Friday, August 24, 2012


My first real job was working for Louie.  Louie owned the vast majority of vending machines in town.  My job was to drive a cargo van full of candy bars, gum, and pop, restock the machines and bring the cash back to the office.  The only catch in securing the job was I needed to know how to drive “3 on the tree.” (3 speed manual transmission on the column)  Being 16 and living in a household where automatics were king I had to learn to shift!   The solution: grandpa and his 1965 green Chevy pick ‘em up truck.  So, one afternoon I went to grandpa’s for my lesson in shifting.  He quickly gave me the basics of clutch, accelerator, stick and the H pattern sequence.  Then, he pointed to a nearby field and said, “go out there and practice.” 

I started the truck and made my way to the field sustaining mild blows of wipe lash as the truck lurched ahead.  I practiced the sensory method of shifting that day: the sound of grinding gears, the smell of burning metal, the vibrations of the gear shift lever, the sudden glances from field to ceiling of the truck as my head snapped up on every attempt to shift, and the taste of humiliation when the truck stalled.  Eventually I emerged from the field successfully able to shift, keeping the truck running and moving without the need of a neck brace or a new starter. 

Shifting…is another word for change.  Most people don’t like change.  I love it…especially when it has nothing to do with me!  Because of that, I’ve realized my resistance to change and the need for it. Shifting or change is really an opportunity.  It can either be an opportunity filled with apprehension, fear of failure, anxiety, or doubt which will keep me from learning and moving ahead.  Or, it can be full of anticipation, confidence, new perspective, and success as I progress from point A to point B.   

One of the things I need to keep in mind is that change is a journey not an event. Before I learned how to “shift” I was really wondering if I would get the job.  Looking back, the process of change holds great memories of grandpa and me learning and accomplishing something new.  That’s what I have to keep in mind when more “shifting” is required of me: enjoy the process and be willing to learn even if there is pain. So the next time “shifting” is required, I need lean into the sounds of grinding gears, the vibrations of new feelings, the new sights of movement, the smell of progress, and the taste of success.  What shifting are you experiencing? 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recovery or Taking it Easy?

One would think that if you train and run a marathon the results of that training would remain for longer than a week or two!  After I had finished the marathon I read and heard about recovery.  I intentionally decided I would "take it easy" after my marathon.  I am learning there is a big difference between recovery and "taking it easy!"

I'm back in the groove again to GET BACK IN SHAPE.  My break from a training routine needs to be over.  I don't like the early warning signs of "Lazy Boy-itis." I was really surprised to learn how quickly my body relaxed into non exercise mode.  As I think about this, I can see how a "taking it easy" type of attitude affects other areas of my life: faith, relationships, vocation, learning, hobbies...the list goes on and on! If I give in to the desire to just stop for a while, how quickly will deterioration begin to set in?  The danger here is to be obsessed and driven in all these areas which cause more issues down the road.  What I'm talking about here is balance. There in lies the great challenge in life doesn't it?  I would be interested to hear how you strike balance in our life!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Staying out of the coop!

Growing up on a farm we never raised chickens but we did have a chicken coop and I hated it.  Not being crazy about dark, smelly, cobwebbed infested buildings added to my fear and resolve to stay away from the coop.  Besides, if there had been chickens in the coop, why would I want to put my life on the line to enter the coop with the sole purpose to snatch away the offspring of an unsuspecting mother hen?  Just sounded like trouble to me!  The subject of this post could be similar to the dread of the coop in my early years.

It’s amazing to me that there has been such “banter” back and forth over the last month about another coop called Chick-fil-A. I’m not that good at giving immediate, thoughtful, intelligent, and informed responses and realize I need  time for my brain to process information.

Not being in the country and seeing all the media attention about this I can only imagine most people are pretty tired of it.  If that is you then don’t feel obligated to continue reading, just surf away to another site.  

Just the other day I was asked what my thoughts were regarding the whole matter.  To me the first question I had to ask myself was: what good does it do to stand in line for 2 plus hours to get a chicken sandwich?  How does that help with the underlying issue of the deep divide that seems to be widening in our country between people who disagree?  With that said I understand the need to stand and make your voice heard when someone you side with is being treated without respect.  My question goes to a follow up observation and it is this, sometimes we give our detractors added fodder to chew up and spit back out at us.  What really was accomplished with this action besides many people standing in line to eat another meal?  How did this advance the cause of Christ to a hurting, broken, desperate world?  What would of happened in the media and to some of the accusations from the opposition if people would have supported Chick-fil-A on a given day but not so they could eat lunch but take the food to homeless shelters, rescue missions, people in need, or someone who needed encouraging? 

I’m all for being bold and standing up for beliefs but let’s get creative.  Let’s act with the intention to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to the world, not just take a stand or seat at a restaurant, eat, and leave it at that.  There is more at stake than this.  I would like to propose that Christ Followers and Churches begin thinking about how we can reach those who are seemingly on the opposite side of the fence.  We may need to learn to dialogue in respectful ways to begin to understand.  If we keep boycotting, protesting, and picking sides it’ll only get uglier and continue to make our mission that much more difficult. 

What’s interesting about living out of the U.S. during this time is that Facebook and Internet News gives us a good indication of what’s really “hot” at the moment.  It seems that the issue has past and life has returned to “normal.”  My question in regards to this whole issue is: Now What?  Let’s think, dream, envision, and be strategic beyond the heat of the moment to bring “up there, down here.”  Besides, there’s a lot more “chicken coop’s” that will present themselves in the future!

Something to think about,