Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!

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Sip in the NEW YEAR!!!!! happily and stay safe!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The UP to All the Downs

our first snow

A great deal of life is about perspective. It is defined as follows:

n. per·spec·tive  (pr-spktv)

1. a. A view or vista.
b. A mental view or outlook: "It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present" Fabian Linden.
2. The appearance of objects in depth as perceived by normal binocular vision.
3. a. The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.
b. Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view: the perspective of the displaced homemaker.
c. The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance: tried to keep my perspective throughout the crisis.
4. The technique of representing three-dimensional objects and depth relationships on a two-dimensional surface.

We can easily find ourselves very stressed or worried if we dare watch the evening news for more than three minutes. There might be a thin slice of good news in a $5 footlong news segment; but they are way over-shadowed by the doom and gloom of the current state of affairs. I could only imagine walking into a job knowing before I got there it was in a mess and probably not going to be better for some time. I would never want to be president. Anywho, the heat of the moment can often enview the deepest of our darknesses. Whether its the heat of an arguement or heat of the game; things can happen pretty quick.

Pastor Rice Brooks did this sermon about perspective once that was very picturesque. He held up an ordinary penny between his thumb and forefinger tips. Look at it. Its nothing big or special, just an ordiary penny barely worth a cent. Then he began moving it toward his face. If I stare at this penny moving closer to me, it seems bigger. He continued moving the penny until it was right in front of his eyesocket. As small and insignificant as this penny is, when focused on only can seem pretty big. In fact, its so big that I cant see anything or anyone in this whole room. Most of our fears arent worth a cent if we could ever get a glimpse of them with the right perspective. Point made I thought. I continued scribbling down notes from his sermon. I couldnt help but think about the times I thought I was really in deep “gumdrops” for something I had done, overlooked, mishandled or worse time and again. I remember how many times I’ve laughed at myself on the other side of things I thought were impassable and the end of life as I knew it; but here I am.

We have just gotten our first snow in the new home since leaving Murfreesboro. The main benefit that sold us was the view, aside from the master bathroom. Stunning! As great as it is, to see it again from another perspective — draped in the softest white snow changes or maybe enhances the experience even more. It was more than difficult leaving for the office but perspective also said I must, so I did. Its not hard for us to become overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. Dont panic! Check your perspective and find reliable measures to recheck your perspective against.

Happy 60th Birthday, Steve!
It only gets better.

Imagine having a 230lb man on your back. To say the least, the weight might be intrusive, perhaps even laboring. I doubt many of us would enjoy carrying around another 230lbs. Perspective says, “hey, this weight is pretty light since I’m falling down. He's got my back......what a view!”

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Thats the title of a great song that always reminds me of my mother's smile. It was something about the idea of surviving all year to be able to return home as confirmation to my parents that all the hard times were worth it. Its one of those understoods that is expected of you after you've been away all year whether thats college or adulthood. It gets a little more complicated after you're married deciding who and which and when that trip happens. Regardless of any logic, it's still expected that you'll be home for Christmas. Its a Mother's Day.

I don't go home as often these days. She's no longer with us. I wonder sometimes if its the knowing that keeps me away or am I really that busy or that otherwise obligated. You learn real quick where the glue was when its gone and all the excuses fall away when there's noone else to blame. Fathers are great but they arent mothers. Let's face it, men get off easy when it comes to children and all the responsibilities they create. In fact, some just check out for a new deal. Mothers tend to believe and hope no mater what completely unconditionally. Now, that doenst mean that you wont hear about it twenty-four seven; but their love never dwindles.

There's a crisp in the air, second only to that Halloween breeze that ushers summer away. Its this time of the year that Bing Crosby can be heard in the background singing "I'll be home for christmas" as you remember the smile in the voice asking when you're coming. Its amazing and terrifying what women endure for their children. Men dont seem to have that same commitment/burden built into their souls. I can remember even on my worst days how my mother would always still be worried about any and everything she couldnt change or dissuade me from doing.

Bing Crosby>

I was fortunate. She was there to see my highschool graduation, college graduation, wedding, love my bride and dance one last time...."Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When its moving pictures, its worth a thousand paragraphs. Home reminds us of our duties that can be easily ignored because we are "busy" with our own lives. Home regrounds us with purpose and a launchpad for future inspirations/aspirations. Home reminds us of our dreams as little kids when nothing was impossible. Home convicts us of being loved no matter what; the security of "always." Yeah, I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.....

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Fixin's: You'll Go APE Over!

cooking monkey

This is one of those recipes that a friend of mine would always make for me or when I was coming to dinner. She would even send some on holidays to the office for our marketing get-together. It was absolutely one of the best things she ever cooked and she was quite a cook and musician. Finally she broke down and told me how unbelieveably easy it was and I couldnt believe it. Its so simple and delicious, you'll want to do it right now! Its also great for cooking with kids. It gives everybody something to do. The best part is its absolutely delicious, horribly easy and virtually NO CLEANUP! What more could you want. Voila!

EASY Nutty Cinnamon Monkey Bread

monkey bread

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
1/2 cup pecans, if desired
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
Caramel Ice cream topping

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan.
2. In large plastic food-storage bag, mix sugar and cinnamon. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and pecans among the biscuit pieces.
3. Mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
4. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Drizzle caramel over the warm bread. Serve warm.

The smell alone will melt everyone in your home. Go all the way and get some vanilla bean ice cream or fresh fruit for you health nuts and WHAMMY!!!! Everybody's happy on a chilly weekend afternoon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Distorted American Realities Best Kept Secret

Secret Millionaire

My boss came in today and asked about a story we had published concerning scams...people taking advantage of good-hearted people with emotionally feeble minds. I suppose they wouldnt keep pulling these scams if they didnt advertising....if it didnt work, they wouldnt keep doing demand, no supply. It makes you think about being kind twice --- how much is too much; what if someone fools you all the time; is it their fault, your fault or will the cosmos make up for it later and if so, how much later?

I watched a show that I think I will like "Secret Millionaire." I really hadnt planned on liking it or watching it. It just happened that something I hated more than "reality TV" was on... "award shows!!!" Other than Extreme MakeOver, I haven't seen that many successful "positive" examples of TV. You look at what America exports to the rest of the world; no, I mean other than our jobs and welfare. I mean "sex, candy, rock-n-roll, drugs, bibles, ideologies and laxnesses mixed with hipocracies, chased by strong dark drinks on ice with a do-it-to-them-before they do-it-to-you mentality so long as its all about me" mindset. No, this wont be a "preachy" blog but your mind might be pricked into further thought.

Anywho, these millionaires would come into some far less fortunate situation and lie about who they are to gain these poor folks' trust. As they come to understand the true grit of the folks' lives, they decide to donate money to the problem/situation, which ever the case may be. Ironicly, some of these folks really needed their help and their benevelance. I remember this one preacher in Louisiana who had lost everything in the hurricane but gone out of his way to help everyone else. Ironicly I had stood pretty close to where his home used to be in Louisiana. The pictures do it no justice to stand in the middle of that much chaos and destruction. The only thing more amazing that people get up from that with hope is the tradgedy that most of it is STILL in chaos and destruction. Another great story was about a coach that had brought together 3 rival highschools to form one team on a shoestring budget because schools and equipments had been destroyed. It is amazing what people CAN accomplish; very disappointing what they WILL do. (back darkness, BACK!!!! ) Its good to see prayers answered anyway God chooses to do it; even when its not what WE actually had in mind or are comfortable with.

hidden in plain view

...the easiest way to hide the truth is in plain view...
unfortunately, the same is true for hiding lies....

Its ironic that the millionaires were more concerned with going back and telling these folks that they had been untruthful with them since they met. I do believe that (believe it or not) most millionaires are based on solid work ethic and a desire to do good; but the task is daunting to decifer where and who really will do good things with such gifts. This show illuminates the goodness in hearts while ensuring some ratings capital full of emotional punching bags for weary viewers. I suspect most folks were probably watching stars get awards and promote themselves; so I am amazed that they put the show in that timeslot. I think if I won the lottery, this show may have given me some more ideas about what to do with the money. The only question that remains is what will the money change in the generosity of the people who receive it? I guess we'll just have to see....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Turkey Talk: Simple Gobbles

Pilgrim Thanks

Its Tuesday in the Music City and there's no snow. The world moves by at a frozen pace with streams of white smoke spewing from the nostrils and lips of the people walking by. Another Thanksgiving gone; truely one of my favorite holidays. I love how it freaks out the retail market....they dont know what to do except put up Christmas stuff. Thanksgiving is probably the only time that really makes people pause to give thanks. I hate to watch people get their food and just start eating whether its a restaurant or fast food. There's a lot I dont know and even more I dont understand about the grand scheme of things; but at least I can be thankful! No I dont own the world or a private helicopter or a remote control helicopter; but I can give thanks. Everything we have comes from somewhere else and can easily return from whence it came. I dont have any of it because I am so great or have any superhero powers or saintly qualities. I was just blessed to be born in America in such a time. I didnt get to choose family, skin color, location etc but what little I have; Thanks God! I hope I serve it well. Love covers a multitude of sins....thats my saving grace mixed with just saying "thank you" at every good and bad thing.

eat Ham; Not Turkey

What is it with people who are always complaining about something? Everybody knows one. They cant enjoy the simplest things in their lives for complaining about what didnt go right, or didnt happen or dont have.... Change happens, life happens, then death happens and then change happens again. That is the nature of man. (Note: yeah, I know how loud what I didnt say speaks.) There is no question that with money you can do more; but rarely can you "be" more. That's something beyond money; something deeper than what people think of you. I am always for the underdog, for the nerd, for the forgotten and the downtrodden...they have the stuff of heroes. They have the "hero" spark waiting to ignite in its due time.

Be Thankful

Meanwhile, I sit snowless in Nashville rambling about much ado of many complaining about people complaining and being thankful simutaneously. It could ALWAYS be worse. No Job or Abraham tests for me please...Faith, Hope, Love, but the greatest of these is Love...that sums up my state of mind today in its many translations.

1 Corinthians 13


 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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