Monday, January 30, 2017

My Thoughts on the Last Couple of Weeks

I wish I didn’t always have to make this disclaimer, but I feel I must. Donald Trump was far from my first choice for President.

I also am against legislating by executive order. I was against Obama doing it, and I’m opposed to Trump doing it. Our Constitution is set up for the legislative branch to make law, the executive branch to enforce the law, and the judicial branch to interpret the law.

I am an American who strongly believes in our Constitution, and the election process followed the Constitution. Trump is our President.

With that I have two thoughts regarding the last few weeks.

The people who are speaking out against the executive order that requires vetting of immigrants from certain countries would hold more weight if they didn’t live in gated communities, secured buildings, and locked homes. Celebrities spoke out strongly last night at an event that vetted everyone who attended. Not just anyone could walk in. But this isn’t just about celebrities. If our borders should be open to anyone, why not leave your home open for anyone to come in? For those who say Jesus was a refugee, Scripture says “I was naked, and you fed me.” So, can anyone walk into your home to eat from your pantry? It is hypocritical to say the borders should be open and all should come while removing yourself from the poor, criminals, and economically depressed and crime-ridden neighborhoods while locking yourself, your family, and your possessions to prevent harm or thievery.

I don’t think this is so much a campaign in support of open immigration as it is straight up anti-Trump. If President Trump had relaxed immigration regulations, these same people would be crucifying him for that. I was one of many who disagreed with Obama eight years ago, but when he was elected I wanted him to be successful--to promote what would build a stronger economy, to protect my fellow citizens from harm and terrorism, and to help heal racial divides as I thought possibly only a black President could do. I didn’t wish him failure. So fellow Christians who are severely anti-Trump, would you please do me one favor? Each day before you bash Trump and his team, would you follow Biblical commands to pray for those that rule over us to be guided by the Light for the good of all?

Monday, January 11, 2016

How a Nine-Hour Trip Turned into 128 Hours

Leave my parents at noon on Monday, Dec. 28, lunch with my sister, flight at 2:50, arrive in Dallas at 6:45, shuttle to the car, and arrive home by 8 p.m. An easy day of travel if all went as planned, but we all know my air travel rarely goes as planned. I did arrive home by 8 p.m., but it wasn’t on Monday – I arrived home on Saturday, Jan. 2.

What turned a nine-hour trip into 128 hours? When my flight landed in Houston to catch a connecting flight to Dallas, I had a text from Renae that her daughter-in-law was having issues that required them to take the baby due in later February that very day. In fact, she was getting prepped for a c-section right then. Rather than catching the flight to Dallas, I caught the Super Shuttle to the hospital and arrived about the time Lillianna Jane was born. Soon afterwards, her father found me in the labor and delivery waiting room. He was flying high! After he caught up with his wife in her room, Kevin and I went into the NICU to see the baby.

She was amazing. At 3 lb., 8 oz. and 17 inches, her legs and arms were so long and yet so skinny. Her little fingernails and toenails were barely visible. I could have looked at her forever.

Meanwhile, Renae was stranded in Michigan due to an ice storm and couldn’t get out until Thursday. I spent the rest of the week running between Kevin and Christie’s home and the hospital getting whatever they needed and keeping their rabbit alive. Thursday I picked up Renae at the airport and took her to the hospital to meet Lillianna.

We spent time with Kevin and Christie on Friday as well as quality time looking at Lillianna in the NICU. On Saturday Renae rented a car, and we drove back to Dallas after stopping by the hospital to visit with the baby, of course. By the time we returned the rental car and picked up our vehicles, we got home by 8 p.m. Right on time.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Books I Read

My 2015 reading list:

the hardest peace: expecting grace in the midst of life's hard by Kara Tippetts.I first heard of Kara Tippetts, a young wife and mother of four who was battling cancer, when her open letter to another young woman who had determined the day she would die in her cancer battle. Kara’s letter detailed why it was best to let God (nature) take its course. Since I read this a year ago I don’t remember a lot, but I do know from following her blog ( that her emphasis is grace over fear. God always provides grace for what we need when we need it and not before. We cannot build a bank of grace to draw on.

Love Big by Kara Tippetts, an e-book. This wasn’t long but I still consider it a book read. All about love is kind.

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Spark. This was a wasted fiction read. The storyline started ok but became so improbable that I felt I’d wasted time when I finished it.

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens. This may be my favorite book of the year. The author photographed multiple humanitarian missions for the UN. As he interacted with refugees in Eastern Europe and Africa, he realized that when people are given handouts, they are stripped of hope and a sense of accomplishment of providing for themselves. Additionally, he realized that without physical safety all humanitarian efforts will fail. He returned to the U.S. to join the Navy and become a Navy Seal to provide physical safety and political stability. I was interested in the transformation of his thinking but mostly amazed by the training of the SEALS. I’d last for less than a minute!

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock. Recommended by a friend on facebook. An interesting quick historical fiction read.

Suncatchers by Jamie Langston Turner. I had read a book previously by this author and did not care for the writing style or storyline. Two people recommended I retry the author so this was my try. Unfortunately this book didn’t resonate with me.

And the Good News is by Dana Perino. A very interesting book from the press secretary for George W. Bush. In addition to the stories of what made her who she is and the from her time in the White House, the book is excellent for young ladies of how to build a career.

Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot The Life and Times of a Sportscaster Dad by Mike Greenberg. For 15 years I’ve listened to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio on my drive to work. This book is several years old but I wanted to read a book over Memorial Day weekend and this was cheaper for the Kindle than any of his other books. While “Greenie” makes no bones about being a metrosexual on his show, I didn’t expect such blatant narcissim. I was disappointed. Boo-hoo—you have a privileged life and your problems are minor compared to most of the world. Being disillusioned with Greenie hasn’t stopped me from listening to the show each morning.

T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton. In June I organized a Reading Lunch for my department when we could discuss what we have been reading. A co-worker mentions that she likes Sue Grafton as a fiction writer. Grafton has a series of books using the alphabet in the title. All have the same private investigator. I still prefer John Grisham but I will read Grafton again when I need light fiction to read.

Deliver Us from Abortion by Brian Fisher. Brian is the founder of Online for Life and a member of my church. An excellent read on how the church must take on and win the battle for life.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham. One of my least liked Grisham books—my other dislikes were his non-legal books. This one is about how coal mining companies are raping the land in Appalachia as they strip mine.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. This was shared by a cousin who is planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2016. Harold begins a journey walking across England to deliver a letter rather than just mail it. What a sad pathetic life and a reminder of how those without Christ have no hope.

Suddenly Single by Isaiah Stratton. Isaiah’s family worked at the camp that I worked at throughout college. I  babysat him and his brothers occasionally for the evening services. The story of his life after the breakup of his marriage.

The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim. I’m not sure where I saw this recommended but thought it would be interesting to read how another person used words for a living since I was in communications at the time. Swaim was the speechwriter for Mark Sanford, then governor of SC is most noted for vacationing with his South American mistress while telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Since I already had little respect for Sanford, seeing what a self-centered person he is and how terribly he treated his staff made me have even less for him.

Second Chance: The Mark Sanford Story by Tony Bartelme. To follow up on The Speechwriter this book just confirmed what a louse Mark Sanford is. A biography that doesn’t hold back on his lack of character and self-centeredness that led to his indiscretions.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed. The story of what led Cheryl to hike the Pacific Coast Trail and her adventures on her hike. I kept thinking about my cousin who will be hiking the AT later this year. I kept going back and forth between how fun and no way!

Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm. This was recommended by a high school and now Facebook friend who requires her children to read this for homeschool. This is an excellent read and reminded somewhat of The Heart and the Fist from a believer’s perspective.

Game Changer by Kirk Cousins. I watched Kirk play high school football in West Michigan. I followed him at Michigan State and then as back up quarterback to RGIII in Washington. This book feeds off his speech at the Big 10 media days when he was the player speaker to give advice about the privilege of playing football and how to make good life decisions. It’s geared to much younger people but I enjoyed reading the thoughts of a good kid whose hard work and good choices are paying off for him.

Start by Jon Acuff. I’ve followed his blog for several years. While his style gets a bit old and his stories are repeated I liked this book about escaping average and doing work that matters. I especially appreciated his take on finding your passions. It’s not a job or even an activity but a principle that drives you. I will review this book during my current job search.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brussel sprouts, papaya and dewlicious. Two foods I’ve have before and one I’d never seen before. I’ve tried all three in the past few weeks in my efforts to expand my palate.

Brussel sprouts. I’ve had these twice before and didn’t like them either time. I’m a texture eater which made me think I would like them, but the ones I had were boiled. Not good. I put a request out on facebook to find out how others make them. I tried five of the six recipes I was sent one Sunday for dinner. I made several variations on the various recipes as I could have easily spent over $50 just on ingredients that I may or may use again. The recipes called for an assortment of honey, balsamic vinegar, shallots, maple syrup, thyme, oregano and bacon. Lots of bacon. I liked them. They are a definite do again, but only one recipe at a time.

Dewlicious. This is a bright yellow melon. The convenience of smart phone let me google it at the store to find out what a dewlicious is. Today I took a slice to work for my afternoon snack. Sweet. Very sweet. It’s a definite buy again.

Papaya. Sunday afternoon I remember why I haven’t eaten any since I was in the Domincan Republic in 1993. I knew I didn’t care for it but thought I would maybe like it again. I bought a papaya to make papaya smoothies. Sunday afternoon was the day. Papaya, strawberries, pineapple, orange juice and ice. Let’s just say for the next 3 hours with a portion of that hugging the toilet, I remembered why I don’t eat fresh papaya.

Three new foods for me. Two were great; one not so much.

Are there any foods you would like to adventure to try?


Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Importance of Toast

Recently I read a marketing blog about the importance of toast. Why is toast special?

1. It's custom made for you. You can't toast something head of time.
2. It's made carefully to not be burned.
3. It's a special treat because I didn't have to toast the bread.

I realize that all of that is true. Wouldn't every relationship be better if we considered how we can make toast for others?

1. I'm here for you. I'm present. For you. I'm not thinking about my next meeting, next project, or plans for later in the week.
2. I'm doing this carefully for you. I'm thinking what you like and what you need.
3. I don't have to do this for you, but I am because of who you are or who I am.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday April 23, 2015

It's been awhile, but I have been thankful.

1. I took notes from a conversation several weeks ago that I needed today to write an article. Looked in a folder and it wasn't there. Checked a notebook and not there. Went through two stacks of papers on my desk. Not there. Prayed. Checked my folder one more time and found it. I probably could have written the article without the notes, but I certainly had more detail having found the notes.

2. Tonight was my last piano lesson. Outside of family members, my teacher has been the most encouraging person about my piano abilities. The lessons have been one of the most positive events in my life this year, but without a music outlet I cannot handle the time or expense of lessons. The last two lessons have been looking at arrangement books to study what the composer is doing to learn how to improvise on my own.

3. Had my report out on my work trip from last week. It went well and generated a lot of discussion. I received more positive comments today. I think my department will improve because of my trip, information and suggestions.

4. The weather forecast was for extremely severe storms beginning possibly as early as 3 p.m. This was the one day I had an offsite meeting and wouldn't be parking in the parking garage at work. Not only did the storm not start while my car was parked outside or on the drive home, but we really didn't get more than rain.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Few Observations

1. If you start by saying "I don't want to bother you . . .," it's too late.

2. A comment I read from someone who said, "What if I'd married someone awful? We may have our difference, but I have it good."

3. Work may be busy, but the alternative is worse.