thing in my life that feels under my control at the moment and I really enjoy skating, really enjoy it. I like individual sports too. The extreme endorphin and serotonin rush during and after skating is one of a kind as well. I like to sweat hard, breath hard, and go fast. When I am skating I feel totally human - alive, working, and praising my Creator.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Two More Random Thoughts

Data Transfer and Storage: If someone is going to help you sell something on ebay and that someone has requested that you bring in a few pictures of the item from your digital and you hand that person a floppy disk, well...uuhhmmm...never mind. Let's just say your own random thought should have stopped at floppy.

Math Word Essay Problems: Can you help me solve this formula? A 240 lbs man is inline skating on a slight decline traveling at approximately 17 mph, and at the same time coming from the opposite direction a woman is inline skating as well weighing approximately 130 lbs and traveling at 10 mph. If both skaters are in deep tuck position, which means their line of sight is just a few feet in front of them, what happens as the two skaters approach each other? Please explain in as much detail how you imagine the approach "event". Do they collide? Who flys farther from the collision? Who doesn't miss a beat and keeps skating? Is anyone hurt? Please describe?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Random Thoughts

Public Restrooms: It never falls, whenever I enter a public bathroom and observe no urinal but only a toilet stool, I have to exit the bathroom and do a double check on the sign. I always pray that I don't see the word "Women".

Fast Food Trash Bins: One of the worst sounds in the world is the jingle jingle from a set of car keys as they are sliding off the meal tray into the trash can.

Accountability Groups: If I ever leave an accountability group feeling thankful that I'm not like the others...I've got serious, serious problems.

Drawing Runs In My Family

No doubt Josh has a creative gift. He can draw. He reminds me of me at his age. Sarah can draw too but she is a girl and so she is in a totally different creative league. Nathan now is learning that he has the gift too. He knows it. Like the young boy, living from the instinctual make a gun out of anything trait, Nathan uses whatever he can find to draw with...and on. Last night he found a sharp screw and decided it was a pencil. He looked at Daddy's truck (with a for sale sign on it) and decided it was to be his canvas.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pressing On

The vision of Faith Community Church:

We are pursuing Christ's reign in all of life to advance God's kingdom in all the earth for His glory.

An article by Dr. John MacArther discusses the active pursuit of Christ's reign - it must be active.

Mandatory Volunteering

What is it called when you are told that your are going to volunteer?

Nothing like starting the week out right, with the attitudes of resentment and resistance. The very first email I read this morning told me how I was going to get tomorrow morning off. Good. However, the email also explained that I needed to show up at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning in hard labor attire to volunteer my time at a building project. The email went on to explain what I needed to wear...and where I was going to take a shower after I finished doing the time.

I need someone to explain this volunteer concept to me. Is it something new?

16 miles

I am heavy into training for the inline marathon now. 9 weeks out to the event. At least once a week I will skate 20 miles and three other times I will range from 4 to 10 miles. Really the next four weeks are peak mileage territory. Speaking of mileage, after my long skate on Saturday I estimated I have close to 400 miles on my current pair of boots (The wheels are changed two to three times a season, I'll get brand new ones right before the race.)

This last Saturday I skated 16 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes. It had rained overnight so the path was pretty slick and I had to stay low key most of the way, which I believe added an additional 10 minutes to my time. My overall goal is to skate the marathon in under two hours, I am on pace and feeling good about it.

One last tidbit. I came with in two arm lengths of a deer along the path during the Saturday skate. The Gateway Trail from Oakdale to Stillwater is amazing for wildlife, especially in the early morning, around 6:00 am. I was cruising along and a deer crossed the path right in front of me, I came close, real close to running into it. Cool!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fun With Syrup

What have things come to? I don't post for a few days and then I attempt a comeback with a story like this (everything has gone done hill since I posted that American Idol poll.)

This morning while eating breakfast with my digs (i.e. children) I told them my famed Cat In The Syrup story. My daughter asked for more syrup on her cereal, I obliged after asking her to move her head aside, otherwise it would be covered in syrup after a few seconds. Whenever syrup is on my mind I can't help but recall the Cat In The Syrup story. This morning I decided to pass the story on to my children. Before I tell you the story please don't let the syrup on cereal thing get you off track, I'll explain that later.

Back in high school a friend and I worked as a clerks at a small grocery store. Part of our Saturday morning routine was to deliver grocery orders to the elderly who called in on Friday, sort of like a modern day Simon Delivers. One of the first stops to make was the house with a thousand cats who had an elderly human brother and sister living with them. Having delivered to this house several times before the procedure was to knock a few times, announce ourselves, enter, and leave the groceries on the kitchen table - in, out, move on. On occasion we'd visit with the human brother and sister if they were visible, like out in the living room or kitchen. Almost always we'd play with the cats as they had no other place to be than all over the house. My best estimate is that there were over 50 cats living and ruling in the house.

One morning we arrived to find the kitchen table covered with all the fixins' and leftovers of a big pancake breakfast. Plates, forks, knives, butter, maple syrup, half stack of pancakes...and cats. I have to admit that at first I thought the cats were just lounging around on the table but after a few of them scattered upon our entry, I realized I stumbled upon a Garfield like feline feast. Apparently our timing was at the end of the feast. After cats eat they rest, and these cats decided to rest right were they ate, directly on the plates they just had eaten from.

While a few cats made a quick get a way at our entry, a few others had difficulties releasing themselves from the plates due to the bond of syrup and cat hair. This was quite the site. Imagine it. A fat cat lying down on a plate of syrup. As the cat attempts to get up, he struggles greatly because the syrup has set-up and is now as effective as super glue. But still, the cat powered himself up (had to have been tom with that strength) with syrup breaking away in stiff strings. The sound of it! The sound was amazing, just like when ripping duct tape off wood. I can't even find the words to explain the sound. I wish I could, but use your memory, you've probably heard something like it before.

So here my friend and I sit watching this cat stretch and peel his way off a plate of petrified maple syrup. My friend's gag reflex kicks in and proved once again why he was our school's record holder in the vertical jump, he leaped out the front door while simultaneously losing his own breakfast.

I just sat in amazement watching this cat struggle with the syrup. Eventually he broke free and began cleaning himself. Mid-morning snack I suppose.

My kids like the story, I think, although I did notice a slower than normal pace as they ate and starred at the syrup bottle.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Look Up! Is that Superman? No Its A Flying Cell Tower

Next year this will either be on a "greatest" or "dumbest" list somewhere - it all depends if the founders can make the venture fly (ba da boom!)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Practically Pursuing Christ's Reign

My home church has a vision:
We are pursuing Christ's reign in all of life to advance God's kingdom in all the earth for His glory.
Here are just a few of my personal thoughts about the vision statement.

  • It may be obvious that at the most simplistic level, a major element in this vision statement is the general call to live out a holy life. But it is more than that.
  • By using the word pursuing, the vision statement points the arrow toward a way of living where one should strive after Christ's rule. I read this vision statement and think there is something I must do, something I am to be engaged in (like a hobby or vocation), an end in mind that I must seek to be overtaking by.
  • I love this vision statement because it is big, and covers all of life.
  • Like all great vision statements, however, this one does not give specifics of exactly what to do, just the general direction of where things are heading. It is up those who carry out the vision to correctly interpret what living it out means. Good vision statements require the followers to think hard about the practical outworkings of the long term vision - and then to get practical and take action.
  • I'm into being practical. This article speaks to cultivating holy living and it is very practical.

My Take On Zarqawi's Death

So Zarqawi's dead. Good.

You've seen the pictures most likely. Have you noticed the frames? They're all pretty nice. High quality wood grain, I think I even saw one with gold-leaf. I like to role play in my head the range of dialogue scenarios people went through while discussing the purchasing requirements to frame a picture of a dead dead guy - would make for a great SNL skit.

Nobody Thinks Anymore

We do live in a new world of technology no doubt. I love technology. I am particularly found of the wireless world. Technology makes us more productive, right? I believe it does and most of the time technology advancement is a great thing. Have you noticed though the gap between the increasing accessibility of information and the humans ability to effectively processes it all? That is to say that with all the rushing around between emails, blogs, chat rooms, wiki's, etc. there is just no time to think anymore, about actual work. The constant bombardments of information and requests for information are closing minds - shutdowns due to overload. The gap is brining to light our deep need for new and improved methods of managing all the info. I am fascinated with the thinking of productivity experts and knowledge management workers as they talk about how to close the gap. Here is a brief interview with the President of the American Management Associate that touches on what I am referring to.

Wal-Mart vs. Coke, Wal-Mart Wins

I've heard stories of this type of junk going on with Wal-Mart and it's channel vendors. I work for a company that's been told by Wal-mart "how things will work". Wal-Mart chokes its suppliers to death. But we're talking Coke here. I am surprised Coke fizzled out so easily.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Weekend Warrior

In honor of my son's creative energy this post is about one of his most excellent creations that we made together this last weekend. Josh tells the story of Storm Shadow:

"Meet Storm Shadow, master warrior of the Rakshi klan. He is one of the oldest and wisest Rakshi of all at 110,000 years old.

Storm Shadow has very good agility and strength with his staff of shadows. His battle record is 24-0, he has conquered all of his foes. Storm Shadow is especially known for blizzard, rain storm, and earthquake making powers. Some of the Rahi think he is a threat but really he's just angry from the past. In the past some of the strongest Rahi heard how great Storm Shadow was and they tried to hunt him down. But the Rahi failed at their mission.

Now a days Storm Shadow spends his time trying to find some useful Karata. Karata's are snake like creatures that roam around Metru Nui and if they are exposed to protodermis they grow into Rakshi. Storms Shadow's karata was exposed to protodermis twice. The first time the karata did not evolve. The second time it gained strength and become part of Storm Shadow.

The best trait I like about Storm Shadow is his staff because it is his most useful weapon."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Electricity Is Nothing Compared To Chlorine

Remember Home Without A Range? After an experience last night, I say that chlorine is much more potent as an agent of submission than electricity is. Last night while getting the pool ready for Saturday's fun in the sun, let's just say I learned about chlorine's immediate knock-out effect. I do too much self disclosure on this blog so I'll leave things to your imagination. Today is a good day because I am ok, I actually feel really good now and I skated 11 miles this morning.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Air Guitar Championships

As mentioned, the National Spelling Bee doesn't (or shouldn't) qualify as reality TV. But, I have found something better. Even though it wouldn't rank much higher than shows like Fear Factor, Deal or No Deal, and JackAss, the US Air Guitar Championships definitely fits the mold. I can't believe people are flocking to this freakshow, but who can't relate to playing the air quitar - man, talkin' about taking airjammin' to the next level, watch these people: Hot Licks Houlihan, Flying V.

Here I go again, me and my double standards., ripping on something I formally used to do. I was an air guitar specialist in college (ask all my partying buddies), I could have made it to the (state) finals if there was such a contest back in my heyday. I love the 80's - rock on!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Spelling Bee On TV

Since recently displaying an American Idol poll on this blog I have lost all credibility with a few readers. With that being so, blogging about the National Spelling Bee being on the tube tonight will probably bring me more lashes. But I am physically stronger than three of the slashers and faster than the other so I'll continue on to blogging about the spelling bee.

I am not going to watch the spelling bee tonight. Not because I am taking a high road or anything but because NBC is airing a four episode marathon of The Office. But even if The Office wasn't on, I would find something else to do instead of watching the spelling bee.

In this article last year's national spelling champion said the spelling bee is "the quintessence of reality TV." A good friend helped me connect together some thoughts I've had today. I don't like that the spelling bee is going to be televised during primetime hours, as reality TV. For me it comes down to the idea of linking kids to reality TV with quintessence - I could be nit picking but the formula doesn't work for me. Spreading the excitement of the spelling bee by categorizing it as reality TV strips away the contest's wholesomeness. But is it really reality TV?And what about when the Little League World Series is televised during primetime? Is that reality TV? Does that event lose something because it is televised? Unfortunately watching vulnerable, geeky, unsocialized spelling wizards struggle through anxiety is what will bring entertainment value to most of the audience tonight. And because of that perceived value, the spelling bee will become reality TV.

I know I should have deeper thoughts about this but what do I know? I watched American Idol this year.

Leaping Lizards

This is too precious: attacking lizard video

(HT: Between Two Worlds)