Monday, November 29, 2010

New Thoughts

As I ran on the first workday morning after Thanksgiving weekend, my mind automatically took notice of the weather conditions and how I would report them on Daily Mile when I shared my run with friends. Words describing the level of cold were mostly positive, but I realized that the descriptive words in my mind about the wind were mostly negative. And that would be an accurate reflection of my typical attitude toward wind when I am running or biking. But since I have JUST gone through several days of searching for things to acknowledge a thankful attitude toward, I remembered how many times I privately and publicly thanked the Creator of the universe for controlling the weather so that we don't need to (and so that we don't constantly mess it up). The next thought that came to my mind was a conversation between radio host, Bubba, of the Rick and Bubba show and the crew aboard the International Space Station. Much of that conversation was very interesting, and the fact that it could take place at all was pretty amazing. But what stood out for me this morning was the answer to the question "What do you miss and most look forward to back on Earth?" The first half of the answer was not much of a surprise; a hot shower. It had been since June that this crew had enjoyed that daily luxury. But what really struck me was the second part of the answer; "the feel of a breeze on his face." Really? That ranks as number two? Well, we hardly even take notice of such. But his answer caused me to pause and realize how often I/we fail to take notice of all our senses and the simple pleasures like the feel of a breeze and the smell of soil and the sound of the wind rustling leaves. So with all that in mind (not to mention the word "wind" coming from the same root word as "spirit"), I would like to report a gloriously windy morning for an early morning run. And I am thankful for it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Gas for drive to the airport $4.00

Parking while getting Tata checked in $3.00

The look on Tata's face after I told the
handsome screener she had made some
threats and should be frisked thoroughly PRICELESS!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buns of Steel

I have never really believed those late night commercials for the various exercise aids and videos that promise "buns of steel". In fact, I don't really understand why so many of those commercials are on TV at such odd hours. Only when I am very sick do I see them. Do sick folks suddenly develop a concern about flabby bottoms? Anyway, here is an actual article about a shocking incident at BASS Pro Shops which MAY be a testimonial for the "buns of steel". Read for yourself--I am not making this up;

Woman shot in buttocks inside Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga
By Melissa Pinion-Whitt
Created: 05/17/2010 02:06:41 PM PDT

A Chino Hills man who brought six guns to test fire at Bass Pro Shops accidentally shot a woman in the buttocks inside the store Sunday.
The 52-year-old man, whose name wasn't released, was checking in the weapons at the front desk when he noticed one of the guns had the hammer cocked. He reached for the .45-caliber weapon and it fired.

"(The bullet) exited through the bag, traveled about 40 yards away and hit a female shopper in the left side of her bottom," said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Tracy Dorsey.

The round penetrated the woman's clothing and gave her a minor wound, but didn't penetrate. The round fell to the floor.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies received a call about the shooting at 3:47 p.m. They came to the store at 7777 Victoria Gardens Lane and seized the man's guns, Dorsey said.

The man told deputies he came to the store to practice firing his weapons in the store's upstairs firing range. Customers who bring weapons to the store are required to check them in at the front desk, where an employee places the firearm in a metal box to make sure it's not loaded. They put a gun lock on the gun before a customer is allowed to bring it to the range, or to carry around the store to shop for gun accessories.

Once the gun is brought to the range, an employee removes the weapon from the box and takes off the gun lock.

"Anyone can bring their gun in to shoot," said Larry Whiteley, spokesman for Bass Pro Shops. "We have policemen come in, other groups come in to learn gun safety."
But in this case, the gun fired before an employee could examine it.

"We believed it to be an accident, but it is still under investigation," Dorsey said.

The woman was taken to an area hospital for treatment of the wound.

Whiteley said the company takes safety precautions with regard to firearms to ensure the safety of its customers and employees.

"We've met all the regulations and requirements," he said.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Three Reasons Christians Should be on Facebook!

I should first apologize for how long it has been since I wrote anything on this blog and thank those of you who check in to see if there is any update. I am sorry. Thank you. But I want to quickly move to the topic that led me to break my writing fast. I was playing on facebook, which I do a lot these days, and in the middle of some playful discourse my brother threw in this quote "Social-networking is the opiate of the procrastinator." What? Where did that come from? And ouch! It is not hard for me to see the truth in that. Actually, it may just be the more recent opiate of the procrastinator. Other computer applications, video games, television, reading, and sitting on the porch visiting are just a few opiates folks have used for years to procrastinate without conscientiously acknowledging the practice. So, early in this post I admit that I surf facebook more than what leads to optimal use of my time. Can you ever forgive me? And it is easy to see the "opiate" characteristics because the "quick and easy" posts of witty comments here and there are much easier than composing a string of thoughts that will cause someone to take time to read and think. And that friends is part of the reason I have not been here, in the blogosphere for a long time. You (because only intelligent, inquisitive readers would be here to begin with) are probably asking by now, "Roxy, if you admit to spending too much time on facebook and procrastinating the completion of chores because of it, why would you tease us with a title like this?" Hey, that is a good question. I am glad you asked.

Reason #1 that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

Stop laughing. I'm serious. Sure, He never said "Thou shalt be on facebook and update thy status every time you contemplate a meal." But he did say we should build relationships. In fact, when asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied that it is to "love God with all your heart, soul, and mind." He quickly added that the second greatest commandment is "love your neighbor as yourself". Then he went on to say that the two were connected in a way that we can not really obey one without the obeying the other. That is not all he said. He went on to say ALL the commandments, laws, and instructions from the prophets are just subsets of these two intertwined instructions. How does that translate to being on facebook? When we read of the conversation Jesus had with a woman who was living a lifestyle she knew was wrong, where did that take place? At the well. Sure, there is a practical reason for going to a well but Jesus had already shown that water was not a driving force for him. He went there because that is where he knew he would meet someone in need of direction and a true friend. When he wanted to teach and encourage, he often went to the places where he would encounter people. Sure, there came a time that he was so popular that he could just go out on a hillside and folks would gather to hear what he had to say. But that was after he had lots of "friends" or followers. Yep, I am claiming that Jesus was a social-networker. And that he insisted we become the same.

Reason #2 that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

Whoa, don't get so upset. Yes it SOUNDS like the same as reason #1, but there is a difference. The difference is when and how he said it. This teaching reminds me of the time Jesus came into a village and a woman named Martha made the effort to meet him and invite him to her house. Martha was very busy with chores and probably preparing a nice meal while her sister Mary just sat and talked with Jesus. Mary wasn't getting anything done. Martha asked Jesus to get onto Mary for goofing off and tell her to help with the important chores. I bet she was shocked at his reply. He said "Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things. Only one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." What? Jesus said visiting and getting acquainted is more important than getting chores done? Look it up. Luke 10:38-42.

Reason 3# that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

I did not surprise you this time did I? That is why I should visit here more often--only the astute reader hangs out here. Why it this "we should" different from the first two? Well, for one this instruction comes indirectly from Jesus via James and others. The James who wrote the book bearing his name is likely the brother of Jesus. Can you imagine coming to grips with the idea that your brother is actually your half-brother who is part Deity and was involved in creation of the universe? That could cause some serious sibling rivalry. And it seems that James and the rest of the family did not fully accept who Jesus was until he died. And then lived again. After all that and some serious re-thinking by James, he began to share the message that his brother had been attempting to communicate. Part of this is in James 4:13-15 where he tells how most operate. He describes capitalism in broad terms and how people plan to buy, sell, and make a profit. While he does not condemn that, he goes on to say that life is short--like a morning fog that appears a little while and then disappears. The message seems to be that work has its place, but the routine of chasing an income can become the focus more that pursuing the relationships that are more important. Don't get me wrong. Plenty of scriptures teach us to work to provide for ourselves and have enough to help others. But the purpose of work, the purpose of life is to grow our relationship with God and with other people.

Facebook can be a colossal waste of time and I am often guilty of spending too much time there. I am working on doing better. But I am a little defensive also because I have been able to encourage and be encouraged both through quick interactions on facebook and even more through face-to-face, life changing conversations that have grown out of connections on facebook. Those of you who have been part of these conversations know who you are. I appreciate you. Even when I was the encourager, I was also the encouragee. Yes, part of "loving others like you love yourself" means doing the chore so your spouse, family, friend does not have to. And I have laundry going while I write this (should I update my status?). Still, I become more and more convinced that all we can do to build and strengthen our relationships should be done. Even if the floors are dirty. Floors are temporary. People are forever.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice Age

Please take a few minutes to read this excerpt from Time magazine (June 24, 1974). That was a Monday, by the way. I know that because LaWanna and I were married on Saturday, June 22, 1974. I add that tidbit for perspective.

How in the world a group of con artists shifted the story from "we are freezing and destroying the Earth" to "we are overheating and destroying the Earth" during the time I have been married is astonishing to me. The amount of money flowing to "green" industries is unbelievable. Buying "carbon credits" is gullible. It would take many pages to present all the fallacies of logic involved, but nobody would read it.

So, here is a portion of the article (and it is just one example). I am no scientists and not very smart. But I listened enough in school to be aware of concepts such as the importance of replication and realize that we can not accurately "replicate" 1000 year cycles. Even a guy from a Georgia dirt road can see many problems with the "science" of the thinking then and now. So how in the world did we come to a place where Al Gore receives a Nobel prize for his "work" on global warming? Are we really so blinded by "group think" that we need somebody online or on TV to tell us what to think? That is much more frightening to me than temperatures that fluctuate and large scale weather patterns that are difficult to predict. Here is the excerpt;

"As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive,for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of
Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered
year round.
Scientists have found other indications of global cooling..." And it goes on and on. And it scared people. Many were convinced that dust, smoke, and chemicals in the air were preventing sunlight from reaching the surface of the Earth and that our productivity and increasing population would surely make it worse. The prospects of an "ice age" within 100 years was cause for concern to more people than you probably believe. And this was before Facebook, Blogging, even before Al Gore had invented the internet. So all of you under 35 years old who think the resistance of your parents and grandparents to accept the ridiculous notion that we are causing the climate of the Earth to crash by driving a V-8 and using deordorant need to acknowledge that many "old folks" have seen the sales pitch before and followed the money trail. This article refers to a "massive 100 day study" of climate changes. That seems laughable now, when GRANTS (money taken from my pockets and your employer's pockets) total billions of dollars to pay salaries of people who only have work if they keep the flames of fear fanned. Do I think a "scientist" would alter or withhold data in order to secure a $2 million grant? Yep. So pardon me if I find humor in seeing a number of "global warming" meetings canceled in Washington because there is too much snow to get into town.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Elsie, You are Doing a Great Job!

According to Reader's Digest (March, 2010) Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, United Kingdom have demonstrated that cows that have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

It is tempting to stop with that opening statement and just see what comments are made. But if you know me or read here often (and apparently some of you do), then you know it is not my tendency be parsimonious. So, what do you think are the ramifications of this study? Do you think large scale dairies will begin to name and pet their cows to increase production? Nah, I doubt it, too. Why do you think this effect is true? Do you think there are human applications?

I remember a case study from my undergraduate classes in management where a large factory increased the lighting to see if it would affect productivity. It did, positively. A number of preliminary deductions were made. Then the company reduce the lighting to see if the productivity would return to the pre-existing state. Actually, it increased again. That seemed very odd and illogical--until someone suggested that perhaps ANY attention at all caused employees to feel that what they were doing was important.

So, yes, there probably IS an application to human relationships. Perhaps just acknowledging a relationship (like remembering a name) has a positive effect. Certainly we all desire to feel that whatever we are doing makes a difference and that somebody notices. What would happen if each of became the "noticer" instead of waiting to be noticed? In honor of Elsie, maybe we could buy someone an ice cream cone to say "I appreciate you."

What flavor would you like?

Friday, January 29, 2010


Magical words. That is all we need. This seems to be the message I am hearing at every turn lately. The president of the USA used them in his state of the union speech Wednesday night. A fluctuating percentage of the population parrot those magical words to improve our national image worldwide, provide complete, low cost health care for everybody, create new jobs while increasing taxes and restrictions on businesses. Clients used them during counseling last night. Citizens writing to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser use them. The judge quoted on the front page of today's paper used them to make violations of the "sunshine law" disappear.

Most of you who are close to my age probably know the word "abracadabra" and the word magicians shouted with a flourish when something was made to appear or disappear. If you look a little farther back, it was apparently written in an inverted triangle and worn as an amulet to ward of evil spirits and disease. Sounding a little like an idol, faith was placed in a magical charm to provide protection. Of course, in 2010 we are FAR too sophisticated and intelligent to fall for such silly superstition--right?

Hmmmmm, I am not so sure. Please, please understand. I, too, like the idea of a nation that once enslaved a majority of a race passes through decades and centuries of granting, freedom, rights, help, and eventually preferential treatment to members of that race to the point that education, intelligence, integrity, and abilities are achieved and acknowledged enough that we elect a man of mixed race to he highest and most respected office in our nation. I love that story, I really do. Here, it the rub for me, however. Although I marvel at President Obama's oratory abilities and his skill at framing a conversation to suit the outcome he desires, we have to maintain the ability and right to not accept that a word spoken it the same as an act completed. I think I will say that again; a word spoken is not the same as an act completed. If you don't stop and think about that for a minute, I might say it a third time! If it were the same, I would already be slim, strong, and athletic. I would be doing 100 mile bike rides at 20 mph. I would be completing sprint triathlons in a little over an hour. The reality, though, is that my sincere desires and intentions--even if well-stated and warmly received--do not translate into achievements until much work is done. Having attempted to reach goals over several decades I realize that often the image never materializes even with hard work. The goals and priorities of others, conflicting goals of my own, and laws of nature are a few of the obstacles that can cause visions to go unrealized.

Why, then, do we accept what a charismatic, powerful individual says at a realized truth just because it sounds desirable, without realizing there are costs to be considered and conflicting goals and priorities ALWAYS present for all of us?

This is not an attack on the president. I like the guy. I would have him over for a burger and enjoy a chat with him. Really. This is an attack on YOU and me. Why do we continue to fall for "us vs. them" perspectives whenever discussing important issues? Why do we tolerate a two-party system? Why do we allow race relations to be the 300 pound gorilla in the room? Why would we ever accept any statement, no matter how eloquently presented, without question and honest debate. I am going to try it one more time. ABRACADABRA--I have ridden 35 miles already!
Shoot, didn't work again.