Viewing entries in
"life on life's terms"

New Year's Resolution - Be A Turnstone

Last December I set some 2012 Goals. I don't like resolutions or promises, I like goals. I especially like goals in writing. I don't work from written goals nearly often enough (maybe that could be a 2013 goal), but when I do - it is amazing how well it works.

Last year, about this time, I set these goals:

1. Celebrate today - everything we do, each moment we live is too precious to be treated as a passing fancy. I will better live in the now.

2. Laugh harder - there are too many minutes between belly laughs so intense that they make me cry.

3. Pray deeper - it is time to embrace an ancient and powerful oracle once again.

 All in all, I met these goals more often than not in 2012. #2 was especially helpful and challenging. Life on life's terms can suck the joy right out of you, unless you tenaciously keep perspective. Part of my #2 was completing my book, Wishful Preaching: Things I Wish I'd Said From The Pulpit. Writing it and sharing it with others has kept me laughing.

I'm still working on my specific set of goals for this year, but I have one piece of it nailed down. I want to live like a bird in 2013 - a particular kind of bird, the Turnstone.

Turnstone at work

Living along the seashore, the Turnstone feeds on insect and animal life near the water line. Like the sea gull, sandpiper and countless other shore birds, it is dependent on the food it can find. Shore birds search the surf's edge and beach sand for the unsuspecting bug, crab or minnow   However, the Turnstone has developed a habit of doing more than hunting on the surface of things. The Turnstone, as it's name suggest, will use it's hardy beak and strong neck to flip over shells, rocks and seaweed to uncover a meal that other shore birds will miss entirely. I feel a life-lesson analogy coming on...

It seems that I need a bit of Turnstone in the days ahead. I don't want to just react to what appears in front of me, or crawls across my path in the months ahead. I want to look into the crevices of life, search for the nourishment that hides beneath the surface of each day, flip over apparent failures and see what can be uncovered. Too often we give up. Frequently we accept less. NO! I say. Let's enter this new year with the determination to uncover the richness of our particular lives and the strength to crack it open and feast on the victory!

Will you join me in a Turnstone New Year?

James Kavanaugh - Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves

A Poem by James Kavanaugh

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder then for a merchant's profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves.
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant's world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant's world.
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

My Tim Tebow Problem

With Denver’s loss in the playoffs, the dust is settling somewhat on the Tim Tebow news hype, and it is time for me to vent a bit at the media frenzy that has made this an event.  I have some thoughts about this public praying, football slinging, media promoted, and public adored Tebow event.

First, the good stuff. What I like about the high level of attention in the media and in the public includes the following:

1. The media is talking about something in the religious realm other than political issues.
2. It is nice that the news about a professional athlete is about personal faith and not guns, crime, and dog fighting.
3. That a conversation about prayer and its impact on a person’s life is in the news.
4. It is good to see that people, youth in particular, are finding some hope in faith and prayer.

Then, the stuff that drives me crazy:
1. Do we really believe the somehow Tim Tebow has been chosen by God to demonstrate God’s power through football victories? Does God invest in the outcome of the NFL games?
2. Since when did a nationally televised dramatic display of prayer posture become the symbol of spirituality? I’ve always had a problem with drama around public prayer. Tebow is too much of an exhibitionist for me. Tebowing isn’t praying - it’s parading.

The amazing thing is that apparently the US population, fueled by the media, still has interest in the David and Goliath paradigm.  You know the story: small undersized boy, undergirded by God and a simple faith, sleighs the giant warrior of the evil empire. It is an enduring story and one that has been popular for centuries. David, Luke Skywalker, Tim Tebow… ? The problem is that the storyline needs to deal with something that really matters – on a universal and spiritual scale to make sense. I just don’t get how Tebow’s situation is anything more than a passing sentimental David and Goliath story. Is there really anything of godly significance here? This is football we are dealing with – not global military domination or genocide.

When a professional athlete, parading around in prayer and Jesus language becomes the poster child for faith in action we have a real problem. One glance at the lives of some real spiritual warriors - Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Fox, Desmond Tutu, Mata Amritanandamayi – reveals lives lived in self sacrifice and service of others for causes that were not self promoting.  While I have reasons to believe Tim Tebow is a caring person, it appears he has, unfortunately been led to (and willingly followed) a position of a plastic and shallow public display under the guise of spirituality.  All the while, we have run screaming to adore the latest rock star of American Christianity (Tim Tebow has over 1.5 million subscribers to his Facebook page).

Forgive me if I wish him well, kick dust on the media and walk the other way while trying to remember something of more substance.

The Loss of the Virtual Self

Sometimes, I miss the days when who I was online wasn't so intimately connected to who I am in real life. I once kept a blog under a pseudonym and as a result felt a liberating permission to voice there anything at anytime about any subject. It was a wonderful forum for processing thoughts and feelings.

Today, Social Media and the sophistication of Search makes it easy to see who is behind the posts, updates and mentions.

Do you ever miss the days of virtual anonymity?

2012 Goals

I think I'll pick these...

1. Celebrate today - everything we do, each moment we live is too precious to be treated as a passing fancy. I will better live in the now.

2. Laugh harder - there are too many minutes between belly laughs so intense that they make me cry.

3. Pray deeper - it is time to embrace an ancient and powerful oracle once again.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Born May 2, 1958 to William Earl and Claudia Elizabeth Williams. Youngest of three children. Pamela Earl (1952) and Jan Everette (1957). Still as cute as ever!

Back Yard Burger Discounts...Revealed

Over the last month, I've eaten at the local Back Yard Burger 3-4 times. I've been waited on by the same, polite young man, and each time I've notice that he ended my transaction by swiping a card through the reader. He would then hit a few keys and a 10% discount would be applied. I kept thinking he had made a mistake or they were running some kind of special - then last night it hit me.

He's giving me a senior citizen's discount.

Maybe I'll shave the beard...or just claim proudly Old Guys Rule!

Out of Gas

The sputter can surprise us
Running wide ass open
Taking no prisoners
Casting laughter like caution
To the wind
Blowing up a storm of passionate dreams
And friends cheering us on

The road turns, twisting
Thought and perceptions
Into unrecognizable shards
Broken, poured out, spilled
Across memories of tomorrow’s
Dreamers awake
When the fuel of creation
Runs dry

Thus fools rush in
Where angels fear to tread
And shout
"Fill’er UP!"

A Step Changes Everything

It changes when you move...

Hanging on the wall in my office, there is a picture of a tree that changes color and definition to reflect the four seasons. As you walk by the angle of the print causes the tree to shift from a winter scene of bare branches and snow, through sprouting spring foliage, the full greening of summer and then the autumn leaves of fall. From my desk seat, it always looks like autumn. 

I like seeing the different images of the picture. The variety, changing colors and images offers a nice change from what is often the static unchanging art of an office space. There are times when I will just move to a different place in my office to see and enjoy the picture differently. It isn’t that I don’t like seeing the fall tree, I do. I like seeing the other images, too.

Here’s my thought: My living is often the same way. It is easy to settle into the same routine, the same patterns of moving through life and soon – everything seems to look stagnant. In the same way I have to get up and move to a different place in my office to see the variety of the tree picture,  I can move to a different place in my living to see life with new colors.

From a simple move, like visiting a different coffee shop, to a more dramatic change, like ending or starting a new relationship, we can experience the very different seasons of our living. I’m not advocating change for change sake, but I am encouraging myself to remember that sometimes I need to move a little and change my perspective in order to appreciate the rich variety of life.

I sat in a meeting yesterday with a successful local entrepreneur – a very rich man. He was clearly tired, almost exhausted throughout the meeting. After we had finished our business discussions, the conversation shifted as he explained his fatigue. He had spent the previous evening volunteering at a local homeless shelter. As he begin to tell the tale of his time helping others that night his energy lifted, his spirit soared and the conversation moved me to a different place. The business of life glowed more brightly than the drab hues of the previous conversation about his business.

Get up. Move. See. Enjoy.


As I strive for self actualization
Demanding more of my mind, spirit and body each day
Determined to succeed, to claim yesterday’s distant horizon
As today’s dawn

It occurs to me that I might have it all wrong
What if these images of status and position
That haunt my mind each evening are self contrived
And the resistance that pushes me backward
Each hard fought day is prophetic

What if my truth is that
This world simply needs another bum?