Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Landing On Runway One

It’s about to be a New Year.  Most people make resolutions and consider January 1st to be a new beginning. 

I’d rather consider each day a new start.  So many times I have looked at my life and thought, “gee, I wish I’d done that differently.”  In reality, each day and each minute we have the opportunity for a course correction.  We can resolve to make the changes immediately, and the thought that we make resolutions that 99% of the time we don’t keep on New Years Day is silliness in it’s most extreme form.  I’ve talked before about living with “intentionality.”  Change only comes through a minute by minute decision on how to live our life.

How have you used your life?  The story goes that President Reagan once asked the Air Force One pilot why he tried to land so close to the beginning of the runway.  The pilot grinned and explained, "Mr. President, all pilots know you can't use the runway that's behind you."

You still have the opportunity to start fresh and make the most of everyday.  God grants you only so many, how will you use the rest of your life?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Couple Of Thoughts For Today

"Always drink upstream from the herd"


"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance"

                 (I think both are attributable to Will Rogers.)

                       And my favorite:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

                  (Supposedly attributed to Wayne Gretsky)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thought For The Day On Christmas Eve


Honest and truthful words and evaluations fairly given will ultimately benefit the end result in life when openly expressed.  Unfortunately, they rarely benefit the ones who first utter those truths.  History is littered with the bodies of thinkers whose words ultimately changed the world for the better.

Honesty and truth almost always have a cost.  Progress is never free.

Army Bells


 I have had the pleasure of ringing the bell for the Salvation Army now for several years and recommend it to anyone, if you are given the opportunity.  I can’t guarantee that it will be pleasant for you, especially if you have to stand in the snow when it is 15 degrees outside in front of WalMart.  Also, if you have a tendency to carpal tunnel syndrome you might bring an assistant to ring the bell…LOL

Founded in 1865 by once Methodist minister, William Booth, it’s military organiztional structure serves to emphasize its “Army of God” ministry.  Truly, they choose to be the hands and feet of God in serving the poor and needy.

One of the things I enjoy most about manning the bucket and ringing the bell at Christmas, is I get to meet so many people I know as they come in to shop.  It gives me a chance to wish them Merry Christmas since I’m not constrained by the store to only say “Happy Holidays.”  It also gives me a chance to see the kind of people who are motivated to care enough to help the Salvation Army do its work.  For so many years they have been in the community offering help with food and shelter, gas money, and many other things including their prison ministry.  They provide an essential and valuable service…so what kind of people are the ones who heed the call of my little bell and give to my little red bucket hanging from the tripod?

            The older adults and seniors
            The young children
            The poorly dressed
            The lame and crippled
            The obviously low income
            The minorities

Those Who Rarely Give:
            Adults between 25 and 40
            Single Adults   
       (and they are who we are counting on to make Obamacare work??)

Those Who I Never See Give:
            Women who wear calf length high heel boots
            Men in slacks and a dress shirt

You probably think I’m joking and making this up, but I’m not.  Why is it that those apparently with the greater wherewithal to help are so unmotivated to do so?  Perhaps those who suffer the lack of things recognized the need more than those who have everything they want and have made themselves the center of their own lives? 

I’m sure there are exceptions to my observations over the years.  I hope you are one of the good ones.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bah, Humbug!

Today falls in the category of the days you remember for the rest of your life. 

I have the great fortune, working as a firefighter, to be asked to deliver presents each year through Project Merry Christmas to those families that can’t afford Christmas.  I take my fire engine loaded with donated turkeys and dolls and bicycles and get to see the inside of tiny ramshackle homes you most likely would not want your family dog to have to live in.  I don’t do anything to pay for these presents so I don’t deserve a single bit of credit for what I do, yet I am the one who gets to see the happy smile of joy on a 7 year-old girl’s face when she gets a pink bicycle with ribbons flowing out of the handle grips.

Sure, there are houses I go to on the list that have 50 inch color TVs that are way bigger than anything I can afford.  But, I try to remember that I’m going there for the kids that often don’t have parents who manage their lives very well.  Isn’t that part of what Christmas is about--loving people without questioning, serving without thought of recompense, sacrificing even if those you sacrifice don’t value your sacrifice or your gift?

This Christmas, when all around you are trying to remind you not to call it Christmas and to neuter it’s meaning in an attempt at political correctness, don’t forget what it is really all about.  Jesus was born…only to give his life for all mankind’s salvation.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Centennial School Tragedy

Why the cluster of shootings in Denver?  I have actually been wondering a lot about the mass public facility shootings by young people in general throughout the United States and have to ask these questions:

  1. Do shootings tend to occur in well-off financial communities predominated by liberal values and politics?
  2. Do shootings tend to occur in white communities, or any specific type of geography?
  3. Do shootings tend to occur in communities with fairly strict gun laws already in place?
  4. Do shootings tend to occur in communities that had extensive and lengthy media  coverage of previous shootings in the area.
  5. Do shootings tend to occur in communities that have minimal security procedures at school entrances and also allow open campus policies for students throughout the day?
  6. Are mental health services not adequately available in those communities?

I have a strong suspicion that the answer to all of these is yes.  I'm sure there are many other factors to consider, but these ones trouble me a great deal.  I'm sure this recent tragedy will trigger (no pun intended) another round of knee jerk proposals to disarm America.  While I think we need more controls on weapon sales and access by those who shouldn't have them, I suspect the movement will more likely take shape as an effort to disarm America.  That would be a mistake in my opinion and in the opinion of the framers of the Constitution.

Here Come De Judge

A very interesting piece of news crossed my path this morning.  A sixteen year-old boy was convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of four people.  He was given probation.

Yes.  Probation.  The judge felt that the boy came from an affluent family and that made him feel he was subject to privilege…that being the privilege to kill whomever was irritating him.  So now the judge has determined that affluence is a “mental disorder.”  Hmmmm….

The surprising part is that the judge did not commit the boy to a mental institution like all other mental case defenses.  He chose probation.  Now if that isn’t an example of privilege, I don’t know what is!  Kill with impunity and not even be treated for your supposed mental illness.  What is likely to happen?  I suppose the DA will file an appeal and the appellate court will have more sense than this dimwit judge did in adjudicating the case.

What troubles me most about this kind of thinking is the excuse making it gives rise to for bad moral behavior.  We seem to be doing a lot of that in our society.  Good and bad seems to have taken on more shades of gray as the decades pass.  Does this mean that now blacks can kill whites because they are mentally disordered into thinking all whites are racists.  Does it mean that poverty gives one the same right to kill that wealth apparently does in this judge’s mind?  Does it mean that Muslim Jihadists should get probation for blowing up airplanes and skyscrapers in the sky because they’ve been disordered mentally by their radical faith?

Judges serve a long time and wield a great deal of power in our society at all levels.  They usually are appointed or run unopposed for their office in elections, which I find a bit disturbing.  This also reflects on the larger issue of how and who we “pick to serve” in all our government functions…and lately so far, I think we’re doing a pretty poor job of it.  We have liars and crooks at every level that literally buy there way into office and dole out special favors after being sworn in, and it’s conceivable that they are running the country into a financial disaster as well as a moral disaster. 

Don’t get me wrong here.  There are good judges and good elected officials, but it happens more by chance than it does by design.  We desperately need better-educated voters, campaigns that are equally publicly financed and given equal donated TV debate time.  We also need to see that those serving may not go to work for companies for which they passed bills for at least 10 years after leaving office, and term limits must be established that prevent elected career “royalty” in our country.  We also need to realize we can’t keep voting ourselves benefits that we can’t pay for.

These changes can happen.  But it can also happen that we go the route of all other historic democracies…and fail into tyrannical dictatorships.

Monday, December 9, 2013


I have always heard the admonition that we are to submit our will to God.  There is something about that word submit that drives people mad.  Submit is something I do to show weakness.  Submit is negative because it means I can’t do what I want and am controlled by someone else.  Submit is considered being trapped.  God is a bully who just doesn’t want us to have any fun or freedom.

Have you ever felt that way or heard someone express those kind of feelings?  How about if we look at it from a different viewpoint?  We live in a country that is obsessed with making our kids feel good about themselves.  “They’ve got to have a good self-image, so don’t criticize them.”  “Nobody does anything wrong” “Tell them they are great!”  “Everyone gets a trophy!”  “There aren’t winners and losers here!”  Unfortunately, life is not like that.  It’s not reality any more than the word submit being only negative is reality.

Yet there is a reality of being a winner that will transform your self-image.  Consider this:  As a guy, if the most beautiful, intelligent, rich, personable, loving woman came up to you and said I value you and want to be with you forever in a relationship of love, what would you think?  Would submitting to that be a miserable experience?  How about what that would do to boosting your self-image about 100%.   Ladies, you can think the same line of reasoning with that perfect hunk, too.

My point is: God is the most loving and beautiful being in the universe, and all he wants is to love you!  You are infinitely valuable to Him.  Submitting to Him is the most exotic, gratifying, freeing and exciting thing you will ever do.