Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm Only Second Place

Putting Rachel down tonight we had the following conversation:

Me: You're safe in here.  I'll be right outside, and you know Jesus is here with you.

Rachel: Yeah, and God too.

Me: Yep.

Rachel: Jesus can pat my back.  But if he doesn't know how he can ask his dad to show him.  He pats Colins back too, right?

I was then shooed out of the room because God, Jesus and Santa wanted a chance to pay her back and were waiting in line behind me.  I guess that if someone is better at back-patting than I am, I shouldn't be upset that it's Santa, God and Jesus.

Soon after that Rachel said:

Ruffles and Rika leapt up high too.

Referring to our poodle Rika who we had to put to sleep yesterday (more on that later), and her brother Ruffles who was put to sleep a few months ago.  $5 to the first person who guesses the musical reference Rachel mentions (My wife Erin isn't allowed to guess).

We may not be the best parents in the world, but I have to think we're getting the god message down. 

Peace,
+Tom

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spiritual Leaders

I'm listening to "The Next Karate Kid" movie, admittedly the worst of the series.  But I just heard this great quote that I wouldn't have appreciated until recently.

Never trust spiritual leader who can't dance.

Can your priest dance?  If ever there was a sign that I should not be a priest, that's probably it.

Peace,
+Tom

The Lone Server

I had all kinds of deep ideas of something to write about.  Then my friend Joe sent me this recent "ad" campaign Microsoft is doing for Windows Server 2008 called the Lone Server.  It's all about the last Windows Server 2003 at Microsoft.

The video is just incredible and kept me laughing.  My personal favorite line:

Windows 2003: What's this?

Windows 2000: It's a blue screen.  Makes you forget everything.

Windows 2003: You know I never did that kind of stuff.  Windows Server 2003, always mister reliable, mister responsible.  Never the fun one.

I love the idea that the blue screen of death is actually the "fun and excitement" you get from Windows.

Even if you care nothing about technology, you should definitely check out the 3 minute video version, it has a great description of Windows Me, and where it belongs. . . cleaning toilets (if I'd even trust it to do that correctly).

Oh yeah, we'll be upgrading the church to Windows Server 2008, be ready!  And I've made sure to make Windows Server 2003 my friend in Facebook, sounds like he needs a few friends right now.

Peace,
+Tom

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It Only Takes a Little

I overheard the following statement

He seems so busy. Every time I see him he says, 'I have something new to work on'.

How different that person's life would be if he added only two words, 'for someone', so it becomes:

I have something new for someone to work on.

That's the difference between that one person doing all of the work, being stressed, and the single contact (and point of failure) for work versus growing others, being an active leader and letting others do some of the work they may really enjoy. 

Those two words are the difference between a leader and a doer.

The world is impacted more by small, individual actions of many than by huge actions of a few.

I was listening to Playing for Keeps, a free audiobook by Mur Lafferty.  In it a crowd has been deceived, and a few simple words would break the multitude of their deception.  the solution that came to my mind was for one person to show out loud to the crowd and convince them.  The protagonists solution was to tell one person, and ask them to tell others, and have them tell others as well.  That small action worked far faster than my solution, where I'd have to get the attention of the group and be heard. 

By taking the small action of speaking to one person instead of many, the entire group was changed and the people were free.

When I hear a speaker, I'm only half engaged.  Part of me is wondering how much this person really cares about me as a person.  If they're a good speaker, they are often too busy to really interact with each person who hears their words.  I may leave the talk feeling convicted and ready to change, but a week later that speech is often simply an echo in my mind.

The individuals I talk to day by day and week by week, who share life with me, now those are the people whose words really affect me.  The words spoken directly to me by one person are so much more important than those spoken to me and everyone around me.

I can remember hundreds of individual conversations that have changed my thinking and guided my life in some way.  I can think of very, very few speeches which have ever changed my direction.

So, what little action are you doing today?  What small drop are you making to cause spreading ripples in the pond?

Peace,
+Tom

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thoughts On Being a Fraud

How many of us go through each day scared that someone is going to find out that we're a fraud.  That we don't know as much as we let on, that we aren't as good as people think we are?  How many of us live with self-doubt and insecurities?

How much better will our lives be when we realize that being unqualified and unknowledgeable means we're pushing ourselves to be more than we are today?

Peace,
+Tom

I should be dropping off dry-cleaning right now. . .

Life is so much better when you stop thinking about the things you should be doing, and begin thinking about the things you are doing right now.

Peace,
+Tom

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lenten Disciplines - Spending

One of the disciplines I've decided to follow this lent is to not buy anything I don't need.  If you think about that though, that could mean a lot of different things.  It could be modified to fit whatever situation.

Say that I realize my car gets 17 miles per gallon of gas.  Then my reservation comes up for the smart ForTwo which gets 40 to 50 miles per gallon.  Seems like the money I'd save and impact on the environment is worth the purchase right?  Ok, maybe not, but say there's a major repair needed on my car, let's just take for example the fact that one front headlight is burnt out.  Now, is it worth spending all that money on the repair, or do I buy the car with a warranty?  Obviously, at this point, I need the car.

Where this reasoning did lead me was just how fungible needs are.  We need food, so we have to spend money going to the grocery store.  When we're there though, how do we decide what we need for food?  Do we need yogurt, or can we survive on cereal?  Do we need cereal or can we go with a banana?  Do we need steak, or can we get by with bread and cheese?  It's so easy for us to confuse wants and needs.  I can't even remember when I lived off of Ramen noodles and $5 for gas in college.

I wonder if it's possible to spend absolutely nothing for Lent.

It'd take some planning.  You'd have to save and prepay your mortgage for a month, not to mention all your other utilities.  You'd have to significantly curtail your driving so that you don't have to buy gas.  You'd have to buy nonperishable food before Lent or survive off of gifts from others.

Just thinking about a spend-free Lent sounds so exciting to me.  To have to plan ahead and live off what you've budgeted, knowing that when you run out, you go without.

Anyone interested in giving it a try with me next year?  I tend to think my wife isn't interested, and I wonder how I could explain it to Rachel.

Peace,
+Tom