Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to 2011 Friends

National Blog Posting Month (i.e., NaBloPoMo) has a theme for January regarding "Friends." Friends have played an important role in my life over the years. Admittedly, I do not make new friends easily. Generally, people don't become more than acquaintances until there is some shared experience. My closest friends remain my closest friends from high school and college. I shared many experiences with the friends I hold from those times. I even count some from those periods as "friends" having not really spent much time since the respective graduations.

To make friends now requires something different. At this stage in life, I have to choose to be friends with someone. That is, I have to want to invest in their lives and want to give them access to my life on some deeper level. Making friends requires energy. I don't generate energy by being with others. That tends to sap my energy. Thus, I tend to limit those situations that require energy expenditure. What's the point if I can't truly engage?

I've discovered that as I age -- and I am definitely aging -- my circumstances or my life does not provide me with as many situations that make "friend-making" easy. If I want to develop a new friendship, I have to make a positive step in that direction. Generally, I find that step to be a positive one, but I tend to be cautious in extending my friendship web because I know that I have somewhat limited energy resources. And why bother if I'm not going to really invest in the relationship?

I don't share this for anyone to believe that I think they should think it special if I count them my friend. I know that I am lucky to have the friends that I have. I hope not to ruin any potential new friendships that I am developing. I've just noticed that developing friendships is far harder than it was when life forced me into proximity with others that I wanted/needed as friends.

Here's to deepening relationships in 2011. Here's to you developing real friendships in the coming months. (I plan to share what I believe to be the earmarks of a "real friendship" in future posts.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 30 -- The Finish Line

Today ends another year of National Blog Posting Month. For me, these have been the only posts of 2010 -- not just November. As is the case every year that I've done this, I've enjoyed the exercise. It's not easy writing something every day. And as you can attest, it's even harder to write something well every day.

Thanks, I'll be here all week! Try the veal. And tip your waitress.

While I've been writing these relatively short posts for the last 30 days, there's been another segment of society that participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). I've wondered if I could come up with that many words each day to end up with the 50,000 requirement -- much less 50,000 words that result in a coherent story.

But I'm intrigued. I think I may have that many words in me, but I'm not sure yet what story to tell. I have 11 months to mull it over.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 29 -- Waiting

Our church is celebrating the advent season this month. With that comes a four-part series each week. Yesterday's message centered around Waiting for God. (Not the British comedy series.)

There were several points that struck me in this first message. But one stuck out more than the others.

That point is one that shouldn't really shock me or you. Waiting for God can be frustrating. I don't think anyone's ever yelled out "WELL, DUH!!" in church, but it felt really appropriate yesterday, and I was tempted to be the first one.

The key the that fact though is it's impetus. The waiting is frustrating because we want control. Let's face it. We're control freaks. I know I am. If you don't think I am, ask Jen. (Ask our Scotland leadership team! They'll tell you. Ha!) It's not a revelation that I like to be in control, and that's why I get frustrated or even discouraged while we're waiting for the Lord to show us the next step in this journey.

I like to control the means and the ends. That's where the frustration comes in. Because I know what I need. What we need. I live this life. I must know. I know what I can do. What I'm trained for. What jives with my personality. So, of course, I know best.


I only know what I can see. And some of what I can "see" for me and for us is distorted by my fears. Looking through the lens of fear is debilitating. The lens of fear is myopic. Fear says there is only one way forward. Fear says don't try that because you don't know how it's going to turn out. Fear says you can't do that. Fear lies.

What I want to cling to as we wait is that I can trust the Lord to have our best interests at heart, and that He knows what is best for us and that what is best for us may not be what we think is best for us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 28 -- RIP Leslie Nielsen

Growing up in the '70s, there are certain comedy classics that are a part of my DNA. That is, quotes from a handful of iconic comedies are indelibly fixed in my head. One of those quotes is "... and don't call me Shirley" whenever I hear someone say something like "Surely, that isn't how it happened" or "Surely, you can't be serious," I can't help but think:

I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

That quote is one of many legendary lines uttered by Leslie Nielsen in the movie Airplane! -- one of those classic comedies from my childhood.

Nielsen died today.

And it's not that I admired the man or thought he stood for some cause that I support. It's just that his comedic roles made me laugh, and they remind me of my childhood. As I age, more and more people that "I grew up with" have taken their last breaths. It makes me pause.

The thing about Nielsen that I've always found humorous is the straight, deadpan way he delivered his hilarious lines. I like Stephen Colbert (his politics aside) for the same reason. Colbert owes a debt to Nielsen. Zach Galifianakis does too.

Many know Nielsen for his role as Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series of movies. But that character was first in a short-lived TV series in the early '80s called Police Squad!

Here's a clip from one of those episodes. RIP Mr. Nielsen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 27 -- Crazy Day

We got a call this morning out of the blue. A real estate agent that Jen met a few weeks ago called because he had a couple that was interested in buying a home in our part of the city. He asked if he could bring them by. As many know, when you're selling your home, you have to be on alert in case you get such a call from an agent. That also requires that you keep your home in a perpetually clean state.

We were not selling our home. So we were not on alert. And our house was far from clean.

So we spent about 4 hours cleaning the house. Ugh.

Actually, Jen spent 4 hours cleaning the house, and I spent 4 hours cleaning my office and the bathroom in my office. She'd been on me to clean my office for months. The 4 hours made a nice dent, but it still wasn't really "clean." It was better. Presentable. But it wasn't completely clean. But it's a nice start.

We'll see what comes of the visit. The realtor said he'd call us tomorrow.

Should something come of this, I think it will be another turning point in this journey of our. A friend asked me tonight where we'd go if we sold the house. I have no idea. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we have to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 26 -- Long Day

Today was a weird one. It started last night. After a long Thanksgiving Day filled with a gluttonous amount of food and drink, we came home a little after 8:00 pm. I probably should've gone to bed then. Instead, I fell asleep downstairs for a couple of hours. Then, of course, I couldn't fall asleep. I watched most of the movie Radio. I'd never seen it. Decent flick.

Eventually, I went to bed in the wee hours of the night/morning.

K-Man was up a little after 7:00 this morning. Jen leaned over and asked if I "wanted" to get up with him. As opposed to what? Sleeping for a few more hours? Sure, I'd love to get up. I knew Jen wasn't feeling well, so I didn't mind getting up to give her some more hours of shut-eye.

Kee did a great job "playing quietly" downstairs so he didn't wake up Mommy. And Jen managed to get several more hours of sleep, but she struggled most of the day with the crud. Similar to the crud I had the other day, but maybe a little more flu-like. We'll see.

Jen stayed up for a few hours before taking some more Nyquil. The Nyquil required a nap. Keegan always "gets" whatever Jen has, so when she said she needed to nap because she wasn't feeling well, Kee said he needed to rest too because he had a cold too. Kee laid down, but only lasted about an hour. Jen was out for over three.

When Keegan woke up, we planned a trip to the Thrashers game tonight, but I told him not to tell Mommy -- because she was still sleeping, and I didn't want him to wake her up.

Just as we were about to leave for the game, Jen woke up and came downstairs. The first words out of K-Man's mouth were: "We're going to the Thrashers game."

And after two beats, he added "but I'm not supposed to tell."


We headed downtown for a little pre-game Chick-Fil-A at CNN Center before the game. Here's Kee working on his last chicken nugget:

We lasted the usual two (of three) periods because Keegan was ready to leave. We had a little incident in the restroom, so I had to introduce Kee to the freedom of "going commando." He adjusted well. Better than I thought he would. He can be rather particular about his clothes. I think the fact that he was wearing his fleece-lined jeans made the transition a little easier.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 25 -- Giving Thanks

It's been a good day. We celebrated the day at my parents' house with a truckload of family! K-Man loved running around all day playing with "the cousins." He and his cousin, Jonathan, ran around playing with their nerf guns until they were sweaty messes. He should sleep incredibly soundly tonight!

When you have a blog, you are almost obligated to write a post today about the things for which you are thankful. Far be it from me to ignore that responsibility. I am thankful for much. Much more than I will capture here today, but this is a good representation.

My wife -- who has walked beside me for a long time encouraging me along the way and occasionally kicking me in the behind when I need it.

My son -- who reminds me regularly to see the joy in life. To laugh. To be silly.

My family -- that has supported and shaped me.

My in-laws -- who raised one heckuva daughter and who are incredible grandparents to K-Man.

My friends -- (too many to name individually) who have picked me up when I'm down and with whom I have made some great memories over the last four decades!

My church -- that challenges me to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord and seek opportunities to live a life reflective of that relationship

I'm also thankful for a lot of "lesser" things too:

Tivo -- stopping live television to use the lavatory is epic

Mike and Ikes -- fruity, chewy morsels ... if only you were sugar-free!

Plungers -- no details necessary. Just thankful.

Smyrna Soccer Club -- really enjoyed getting Keegan involved in that this year. Great organization for the community of kids in the area.

Facebook -- when used for good, it really can be a great way to keep up and reconnect with friends and family scattered across the globe.

24-hour gyms -- it's great to have the freedom to go to the gym at 2:00 a.m. if I can't sleep! (Wouldn't have to go so often if those dastardly Mike and Ikes weren't so delicious!)

Happy Thanksgiving!!