Monday, December 31, 2007
I do have one official resolution I have decided on for 2008. To include even more dumb jokes in my blog than ever before. And make them dumber than ever before, too!

  posted at 11:52 PM  

At home tonight. Had hoped to go to a local family new year's eve celebration that some friends of ours organized but, having been sick for over a week now, I am pretty wiped out. I am gradually feeling better but my endurance is horrible.

Evan's trying to stay up and see 2008 in. This will be the first new year he's ever seen in, if he's successful. So far, I give him a better chance of making it to midnight than Lisa or I.

Got the first royalty check from my book today. It is just for some books I ordered under a special program they had in December. $35. Staying true to my promise, it will go to a local faith-based charity. Probably the school.

Thinking about the new year. I am not normally one for resolutions but there are some specific things I would like to accomplish this year. I definitely need to lose weight and get in better shape. I'd like to read more and I must make the commitment to be more consistent in my daily prayer and study time. I want to see good things happen in the organizations I am involved with and I especially want to bump up the time I spend with the school.

Now, all that said, I also need to spend more time with my family. Unfortunately, accomplishing all of this tends to add up to "less sleep". That is a problem.

So, I need to re-think all of this. I think there may be some wider changes I need ... stay posted. I resolve to resolve. Ultimately, though, more than anything, I will seek to follow God ... to know and love Him more deeply ... while doing my best to figure out and follow His plan for me.

In the meantime, Happy New Year's! God wants to accomplish great things in it. Will we help Him?

(p.s. Kinda wish I was in Times Square tonight.)

  posted at 11:24 PM  

"And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  posted at 8:03 PM  

Sunday, December 30, 2007
I was flipping through television channels this evening (something I do very well, by the way) and I saw that The Sound of Music was playing.

“I hate that show,” I told Lisa.


“Yes, ever since you played a prostitute in it when we gave it as our annual musical in high school. I just can’t stand to watch it.”

“A prostitute?” Lisa exclaimed. “I was a postulate, not a prostitute! There aren’t any prostitutes in The Sound of Music, you nincompoop!”

My eyebrows raised. "Oh." (long pause) “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Lisa said.

(longer pause) “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

A couple of minutes of silence pass.

"What's a postulate?" I ask.

"Someone who is learning to be a nun."

"Oh. That explains your costume. That's quite a bit different than a prostitute, isn't it?"

"Yes, I'd say so."

Another couple of minutes of silence.

“Well, then, all that said, would you like to watch The Sound of Music tonight?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? I hate that show.”

  posted at 10:37 PM  

This Sunday morning, in the midst of still reeling from my "Combo Deal" of upper respiratory infections and flu-like intestinal distress, I have had a hankering for a hard copy of the New York Times. Of course, it isn't available for home delivery in my area and I do not even know of any local news stands that carry it "same day" so I spent some time with the online edition but, still, even as digital of a guy as I tend to be, when you have a hankering for paper, a laptop screen just won't suffice.

  posted at 10:10 AM  

I am not in the habit of watching television programs about casinos but I stumbled across one the other day which I watched for a few minutes. The point of it (at least while I watched) is that they have supposedly proven that the physical design of a casino space has more to do with its success than do the people who work there.

I suppose, when you think about it, this makes sense. People will gamble more and spend more time in a space in which they are comfortable, regardless of how the folks working there treat them.

But it brings up an interesting question for any organization to consider -- which is more important, people or process? While I am fairly big on "process," my scale still tips strongly toward "people" because people are the ones that carry out, adjust, and design "process". Without good people, good process can't even be designed, let alone carried out, refined, and evaluated.

  posted at 10:03 AM  

Friday, December 28, 2007
For a week or so after the “Merry Christmases” have become but lingering echoes, everyone wishes each other a “Happy New Year!” We say it with the best of intentions but it’s sort of like “Have a great day!” We say it without thinking and, when we say things without thinking, then they sort of lose their meaning.

What would it really take for us to have a “Happy New Year”? All of us, when we ponder this question, will discover that the things we think about are either completely out of our control, or they are based on our attitude.

But, wait a second, when we say “Happy New Year,” aren’t we really wishing it for someone else? Can we do anything to make sure that that person really has a happy 2008?

Chances are we can, at least a little bit. It brings us back to the story of Christmas. We say that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And, sure that is true. But, to God, WE are the reason for the season. He sent His son selflessly for us. He didn’t send Him so that He could “Have a happy next 33 years,” He sent Him so that we could have an awesome eternity.

In 2008, what would it look like if we tried to be as selfless as God? What if we can forget about our own Happy New Years and instead focus only on the Happy New Years of others? Would it include extra charity, kind words, thoughts, and notes, additional time helping others, forgiveness, grace and compassion?

What an opportunity we have! For, if we can really live this out, we might find that our own happiness is not in the things of this world but in being Jesus to others.

  posted at 10:16 PM  

Have you ever wondered why, if serving others is a good thing and something to be encouraged ... something we're called to ... do our courts use community service as a punishment?

Okay, of course, I know there are plenty of explanations for this ... and good answers but, still, didya ever wonder?

  posted at 10:21 AM  

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Turns out one of my Christmas gifts has been a sinus infection that has left me feeling like I did when I had mono my freshman year of college. I am completely wiped out. It's sure to get better though and, really, it reminds me of how blessed I was to stay healthy this past fall when I had a really hectic travel schedule.

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out Lisa's recent post about a part of her life she doesn't talk a lot about but a part that, in her reaction to it, just further defines the incredibly special and wonderful person she is.

  posted at 7:39 PM  

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

May you all have the merriest of Christmases.

There is a saying that "Jesus is the reason for the season." It would be hard to deny that but, really, WE are the reason for the season. God sent His son for US, for our salvation and redemption ... and for us to learn what a walk on this earth should look like ... justice, compassion, grace, sin-free living. May we carry His teachings with us always!

(By the way, those are candy cane ANTLERS on my head, not horns -- ANTLERS I tell you!)

  posted at 8:19 AM  

Saturday, December 22, 2007
ROMANS 9 (The Message)
"Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can't get around.
But the stone is me! If you're looking for me,
you'll find me on the way, not in the way."

May I carry that rock with me always.

  posted at 5:55 AM  

Friday, December 21, 2007
I learned earlier this afternoon that Ken Hendricks died last night. Just over 25 years ago, Ken started a business which has grown to be the largest distributor of roofing materials in the world. The company is ABC Supply, headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Ken was a man of vision. He truly changed our industry and created a powerhouse of a company. On paper, Ken was the 91st richest man in the world. He was hard-working and a philanthropist. I have met Ken a couple of times over the years and, from what I could tell, he cared very much about his team members. In recent years, he had also started to show a passion for the environment.

In a stroke of bizarre irony, Ken died as the result of injuries from an accidental fall off the roof of his home's garage.

He will be missed. His death will rock our industry. I pray that he knew Jesus as his savior.

  posted at 8:40 PM  

I have thoroughly enjoyed "Clash of the Choirs" this week on NBC. I wish they did it more often.

Oh wow. I am such a nerd.

  posted at 8:39 PM  

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Luke 2 is probably the gospel account of Jesus' birth which you most often see recounted. This year, I am really struck by Verse 20 of it. Here's The Message translation of verse 20:

"The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!"

First, I really like the word "sheepherders". Isn't that a great word in comparison to "shepherds"?

But after that, what really strikes me about this verse in this translation is that the sheepherders "let loose". Isn't that great? First of all, even the sheepherders saw and knew that this was not an ordinary baby. Yes, they'd had a message from an angel. Yes, they'd seen the star. But they had still traveled to see this infant ... to check out what the hoopla was all about. And immediately, they had confirmation of what they'd been told and of what those prophecies had been about. They saw and they knew ... they "let loose".

It got me to thinking ... when was the last time I "let loose" for God? My life is full of proof of God's love for and faithfulness to me. I also hear stories of others all the time in whose lives God has wrought amazing things. But do I "let loose" about it?

May 2008 be the year when I begin to follow the sheepherders and "let loose" about God and His son. In fact, may we all "let loose" this Christmas and forever more!

  posted at 4:20 AM  

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The following came to me from ... the long paragraph near the middle is incredible (as is the scripture, of course.)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Became Flesh – Soon we will celebrate the Incarnation, that moment when Jesus set aside His divinity and took upon Himself the form of a man. John uses the words, “became flesh” (sarx egeneto). This event changed everything. It is worthy of worldwide rejoicing. But in the midst of honoring the God Who redeems, we may overlook the fact that the Incarnation is not simply an event. It is a way of life, intended to become the operating principle of all of the followers of the King of kings. You and I are supposed to live incarnated.

What does it mean to live incarnated? It means that the Spirit lives within us. In the simplest of terms, it means to live like Jesus. If He is the perfect image of God indwelling Man, if He is the perfect representation of what it means to be truly human, then living incarnated is living as He would live. “What would Jesus do” is right on target here.

That all sounds nice, but how does it affect the way that we behave? First, we must (it is not optional) shift our way of thinking and being from the post-modern, Greek viewpoint to the Biblical, Hebrew viewpoint. That means that we are oriented toward action, not simply information. We seek the benefit of others (including enemies) rather than pursue self-interest. We view life as a pilgrimage leading to full fellowship with God, not as a path toward self-fulfillment ending in an escape from this world. We see suffering as a necessary part of the development of godly character. We don’t seek it out, but neither do we live lives that avoid it. We do not weigh our actions according to what best serves my interests. We spend more time in direct participation with others; less in developing plans and programs for others. We believe that discipleship is the mark of a Christian, not verbal recitation of beliefs. We follow leaders of godly character, and we strive to be one of them. We see that evangelism is a function of exhibited transformed living, not a method of attracting “souls” to a building. We embrace transparency, even when it requires serious ego deflation. We do not allow “image” to cloud our judgment. And, we forgive, as we have been forgiven, taking the burden of consequences on ourselves rather than deflecting the punishment to others. We are far less concerned with “correctness” than we are with “benevolence” toward others at cost to ourselves. We serve.

The incarnated life is radical. It is not extreme; it is simply the real Christian life. Jesus called His followers to a different way of behaving; a way that confronted every natural instinct of fallen men and women. Christmas celebrates that incarnated life. It demands attention – and submission.

If this is not the life that you have in Christ, then whom are you following?

  posted at 5:36 AM  

Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sorry I haven't posted in quite awhile. This is going to be a mish mash of things.

SNOW! I love Ohio! Actually, it has been beautiful but we have had a fair amount of snow for being just mid December. Hopefully this isn't a harbinger of a bad winter. Our most recent snow started yesterday morning and continued through this evening. Lisa and I substitute taught third grade Sunday School this morning. We only had three kids, due to the weather. We talked about the various angels that play a role in the Christmas story ... so we then made angel Christmas tree ornaments. They weren't the easiest things to make but they are cute.

Evan has a church friend over this afternoon. They get along well. My newly discovered hobby this afternoon is knitting. Don't laugh but we bought a "Nifty Knitter" loom yesterday at WalMart, along with some yarn to make a scarf for Lisa. I tried using it this afternoon and quickly got hooked. It is a pretty mindless way to spend time, and yet see that you're accomplishing something. Evan's friend had fun trying it, too!

I also started my Christmas shopping today. Thanks goodness for Amazon and the $75 we pay them every year so they ship all of our orders at no charge via 2-day service. I'm not done shopping but I did get a lot done.

Tonight is the finale of Survivor. It has gotten me to thinking ... what if they did a Survivor series in an inner city ... just drop folks off to fend for themselves. Now, that would be interesting.

I guess that is it for right now.

  posted at 10:29 PM  

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Another great devotional from Steve Troxel, God's Daily Word Ministries. This one really speaks to me as I have recently been very convicted that I am not doing all I should be in terms of ministry in the workplace. I talk the talk a lot better than I walk the walk. Of course, a big part of my issue is with slowing things down a bit so that I have more time for casual conversations with others at work. That is a big issues for me that I am grappling with and praying I will find an answer to.

Ezekiel was called to be a prophet after being taken captive to Babylon. Since the beginning of his ministry Ezekiel knew his path would be difficult - he knew the people would not be receptive to his message; "The people to whom I {God} am sending you are obstinate and stubborn" (Ezekiel 2:4).

And yet, from the very beginning, God made it clear that Ezekiel was accountable to speak the truth.

Ezekiel 3:17-18
"I have made you a watchman; so hear the Word I speak and give them warning from Me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him...that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood."

God called Ezekiel and clearly gave him a message of truth that was expected to be shared; "whether they listen or fail to listen" (Ezekiel 3:11). Ezekiel was not responsible for how many people obediently followed God's Word; but he was definitely accountable for sharing the message God gave.

God's call is not reserved for pastors, missionaries, or ministry leaders. His call goes out to each of us who hear His message of forgiveness. Yes, the world is still full of "obstinate and stubborn" people (we probably need look no further than the mirror); but God's truth is good news which can save lives and give hope - it's a truth which must be shared.

Now here's the difficult part: Sharing God's truth is not an optional part of our walk. Each of us have been called and given a mission field in which to minister; and we are each held accountable for our ministry into this field. Notice we're not accountable for the response, only for our action or inaction; "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins" (James 4:17). Failure to respond to God's leading is sin!

What field has God called you to today? What message has He placed on your heart? There are family, friends, and coworkers who desperately need to hear the gospel message. There are people all around us who need to be encouraged to draw closer to God; encouraged to forgive and restore relationships; encouraged to live according to who they are in Christ. This is our mission field and this is our message! We must obediently share, in love, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even if no one listens.

We are God's watchman over whatever field He provides. Let's draw near and love Him with all our heart - so close to His side that His message and direction are absolutely clear. We must proclaim His truth wherever He leads. Let's accept the responsibility, and accountability, of the watchman.

  posted at 5:55 AM  

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The following, a very timely reminder for me, was written by Steve Troxel of God's Daily Word Ministries.

As Moses was about to die, he transferred leadership of Israel to Joshua. God gave His approval of Joshua with the instructions, "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go" (Joshua 1:7).

Initially, Joshua sought God's counsel for every step he took. Joshua received direction for crossing the Jordan river (Joshua 3), building a lasting memorial (Joshua 4), renewing the covenant of circumcision (Joshua 5), and defeating the fortified city of Jericho (Joshua 6). In all of this Joshua listened and obeyed; "So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land" (Joshua 6:27).

However, after the miraculous success at Jericho - after Joshua witnessed the city walls fall with the sound of a trumpet and a shout - Joshua's confidence began to grow. When it was time to attack the small city of Ai, Joshua relied on his own strength and the advice of men rather than seeking God.

Joshua 7:3-4
"'Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there.' So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai."

Attacking the city of Ai seemed an insignificant decision. It was a small city and the Israelite army was mighty. And God had already given general instructions to conquer the entire land and an assurance of victory in battle; "I will give you every place where you set your foot...No one will be able to stand up against you" (Joshua 1:3,5). But, unknown to Joshua, there was sin in his camp - spiritual battles which would hinder any physical victory; "That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies" (Joshua 7:12). The assurance of victory always assumes we are walking with God and in His strength.

When did we last seek and received counsel from God? If it's been longer than the time it took to begin our last step, we may be attempting to fight a battle we cannot win. We must never presume to know God's specific plan without asking for specific directions. Just because He said "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19), doesn't mean we can presume on His method or His timing; "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

God will show us the way, but we must ask for His guidance; "I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8). Our battles are never won because of our strength or the enemy's weakness. They are won only as we allow God to guide and then boldly follow where He leads. No matter how insignificant the decision may appear, let's be sure to walk in His strength and always seek His counsel.

  posted at 5:11 AM  

Sunday, December 09, 2007
I remember the joy that was mine when I first heard that our friends' hermit crabs would be visiting us for an extended stay during the holiday season. Nothing says "joy, love, and charity" more than a houseful of hermit crabs, I kept thinking. I envisioned walks in the park with them, building snowmen as the crabs frolic about at our feet, making Christmas cookies together, decorating the tree, watching the crabs for hours play at their scratching post, having them roll over and gaze longingly at me for a belly rub, having them hop into my lap whenever I sit on the couch, perhaps even a swim together an a local indoor pool as I grab hold of their dorsal fins and get pulled around.

But, as it turns out, they aren't called "hermits" for no reason. Our friends told us that they are "shy". I'd say that, during their time here, they have regressed from shy right into catatonic. We're pretty sure that they never eat, despite the fact that their food says they should eat a teaspoon each day.

Oh, the pity of it all. Dashed are my dreams ... I just hope the crabs don't die ... I am not quite sure how we will know if they do.

  posted at 7:35 AM  

ROMANS 8 (The Message)
In Romans 8, Paul does a phenomenal job of describing what freedom in Christ can be like. He talks about the woes and troubles of this world, and how Jesus overcame them. He then presents how God offers us the same freedom and "beyond this world" perspective that He gave His son.

The worries and ways of this world are always trying to drag us down, to capture our attention, to shift our perspective. But following them only leads to more worry, more pain, more uncertainty.

If we can operate in this world but not succumb to its pressures ... if we can keep our focus on winning the race God has set before us ... if our challenge can be to help others rather than to help ourselves by oppressing others ... that is where freedom lies.

If you do one thing for yourself today ... in the midst of this hustle bustle Christmas season, click on the above link ... focus on and pray over Romans 8. Seek to change your perspective and bring yourself peace.

  posted at 7:01 AM  

Saturday, December 08, 2007
Amadeus is not a name you hear used much anymore. At least not in the United States.

I remember back in 1986 when Falco's song "Rock Me Amadeus" came out. Part of the chorus keeps repeating "Amadeus, Amadeus." (Pretty much have that stuck in your head now, don't you?) All around the country, people were trying to figure out what Falco was saying and what the song was about. I remember that at one point a friend and I thought he was saying "Hot Potatoes, Hot Potatoes" instead of "Amadeus, Amadeus." Oh, those were the days. Wild and crazy, we were.

In fact, though, the song was inspired in part by the movie "Amadeus" which was coming out at the same time. The movie, of course, was based on the life of famous classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Both Mozart and Falco were born in Austria. Mozart in Salzburg and Falco (Johann Holzel actually) in Vienna. Falco is credited as being the first high-profile white rapper. I think Mozart would have liked rap.

Both died at fairly young ages. Mozart at the age of 35 and Falco at the age of 40. Falco died as the result of injuries sustained when the car he was driving hit a bus. That's a violent way to die. Mozart died as the result of a fever and associated illness I guess. That's a very warm way to die. Mozart died on my birthday, December 5. Falco died on February 6 which is 12 days before my mother's birthday of February 18. That is pretty much where similarities between Mozart and Falco and my family end. My mother and I are both very much alive ... most days. Hopefully the people who know us see that as a good thing. Mozart and Falco, like I said, are both no longer with us. That is unfortunate. If he were still alive today, Mozart would be pushing the ripe old age of 252. That's up there pretty good. Falco would be much younger. For those of you who are fractionally-oriented, Falco would be about one-fifth the age of Mozart. That is really something to think about ... for those of you who are fractionally-oriented. And of course you cannot think about that without also thinking of Beethoven's Fifth ... or a fifth of something else perhaps at this point. Beethoven was a little younger than Mozart and sought to study with Mozart. Beethoven lived longer than Mozart did but still died fairly young at 56. He was, however, born 12 days after my birthday which has an interesting tie back to Falco's death and my mother's birthday.

(Please stick with me on this ... I promise we're getting someplace good.)

Mozart left behind, in addition to his music, a series of letters. Many were written to his sister and also to a cousin. He was know, especially in his younger years, for jokes and references that had sexual or scatological overtones. He wrote a canon titled "Leck mich im Arsch." I'll let you figure out what that translates to in English. It's not very nice.

I read that recently a number of additional letters from Mozart were discovered in a locked antique cabinet in Vienna. These were letters he had written to Frau Joy Mueller. Frau Mueller had been a friend of Mozart's mother's. A lady of wealth and aristocracy, Frau Mueller became good friends with Wolfgang from the time he was very young. He called her by her first name which would have been rather unusual for a young boy at that time I suspect. But Mozart was known for unusual and precocious behavior.

When Mozart's mother fell gravely ill and eventually died on a trip to Paris (another reason to never go there), Frau Mueller promised Frau Mozart that she would watch after her son, and make sure that he was always provided for. His mother did not trust Wolfgang to manage his money and personal affairs on his own. And, in fact, she was correct in that lack of trust.

Many times during his short life, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart found himself penniless and even homeless. Each time, Frau Joy Mueller would provide him with money and the comforts to which he was accustomed, helping him get back on his feet until he squandered his money away once again. But she was always there to bail him out.

Mozart never forgot Frau Mueller. He was always very appreciative. On his deathbed, in the midst of a fever and aware that he was probably not long for this world, some of Mozart's last thoughts and words focused on just how very much he owed to Joy.

(Those of you who are aware of Mozart's famous song "Ode To Joy" are, I would assume, really hating me right now. The rest of you may carry on as you were.)

  posted at 7:28 PM  

Thursday, December 06, 2007
Yesterday was my birthday. 44 in case you're wondering. It was a great day. I got my best birthday gift ever -- again! Last year, Lisa and Evan gave me a Senseo One-Cup Coffee Maker which I love! This year, they gave me another one -- for my office. So, if you're in the area, stop by and I will brew you a cup as we chat!

Evan had his second try at a school spelling bee today. He went out in the fourth round I believe. He missed the word "insensitive" which, to this dad, did seem harder than most of the other words. Last year you may recall he was runner-up. This year, one of his good friends was runner-up so that was exciting. Man, watching your kid in a spelling bee is nerve wracking.

Curious what your Grinch name is? Check it out here. Lots of fun.

Oh, and we have crabs! We are crab-sitting two hermit crabs at our house for some family friends. Their names are Jerry and something else. Not sure they can hear us anyway. As Evan says "I am not sure they like us. They just sit there." Which is pretty much what they always do I think. Maybe, over the course of the next week or so, I will have some exciting crab stories to share. You never know.

Take care. Dot your i's and cross your t's. Just because.

  posted at 4:47 PM  

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
ROMANS 7 (The Message)
Romans 7 is a pretty complicated passage for me to read but here is what I boil it down to. Man has a sinful nature we cannot escape. It follows us, and plagues us. Part of the Christian journey is admitting and dealing with this fact. God recognized that laws alone were not going to save us from our sinful nature. In fact, laws even somewhat pulled our attention to the opportunities for sin that surround us.

Jesus came to set us free from our sin but still recognizing that a sinful nature is ours and will continue to be ours. But once we accept Christ as our savior, the Holy Spirit helps us in our quest to squash our sinful nature.

Anyone have anything else to share? While my above link is to The Message, I found the New Living Translation may be a little easier to understand.

  posted at 5:51 AM  

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I have a friend at church named Brian. He and his wife have two elementary age boys and a younger daughter. Great people. Brian is a bit of a "man's man" -- very outdoorsy and hardcore about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A few months ago, I had devotions at a church meeting. Brian was there, too. Part of my devotion was about a plane ride I had recently been on where I had not been able to sleep. So, I mentioned that I had put some opera music on my iPod, hoping it would help me sleep. It didn't.

Somehow out of that, Brian got the idea that I am an opera aficionado. He was kidding with me about how I really lost him when I started talking about opera in my devotion.

Well, on occasion, Lisa and I substitute teach for elementary Sunday School classes. In one of the classes we sometimes teach is Brian's older son. I have taken to messing with Brian and telling him that we're going to be teaching the kids "Opera Appreciation" on the Sundays we teach. Brian's reaction is priceless and usually involves saying he's going to make his son take a long shower and wear camo the rest of the day after Sunday School. You'd almost think I was threatening to turn his son into a Bengals fan.

It's all pretty funny. I don't really know squat about opera, nor do I like it, but it sure is fun messin' with Brian.

  posted at 6:39 AM  

My name is not all that unusual. Most (but not all) "Todds" tend to have been born in the early to mid 60s. As I progress through life, I am always discovering more about who I am. However, when I google my name, I learn that I could have been:

Todd Miller, the software engineer from Maryland.

Todd Miller, the senior art director.

Todd Miller, the movie director and producer.

Todd Miller, the professor of physiology.

Todd Miller, the Canadian musician.

Todd Miller, the realtor from Seattle.

Todd Miller, the photographer.

Todd Miller, the hockey player.

Todd Miller, the realtor from Nashville.

or even ...

Todd Miller, the athletic trainer ...

but, all in all, I'd prefer to be Todd Miller, husband to Lisa, Dad to Evan.

  posted at 5:50 AM  

Do you ever go into a dark room to get something, flip on the light for just a split second, and then, back in darkness, reach for the item and be able to locate it perfectly even though you cannot see it? I do this with some regularity as I try to not have the light on for long in the room across the hall from Evan's bedroom while he's sleeping. It seems odd but, just with that split second of seeing something in the light, I can still reach for it.

There is some religious analogy to this ... just not sure what it is ... yet ... but I will keep reaching.

  posted at 5:37 AM  

Check out the post on Think Christian that has an update on the Judas Gospel. Apparently this unrecognized gospel was completely misinterpreted as well.

And ... read about this man who was wrongfully committed of murder. Very interesting story. I have pretty much outgrown it at this point but for some reason I grew up with a fear of being wrongfully convicted of some horrible crime. I actually have a very good friend who has been sitting in a county jail for over three years, accused of crimes I do not believe he committed. It has been a horrible process to watch. His trial is scheduled for late January.

  posted at 5:29 AM  

This is going to be an odd assortment of early Tuesday ramblings.

It's been cold here in Ohio recently. Very cold. We did not experience the severe snow that other areas of the country have had. But it has been cold and windy. I dreamed the other night that our fence, built this summer with our friends Tiffany and John, was all but destroyed by the recent winds. I was devastated but then I realized it looked like the picket fence destroyed by the tornado on Desperate Housewives this past Sunday evening and I knew that it was just a dream. Still, once I woke up and it was light outside, I was checking out our fence. It's just fine.

I narrowly cheated death this morning. You know the little black thing in the bottom of every banana? The thing that will kill you if you eat it? Well, mine stayed in my banana this morning and I fortunately saw it and plucked it out at the last minute! (What? It won't really kill you if you eat it? Are you sure about that?)

Have you ever heard of tatting? This past Friday night we attended the annual Christmas party for staff and board members at Evan's school. It was the first year that both Lisa and I were there as official attendees rather than one as a spouse. That was sort of neat. Anyway, one of their traditions at the party is a Christmas ornament exchange which gets a bit brutal as it allows you to either choose an unwrapped ornament or choose to "steal" an ornament someone else has opened. Anyway, not being someone who wanted to steal, the box I chose had two little hand-tatted snowflakes in it, perfect for hanging on a tree. I may have been one of the few people there, and almost certainly the only man, who recognized and knew what tatting was. In my family, we grew up with a small end table that had a tatted tablecloth. I remember my mom often telling us about the lost art of tatting as she would carefully hand wash and starch the table cloth twice a year. The tatted snowflakes I received were made by an 83-year-old woman with apparently excellent eyesight.

Lisa told me last night that she really loves her new job, and the people she works with. I am so happy for her. She's going to do a great job there, I am sure.

I had to get new glasses last week. I sometimes choose glasses that are a little "edgy". Something about getting overweight ... it's hard to wear "edgy" clothes any longer so you go for glasses and shoes that prove your personal style. I have been looking for a pair of shoes lately. Having problems finding the right ones. I have bought three or four pairs from, returning them all. I am afraid shoebuy is going to blacklist me if I do much more of that. But I did find some edgy glasses. You can see them here if you wish. The optician had another pair that I liked a little bit more. But they were labeled very boldly on one side with the made-up brand name of "Tony Morgan". While I do not know him personally, I do know of someone by that name (who is a friend of our senior pastor's) and it just would have seemed odd to go around with glasses that had someone's name on them. If a Tony Morgan out there ever sees a pair of glasses that have my name labeled on them, I hope they look for something different.

That's it for my Tuesday morning Mish Mash.

  posted at 4:59 AM  

I have not been following the presidential race real close. I tend to come in at the last minute on such things. But, the more I watch, the more I like Mike Huckabee. He seems to combine Christian values and morality with forward thinking for the betterment of all. Who are you watching?

  posted at 12:41 AM  

I have a friend who is one of the most out-of-the-box thinkers I know. I am going to call him "Eric" in this article. Because his parents named him that. Eric processes things by questioning them. Sometimes his questions seem pretty simplistic. Other times, they can seem almost borderline offensive by questioning things someone may hold near and dear. And yet other times, you can see the genius in his questions. But whether you see it or not, all of his questions have a strategic genius about them that cannot be denied.

I really admire his thought processes. I try to copy him but yet I just don't have the same knack for it.

Eric is an inventor of sorts, whether or not he really holds any patents (though I think he does have one). His questions always involve searching for new things, new ways, and new vantage points. That is how progress is made.

Think about the greatest inventions of all times that have affected mankind. The inventors probably got some odd stares from others as they questioned and wondered whether things could be different and, if so, just how different they could be.

That's Eric. One of these days, his real big invention will come. Until then, I am just honored to know him, to learn from him, and to have him as part of my team.

  posted at 12:32 AM  

Saturday, December 01, 2007
ROMANS 6 (The Message)
Especially in verses 15 - 21, The Message translation of Romans 6 has some great wording about how avoiding sin sets a person free. How being involved in sin leads only to dead ends and self-destruction.

I think that presents an interesting option in the Christian journey. Do we avoid sin just because that is what we're "supposed" to do? Or do we avoid sin in order to live a life that is freed for bigger things, that is not bound by the chains of our own humanity where sinful nature does not lead to anything good for the sinner nor for those around the sinner?

I suppose that, ultimately, we're called to a little bit of both. Avoiding sin for the purpose of seeing what bigger things God has in store for us may seem like a selfish motive. However, what it ultimately creates in us is an attitude of gratitude which leads to even greater things being accomplished for the one who loves us endelessly.

  posted at 5:57 AM  

Who Am I?

Todd M


An ordinary guy. A wife I love very much. A great son. Wonderful friends. A metal roofing business and a sales training business. A loving church family. A few trade associations. A Christian school. And a four-pound poodle. Just trying to follow God and see where He leads.

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