Friday, March 17, 2017

seek what is true

Are you practicing confirmation bias? Are you genuinely seeking to confirm evidence rather than the evidence that will dis-confirm your point of view? Are you willing to go there?

An open minded individual doesn't reject information that endangers one's position. The open minded individual seeks what is true ~ rather than ignore/downplay evidence that threatens to undermine his or her ideology.

Seek what is true, even if it's uncomfortable. Pride can keep us ignorant. Pride keeps us from truly learning. Pride keeps us apart.

Wherever we are ~ let's start with an humble heart and go from there.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
~Proverbs 11:2

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wicked Witch of The West Wing

During a speech this week, Hillary made an analogy relating her opposition on the right as characters from The Wizard of Oz. She scoffed, "lots of sound and fury, even a fog machine. But when you pulled back the curtain it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer to the American people".

If you recall, The Great & Powerful Wizard wasn't all he said he was, but did come through in the end. In his own way, The Wizard couldn't offer a magic answer, but was able to give the main characters what they needed. Did he not have a way to get Dorothy back to Kansas? The Wizard was a good guy in this story.

Once upon a time John McCain referred to the Tea Party as "Tea Party Hobbits". To John, this was supposed to be a clever disparaging insult at his opposition. Yet it was the Hobbits in Tolkien's epic tale who were the heroes that saved Middle-earth. So if the Tea Party are Hobbits, what does that make John McCain, a tool of Mordor?

Hillary should've thought her analogy through thoroughly before opening her mouth. If Trump is The Wizard, then whose character in this story is she?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

two thumbs up and five gold stars

I purchased my Bose Soundlink a year ago.  This is a great little Bluetooth speaker that puts out a lot of sound, not just a lot, but a full sound.  I usually use it with my iphone 6, but have used it as my laptop speaker.  My wife enjoys watching Netflix shows on her Kindle Fire, my daughter has enjoyed listening to music on her iPad.  The Bose Color Soundlink can connect up to eight devices.  If you're a massage therapist, this little speaker won't take up space in your work area, and it's ideal when you have to take your show on the road.  The Soundlink comes in various colors.  I chose red so I lessen the chance of leaving behind.  I take this little speaker almost everywhere I go.  I usually purchase black, but I knew I'd be more apt to lose it if I went that route.

Bose is just as renown for sound quality as they are packing a lot of sound into a small package.  The average retail is $130.00.  I bought my Bose at Best Buy and it was worth every penny.  The speaker comes with a heavy duty wall charger/USB cable.  I recommend you pick up an 1/8th inch speaker cable just in case you have need run it to a Bluetoothless computer.  The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to eight hours. That's a lot of listening pleasure!

I'm not a tech savvy guy, so being easy to operate is also a big plus.
This unit is very user friendly.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

two incredible souls

I got a job in Huntsville April of last year.  My home is an hour and a half away from that job.  I had been spending a little over three hours drive time to and from that job month after month until Rick and Beckie graciously invited me into their home.  They were insistent about me treating their home as my home and not act as a guest.  They really meant it. They made me feel like family, and I still feel like they are indeed family.

I had to quit my job at Virginia College due to my health.  I haven't been back up there since I fell ill. My clothes are still hanging in Rick and Beckie's closet.  I've got to get back up there and pick up the gear I left behind. They said that it's not in their way, that there's no hurry.  I know that even when my stuff is gone, a part of me will remain. My mind regularly wanders northward of here, what's happening at school, what's happening at my other home.

I'll miss that big marble table, heated by the space heater, that we all seemed to draw toward at the end of every day.  It seems the heart of their home.  Every night Captain Kangaroo' (their long-legged cat) would be drawn to Beckie's lap.  Rick would often light up his pipe and we'd drift into deep conversations for hours on end.  I will miss those talks about music, life and God.

Life is all about change. You never know when change will take place, but we must be willing to roll with each day.  I know a good season is behind me.  The experience was hard but pleasant.  I'll move on with this change, let go of what is now over, but not my love for these two incredible souls.  We will see each other, but not as much as before.  I love you two. 
I was blessed to be welcomed into your family.  I am blessed to have had you in my life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Chick-fil-A Daze

I never had a Chick-fil-A sandwich before I got the job at Chick-fil-A.  Maybe it's because, in those days, I rarely went to the mall.  I went to the mall one day back in 1984 looking for a job.  I went from one end to the other filling out applications with little luck  I didn't even think of Chick-fil-A.  In fact, I had called it quits and was on my way out of the Gadsden Mall to go home.

Then, I heard someone call my name.  When I looked to my right, I saw this bright eyed girl smiling and waving at me from behind the counter of that chicken joint.  I knew that I had seen her at Christian Brothers Coffeehouse, but couldn't remember her name.  I met countless people through Christian Brothers as a host, people would know my name but unfortunately, I couldn't remember all of their names.  She was one of them.   I replied with a "Hi!" and walked over to her.  The conversation was brief.  She asked me what I was up to.  I told her that I had been looking for a job.  "Would you like to work here",  "Sure, that would be great!", I replied.  She said, "Give me a minute and let me go up and talk to Steve real quick." I still didn't know her name and was feeling sort of embarrassed that I couldn't recall it.  I was relieved when the manager, Steve Plimpton, came down and gave me both her name and the job I needed.  He said something like "Gina tells me you'd like to join our team, and if Gina recommends you, I'll hire you."

Her name is Gina.

I started on a very busy Friday night.  Back in those days, it seemed like every person in Etowah County was at the Gadsden Mall - they probably were.  It was even crowded behind the counter with all the staff in those narrow work spaces.  Associates behind every register with a couple of people on the board filling the orders.  The kitchen was just as busy.  It was so busy that first night that I felt very much in the way.  I was given the task of cleaning restrooms, filling the ice chests up front from the ice maker in the kitchen.  I squeezed a ton of lemons and was taught how to make that incredible Chick-fil-A lemonade.  People would put me on task and then leave me to figure things out.

I always looked forward to working with that girl Gina.  She pretty much trained me in the ways of Chick-fil-A.  I saw that she was very friendly and patient person.  She was a hard worker.  She was a very honest.  Of course I took interest, but didn't say anything.  She was involved in someone else at the time.  Gina eventually got a job at Eckerd Drug, not the one next door, but the one in Alabama City.  I didn't see her as much after she left. 

I guess I worked at Chick-fil-A for about a year of my life.  I hustled at that job.  If I didn't have something to do, I'd find something to do.  It was overall a good experience.  The fun times were closing up shop, when the mall was empty and a few of the associates would lock ourselves in to break it all down and clean up.  I met Jerry Connell while working for Chick-fil-A.  I especially enjoyed closing with Jerry.  He'd clean the kitchen and I'd clean the front. We enjoyed each others sense of humor and laughed and laughed as we worked. We'd often hit a movie if we finished up on time. We are still dear friends today.

One day that girl Gina dropped by Chick-fil-A.  She asked me how the job was doing and I said "okay".  I could do with a change.  She asked me if I'd be interested in working at Eckerds.  Well, it worked out great the first time she asked me if I wanted a job. Once again, I was learning a new job with that pretty girl teaching me the ropes again.  It took me a while to express my interest in her.  I waited a while after she became un-involved with that guy.  She never seemed in need of a date. 


Eventually we'd venture out after work as a group of friends to eat or see a movie. Eventually, I asked her to go to a movie by ourselves.  Eventually she became my girl - and eventually my wife.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

silver wings

The Lady Lee was crippled and had fallen back from the formation.  I could hear his calm voice as it crackled over the radio.  Lloyd was the only man left on her.  The plane had heavy flack damage, including the cockpit. The seasoned pilot was unable to leave it. I got on the horn and we chattered, hoping to give him some comfort that he wasn't alone, but he didn't let on that he needed it. There was an unfamiliar weakness in his voice, yet his handle on the yoke stayed sure and steady. Even amid our brief encounter in the air, he seemed peaceful and resolute.  His demeanor calmed my spirit, rather than mine, his.

I caught a visual on the fire from both wings, starting to bellow out thick and black.  The closer I got, the more flack damage I could see.  Lady Lee was a hopeless, yet defiant girl.  I could now hear the engines sputter. I pulled closer beside my good friend, he turned and we made eye contact.  He offered me a smile through the broken glass and a firm thumbs up.

Lloyd then pulled his yoke back and directed his tattered vessel upward and away.  I kept watch on him, as his vessel ascended into a sea of white cloud and into the heavens.

Then he was gone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

the beauty that counts

"Beauty is only skin deep."

           No it isn't. 

Judging beauty solely by someone's epidermis is literally superficial. To behold the lasting beauty, one must measure deeper.  We must each invest time to see the true and lasting beauty of someone's soul. Beauty is more inward than outward. Beauty is a pure and loving heart. It is what is inside that counts.

"Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
~1 Peter 3:4

 As we age, let us allow our Creator to renew our minds and refine our hearts to become more like the beautiful image of our Savior.  As we age, let us pursue His way.  As we age, let us age well!

Monday, December 21, 2015

fruitcake affects me

I detest fruitcake, yet I have been buying it every Christmas for over well over twenty years, until this year.  I have always hated the sight and smell of fruit cake, but my mother loved it.  Every time I saw it on the shelf at the first of the holiday season, I would buy my mother (and my mother in-law) a fruitcake.  My mother in-law passed away December of 2013, and never partook of the fruit cake I had purchased for her that Christmas.  My mother passed away only a few months ago, on October 23rd.  I have been weathering her passing all right, but have moments of true longing.

There has been something kind of sad and humorous at the same time happening to me this Christmas season.  Every time I see a Claxton Fruit Cake ~ I find myself verklempt.   So far I have been blindsided at least three times by a Claxton Fruit Cakes.  I immediately get a lump in my throat and avert my eyes.

There are other things.  A few years ago my mother asked me to be on the lookout for a DVD of a one season TV series called 'Hawkeye'.  I made several attempts to find the show, but failed to find it.  Well, last Friday night, I actually stumbled across it at the DVD stand in the Cracker Barrel store.  I thought "a great Christmas gift for mothe....r)".  There I go again.  I keep getting ambushed!

I have also been ambushed a few times by marmalade.  My mother loved various kinds of marmalade; pineapple, peach, orange, whatever.  Mom loved marmalade.  It didn't take much to please her.  She enjoyed those little treats in life.

She absolutely LOVED ice cream.  Mom loved ice cream more than any treat, and yet I haven't been affected by ice cream. How odd.

Don't get me wrong.  I am doing well.  I am not depressed or obsessing. I haven't gone off the deep end.  I am okay. I do find it strange though, the items that stir the feelings of this loss.

I am having a pleasant Christmas, even without Mom.  Of course I am missing her, and already miss giving her a fruitcake.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

vacant city

i know that I am disappearing
but it is my secret
the doc had a long name for it
but i can't remember
all i know is that i am fading from within
and i cannot tell her this secret
i cannot let on to anyone
that i am no longer ordinary
my end like all men is certain
but my end will come as a day
i will simply no longer remember
you or myself
my heart breaks
not because i am losing myself
but because i will lose you
somewhere in the process

does being a stranger
in a strange town
make it easier or more difficult
i could easily lose myself here
i need to work
i need to keep sending the money back home
i need to keep moving forward
into this uncertainty
no one really knows me here
no one knows me like you
no one will miss me here
i know you will

what a strange predicament
yet i cannot come to grips with it
it seems easier to keep going through the motions
day to day
call you
tell you how much i love you
tell you until i can no longer
until i cannot
remember you
beyond your reach
lost beyond recognition
lost somewhere
within my own reflection

Sunday, November 1, 2015

every time I see blue

For some reason, the first thing I thought when realizing we were days away of Mom's passing, was the line "every time I see blue, I'll think of you".  I then thought, there's a song in that, so I tucked it away.

She died the following Friday morning. For some reason, I fell to sleep easily that night.  I woke up about 3:30 Saturday morning with that line dangling over my head.  I rolled off the couch and picked up an acoustic and started a simple four chord progression.  The melody just poured out, but I had to piddle with the lyrics a little.  You can tell that I have yet to get it quite down.

The last thing I wanted was to take the song in a sad direction.  I am a little sad, naturally, but for some reason, I wanted this to be a song about my Mom not to be a downer.  She loved blue, and I didn't want the song to be blue.