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10 years ago today . . .

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Ten years ago today I lost the second most significant man in my life, next to my Dad. My grandfather – Pop – passed away on a Sunday morning after a brief stint in the hospital. In the years since, not many days go by that I don’t think about him, but today he’s been on my mind pretty much all day.

Pop taught me to love baseball, he took me out on my first attempt to learn to drive. I ate lunch at his house almost every day of my junior year of high school and it was a ritual for me and K to eat breakfast at his house on Sunday mornings when we came into town during college and in our early married life. I remember spending hours just sitting quietly with him after my grandmother died. He taught me about sacrificial love as I watched him take care of her for the last decade of her life and about grace and mercy as he talked about his 35 years of recovery from alcoholism. He was always quick to give me and my brothers a hard time (something I’ve clearly inherited from him), but  just as quick to encourage. He didn’t miss a game, performance, concert, awards night, or any other excuse to watch us do the things we loved. Hearing him say “I’m proud of you” meant more to me than any award or honor I’ve ever received.

He wasn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a good man. I can’t believe he’s been gone for 10 years and I’m so glad to know that a day is going to come when I get to see him again. My guess is he’ll make some crack about the Cubs and remind me of running into the back of Mom’s car on that first driving excursion. I can’t wait.

Categories: else, family, life

resolved

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy (week after) New Year!

I’m not much on resolutions. I don’t do well with the “I’m never (always) going to (insert thing here) for the rest of my life starting today.” I’ve found that I am not remotely disciplined enough to keep to those kinds of things. I wish I were in some ways because there are some things in me that could stand that kind of once and for all treatment. But alas.

All that being said, the newness of a new year feels like a good environment to think about directions I’ve taken and directions I want to pursue in the days ahead. So here’s the list. At least for now. The odds are good that I’ve forgotten something vital, but it’s a start.

1. Chase Jesus to be more like him. There’s never going to be a list like this that doesn’t have this on it because I’m pretty sure (read: “certain”) that I will have a long way to go for the rest of my life. God knows I sure do at this point.

2. Love more and better and louder. I want to love people more. Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, and everybody else. But I want to do it in ways that demonstrate that love loudly and leave no room for doubt. I’m not good at it – it’s not a natural thing for me. But as #1 happens, I’m trusting that this will follow.

3. Get healthier. This isn’t a “go to the gym every day and lose 100 lbs by summer kind of thing”, I just want to undo the damage that has been done by five years of school life. Eat better, sleep more, get out on my bike. I’m never going to be “little”, but I want to feel and be better as I am.

4. Enjoy what I’m doing. I love teaching. I love being around and interacting with students. I even like the prep work that goes into making class happen. In fact, there isn’t much about academic life that I don’t like. But I sure do catch myself griping about it a lot. And I hate that. So I’m going to focus on enjoying it and making sure those around me know how I really feel about this life I’m chasing.

5. Do what I enjoy. It drives me crazy that lately I haven’t found (made) time to do the stuff I love – photography, music, reading, writing,  movies, hanging out with people, and on and on (not even sure I remember how to play golf anymore). It boils down to going for it when the mood strikes and not finding something else that needs to be done. Yet another area that requires intention. See a pattern yet?

6. Matter. One of the real traps of academia is spending all of your time talking about everything but not really doing anything. I kind of there. And I hate it. I have always made time to coach the boys in whatever they were doing (whether I knew anything about it or not) and I love that. But there are other Kingdom kinds of things that I want to be a part of and ideas that have been spinning for years that need action. None of it’s happening right now. But it’s coming.

That’s plenty for one lifetime. If you’re the praying sort, when you think of me it would be great if you’d remember some of this. If you make a list, I’ll do the same for you. Who knows how far any of it will go, but desire is the first step, right?

Categories: creativity, else, health, Jesus, life

the museum of my parenting skills

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Via xkcd. I love (and live) this.

Categories: else, family

two-wheeled worldview

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Last spring, I bought a bicycle and tried to get serious about riding. After a season of fits and starts, I had a “breakthrough” about a month ago that has led to me getting out and riding quite a bit. While I’m nowhere near the level of some of my hardcore friends who ride for hours at a time, I’m up to about 12 miles a trip and really starting to enjoy how it feels to cover the miles and overcome the obstacles that present themselves on the road.

As I was on my ride yesterday morning (and loving the 45 degree weather), I found myself thinking about how different the perspective is when you are traveling under your own power. I don’t know if it’s being exposed to everything around you or the work required to get somewhere, but, for me, things are different on my bike. While not earth-shattering in any form, the differences seem significant to me.

1. You see things differently: I was riding down a road that I drive almost every day, but the (much) slower pace revealed some things about the familiar setting. I found 2 or 3 spots that I want to come back to with my camera to shoot. There is a lot more time to notice and anticipate hills and potential troubles ahead. I’ve seen snakes, massive caterpillars and grasshoppers, and some great sunrises.

2. You hear things: When I was just riding a loop around the neighborhood, I wore headphones. Now that I’m out on the open road, I leave them off so I can hear traffic and rabid dogs coming after me. But I hear a lot more than that. Just a mile or so south of my house is almost rural. There’s a rooster that I hear every morning and a couple of donkeys that I’ve never seen, but hear all the time. Yesterday I was riding along a stretch of road bordered by tall grass and kept hearing small animals or birds running away as I passed.

3. You hear yourself: I don’t just mean the gasping for air and popping knees (although I hear plenty of both), but thoughts, prayers, and even random songs (Radiohead’s “Creep” was on constant rotation yesterday). My time on the bike has turned into meditation, revelation, even inspiration. I don’t live a life with a lot of quiet hours, but if I’m going to ride, I don’t have a choice.

4. You hear God: The heavens really do declare the glory of the Lord. The rocks (and birds and trees and horses) cry out. All of the sights and sounds and thoughts point back to the One who is waiting out there every morning.

When I bought the bike to start riding, the point was exercise. What I’m learning is that there is so much more out there than the burned calories and that’s what keeps me pedaling.

Categories: cycling, else, health, Jesus

I love this! Regular guys send camera into space

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Enjoy the geeky goodness.

HT to Geekdad

Categories: else

Sooner twitiocy and other online malfeasance

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

We’ve all done it – -said something in an effort to try and be clever or funny or cool that turned out to be somewhat inappropriate or in poor taste or just not what we thought it would be before coming out of mouth. For most of us, that moment (those moments?) happens with a friend or two or even by ourselves. We get called out for poor taste, either laugh at our own lameness or attempt to defend it, and then everyone moves on.

At least, that’s how it used to be . . .

Now we have twitter and facebook and youtube and blogs and flickr and 100 other ways to express our wrong-headed thoughts to anyone and everyone who cares to hear them. More options than we can possibly employ to have our every word, thought, and action broadcast. And we do, to the tune of (probably) billions of status updates and posts and tweets every day. And once they’re out there, they’re out there for good. No matter how badly we might want them back. And, suddenly, it isn’t just our friends or family who are telling us we’ve crossed the line, it’s potentially the whole planet.

This is the lesson that Jaz Reynolds learned yesterday. While a gunman sent the UT campus into lockdown, Jaz tweeted “Hey everyone in Austin, tx…….kill yourself #evillaugh.” Classy. If he makes this comment to a couple of guys in the locker room or to a roommate, it’s tasteless, but it’s over. But Jaz felt the need to tweet, and tweet he did. And he now faces an “indefinite” suspension – which is code for “be sure to turn in your playbook on your way to East Popcorn State”.

Reynolds isn’t the first athlete to forget someone actually sees this stuff. He’s not even the first Sooner. Along with Tommy Mason-Griffin’s facebook comments and Josh Jarboe’s YouTube exploits, Reynolds’ twitiocy completes the hat trick of poor social networking judgement. Coaches have to be going out of their minds over this stuff.

Why does everything need to be out there? Why do we feel the need to blog/tweet/update/post? And why do we spend so many hours checking out the (mostly) mindless product of all of this expression?  Jaz will pay dearly for his indiscretion (one wonders what would have happened had it been a different player doing the tweeting), but to what extent is everyone who followed Jaz on twitter complicit in his mistake? By providing the audience, we reinforce the idea that everything these folks have to say is worth hearing. Maybe we need to stop listening.

If an athlete tweets in the woods and no one is is around to RT it, would it really happen?

40 for my 40th

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment
For my 40th, K and the kids put together a basket of stuff that reminds them of me. Easily one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Here’s the list of my 40 with commentary.
  1. Just for Men – this was the contribution that Caleb was most proud of, but the joke’s on him – he has the same early graying genes.
  2. Iron Man 2 top – I’m into super heroes
  3. MarioKart pez – ditto for video games
  4. The Office notepad
  5. Horse – I’ve liked to ride since the first time K made me do it
  6. Zebra  – heart for Africa
  7. Stethescope – the reality of Dr. J (although not that kind of Dr.) is almost here
  8. Dumbbell – b/c my 8 year old thinks I’m strong
  9. Trumpet – band still haunts me after all these years
  10. Star band – for astronomy
  11. Miles on Vinyl – my favorite jazz artist
  12. Monk on vinyl – another favorite
  13. Tour de France hat – I pretend to be a cyclist
  14. Calvin and Hobbes book – loved these guys since I was a teenager
  15. Hastings gift card – for the reader
  16. itunes gift card – for the musician
  17. Ted’s card – mmmmmm
  18. bbq card – it’s Boomercue
  19. sonic cup / card – the omnipresent Diet Dr. Pepper, easy ice
  20. Bible – so thankful that they see some of this in me
  21. Garden State – love my indie films
  22. Colbert Christmas DVD – and I love my political satire
  23. Sports Illustrated – hoop, baseball, football, even World Cup this summer
  24. Sooner pencil – could be for my Sooner love or the fact that I go to school there. or both.
  25. Tom’s shoes – for my big feet
  26. Reese’s – I have a tendency to steal these from the kids whenever possible
  27. World Vision catalog – one of my favorite ways to give
  28. Thunder foam finger – yep, I’m on the bandwagon
  29. Scooby Doo van – can’t get enough of the Scoobs
  30. Coaching whistle – I don’t think I’ve ever used it at a practice
  31. Computer – I spend a LOT of time on one
  32. Picture of the kids – love those monkeys so much
  33. Camera – there’s always one in my hand
  34. Cubs baseball – my lifelong love and obsession.
  35. Light Bulb – again Caleb – “because I’m so bright”
  36. Apple – for the teacher
  37. Hot Tamales – my name is J and I’m a tamaleholic
  38. Diet Dr. Pepper – see above
  39. Guitar Pick – I’m a bit shocked that they remember I played, it’s been a while
  40. Mythbusters hat – for my love of science (and watching stuff blow up)

It’s good to be known.

Categories: else, family, Uncategorized