Thursday, January 29, 2015
At the writing of this entry, IU mens' basketball team lost at Purdue in January of 2015. I have changed greatly from my youth in that when I was younger, I would talk lots of smack before big games and after. I would love to rub it in. But what I found is that I can't take it; at all. When my team would lose in those big games and the fans of the other side would decide to dish out a little of what I had given, I would get mad easily. Part of that is because of my personality, but also because I can be a sore loser.
So I learned to keep my mouth shut and try to be honest and humble before and after my team would win. This is a completely personal thing. Maybe you can do all of the talking and not get upset when the result you predicted doesn't work out that way, but maybe you cannot. I would learn that early, but I would also be careful who you do this with. Some people are like me and do not want to be bothered after a loss by the fans of the other side, and maybe you are causing some psychological pain to that person. Who cares! Who cares? Fan is short for fanatic and some people deserve grace after a loss in a big game, so why not show them how to win with class....or not, it's up to you.
Challenge; Really, I have none today. You just need to think how you want to handle these situations and it is different for everyone.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Get it done. If you are like me, I schedule just a little too much in each and every day. I schedule just a little too much in each and every week which leads to months and years. First, make sure that in that scheduling that you put some quiet time, some alone time, some time with your family and some time for fun.
But this is about getting "it" done. First thing I do each morning is to write down a list of things that I have to get accomplished that day. Some people do it the night before, I do it that morning. Then I try to combine these things as much as possible. My room is far from the office and the basketball office where I spend much of my time. When I leave my room, I try and make sure that I can get multiple things accomplished so that I do not have to walk back and forth. There is a lot of time wasted walking back and forth.
However, when those moments occur and you have forgotten something and have to back track, use that time. Do not get frustrated and have a black cloud hanging over you do something else. That something else for me is thinking. I think too much as it is, but it is in those moments that I try and focus less on the frustration of "wasting a trip" and more on how beautiful my wife is, how wonderful she is, or something about the kids that brings a smile to my face. Or, I start thinking two steps ahead to what I need to get done once this task is finished.
Challenge: If you feel overwhelmed, organize. Not every part of your life has to be organized, but the parts that matter probably should be. Start today to get it done.
Monday, January 26, 2015
1 Corinthians 15:33 says "Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." Proverbs 13:20 says "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." These are just a couple of verses that reinforce what I believe. You become what you surround yourself with.
It is not fair and you can choose to deal with the consequences, but the people you surround yourself with, you become associated with. If they are not seen as "good" people, you will be labeled with them too. I have told my students this often and as teenagers tend to do, get frustrated that it happens. Then I ask one simple question, "what if my wife or one of my close friends was arrested for drug usage?" Would they not believe that I knew or was involved? Would they not think less of me? All say they would assume I at least knew about it, and a large majority agree that they would think less of me.
But it is not just people. Keep positive things around you. From scripture to people, to things that are good, keep your eyes on those things. Colossians 3:2 states that we should set our "minds on the things above, not on earthly things." Do you do that? Do I do it? I try, but I have found that when I am intentional in doing so, my starts off much better and I stay in a better frame of mind. There are enough problems to deal with every day, we should try as much as possible to do as Colossians 3:2 states...set our minds on things above; Jesus!
Challenge: Pick up your Bible, blow the dust off, open it to anyplace in the New Testament, read the text and then go to the Internet and look up the interpretation of what you have read.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
As our society continues to "progress" more and more of what we believe to be traditional values will continue to erode to be negative. Just the term "traditional values" has a negative connotation. But as our society continues, you can better believe that which we hold true will be questioned. I see it as a 45 year old man and my grandfather 40 years ago saw it.
Do I believe that we should not change and progress? Of course not, but not all change is good or, more debatable, right or correct. You must hold on even when you face the waves and waves of those who question your rock solid values. You must prepare yourself for those who will attack you verbally and call you all kinds of negative terms in hopes of shutting you up. There is a form of censorship going on, often by those who claim to love freedom of speech, to stop you from disagreeing with their ever "progressive" claims.
In the Old Testament, there are numerous stories in which the people of YWHW have turned from Him and "doing what is right in their eyes". Yet, there is always a Remnant, a small group who is continuing to live the way they have been called to live. They may be a little off, but their over all society has continued living correctly a midst an ever changing society, one that has rotted and decayed to the point of having to be done away with.
You have to be careful in quoting the Bible and taking it out of context, but I came upon a verse from Jesus in Matthew when he speaking to the disciples. Matthew 17 "O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?!" I believe that last question is an important one for us to think about. How long...how long?
Challenge: Think about your values, have they changed? Why? Is it because of peer pressure? Is it because some outside influence that does not agree with your life has advocated it?
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
You will find as you spend more time around people that you can read their body language. You can read how they hold their head, hold their hands, how they stand with you, and especially the looks on their faces. They will not have to utter a word, but you will get it.
But, don't assume. It is a hard job to do not to assume anything, but there is a fine line between being smart and being a smart alack. By assuming nothing, it sometimes can come off as blatant arrogance or blatant ignorance, it is a fine line you will walk.
So you have two choices as you interact with people; you can withdraw and have nothing to do with them or as little as possible, or you can interact, read the body language, and assume. Both choices will cause some embitterment and confusion, you have to find what is right for you. However, I do believe to love others, you have to interact, but I do understand that some days that's just not high on your agenda.
Challenge: Try, try, try not to assume too much because those assumptions can play out in your head and they very well could be wrong.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Okay, I am the most guilty person ever when it comes to a lack of patience with just about any given situation at any given time. These entries are not to show you how perfect I am, they are to guide you into what should be. So, yes, I am awful when it comes to being patient. I have been told that I believe that there is a certain way to do, well, anything, and I struggle with it when it is not done that way. That is the first step in the right direction. Awareness.
But what I want you to remember is this, what we get the most frustrated over (lack of patience) often has little to nothing of importance about it in the grand scheme of things. Yes, we should have high expectations for ourselves and others, and yes a job must be done correctly, but when you are letting it affect your relationships as well as yourself, it is time to step back and take a deep breath.
I often think that I slide between being overly frustrated to too laid back. The laid back is the side I would like to error on when it comes to most things, especially my own children. But laid back are not often words that describe me. But I am trying, and I hope that you are too.
Challenge: One time today, just once, stop...take a deep breath...and let it go.
Friday, January 16, 2015
When you fall in love, you see the person you are with as perfection. You may see their imperfections, but they are cute or adorable or, worse yet, you may think you can change them.
Choosing a spouse is so important. We often left "love" choose for us and you should definitely feel something for the person, but each relationship will have red flags, issues that could become a larger issue in the future.
I am divorced. I was married before I was a Christian to a very nice woman, but because we both we not ready and both ignored red flags, we proceeded to get married and it did not end well. There were no police orders or even children involved, but it still was the end of what was supposed to be a God ordained arrangement.
My current wife is really too good to be true. I do not know if God was looking out for me the second time, but I received a gift in her that I do not deserve. It was through her that I came to Christ and learned what true unselfishness is in human form. She is supportive, helpful, positive, and works diligently in her job, our marriage, and with our children.
When you are dating someone, usually after high school, you might hope that the relationship will go somewhere, will end in marriage. Do not get caught up in wanting to be married so much that you do not pay attention to the red flags. Red flags are there in all relationships, we really only notice the worst ones post-relationship, but take heed. I want to close by saying I do not have all of the answers for you in dealing with a potential spouse. What I am saying is be careful because they can make you miserable, or vice-versa, causing an end to something that was started with love and happiness on your wedding day.
Challenge: If your spouse is wonderful, make sure they know it. Leave a note, make a call, send an email, do not take it for granted. If you are miserable in your marriage, what have you done to help it? Remember why you wanted to marry the person in the first place and take steps back to finding that love that has been lost. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Especially if children are involved.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
What I strive for...and rarely live up to comes from John chapter 13 verses 1-17. It is in the Upper Room, The Last Supper, and Jesus is giving his last instructions to his disciples.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come form God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterwards you will understand."
Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and head!"
Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also out to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just I have done to you. Truly, truly I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
Jesus, God on earth, not only knelt down and did the work of a slave (washing traveler's feet was the work for slaves), but also washed the feet of the one he knew had betrayed him. In other words, no job is beneath us, no person (even those who have wronged us) are beneath us.
It is my goal to live like this, and I am sure I fail, I know that I fail often. The difference you can make is understanding this and trying to do better each day.
Challenge: Do something for someone who could never repay you.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I am as guilty as anyone about putting off right now what can be done later, and usually it leads to some sort of frustration. Sure, there is a form of frustration or lack of "fun" that requires you to do it now, but do it now.
As I write these things down for my children, I do not want to come off as someone who does it all and has it all figured out. I do know a little because of my age, you grow wiser with age. And putting things off, procrastination, really gives us more work in the long run.
My wife is not this way, but I am which causes her to be frustrated with me sometimes. If she wants it done, she wants it done right now and that is how you should be really. But I like to lie around, do something else, or just not do it because it is not enjoyable. What it actually does is cause me to run around doing more than I would have had to do when I should have done it in the first place.
It is better to do something if not everything early when dealing with a task. And let's be honest, in today's world, we are not dealing with a single task, we have multiple tasks going on at once. That is why it is important to do what you have to do when you have to do it because those tasks will continue to build up.
Challenge: Today, put down the electronic device where your mind takes time off, and do something you've been putting off for awhile. Clean your closet, clean the basement, wash the clothes, or hug your family. Make it a habit.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
We are a silly type animal. We form an opinion, usually one that allows for us to be pain free and to not accept responsibility, and are hard pressed to consider it may not be completely correct. We form that opinion, dig in our heels, and refuse to see or understand any other take on what our opinion may be. And it is sad. It may not end the world as we know it, it may not stop the growth of knowledge, it may not do one single thing to society, but it harms us.
Be honest with yourself. It is okay to have a strong opinion. It is okay to dig your heels in on that opinion because it means you actually stand for something besides just saying it. But understand that anyone who disagrees might just have a point. It may be a good point and it may not be a good point, but at least listen, reflect, be honest, and think. For crying out loud, think.
I recently had a friend make a sweeping generalization of our great country all the while living in a country that was so much worse on the point they were attempting to make. I let it go, I am trying, but it blew me away that someone so intelligent could not see that the comment they were making were no where near the absolute truth they attempted it to be.
Challenge: Relax and listen more. Be willing to be flexible or able to concede that some of your points in a discussion may not be concrete, set in stone true. But, once you have done much research (don't believe it because I said so), be able to stand your ground with common sense as well as with your intellect.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Most days with a little effort, life is what you make it. Most of us victimize ourselves for no apparent reason and are bitter, but it should not be that way. If you believe in God, you know that this world is not our home, but where we are passing through trying to help others until we go to heaven. If you are not a believer in God, it makes zero sense that you would be unhappy as you believe this is it, there is nothing else.
But even in those days when you are attempting to enjoy your life, you will have to do things that are not enjoyable. One of those things is the disciplining of my children. I hate it. Pure and simple, I get zero enjoyment out of it. I do not like one part about it and I probably go too far too many times. And when it is over, I feel terrible and like I have failed not just as a parent, but as a human being.
But...it is a necessary evil, I guess is the word. It is necessary. Discipline in all aspects of our lives is needed because if left to our own selfish wants and desires, we will usually do something we regret. Maybe not in that moment, but in the future. It is the same with our children. I realize that by providing discipline for my children, I am teaching them skills that will benefit them in the future, but I do not like it.
We will have to do many things in this life that we do not want to do, but they will be necessary for the betterment of us or other people. Many decisions are not easy and once those decisions are made, you have to deal with the ramifications and sometimes, just sometimes they are not enjoyable.
Challenge: Embrace the struggle. You are not alone and most of us are struggling with many of the issues that you are enduring. The challenge is to find someone not connected to your family (don't pick a spouse or grandparent) that you feel you can talk with about your concerns.
Friday, January 9, 2015
I never realized when I was younger how much I allowed for outside influences to control whether I was having a good day or not. It has only been the last few years that I choose my attitude. Yes, most days I choose to have a good one, but every once in awhile, by gosh, I choose to not have a good one. It is those days when I am aware that I am behaving in a morose type manner that I have chosen to allow myself to be that way.
But if you choose that too many days, you will enter depression. So choose wisely, and as I said, most days I choose to be happy, joyful, and positive...most days. One of the things that got me to be proactive in dealing with my attitude was a book I read about 5-7 years ago called Fish!
Fish! is about a woman who is put in charge of a bad segment of her company, a segment where good people go to wallow in misery and she is attempting to change that. She visits a local fish store during lunch where the workers there seems to never have a bad day. And she compares their attitudes to those that are in her office.
The bottom line, you must be proactive in choosing your attitude. From the moment you get up to the issues that you encounter as the day begins and even as you go throughout the day. If you allow for things or people to ruin your attitude or day, you are choosing to allow it. I never have understood why people say "this was a terrible day", or "I've had a terrible morning". Ok, why and what next?
It can always be worse, always, and you can always do something to make things better. One morning, my son was not behaving at all, and after I tried speaking with him, reasoning with him and then ultimately warning him, I finally snapped and yelled at him pretty good. It ruined my morning. So I went to his school as soon as I could, pulled him out of class, gave him a hug and explained how his behavior made me get upset which wasn't good for either of us.
After a few tears and some more hugs and kisses, it allowed my day which had started off awful, to become better. We spoke again that night and did not have a bad morning for well, a couple days anyway. It seems it is always one or the other that gets the day started off with some tension, but that's another post.
Challenge; Choose your attitude today. If the day has started off in a negative way, do something to fix it. Listen to music, pray, meditate, apologize, avoid the issue for some time, or go to your child's school and hug them and tell them you love them.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
I feel that many of my posts are in dealing with the negative. That life is hard and negative and this is what you need to do to get by, to thrive. And some of that is my personality, but much of it is because, well, life is hard. I am a happy person, generally, and enjoy my life, but daily we encounter issues that try to bring us down. It can be things or people, mostly people, and how do we react to it? Be intentional so that you do not react negatively and even I fail at that...a lot.
With that said, as our culture changes, many things that we used to think were wrong are now looked upon with indifference and even supported by some people. The Bible is a 2,000 year old book that is truth, but it has many ideas in it that go against what our changing society agrees with. If you believe certain things different from within the Bible, you are wrong, but it is not going to send you to hell, I do not think. However, if you participate on those beliefs, then I think that you will have to answer for it, but I want you to know that I do not know for sure. It is above my pay grade and it will be between you and God.
But I can promise you that if you type what I did here or verbalize it in public, you will be called many, many names. Names that people use to win an argument and that none of us want to be called. Names like racist, bigot, sexist, bigot, etc. Horrible names that people will use to squash you from speaking, a form of verbal intimidation, and maybe even make you consider how you believe is wrong. Now being reflective is an absolute must in our lives, but just because the majority do not like an idea or ideal does not make you wrong.
Are you willing to stand alone if necessary?
Challenge: I don't expect you to start a fight, but my one challenge to you on this is if someone begins a discussion that goes against your beliefs, do not participate. You don't have to stand up so boldly that you lose your job or are ostracized, but walk away or remain silent. A remnant of truth is still out there, you be part of it.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
I can guarantee that you will encounter hard times, but also hard people in this life. There are many people who have dealt with or are dealing with serious issues themselves and they then take it out on us. I know I have done it before, but I try to be aware of it.
So how do you deal with them? Do unto others as you would have them do to you? No, I think it is more deep than that. Mark 12:31 says to "love others as you love yourself". It does not say only nice people or people that are good to you, but to love "others". That is everyone. Let's break this down a little. "Love others as you love yourself"? Most of us are, at least superficially, so in love with ourselves that we could never even come close to loving others as ourselves, but we must make the effort. We must begin to put others before ourselves and not just our children or spouses, but all people.
How hard is that? Well, it is impossible to do consistently, every day. But there are different types of love that can be shown. Sometimes that love is kissing the forehead of my children, sometimes it is grabbing my wife's hand and smiling at her, and sometime, just sometimes, it is turning around and walking away from someone who has a hard personality. I think if you investigate, you will find that most hard people have endured hard times and cannot let them go, so that should help us attempt to love them.
Imagine if everyone on the face of the earth attempted to do what is said in Mark 12:31? Will it get you taken advantage of? Absolutely. Is is still the right thing to do? Absolutely. If you try to live your life this way, you will become frustrated many times, and you will be praised to the point of losing your humility if you are not careful, but, I believe, it is how we should live.
Challenge: Do something today for someone who will not know that you did it for them, and they could never repay you for what you did.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
The invention of social media is so beneficial in many, many ways. You are able to stay in contact with friends and family in ways that you never could at any point in western civilization. You can converse and keep up with those that you care about, or just people in general that you know as much as you'd like. Today, Facebook has become the form for older people though it started for college students, there is Twitter, Instagram, and I am sure other forms that this old person does not know about.
Be careful how you use it. What I have found is that I know way more about people than I really want to know and sometimes care to know, yet, I seem to continue to go back for more. Be careful what you post. Trust me, the irony of this post is not lost on me as I write this book out in my blog and then will post it to Twitter, but be careful.
Understand, too that as you put your opinions or life out there, it does open you up to criticism or worse. Be prepared to read things from people that you thought you knew and they will be attacking maybe not you personally, but ideals, ideas, and values that you have. I have found that typing out responses to issues and then deleting them does about the same as airing out my gripes. However, if social media makes you an emotional wreck, I would back off. We have enough stress in our lives, so do not add more to it.
I got in on the ground level of social media and have changed how I use it. I constantly wonder if I should continue changing it and if it is worth it then I read something, or learn about something that reinforces the good in it. Maddie wants to be involved more with it and at this writing, she's 10 years old, and she has already gotten upset about a couple of silly things. She came to me crying last night that she saw on Instagram that if you did not post this certain post within 5 minutes, your dad would die. She was distraught, and there is training and teaching that goes on even as a parent with social media.
Challenge: If social media is controlling your life, you have lost the benefits of it. Rethink, and rework how you use it.
Monday, January 5, 2015
|(Gilbert Hunter, Eliphalet Hunter, David Hunter, and me: 4 generations)|
When I was a teenager there was a television show called Family Ties that aired weekly. The writer of the show was politically liberal, so he decided to make the oldest son of the family the "bad" guy by making him a Reagan type politically conservative character. It backfired. Alex P. Keaton became the hit of the show and was the most popular character. I loved him. I decided that I was going to be involved in banking and finance and make lots of money because THAT is what I wanted to do and would make me happy.
Then I went to IU Southeast and realized that maybe I did not really want to do THAT. In fact, I had put so much into being rich that I did not know what I wanted to do. Then one afternoon I was approached by the Henryville basketball coach and asked to coach the freshman basketball team. I was scared at first, but realized that I was a coach. How could I coach full time? Become a teacher.
As I became a teacher, I started to realize how much I enjoyed being around young people. Now, not elementary aged, but middle school and especially high school. I enjoy teaching them social studies, but also life skills, skills that they may not know they need or even want until they graduate in just a few short years. What I've found is that most people do not want to learn the easy way, they have to learn the hard way, but if you let them know you understand they just want to know they are not alone.
What I found is that I do not have a job that I have to do, I have a profession I get to do.
Challenge; Take time to think about what you are doing in all aspects of your life. How's it working for you? Can you or should you make changes? Then do it. There are 2 great times to plant a tree: 10 years ago and today, get to work.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Brush your teeth...and floss. And get a yearly physical. Do not take your health and your teeth for granted. It is easy to do when you are young because you feel that you will never feel bad, but as you age you will wish you had done some things differently.
Now, I am not saying you cannot enjoy sugar or what many call unhealthy foods every once in awhile, but do not eat nothing but junk. Get some exercise. It is easy when you feel well, and you may be so active that you do not need to schedule in an exercise routine, but the day will come when you will slow down...do less...and become unmotivated to do so.
Make changes if you are not doing something like this today and make those changes into habits. Brush your teeth each morning and night (and floss!), attempt to eat something healthy more than once a week, and get up off the couch, remove your nose from the electronic thingy, and get your heart rate up.
Challenge: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss and move!