Push Back Is Way Easier, Right?

Push Back is Way Easier, Right?

King Sisyphus

(Please, Click here for audio) Push back is way easier, but is it smarter? Or right? When I walk into a situation that is uncertain, or doesn’t seem quite right, it is my nature to push back. It’s like that “flight or fight” sensation we have when attempting to determine if the danger we perceive can be overcome, or should we simply flee for our safety.

Now, this has never caused me to want to flee from the authorities, but I have been in this position where someone did. I was 18 and working a night job during my college years. Driving home (I think), late at night. I was in a group of cars driving down a dark road. Suddenly, the cop car lights up his red and blue and pulls us all over. For speeding, I’m sure. 45 in a 35, or something like this. One of the cars flees the scene and the cop chases after him, and the rest of us simply scoot out to side roads and take different routes home… Should I have hung around?

This “push back” feeling has caused me to over react against someone simply “doing their job” and I’m a victim of their duty. But when you push me, then I push back. When you buck me, I buck harder. There’s something akin to rebellion that rises up and says…”nope, you ain’t doing that to me”… It’s how you learn to react to bullies on the play ground, or job, or even at home. You learn to stand up for yourself. You learn to reject anyone with a loud voice and a bristling attitude that commands you to do, and you simply obey. Well, except for teachers, parents, hmmm… a lengthy list I’m sure!

A prime example is when I’m walking out of a store and the alarm panel lights up and makes a racket. It used to be I would walk back in, find someone in charge, go through my bags and find out what set off the alarm, fix the problem and then exit the store. Again. Not any more. I simply keep walking. Not that this has ever happened, but if the store is interested in what they think set off their alarm then they can follow me and talk to me as I walk to my car. They can keep talking as I off load my packages, and start the engine. They can follow me all the way to the exit of the parking lot and wave at me as I disappear into the sunset.

Now. Is that anyway for me to act? Nope. But it still doesn’t stop me… Why? Push Back.

Surely you’ve noticed those car alarms that go off and no one pays any attention. When they were new, then everyone paid attention. Now, we hardly glance that way. The same is true about the alarms at the store.

About 15 years ago, and after 9/11, I was entering a Jetway for a trip out of Anchorage. I walk through the security with my two carry-on bags and I’m not questioned about anything. Since the Jetway did not have a place to pick up some reading material, I exited back out, went to the little store, picked up a paper and magazine, and came back through security with my two purchases. Suddenly, it’s like I’m a criminal. Empty your pockets. Take off your coat, shoes and belt. Go through the x-ray again. Let’s pat you down. Because suddenly you’re suspicious.

Now, if you push back here, the law is in control and you can miss your flight. Here’s a prime example of knowing when it’s safe to Push Back, and when it’s not.

Leaving a local big box store with some groceries several years back, I was chased down by a store monitor because I did not show them my receipt as I exited. Sorry. There’s not a sign saying they now have the authority to check my purchases against a receipt. She made a spectacle and simply did her job of marking my receipt with her yellow marker. Satisfied, she turned back to the other customer she had abandoned. Not once did she compare my receipt to what was in my basket.

Of course, I complained to one of the managers, a friend, and he told me I did not have to stop at all. They were simply attempting to stop a million dollar loss to shop-lifting. Now. I can understand that. But there is a way of asking for my help and it did not happen here. 

Then, leaving a warehouse store yesterday, after making the same trip and carrying the same backpack 100 times or more, into that same store no less, suddenly I’m asked to open the bag and let them examine it. Sorry. You’ve never done it before and what makes you think you need to do it now? I just keep on walking. “I’ll call the manager.” Go ahead. I’m yelled at in the parking lot, “Don’t ever bring that bag back into the store.”

I’m not sure how I’ll handle this. Yet. But it raised a thought in my innards.

We see people protest and march all the time. Sometimes it turns into a riot. We watch picketers walk back and forth in front of businesses frequently. We have grown use to the idea that we have a voice that can be used against a situation. Even our actions are allowed as long as we do not hurt someone else. We are somewhat okay with this. Why? Because we all understand Push Back.

But why do we Push Back at some things, and allow others things to control our actions? We Push Back against something that helps, but hook, line and sinker we swallow the things that will hurt us even more. We Push Back before we know all the facts, and rush the judgment, jury and executioner to center stage.

A strange story happened last week. Here in Washington, of all places. It goes to show you that human nature, action and reaction, can happen anywhere! A man was harassed and shot by passerby’s when they thought he was dragging a dead dog behind him, instead of a recent road kill (raccoon). He was taking it to a crab pot and did not want the smell too close too him. Rush to judgment. Over reaction. Really? [Source] (Makes me rethink eating crab…)

I know I need to do better. Bad timing can cause all of us to over react. We’re tired. Distracted. Hurried. Any number of explanations, but I’m working hard on responding better. Hence, my post yesterday:

Sometimes our hard headed attitude
bucks up against a request
and our negative spirit unfolds.
Where’s your witness now?

But at the same time…I want to keep Pushing Back when it is necessary. I want to have the right attitude. My witness is of a better way. True, Jesus overturned the money tables and lashed out at those who had turned the house of God into a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12-13), but his overarching example was one of care, concern, and love. Clear away the wrong. Why? In the very next verse it states:

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21:14 NKJV)

It was Paul who wrote to the church at Rome.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

And, he writes even differently when he tells us how to live our lives…

See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NKJV)

I want to learn to check myself. Is this Push Back necessary? What can I learn from the momentary trial? Who is on the other side of the question, and what can I do to reach them? What is my purpose in this moment? Why me, Lord?

Am I learning something? I hope so. Am I being transparently honest with you? I sure hope so. Can we all learn to be better? Yep!



Early Mow

Early Mow:

(Click for Audio) It’s supposed to be hot this weekend. For me, that’s just about anything over 60 degrees! So, I take advantage of the cool time when I can, and when I need to. I skipped most of my early morning routines and fired up the tractor and started knocking down the 2 acres that represents my front yard. I mowed the back half acre yesterday morning, and the remaining pasture will get mowed again with the brush hog one day next week.

Fortunately, my neighbors are not too close and most of them are leaving for work and school as the tractor weaves out of the back yard and into the wet grass up front.

Some want to mow on the weekend and work their off days. Not me. I want to mow during the week so I can enjoy my downtime.

Back in my younger days I would mow for the extra money needed to put groceries on the table. For about 8-9 months a year, yards in Texas needed a weekly clipping. I would start early, push that mower for hours, going house to house in my truck, and driving with the windows down to drip dry the sweat off my brow. For hours my clothes would be wet, until I got home and took a cool shower. Back then, mowing time was not as important as it is today. Back then it was all about money. Filling in the missing dollars so my bride could stay at home with the new born kids. It was that important!

As a kid, pre-school years, I remember my dad mowing while we were inside taking naps. I know where I get my sweat gene’s  from! And this was just one little suburban yard. Later in life, dad asked to mow my yard when we were in Anchorage. We both had this thing for mowing…and I wonder if he used the time like I do today?

Today, my time on the tractor is an important part of my life.

It used to be simply the riding mower, but after wearing out several of them too soon I upgraded to a large beast and enjoy the faster stronger time in the saddle.

Why is this important? Some have called me an introvert, and I will admit to loving “me” time with no one around. But, it’s also the time spent analyzing life, personal issues, business and church challenges, national and international situations, and determining what I need to do about any of it. Some would much rather take a long walk, and still, others, I’m sure, would just as soon go shopping. If tractor time doesn’t work out, then a couple of hour drive will always clear the cobwebs.

While I am weaving around rocks, stumps, trees and all the snaggles of the yard, I imagine how I could best handle stuff. The beauty of it? No one interrupts me. No one is at home. It’s just me and my yard, and some quality thinking time. This time allows me to truly analyze without having to rush to my documentation tools, because if there is one thing I struggle with the most is not documenting the options and solutions as they appear, lest they slip out of sight and out of mind.

A friend back in Texas seems to have the skills of remembering everything on his schedule without having to put any of it on a calendar, or look it up to see what a particular day has in store… Not me. My calendar is racked full of events that affect me, including others that are traveling that will leave me without assistance or backup.

So. This morning. Tractor Time. Early.

You know what happened? I figured out the meaning of life! Truly! It did not come in a flash, rather a long slide into home base… It was like watching it slow motion. The closer the runner gets to home, the clearer life looks to me.

Now, I can’t tell you the answer because you would not be able to handle it. But if you ever have some private time and you think it’s all figured out, then come check with me…let’s compare notes… Because I, truly,  have the answer!

The Fear of the First

What have you done the “first” time that filled you with trepidation?

Alaska. Anchorage. Merrill Field.

Okay. Maybe, just maybe, for you it was stressing over that first bite of spinach! Maybe it was questionable but we all understood what it did for Popeye!

Okay… Maybe it has nothing to do with food.

But do you remember the first time you stepped up to something you had never done before? Overcoming the fear. Building up that intestinal fortitude! Creating an “I can do this” mentality!! Then following through to success! Not that it worked right the first time, but that you did it!

Through my years I’ve done a number of things that were the “first” and I survived them.

  • Standing on the leading edge of a rough-cut board and squeezing up enough nerve to jump into the water 20 feet below. At a creek where you cannot see the bottom! Better yet, swinging by rope into similar dark and murky water and releasing a good 40 feet above the surface!
  • Riding in a hot air balloon over Anchorage, and feeling confident enough to take the kids up in Washington!
  • Soaring in a sailplane after being towed up to 3,000 feet by a prop plane along the Glenn Highway
  • Getting off a ski lift successfully, and then skiing down a slope next to the edge of a 2,500 foot drop… the first time to the top of the mountain….
  • Driving too fast down a dark country road in your mom’s station wagon.
  • Holding my first child…and not dropping him!
  • Writing my first production program in the late 7o’s. And it worked!
  • Waiting on my first customer, by myself.
  • Driving my first cross country trip.
  • Preaching my first sermon.
  • Pastoring my first church.
  • Saying, “I do.”

This morning I thought about my very first solo flight… I wished I had been smart enough to take pictures. My plane, a Cessna 150. My instructor, Wesley Ballard. Where? Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska. When? It’s a little fuzzy but it would have been about 1983.

My first flight in a small plane had been at Anchorage International Airport. A different instructor, school and experience. My second flight, again at the same airport was with an even different instructor who wanted to show me what a spin was like out over the Cook Inlet. I’m sure he tried to scare me out of flying!

When I committed to learning to fly, Wesley became my instructor. We had been doing touch-n-go’s. That’s where you practice flying the circuit and touching your wheels down on the runway, and then taking right back off. Over. And over. Drilling it over and over in your mind, and building up your skills, until you can land the plane without a bump, and take off as fast as possible.

After about an hour of practice, and with only 10-12 hours of flying under my belt, Wesley told me to request a full stop, and a taxi to the tower. I was almost sure of what was happening, but held my apprehension under control. He hopped out of the plane, told me to take the plane around 3 circuits, and meet him back at the his office when I’m done.

He went up to the tower, and I requested permission to taxi to the runway. All of a sudden, I’m fully aware that my safety net is not sitting in the seat next to me. Yes. He’s in the tower where he can coach me if I need it, but did you know that a plane flies differently with only one person on board? It does! Suddenly, I have elbow room and can see to the right without looking around another body.

I lined up on the numbers, looked over my controls, gazed down that long runway heading toward downtown Anchorage, and then pushed full throttle and took off!

Success! Three times around the circuit, with the last a full stop…. A first.

How do you prepare for your first? A lot of training, reading, studying, practicing, preparing… for that first moment when you are doing something for the first time. In front of an audience. For real.

If you are the right type of personality, then you follow similar steps of preparation for every time you repeat the action. Nothing becomes “old hat”. You have the personality to treat every time as if it were the first time.

Maybe that would have helped Samson. After many attempts by Delilah to learn his strength, he succumbs to her charm and shares the truth. The next time he wakes, scripture tells us a telling tale.

Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. (Judges 16:19-20 NKJV)

It’s almost as he had played the fool, one too many times, and forgetting his heritage he allowed his blessing to be stripped from him. And he did not even realize it. It’s almost as if he forgot his first. His mantle. His blessing. He dallied with the temptation, lost his blessing while asleep, and awoke as an ordinary man.

Maybe it’s like taking your role for granted. Whether a spouse, a father, or a life long career personality, the world around you becomes just an every day existence. No spark. No fire. Just a drudgery of day in. Day out. Year in. Year out.

Do you want this to be your lot in life? It will be. Unless you live like every experience around you is your First! Keep looking for the spark that makes life exciting. Fun. Enjoyable.

This winter, for the first time, we saw hummingbirds hanging around through the cold, snow and ice. So we worked hard on keeping the feeders free of ice. Bring them in at night, put them out in the morning, and watch them do battle as they chased one another through the porch and the shrubs and the trees. Every day, they came back, and if we had not worked hard to help them survive, then who knows what would have happened.

This winter, we lost contact with our favorite stray cat. Diablo. We never got to touch him like you could just see he wanted to be touched, but we never quit trying. Every day he showed up, we fed him. He changed his allegiance from me, to my bride. She became his favorite. The winters were hard on him as he wandered from neighborhood to neighborhood. I’m sure he fought to stay alive, but he always came back to us as a safe harbor. He failed to show up about 3 weeks ago…but not because we did not try.

Here’s a thought for you. Treat every daily existence as if it’s a new experience with new opportunities to overcome, and new victories to be won. Every time I crawled into the cockpit of the Cessna 150, or 152 Aerobat, I made sure that I did everything right, by the book, never letting it get to be just another flight. I did not want a Samson experience. I wanted to enjoy another First…

December 23rd

It’s Friday…the end of the typical work week…

2016-12-22-21-58-51Especially if you work a non-support or retail job. Hope you enjoy the last day of the work week!

In 1980 we moved to Alaska after I accepted a job at National Bank of Alaska. We left Houston on November 1, and the first day on the job as November 17… Those 16 days of travel were a blast. We added an extra gas tank to my 1977 GMC truck (Sea Mist Green) and left Houston. Las Vegas. San Francisco. Highway 1 and 101 to Oregon, up I-5 to Seattle, loading up the windshield washer tank with several gallons of fluid as Mt St Helen’s had blown just 6 months before and the ash/mud debris made for a messy drive. Change of ferry plans, but finally left Seattle on the Matanuska Ferry early the morning for a 3.5 day voyage to Haines, AK. Then the last 750 mile drive to Anchorage with temps down to -40.

A tremendous experience and a great memory as if it happened last week.

After working for about 5 weeks we approached the Christmas season. It had been way below zero for weeks, and on the night of December 22nd, it warmed up to above freezing. Ice melting. Snow turning to rain. My pickup had slid out of the apartment parking lot and was sitting in the middle of the road. As I left for work about 6:30 am, I had the devil of a time trying to get up every little hill surrounding our apartment. I finally called in and simply stayed home…

My truck had taken us across deserts, mountain ranges, out of the country, through the Canadian Rockies, into Alaska, going from 80 degrees to -45…. No studded tires, or 4WD, Chains… Over 5,000 miles of driving! Just saying. Finally, I succumbed to some very icy city streets!

That was 1980…But December 23 has many other experiences through the centuries. You may recognize a few of the times and places, especially the first one.

  • 962 – Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist
  • 1783 – US General George Washington resigns his military commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to Congress
  • 1788 – Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
  • 1823 – The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (” ‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) was published.
  • 1856 – Ralph Collier was issued a U.S. patent for the first rotary egg beater with rotating parts.
  • 1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, and sends it to a prostitute for safe keeping
  • 1913 – The Federal Reserve Bill was signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The act established 12 Federal Reserve Banks
  • 1922 – The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.
  • 1941 – During World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
  • 1942 – Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional Christmas shows.
  • 1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor.
  • 1948 – Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo. They had been found guilty of crimes against humanity.
  • 1968 – The crew of the U.S. Navy ship, Pueblo, was released by North Korea. The Captain of the Pueblo, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, and 82 of his crew were held for 11 months after the ship was seized by North Korea because of suspected spying by the Americans.
  • 1970 – In New York, the topping out ceremony for original One World Trade Center (North Tower) took place. The South Tower’s ceremony took place on July 19, 1971. (Which ever one had the restaurant at the top also had the tallest outside observatory that I have ever walked on!)
  • 1986 – The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
  • 1997 – Terry Nichols was convicted by a Denver jury on charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people.

A few Facebook notes of mine from prior years:

  • 2015 – “Fever? Maybe
  • 2013 – “Those We Follow
  • 2013 – If tomorrow is Christmas Eve, then today must be Christmas Adam, right?

Finally, a few favored 12/23 scriptures.

For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. (Exodus 12:23 NKJV)  (Continued from Yesterday!)

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. (John 12:23 NKJV)

Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. (Luke 12:23 NKJV)

A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. (Proverbs 12:23 NKJV)


Hodgepodge Revisited

Just a Hodgepodge

hodgepodge-wordsA word flashed in my mind yesterday and I thought to refresh my thinking and meaning of the word…. Hodgepodge. Essentially, a “confused mixture” and in one sense that’s the way I decorate, how I live, and enjoy an eclectic style of music. It makes no difference whether this fits with that, but rather, do I like this and that, so enjoy them both at the same time.

If that’s the way I enjoy, then who cares if I’m the one having to live with it…

Now. There is nothing necessary about using this word over any other, and I cannot tell you where I might have learned it to begin with. But sometimes Jumble, Montage, Muddle, or any other word simply does not fit… But Hodgepodge does!

It’s almost like my collecting style is broad, and even a little weird. I’ve collected coins since I was about 6 years old and this is my favorite past time when I think of collections. However, I’ve collected key chains, coasters, cigarette lighters (and I’ve never smoked) as well as pictures, quotable sayings, greeting cards and the things kids bring to me at church.

Somewhere along the way this hodgepodge of collectibles must be handled. But maybe never by me! That’s why you have a Last Will and Testament!

There was a place in my past that I remember shopping at that really contained a hodgepodge of goods. It was a damaged goods place along the Houston Ship Channel called “The Salvage”. I remember getting a tricycle that mimicked a three wheel Police Cycle that you would often see in parades, or as a parking enforcer. I do not know whatever happened with it, but I do remember that as a major purchase!

And this is where the word came up today. A barista and I were having a conversation about my love for black coffee. My mind drifted back to my first memory of roasting coffee…

One of the best smells in the world is the roasting of coffee beans!
Hands down, nothing comes close.

So. I pick up my story from another posting about Hodgepodge….

Growing up east of Houston, I remember the times we would go into the city and drive down Navigation Blvd, next to the Houston Ship Chanel and just off the bubble of downtown Houston. Freeways were only 2 lanes each way, not the multiple lanes on each side with HOV traffic flow in the middle.

On the way to a special buying place of damaged shipped good, called The Salvage, we would pass by a coffee roasting on a large scale. It may be Maxwell House today, but I think it was Maryland Club back in the day. At one time Coca Cola owned them. Anyway, driving by there on the way to a unique shopping experience, if they were roasting then you would be swallowed up by that special smell.

A few years back, our church in Anchorage occupied a space across the Seward Highway from Khaladi Brothers Coffee. Though it was a special place to hang out, it was also where they roasted beans. I tell you, there were some days you could hardly have church when the wind over the mountains pushed that aroma into our building!

Coffee does not taste like it smells! I am not sure what the smell portends, but when you mix the smell with the taste you immediately react. You are not sure what you were going to taste, but it is nothing like the smell.

I’ve written before that Dad was going to allow me to start drinking coffee around 12 years old. We were at a picnic/bingo event at the Lyondell Plant off Sheldon Road in Channelview. They had a company park at the back of the plant, right on the San Jacinto River. Their swimming pool was murky and had a sand bottom – it often felt like you were swimming in the river! At an event, we were invited to by the Allen’s, my mom’s sister’s family, we were sitting at a table when dad walked over and told me I was old enough. To drink coffee. Only, I had to learn to drink it black. Everyone around me was doctoring their coffee and he said there was plenty of time for that, but to start I needed to appreciate it without the additives.

This was the same with learning to drive. Standard first. Automatics later….

It did not work out for coffee that day! And it was nearly a dozen years later before I acquired the coffee taste and to this day, the only way to partake is for it to be black. Nothing in it…. Unless it’s bad coffee.

So, back to a few days (years) ago. I removed several packages of specialty coffees and ground the beans and made my own mixture of morning coffee. Hodgepodge. Not a bad job, if I say so myself!

If you look up hodgepodge you will find it connected to the idea of a stew. A finished product of different, and seemingly unrelated items mixed together…I’ll drink hodgepodge coffee any day!


15 Years Ago

We celebrate and memorialize…

imageSpecial Memories. Milestones. Anniversaries. Events. Experiences. Things we store in our heart and mind. Tragedies. Treasured moments. Births. Deaths. Separations. Coming together.

We hold treasured items that represent something from that previous moment. From a rock where my dad served in Germany, to that cigarette box his brother had during his service in WWII … I have bibles, notepads, books and memorial announcements… Everything connects me to another person.

Solomon said there was a time and a season for everything.  A time to pick up, and a time to lay aside. A time to remember and honor…and at other times I simply keep that memory alive in my heart.

Reading an article about 9/11 this morning about the last of the artifacts from Hangar 17. For the past 6 years pieces of the destruction were distributed across the nation to places where First Responders came from… Did you know they did not find every body that died in the terrorist attack?  This this one sobering quote stopped me…

“That’s where the DNA is. Neither my cousin or anybody else from Squad 1 was ever found, but it’s in that steel,” Hodge said. (Read Article Here)

Hodge was named after his cousin, a firefighter lost in the towers collapse. The steel and concrete pulverized everything it fell on. His comment is thought provoking. If you experience a piece of steel from that day, you are experiencing something that should give you pause. A person’s DNA is found in the creation, construction and destruction in that artifact. Take a somber and reflective moment.

Someone told me that they are now adding this tragedy to American History in High School and the students taking the course of study were not alive when this event happened… This is how far removed into the future we are.

Back in the early 90’s the traveling Vietnam Memorial wall came to our little corner of the world. Humble, Texas. I barely missed the draft season for this war. I knew students from my school who had served. I have a man in my church who was wounded in country. Though I have visited the memorials on the Mall in Washington, DC, there was something special about stopping next to that open field and visiting the traveling memorial late in the night. Sobering.

Through the years I have visited the graves of loved ones and felt the sadness of their passing. Or the monument where a big battle was fought. Won. Or lost. Sobering.

Sunday will be 15 years since 9/11/01. I remember the morning well in Anchorage, AK. The startling news coming across the airwaves. The shut down of all commercial air traffic across the country. The military jets thundering across the skies over our house, breaking the sound barrier as they went on patrol. Sobering memories.

Back in the early 90’s I spent several trips in Manhattan for work. The Tein Towers was a special attraction. One morning I’m down in the basement watching the trains unload deep in the bowels of transportation tunnels under the Towers. One morning I’m on top of one of the Towers having breakfast at the 109th floor and then strolling outside on top of the Tower on the observation deck. One trip I stayed in the Hotel nestled between the Towers that was later torn down because of an underground attack in a parking garages in 1993. 

For a variety of reasons, this weekend makes me want to travel to the new tower and the memorial site… A must do. Soon.




Diplomacy – Not Just Any Ol’ Game

(This is an updated posting from several years ago. It is written as I think about how divided our country is, and maybe always has been.)

It’s Amazing where conversations can lead you…

Diplomacy Board Game BoxIf you are searching, bouncing ideas off of someone else can clarify your position.

If you are our attempting to affirm or rebuild your foundation, then honest dialogue can show you gaps or even shore up your belief.

Even casually, conversation can help you understand where someone else stands.

Solomon writes a verse I have used often when I think about how we need each other to sharpen our views of our conversation.

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

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