Sunday, December 22, 2013

Old Stones - New Life

Stonehenge.  Visiting this place for the first time last week was incredible.  We were staying in London, so we took a train through the English countryside to a small town, then jumped a local bus to the site. Perfect.   It was surreal, because all my life I have wanted to visit this 5,000 year old site of stones - and suddenly, there it was.  This was built in the time of Noah - that's right - Noah and the Ark, 3,000 BC.  Of course they don't know exactly when Stonehenge was erected, but they know it was around that period.

This day was cold and a little wet - typical London weather in December, and perfect Stonehenge weather.  I took this picture and will probably use it for my new screen saver - who wouldn't?  So, this stone structure is really old.
So what's the new life part?  Compared to Stonehenge, the birth of Jesus is 'new'.  He was born 3,000 years later, after some guys stacked these 40 ton stones - and He was talked about, eluded to, back in the Old Testament at the time of Noah.  Just as these smart guys watched and tracked the stars, the sun, the moon, to build this place - Noah built an Ark over a long period of time to save his family from the flood.  Something strange was going on, all over the world, for sure.
I'm not trying to connect any dots, there are no dots really.   Well, maybe just a few . . . . .
Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kahlua and Peppermints

Kahlua was born in 2001 and last week on December 5, 2013 - in usual form, he tugged and pulled us along the path, pointing us on to the final destination - Heaven.  No, it wasn't a rabbit, it wasn't a squirrel, it wasn't a bird - although either of those would have been close, very close, to heaven.  Kahlua was pushing 13 years old (91 in dog years).  Known to me as 'boogger' - he was the finest friend you would ever want or need.  Too often, I took him for granted.  Why?  He was always there, just waiting.  Just waiting for me.  It didn't matter if I was gone for 30 minutes or 5 days - he greeted me with the same excitement and joy with the wagging of the tail and the whimper of happiness and nibble on my hand that said - "I'm so glad to see you!  I missed you!  Welcome back!  Can we play now dad?"
I wasn't worthy of his presence.  He was a king among kings. A servant, and king. 
On that Thursday afternoon, I cleaned the house a bit - packed up his bedding, his bowls, his left over food and vitamins, his blankets and toys still laying around the house.  I moved from room to room and removed all remembrances of my best buddy.  On my sink were dozens of peppermints, the peppermints I would collect at various restaurants around town - eating out all those evenings and coming home with a pocket full of peppermints that I grabbed on the way out the door - eating a couple and saving a few for my best friend waiting for me at home.  I'd give him one or two, then toss the rest on the counter, to save them for a rainy day.  He knew they were there.  He knew they were there and every now and then as I got ready to go each day he would sit and stair at me and when I glanced his way, he would shoot his eyes to the sink top where the peppermints were.  'Hey, come on, just one?! I'll be good - I'll be good, I promise - just one?!"
I was saving them for a rainy day.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Hello - My Name is Regret"

I regret not updating this site for 1 full year.  A whole year, gone.  Well there's no time like the present, to start new and fresh.  I've been thinking about a lot of things over the past year - but that's about it.  Mostly boring stuff like this:
I want to own and operate a Starbucks.  Wouldn't that be cool?  Over the past year I haven't been able to get to Starbucks every morning like I use to - but I do make it most Friday mornings when I'm in town, and then again on Sunday mornings before church (ok, and a few times in-between).  I do work there, real work, and I read the paper, and I connect with a few familiar faces.  And, I listen to conversations (shhhhhhhh!) the tables are real close together.  It's amazing what people feel free to talk about - out load - business discussions and very personal stuff - as if no one else is listening.   Well, I just mind my own business :).
I could totally operate a Starbucks.  I know the manager at my Starbucks and he's not a rocket scientist.  I'm not a rocket scientist - so I figure I could do it too - right?  He acts like he loves what he is doing - there's never a dull moment, and he works around coffee all day - what could be better?

Or, I could buy one of these shaved ice trucks and sell snow cones.  This couple was at our "Fall Festival" (Halloween) the other night with their truck.  They even have a web-site, they asked me to 'like' them on it.  Hey, in Texas it's not a bad idea, although that night was a bit chilly for an ice snack - so I went to the In-n-Out truck for a hot hamburger instead.  But this couple (about my age) looked relaxed and peaceful inside that truck - seemingly not a care in the world.  Starbucks might come with a lot of headaches - but I bet shaved ice has a lot less.  But the margins?  Well the margins might actually be higher - ice is cheap - but the volume can't be too good year round. That would be the issue.  (don't waste your time getting an MBA, just remember this, in a nutshell: it's all about high margins, and volume).  And your only employee is your wife - that could be risky too.  I want a lot of young cool looking employees working for me (Starbucks) - wouldn't you?  But the freedom, ya, the freedom would be incredible in this truck.  Now this guy in the truck, as I think about it, he really did look like a rocket scientist.  What does that tell you?
Likely, I'm not gonna do any of that.  Here's the problem (for instance): just yesterday I was notified that I had become a "Certified Outsourcing Professional" - a COP.  They're going to mail me my certificate, and I can add the acronym to my business card and put it on LinkedIn too.  Gotta update the resume and stuff like that.  It's a big deal with the type of people I work with - and a pain to get.  It's another one of those 'hooks', that keep you engaged in something you might not care much about in the first place.  It's 'comfortable'.  Typical isn't it, just when I was thinking about a Starbucks or a Shaved Ice truck - I got certified in something else, distracted from what's important.  Regrets.
But what am I going to do with my life??  What about you?
"Hello - My Name is Regret".  Matthew West has a song out there with those words - great song.  We tell ourselves that we have regrets, and we are defeated.  But we're not.  That's the evil one talking to you.  My real name is "Child of the one True King".   
Choose carefully what you do. Love what you do.  So I'm not the model for this yet (working on it) - but you could be!  If you don't love what you do - keep doing it (don't just stop like some people say - that's dangerous) - but keep looking for something else - no regrets - stay alert and on the watch for that special something you might love to do.  Search, discover, investigate - but don't get too comfortable doing what you don't love.  Comfort and familiarity can kill you - the evil one will kill you this way - that's his goal.  He'll rob you of your life, by robbing you of your time on earth.  It's a perfect plan, that plays itself out everyday.   
This isn't a new concept, Paul wrote in Ephesians (God's words): "Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil".  I think what he meant is that we can tend to waste our time, throw away precious time, time you can never get back. 
No regrets - that's the goal.