Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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I’ve moved!

September 14, 2010

You can now find me at:

http://fishing4men.com

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New site underway …

August 28, 2010

Please excuse me if my posts become even more infrequent (is that possible?, you’re asking)  over the next several weeks.  I’m working on a new site and the contruction/mechanics are taking a little longer than I expected.

I’ll post here probably once a week, on average, until the new site is up and running.  And there may be the occasional re-post …

Looking forward to rolling it out … !

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Turbulence

August 20, 2010

Last week, just before I left for New York, my main squeeze and I had a talk about our family’s financial future and about how our boys were going to be provided for.  I left that conversation nervous, tentative, unsure … fearful.

And while I like to think that I’ve left my life in God’s hands … that I trust Him implicitly with my/our future … conversations like the one we’d just had made it very, very clear just how far I’ve to go.

Miles … and miles … and miles.

Which was funny, seeing as how the cosmic prankster Himself was 24 hours from sending me a couple of thousand miles round trip in a big metal tube that I’d have to trust He wouldn’t let plummet 35,000 feet to earth.

So, as I sat on the plane, somewhere over Virginia in all likelihood, I thought about how my life was exactly like that plane ride.  About how all I ever seem to concentrate on are the bumps.  I waste the smoother portions of my journey,  just waiting for the turbulence.

And, inevitably, it’ll come.   And when it does, every bump is the end.

“We’re goin’ down!”

“Any second now, an enormous gust of wind is going to come along and blow us sideways, into a tailspin from which the pilot won’t be able to recover!  Jack will remember me … he’s seven.  I remember lots of things from when I was seven … but what about Charlie?  He’s only three!  I don’t remember being three!  He won’t even remember me … it’ll be as though I never existed to him!”

BUMP

“This flying tin can is but a toy in the mighty hands of mother nature!   And, by the way … how can something that weights 735,000 pounds just float 35,000 feet off the ground? “

BUMP BUMP

“What if one of those engines dies?”

BUMP, WEIRD SOUND, BUMP

“What if a huge flock of wayward turkey buzzards flies into our path  and is sucked into the engine? I wonder if the pilot could land the plane with only one engine?”

“What if that shifty looking fellow in 6B is a terrorist? I mean, that bag of his looks suspicious and I just know that at any moment, he’s going to spring from his seat, mow down everyone in first class and fly the plane directly into Giants Stadium.”

BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP

“I wonder, if I type a message to Tracey and the boys into my phone, whether they’ll get it?  I mean, assuming the phone survives the crash and ensuing jet fuel fire?  Maybe I can try to send it and we’ll fall through a signal on our way to the ground and somehow it’ll be transmitted and they’ll get it just before impact?  Oh, wait … Tracey doesn’t have text messaging.  Well, crap.”

“Wait a second.  We’re not bouncing anymore … Things have smoothed back out … “

(Exhale)

Why do I (we?) DO this?  Where is my confidence?  My faith?  My trust?

Despite the fact that that pilot knows exactly what he’s doing and where we’re going and what we’re about to fly through and how we’ll get through it and when we’ll arrive at our destination, my confidence is shaken – instantly – the first time I feel that plane shake.

Even more maddening?  I pray a little prayer every time we bounce.  You’ve done this, haven’t you?

“God, I trust you.  I trust that you’ll either deliver me home safely to Murfreesboro or that you’ll deliver me safely home to you.  And you know what?  Either way is fine with me, Lord.  Really.  If that’s your plan, I’m ok with it.  I just thank you for the life you gave me and ask that you will provide a good man to help raise the boys and take care of Tracey when I’m gone … and … and ….  if this plane crashing and me dying is the worst thing that can happen, then hallelujah!  I get to come home and rest forever in … etc., etc., etc.”

BUMP

“Oh my God!  We’re goin’ down! We’re out of control!”

SMOOTHING BACK OUT

(long sigh … followed by self-loathing … followed by repeat of aforementioned prayer … followed by steely resolve and determination to test myself and the level of trust in my heart and not panic in the least the next time we experience turbulence)

“I’ll prove it to you Lord.  Next time this plane bounces? I won’t worry a bit.  I promise. You watch.”

BUMP

(repeat).

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I mean …. could there BE a more perfect analogy for my life?

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Sleepwalking

August 13, 2010

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get through an entire day, week, month (life?) without ever really thinking? Processing? Engaging?

I don’t know about you, but, if I’m not intentional about those things, my Mondays just blend right into my Wednesdays, which become my Fridays and, before I know it, weeks or months have passed, been lost.  I can just cast aside the effort it requires to think/process/engage, do what needs to get done … sleepwalk right through.

I see things … I hear things … I do things  – and often, very well … but they’re thoughtless objects, sounds and tasks.  I’m present … but, I’m not really there.

Whether it’s the hills on my commute that I never really see, the co-worker that I talk to for hours a day, but never really hear … It’s amazing.  And, what ends up happening, I believe – and this is dangerous – is that I am affecting/influencing those I know, work with and love, without giving any thought as to how.   Whether I know/like it or not, my thoughts (or thoughtlessness), actions (or inactivity) and words (or the lack of them) influence everything and everyone in my life.  And, if that’s going to be the case, don’t I owe it to them – and most importantly, to God – to give those thoughts, actions and words some thought? To be intentional about them? To have/be the type of influence He wants me to have/be?

Anyhow … I’m figuring out that if people would just stop for three seconds, and ask themselves a few questions, they’d realize that they probably are – as I so often am – sleepwalking through life … or at least, portions of it.  Those questions – at least for me – are:

1. What just happened? or, What is about to happen?

2. What do I really think about it? Not having an opinion is not an option.  What do I really think about it?

3. Where is God in it … ? and how would He have me process it/react to it?

There are so many things that God is doing in our lives, so many opportunities He’s presenting us with … and, if we’re not awake … not LOOKING for them … we’ll miss them.  It’s just so easy to listen to the radio, surf the net, watch TV, read a book, have meaningless and shallow conversations and pass things off or not give them the benefit of a few minutes of real thought.  At least for me.  What about you?

Are you awake?

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With Interest: Pushing Your (Share) Buttons

August 4, 2010

Blippy.com - streaming your credit card purchases to the world. Seriously.

If you already believed that we were teetering on the edge of sharing waaay too much information, reading and posting real-time Facebook status updates and Tweets on all manner of personal topics, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, well … I think it’s safe to say that the gravelly rock formation at the cliff’s edge just gave way … and some of us have plummeted to our untimely demise.

At Blippy.com, we can now watch and comment on a steady real-time stream of our friends’ credit card purchases.

Sound slightly crazy? Nah, I agree.  It doesn’t, really.

It sounds absolutely crazy.  As in stark-raving, howling at the moon loony.

Blippy.com is hoping we’re interested enough in becoming financial exhibitionists (proud enough of our “stuff” and status, is more like it) that we’ll give their service a try and let our friends and family know exactly what we’ve bought and how much we paid for it … or at least nosy enough to sign up to check out everyone else’s credit card transactions.  In which case, it’d be just like so much of the rest of our lives … we could sit back and watch and pass judgment on other people’s lives without sharing any of your own.

Why do we do this? Why is it so hard for us to share our lives with other people?  To share our struggles and triumphs and hopes and dreams and disappointments? We’ll share our credit card statements, but not our testimonies?

What are we so afraid of?

It’s long been said that if you wanna know what’s important to a man, take a peek at his checkbook.

And now, at Blippy.com – you can!

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Pretty Slick, God

July 30, 2010

I was reading through Billy Coffey’s always terrific blog recently and he’d written about finding beauty in the world.  It’s there, he says … we just have to look for it.   And,  I couldn’t agree more.  I think that if you’re seeking God … if you want to find Him in the world … If you really want to see Him, you will.  Because, He’s there.  I think, in fact, that He reveals Himself to us every day.  In conversations with friends.  In a particular song on the radio.  In a look from a loved one, a breeze when you’re roasting or a co-worker surprising you with lunch when you’re flat broke, hungry and keeping it all to yourself.  Bottom line is, I think it’s up to us to pay attention … to notice.

God is pretty slick sometimes.

Now, it may seem a little bit silly to you, but I took this picture several months ago as I walked through the parking lot at church.  I wondered how long it’d been there and how many people had walked right by it and never noticed (have you, yet?).  I wondered how many times I’d done it myself.  (I’m convinced that just a few years ago, I’d have never noticed it)

And since I took it, it’s served as the desktop background on my phone … a reminder of exactly what Billy wrote about.   A reminder that, if I’ll just slow down and pay attention … if I’ll just let go of whatever’s eating at me, whatever’s consuming me, whatever’s got me preoccupied and aggravated and worried and busy … whatever it is that day that has blinded me to the beauty and life He’s surrounded me with, I’ll see Him.  Because He’s there.

Heck, it’s those days I need to look for Him the most … those days when I’ve blown a gasket and made a mess of something …

Have you noticed Him around you in the mundane?  In the day-to-day?  In the monotony? In the midst of your grime? Where?

Love to hear your stories.

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Safe at Home

July 21, 2010

Busch Stadium in St. Louis

Not long ago, doctors at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis sent Dale Mueller home, to enjoy what was left of his time with his family.

Though he had set the cigarettes down nearly 50 years ago, it appeared there was no longer anything they could do to stop the advance of the cancer that had begun in his lungs and now spread to his brain.

Dale’s daughter, Stephanie, was talking about this one day while on the phone with Requelle Raley, a colleague of mine here at Thomas Nelson who lost nearly everything she owned in the Nashville flood back in early May.  As the two of them shared their lives (Requelle’s was being rebuilt, as they spoke, by a volunteer construction crew from Texas … Stephanie’s, torn apart by the disease that was stealing her father),  something happened that so often does when we share – the body of Christ was allowed to work.

You see, despite having been a St. Louis Cardinals fan his entire life, Dale had never been to a game.  But, recently, he’d mentioned to Stephanie that it was something he’d like to do.  She, of course, would make sure it happened.  And that she went a dozen steps beyond his expectations to create an experience their family would never forget.  She just wasn’t sure how.

Maybe she could wheel him out onto the field for batting practice? There

Cardinals' All-Star catcher, Yadier Molina

are few things that make a man feel more alive, after all than green grass, baseball chatter and the crack of a bat.  Maybe while he was there, he’d meet his favorite player, Yadier Molina … and, when that was done, they’d stay as long as her dad was able.  Requelle knew another of our fellow colleagues, Dave Schroeder, was from St. Louis.  Maybe, just maybe, he knew someone who could help.

Turns out he did.  And he sat close enough to her, in fact, that she could just about reach him with an outstretched arm.  That someone, was me.

(God is incredible.  Just days earlier, I’d gotten back into the habit of asking, specifically, in my prayers for Him to use me.  And here He was, already, obliging.)

So, I immediately shot an e-mail to a friend and former colleague from my days in Memphis with the Redbirds, Brady Bruhn, to see if he could get the family five tickets for a game in early August.  I e-mailed Melody Yount, who was, during my days as Media Relations Manager in Memphis, my counterpart in St. Louis (thinking she may be able to get the family onto the field during batting practice).  And I told her Dale’s story.  She could find out more about him on his Carepages blog (a hospital-hosted blog that patients’ families use to keep friends and family updated), I told her.   She knew exactly where to go.  She’d been using Carepages herself for nearly a year, having been diagnosed with breast cancer just last September.

(Again … how amazing is God?)

Everyone promised to do the best they could, though there were no guarantees.  There wasn’t, after all, much time.  For the Cardinals to put the necessary wheels into motion, or for Dale.   I let Requelle know.  And we prayed.

A couple of days passed and Requelle got a call.  It was Stephanie.  Her dad had taken a turn for the worst.  Was there any chance – any at all?  – that we could make it happen sooner?  As in … tomorrow?

E-mails flew back and forth between Nashville and St. Louis.

Prayers were sent.  And, via the body of Christ through some amazing people in the Cardinals organization, answered.

Dale Mueller, VIP

Stephanie, her dad and the rest of their family would have five tickets waiting for them to Friday’s game with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Dale would be on the field for batting practice.

——————————–

Come Friday afternoon, the temperature in St. Louis was soaring.  But, there Dale was, decked out in red.   Big, strong, young men, with the world in the palms of their hands and their entire lives in front of them, jumped into and out of the batting cage, spraying line drives to every corner of the park and into the seats beyond.  In a wheelchair, just a few feet away, a man,  suddenly old, was beaming, absorbing every moment … but, tiring.

So, someone with the Cardinals took photos of the family together on the field and whisked them away to the locker room, where they’d find air conditioning – and visitors.

Molina,  All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright and reliever Jason Motte were waiting.  They signed autographs, took more pictures, laughed and talked.

Afterwards and by that point, it’d already been an overwhelming and emotional day.  Enough to excite and exhaust even the healthiest of men.   And that description hadn’t fit Dale for some time.

He wouldn’t last into the late innings.

But today, he wouldn’t have to.

God had his rally cap on and a flurry of early baserunners brought Molina to the plate in the bottom of the very first inning.

It was then, with teammate Randy Winn on 3rd base and two out, that the Dodgers’ Vicente Padilla hurled a fastball towards the plate and the Cardinal catcher.

Bat held high, legs bent deeply at the knee and eyes focused intensely on his target, Molina uncorked his body and offered at the pitch, driving  it into the outfield …

sending both Randy Winn and Dale Mueller … home.


NOTE:  Dale Mueller indeed went home, and into the arms of his savior, nine days later on Sunday afternoon, July 25.   For information and details on arrangements, visit http://www.carepages.com/carepages/STLJourney

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Make no mistake … this is most definitely NOT a “hey, look at what I did” post.  This is a “hey, look at what GOD did” post.  I, and a number of other people, were just willing pawns.  Just amazing, the number of things He orchestrated to make this happen.  Stephanie shared her life with Requelle.   Requelle, who at the moment has no home, wasn’t so wrapped up in herself, that she was unwilling to listen and be used herself for God’s purposes.  I was in town and available. I was able to reach Brady, who is insanely busy, but was available and willing to play a role … and Melody, who may have been the most compassionate person I could have possibly reached in that situation.  The weather was great, Dale and his family were all able to make it to the park, Molina and Wainwright (an outspoken Christian himself) were willing to give of themselves … and, the icing on the cake was the early RBI hit from Molina (who, not coincidentally, homered four innings later and had his biggest day of the season that afternoon) … all equaling a beautiful day for a family that needed one.

Again, I’m humbled and incredibly thankful for being given an opportunity to play a role in all of it.  And, again, it just goes to show what can happen when you are willing to share your life with others and be used for God’s purposes.

Awesome, seeing Him work and this come together last week.   And, I know this is ridiculously lengthy … but, wanted to share.

Praying for another opportunity tomorrow.

Put me in coach. I’m ready to play.

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