A Month of Thanksgiving

During November I shared each day (well almost every day) about the things that I am thankful for at my other bog, An Eye for Redemption. Thought that I might share a few excerpts here from those thankful thoughts.

The dawn of each day seems to bring with it the hope of a second chance.

It speaks to me of the way that the Holy Spirit causes us to rise above our circumstances and be so much more than we think that we can be.

When we live from the heart we are able to say no to things that are not good for us.

I am so thankful for being here to experience the joys and sorrows of life.

When I am down and discouraged I find hope and encouragement in the God authored dreams he has given me.

In hindsight I can see God's providential hand in the closing of doors and in new opportunities.

People like these have shown me by their example what it is like to live for God.

When we forgive them we are released from all sorts of bitterness and anger.

I so give thanks to God for a country that was founded on a love for liberty and the proposition that all men are equal.

God stooped down to work with people, their limited understandings and the influences of their cultures.

The smallest seed of faith, planted in our heart, can change everything - in 1976 it rocked my world!

The Lady | ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

A few years ago I heard the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's leading pro-democracy reformer, who was held under house arrest, separated from her English husband and two sons, for 15 years. Last night I finally got a chance to see the film that was inspired by her story. I think that the words on the image on the left speak to her greatness. This beautiful woman started out as a wife and mother. Under much trial and suffering as a prisoner she became a hero to her people and freedom lovers all over the world. The story speaks to her courage and triumph in the face of evil.

In 1991 she followed in the footsteps of of Martin Luther King Jr. by winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her persistent work of nonviolent change in Burma. Her sacrifices of family and freedom are so inspirational. Her willingness to risk all for her country spoke deeply to me about the nature of people who want to be free.

I liked the movie, recommend it to you, and on a scale of ten give it ★★★★★★★.

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Listening to Reply

I do not like the sentiment in this image because I am always listening to reply. I am always wanting to debate with my teammates. I am so insecure about my views that I need to reinforce them by constantly speaking about them.

In contrast, I so want to be a man that listens. I want to be a person who can learn from the life lessons that others can teach me. I want to be one who listens not only with my ears but with my heart. Even to folks that I disagree with.

I pray that we all may have ears to really hear - and listen to understand!

Team or Seminary

Gotta love Peanuts!

This cartoon strip points to the way that we in the church see ourselves.

Do we see ourselves as a team or just a group of religious debaters?

The answer speaks to how we treat each other.

Sadly I too often fall into the role of debating with my teammates.

I pray that I will take on the role of teammate more than debater.

I want to be one who loves, blesses and encourages my teammates.

How about you? Debater or teammate?

Technical Difficulties

I love how this Shoebox Cartoon reminds us that sometimes technology does not deliver on the promised relief that many thought that it would. Sometimes even commenting on blogs is laden with obstacles like captcha and moderation - do folks really get that much spam and nasty comments? Why not require user identification?

It seems that 'bad people' have always made it hard for the rest of us. Because of these nasty folks we are patted down at airports, our phone calls are monitored, people's privacy is invaded and folks identities are stolen. Sad that the evil of the few has affected so many of us. Not that having good passwords are a bad idea! ツ

PT 109 | JFK in WWII

I remember reading this book when President Kennedy was still alive. As a young teen I so admired this story. On this 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination I give you this description of the book:

Seventeen years before John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States - in the early morning of August 2, 1943, to be exact - a PT or Motor Torpedo Boat under his command was rammed and sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer in the waters of Blackett Strait, in the Solomon Islands. Kennedy's wartime career had been unremarkable to that point. He had shown a talent for scrounging the occasional loaf of bread or haunch of New Zealand mutton for his crew, he had nearly destroyed a refuelling dock in his rush to be the first PT boat returning from overnight patrols, and he was a congenial and businesslike commander of his tiny boat with its crew of twelve. The PT boats were the terriers of the Pacific Fleet, yapping at the enemy's heels but rarely getting the chance for heroics, and PT109 was no exception.

Kennedy's first direct confrontation with an enemy ship was the one that sank his boat. There was no time to react; in the concealing darkness, with no radar, the destroyer was inside torpedo range before they saw it. In the aftermath of the ramming, as the destroyer swept away and fired two shots back at the broken and burning PT boat, and with an injured back, Kennedy gathered his surviving crew to the derelict forward section of the boat, which was still floating. Kennedy swam into the darkness and towed the injured back to the hulk. He would spend 30 of the next 36 hours in the water, during which time he and the crew swam three miles to a small island with Kennedy towing a badly burned survivor.

Over the next three days Kennedy placed his life at risk in the effort to secure the rescue of his crew, which was finally effected on day 4. Only two men were lost, and those at the time of the collision. In September 1943 Kennedy assumed command of PT59 and was promoted to Lieutenant. In October he plucked 50 marines from the water beneath enemy guns. In November, suffering from a ruptured disc and malaria, Kennedy was directed by a doctor to leave his command, and returned stateside in early 1944 weighing just 125 pounds.

President Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal and the Purple Heart. In August 1963, three months before his assassination, Kennedy wrote: "Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy'".

Bloody Personalities

Did you know Furukama Takeji, a Japanese researcher, believed that certain personality traits can be linked to your blood type? Granted that there is no scientific documentation to prove his theory but it is fun to see how his assessments compare with our realities. I checked my type below and found it to be mostly accurate. Find your blood type and tell me what you think about this personality type theory.

Type O: You are sociable and very outgoing. You are an initiator, even though you don’t always finish what you’ve started. Innovative and popular, you like to be the center of spotlight and appear very self confident. O’s are most compatible with other O’s and AB’s.

Type A: While outwardly calm, you are such a perfectionist that you’re likely to be a ball of nerves inside. You’re the most artistic of the blood groups. You can be shy, conscientious, trustworthy, and sensitive. A’s are most compatible with other A’s and AB’s.

Type B: Result oriented and strong minded, type B people will start a job and continue until it is completed, and completed well. You are the individualists of the blood groups and find your own way in life. B’s are most compatible with other B’s and AB’s.

Type AB: You are the split personalities of the blood groups. You can be both outgoing and shy in the same time, confident and timid. You are usually responsible, but too much responsibility will cause problems. You are trustworthy and like to help others. AB’s are compatible with AB’s, B’s, A’a and O’s.

Christmas in November?

This cartoon reminds me of how crazy retailers are about Christmas shopping. Many have gone black-Friday-overboard by actually opening on Thanksgiving Day.

You can ask my wife and she will tell you that I am usually not an advocate of shutting down stores on Sundays and most holidays (like Veterans Day or Labor Day) but really.

Isn't Thanksgiving more about being with Family and remembering our blessings? Shouldn't the day be one where employees have an opportunity to be with Family?

Old Chiefs or New Chiefs?

I was a season ticket holder in the late 90s and absolutely loved the winning atmosphere in Arrowhead Stadium back then - even though we never really made it far in the playoffs (when we got there). Those winning days gave way to the mediocre ones of the past ten years. Last year the team hit an all-time low when they lost fourteen of their sixteen games.

Then came this season! All I can say is wow! The Kansas City Chiefs have not lost one of their first nine games. Even so they are getting no respect and are the underdogs this evening when they play their arch-rivals, the Denver Broncos who have only lost one game.

And the question on the minds of die-hard fans like me is which KC team will show up. Will the old sad-sack team be there or will this new, tougher and smarter team come to play? Obviously, I am hoping the New Chiefs will show up tonight! Go Chiefs!!

Putting up with the Rain

Saw this last month, clipped it and just had to share it ...

Sometimes it is really really difficult to be thankful on the rainy days - those days when your heart is breaking and your bones are aching. Always helpful for me to remember that I do not have to thankful for the pain but I can absolutely be joyful when I am going through all sorts of painful trials and gut-wrenching sufferings.

Technical Problems

My obsessive personality got the best of me last night when I was talking to a GoDaddy tech and before I knew it I had a kansascitybob.com domain name.

Unfortunately the GoDaddy tech entered a wrong server name and kansasbob.com was not forwarding to the new domain this morning. I am still having a few issues that I hope to resolve by tomorrow morning.

Please drop me a note or leave a comment and let me know if this popped up in your reader or not.

Game Change | ★★★★★★★★

Ann and I watched this movie about the 2008 McCain presidential campaign last week. The movie actually surprised me. Here are a few thoughts:

  •  I came away with a greater respect for Sarah Palin. She is a strong woman.
  •  John McCain made an uncomfortable political selection for his VEEP.
  •  McCain and his staff tried to make Palin something that she was not.
  •  Sarah would not be handled and manipulated. She just wanted to be herself.
  •  Politics is a nasty business that is not suited for principled people.
  •  Sarah came off as a patriotic person that was not ready for the VEEP job.
  •  McCain was right: Sarah needed to be surrounded by people who love her.
  •  Julianne Moore rocked as Sarah. Woody Harrelson was good as Steve Schmidt.
  •  The book authors did a biased but pretty good job reporting on the campaign.

Depending on your political view, you may see this movie in a different light. Just don't get sucked into the politics of it but see it as a study in what campaigns do to people.
I liked the movie and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★.

Communion as a Meal

“Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it is shared.” -Jesse Browner

Growing up Episcopal I served as an altar boy and helped the priest prepare for communion. These days I attend a church that treats communion in a way similar to the Episcopals where folks line up with hands outstretched for a taste of the wine and bread.

It is difficult for me to see such sacramental expressions as a meaningful representation of the Last Supper. The images of people standing in line seems to lack of the heart and soul of what it means to commune with God and with each other. On the flip-side, I so enjoy the meals that I so often share with friends and family. My thinking is that these meals are what Jesus had in mind when he told his disciples to do this (i.e. share a meal together) in remembrance of me.

More United than Divided

This cartoon strip reminds me of how we can allow small things to divide us over the silliest things.
I suggest that we ponder the following things when we determine to major on the minors:
  • Most of us have experienced love and we all have opportunities to show love.
  • The sun shines and the rain falls on each and everyone one of us.
  • We all value qualities in each other like courage, kindness, honesty and humility.
  • Time stops for none of us. We each have 24 hours in a day. We all will one day die.
  • Everyone wants to believe that there is more to life than what we experience each day.
  • Our bodies are more alike than different - we each have the same life giving organs.
  • Humans beings all suffer. We each are in need of encouragement when we are down.
I know there are more! What things would you add to my list of the ways that we are alike?

Ender's Game

My friend Bob (who unlike me lives in Kansas) recently sent me his thoughts about this new movie ...

I went to see this film that I had greatly anticipated with a young lady who's company I have had the pleasure to share a few times recently. I was very enthusiastic in promoting it to her, being confident that I was offering some quality movie entertainment, having read the book years ago and loving it. In fact, I read the whole series that Card created back in the late 70's and 80's. Unfortunately, I was let down by the movie's excessive melodrama during the first half of the film. In fact, I was a little embarrassed at the weak performance by Harrison Ford and most of the child actors. Throughout the first 1/2 to 3/5ths of the film. I felt I was leading myself into giving her the impression that I didn't know what a good Sci Fi movie looked like.

The film version of the story focused excessively on the emotional and physical isolation of Ender, claiming he was brilliant strategist/tactician when it came to playing video games and dealing with other children who are macho or disturbed "wunderkind" recruited to fight the "buggers". The directors seemed to think that if he had the kids talking like street gang leaders without the vulgar language, the audience would be wowed and sucked into the weak and often impotent bravado displayed on the screen by a bunch of unknown 14-15 year olds.

I don't want to completely dis the film because it was entertaining. I just felt the drama was way overdone and that it didn't do justice to Card's writing. Harrison Ford was particularly obnoxious and unrealistic in his crabby militaristic role as the space camp training office with the amazing insight to Ender's skills that no one else could fathom. He, the barracks sergeant, and several of the other children were all very unbelievable. Would I see the movie if I knew what I know now about it's delivery? Yes, certainly. But I won't bother to see it a second time.

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Opinions about Opinions

"When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to
change ourselves." -Viktor Frankl

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living.
Growth demands a temporary surrender of security." -Gail Sheehy

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." -Mark Twain

Blockbuster Memories

Just heard that Blockbuster Video is closing all of it's stores in the USA. The news caused me to flash back to the days before Netflix. You remember those days. The times before streaming videos and Red Box dispensing machines. Memories of trips in the car on weekend nights to get the latest VCR and hoping that it was not sold out. And then there was the Nintendo games that the kids always wanted to rent. It seems like just a few years ago. Fond memories of a simpler time in my life.

Disappearing in our Lifetimes?

There is a viral message that has been circulating for a few years now. It is usually titled "Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime". Here are a few items from the list with my commentary:
  • Television: Google Fiber is being installed in our building this month. Their service seems to marry high speed connection with TV channels. In the years ahead I think that our culture will complete the transition from antennas to internet connections. Perhaps all TV shows will be on demand in the future?
  • Paper Books and Newspapers: If you printed this post and are reading it on paper, you may disagree with me on this one. Kidding aside, many people these days are getting more and more information online.
  • The Post Office: Bureaucratic organizations seem to take a long time to die - the USPS continue to lose money every day but stays in business. That said, I think that things like email and FedEx will cause the postal service to become something different. And maybe stamps will one day be antiques?
  • Checks: I have to admit that we use these paper vouchers a lot less than when we were young. These days cash, credit/debit cards and auto-withdrawals seem to cover most of the things that we purchase. Even so, I will not be putting a chip in my arm or taking a mark on my forehead. ツ
  • Land Line Telephones: This month Ann and I are losing our internet wired (VOIP) phone connection and going to only use our cell phones. This seems to be a growing trend in the world. That said, I think that land lines will be here for a long time as people continue to explore VOIP solutions.
What's your take? Can you relate? Where do you see things like this going in the future?

Falling Back Again

This Sunday we in the United States, and other places in the world, once again will adjust our clocks before we go to bed on Saturday night. To commemorate the occasion I give you a few snippets from this US News and World Report article:
  • Officially, it's "daylight saving time," not "daylight savings time."
  • Transitions into and out of DST can disturb people's sleeping patterns.
  • When daylight saving time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.
  • A study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.
  • Many other countries observe daylight saving time, but not all do so on the same day. That can create confusion for international travelers and business communications.
  • Daylight saving time was first used during World War I, as part of an effort in the United States and other warring countries to conserve fuel.
  • The first American to advocate for daylight saving was Benjamin Franklin.
Generally speaking I like Daylight Saving Time. Yet I must confess that I do grieve a bit when we lose it this time of the year. So hard seeing the sun set so early. What comes to your mind when you think about Daylight Saving Time?

The Month of Thanksgiving

Today I began a 30 day journey of giving thanks on my other blog. I began by giving thanks for Ann. Feel free to follow along with me here and maybe even share something that you are thankful for over there in a brief comment. Also let me know if you do something similar on your blog.