Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've traveled an average of 86 miles an hour for the last 36 hours as I've flown from El Paso to Atlanta to Fayetteville, NC to Atlanta back to El Paso. It feels that I've been moving at that pace anyway.

I was able,though, to make some interesting observations along the way. The one that has got me thinking in particular as I count down the minutes until we land in El Paso tonight happened as I waited to board the flight upon which I am captive.

After arriving in Atlanta on the early flight from Fayetteville I met the one and only Chase Bean, who graciously agreed to pick me up and share a meal with me during my three and a half hour layover in the capitol of the South. We dined like kings at the Dwarf House, which if you are unaware, is the original home of the first chicken sandwich and the diner upon which Truett Cathy built the Chick-Fil-A empire. It's a real treat and I would encourage any avid fan of the chicken chain to plan a stop at the Dwarf House. The menu features a few things found only at the Dwarf House, and better yet they serve your standard Chick-Fil-A fare on real plates and all entrees come with a salad. There's nothing quite like enjoying a chicken sandwich merely feet from where the Cathy brothers invented the idea.

Anyway...I got back the gate an hour before the flight home was to depart and approached the gate agent with hopeful enthusiasm. I was hoping for an empty first class seat in which I could park myself for the three hour flight across the country. Any extra room is always appreciated and three hours is a long time for my knees to dig into the seat in front of me (28A in this case).  She winced as she looked at the load and told me that all 14 passengers had checked in for the first class cabin but she could put me on the list in-case someone didn't make thier connection. I told her that would be great and was very appreciative. First class or not I would still be going home. She told me to wait nearby so she could let me know the situation.

The boarding process began with the standard pre-board call. Two women approached, one in a wheelchair and one carrying both of their bags (all five of them). The gate agent politely stated that they would need to wait a moment for another agent to assist the wheelchair passenger down the ramp. This didn't sit well with either of the ladies who seemed more concerned about having enough overhead space for their bags than having any sense of common courtesy for another human.

The ladies simultaneously launched a verbal attack on the gate agent. I stood nearby, my mouth most likely open in disbelief, and watched the gate agent patiently try to explain the situation three times to the ladies who kept on yapping the whole time. Finally the bag carrier noticed that the wheelchair's seat had been changed to the coach bulkhead row. This prompted another mini tyrade about why they weren't sitting together. The agent calmly explained that she had relocated both ladies from their original seats so that wheelchair didn't have to walk all the way to the rear of the plane but had only reprinted wheelchair's boarding pass...she had done this without them asking, mind you, in an effort to better accomodate wheelchair. All she got in return was anger and rudeness. Finally bag carrier said "c'mon just get up and walk, let's go" and wheelchair got up and off they went.

Not once in the whole exchange had the gate agent responded negatively or in the same tone of voice which had been hurled at her. It was quite commendable.

After everyone else had boarded the plane I stood alone at the gate counter. The agent told me that there was one open seat up front but it's ticket holder's connecting flight had just landed so we would have to wait until the cutoff time to see if they could make it to the flight. Without warning she launched into telling me how she was going through an ugly divorce and was dealing with a crappy ex. We chatted briefly about that and then chatted about what she was going to do with her companion flying privilages since said ex was no longer going to using them. I simply listened with genuine attention and didn't really offer any input. Maybe she just needed someone to listen for a brief minute, maybe she figured it didn't matter since she'd likely never see me again...who knows. I'm glad I could provide a listening ear.

I guess that just help illustrate the point that we never know what we'll encounter, and hopefully we can just be open and sensitive enough to simply stand alongside and be a listening ear when someone needs it.

Moreover though...sometimes I am astonished at peoples lack of etiquette. I don't honestly know what happens but it seems to me that a lot of people check their manners with their underwear when it comes to airport behavior. 90% of the time when a flight is delayed or disrupted it is the result of something completely out of the control of anyone earning a paycheck from the airline. It's amazing to me the number of people who will assault an airline employee when weather causes a deviation from their intended travel schedule. Worse is when people flip out because of an unexpected mechanical issue...personally I'd rather arrive thirty minutes later than plummet from seven miles above the planet.

All I'm saying is this...we all need to go back and brush up on our human etiquette. Jesus wasn't being helpful by suggesting we love our neighbors...he was laying out a fundamental principle in how to function as humans. If we all just took an extra breath when the stress meter peaks and thought rationally before we spoke we might all get along a little better.

In other notes... The flight wasn't too bad sitting in seat 1C.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Tears in the sky

We'd been on the plane for only minutes when I noticed her tears. She had tears running down her cheek.

As we took off I fired up the iPod and drifted into isolation mode, telling myself not to think about how long the next three hours would seem. As we climbed I noticed that she was still crying. She had been silently grieving now for almost 45 min. My spirit hurt a little bit for her. I'll never know what had moved her to tears but nonetheless she was hurting.

Was she leaving home for uncertainty? Was she escaping an ugly reality? Was she missing her children and husband? I guess that by simply looking around and observing people we can never know the whole story.

I said a quiet prayer for 25A. I pray that she finds peace wherever her final destination may be

Thursday, February 4, 2010

On the airplane again

Seems to me that I would get a lot more writing done if I flew around more. On my way home this morning, back from a week in Alabama.

I have missed my girls this week. I don't like not seeing them everyday. Ella is getting bigger everyday. She is almost three and a half months old now. I guess it will never slow down. Can't wait to take it easy with them for a few days. I am so blessed.

Got to visit Lynchburg yesterday. Man I love that place. The Tennessee hills are truly God's country. I want to buy about 100 acres out there.

Emily and I have been really praying for God to show us a clear path in the last three weeks. I have never wanted to move back home as much a I do now. Not sure why but it's true. Of course we both submit to the fact that we are ultimately not steering the ship, we are simply the crew. You see, He sets the course, but it our job to set the sails and rudder.

Sometimes I think people get mixed up about this principle. We are not simply passengers on God's journey through history. We aren't here to sit idle and stare out the window until we get to the destination. We are the co-pilots. The master planner crafts the plan and sheds light on which direction to head, but it's our responsibility to act on the guidance we've been given.

Just some random ramblings from 34,000 ft above reality.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Late Night Rock

It's all going to be ok.

Just sitting here rocking my sleeping beauty. I've got everything I need. I still don't know God's plan for whats next for us, but I do know that it will be better than anything we can dream. I heard this today: "if you think you can dream big...just imagine how much bigger God can dream."

Good stuff. I'm still determined, but have found a moment of peace.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Amazing words from Dan Miller

This is sort of a follow up to yesterday's post.  This was sent to me last night.  It is from Dan Miller, an author and career counselor.  Give it a quick read....very very good insight.

But that's not Godly
This addresses the most pervasive and recurring question I receive daily – How can I trust my dreams and passions? 

Tom, a sharp 27-yr-old presented himself in my office, wanting confirmation that he was on the right track. He had recently graduated from college (having taken the 7-year plan) and had taken a position with a company selling office equipment. Each morning he put on his suit and began making his calls. The company loved him, however, he was bored beyond belief. I asked him why he had taken this route and his reply relayed a common perception. Tom said that he had a great time in college; he traveled, went snowboarding, attended ball games, and spent time with his friends. Now that he had graduated he felt it was time to “grow up” and become part of the “real world.” He assumed that meant getting a job that he hated but that would prove his responsibility.

I laughed and asked who had sold him that bill of goods. We looked carefully at his skills, personality traits, values, dreams and passions. Today, Tom is co-owner of a snowboard shop in Breckenridge, Colorado. On a moonlight night you might catch him coming down a hill at 3:00 AM, testing one of his new designs.

What is it that you find naturally enjoyable? If money were not important, what would you spend your time doing? When do you find the time just flying by? What are those recurring themes that keep coming up in your thinking? What did you enjoy as a child but perhaps have been told was unrealistic or impractical to focus on as a career?

This is a tough area for most people. There is a subtle spiritual myth that following our dreams is likely to be selfish, egotistical, and something God would frown on. That kind of thinking implies that God is totally outside of ourselves; we are simply physical robots separated from His mind and heart. However, we are created in God’s image and as such are co-creators with Him. Why would God have created us to think imaginatively and to have vivid dreams only to then squelch those dreams for practicality? Consider the possibility that your dreams and desires are the voice of your soul, God’s voice within you, longing for expression through your faith and action. And as you move toward your values, dreams, and passions, you will move toward being more spiritual and more fully what God created you to be.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This is gonna be a long one....

It is 11:22 am on Monday....

I'm sitting in my daughters room, in "our" chair....rocking....praying...listening...writing.

Soundtrack: "Broken" - Lifehouse ... (it is on continuous repeat as I write this) I urge you to listen to it at the link below and listen through the perspective of someone crying out to God, listen for the hope.  LINK: Lifehouse - Broken

I've had a number of conversations in the past few days in relation to "God's will" and it has boiled over and finally reached this page. I feel again that I am at a crossroads.  What happens when you are at a place of yearning for something, but you are just not sure of what's next?

If am being completely honest, and this will sound strange to some people, I know that I am here for big things.  I feel like God has put me on this earth to accomplish something huge.  It is like a burning...deep inside me.  Some people were created to function in an everyday career.  There are people who thrive on spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, sales meetings and HR policy. There are people who were created to save lives through medicine.  There are people who were created to build things. People who were created to empower others through education.  We have all been made with a purpose.  I feel like I am here to do something huge.

What is my calling?  This seems to be the foundational question that I am seeking to answer.  I know that one of the major pieces of the puzzle is this: Matthew 22:37-39.  "Love God...with everything, and love people."  If we subscribe to following Jesus, this is our calling.  We who have chosen to walk in Christ's footsteps are all called to this mission.  It is not negotiable.  What gets lost in the debate is how to make this practical...the second part in particular.  People often refer to "God's calling" on their life as if it were next step in the instruction manual of life.  They are looking for a prescribed list of steps to take while on this journey.  We come to a place where we feel like we've reached the end of one step and are looking for what to do next...I am beginning to think that this methodology is way off.

What if.....what if we are called simply to love God and love people wherever we are, in whatever we choose to do, whatever career we choose, wherever we choose to live?  Does this change our decision making process?

When it comes to career moves, specifically, I think the world forces us to rely to heavily on "the next step"...and forces us to become fearful of making the wrong decision that we can become paralyzed and terrified.  I fully believe that God has an infinite plan for each of us, and there is not a decision that we can make that makes God stop and say "Crap....he wasn't supposed to do that...now I have to rework this whole thing."  How much further would the world be messed up if God's perfect will was influenced by our actions? It would be chaotic.  When two people are competing for the same job, and both are praying fervently for God to give them the job...is God confused?  Does he have to choose between the two candidates?  I think not.  That would be chaotic.  God has a plan, and we cannot change it.  His plan is simple. He is going to fulfill His promises.  His plan is to give us a future and a hope.  His desire is to see us flourish and prosper, only, His definition of prosper is often not the same as I imagine...it is often more elaborate and beautiful than anything I can imagine.

So what to do as I sit here pondering about what I want to do with my life and how does that line up with my ability to love Him and love the people in my path?  There are things that I do that bring me joy.  We all have talents and abilities that are God given.  It is not a coincidence that music brings me joy. Or that serving people makes me feel complete.  Or that I have a passion for cooking.  Or that discussing business and marketing strategy makes me feel alive.  These are God given skills and tools that He has given me, and they are not to be wasted.

I feel that I have to come to a place where I know what I love to do.  God is calling me to use what I love and to turn that into a way to love Him and to love others.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or where I'll be in six months, but I do know this:  I will not settle to be a slave to a job for the rest of my life.  I will not work for a paycheck, or for the weekend.  I see those people everyday, and it is depressing.  We live in the greatest country in the world, where opportunity to create something is infinite.  I will continue to seek God's leading.  I will stand ready to walk through the doors He will open.  I will find a way to make a difference.  I urge you all to do the same.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update...getting back to business

Ok...I know I said daily/weekly updates on the nutrisystem thing....here's the weekly update

So far, so good.  It is day 11 of the nutrisystem plan.  I have been traveling so it hasn't been strictly nutrisystem food so far, but for the most part I've been on the plan.  So far, I've lost 5 lbs.  Thats a pretty good start.  Next month's food will be way better because I will only order the things that I've enjoyed.  Maybe one of the good unexpected benefits of the plan has been the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables I'm eating now.  When you eat better and exercise more, you feel better about the person in the mirror, weight loss or no weight loss.  The daily calorie intake is pretty consistently between 1200-1500 calories each day, and I have yet to be "starving".

Baby's crying....gotta run.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nutrisystem Journal Entry: January 8th

So far so good.....

Today's Menu: Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bar, Leftover pasta from Olive Garden for Lunch, Thin Mint Chocolate chip bar (snack), BBQ Pork wrap, salad, asparagus, apple slices, wheat roll (dinner), peanut butter cookie (dessert).

Calories: 1330
Exercise: Treadmill, 30 min
Weight: 254 lbs

Thoughts: Overall, a good start.  The food ranges from a grade of A to D+....depends on the dish.  I'll be re-ordering only B items and above.  Hopefully I can keep this up for 3 months.  I have been only slightly hungry so far.....

Nutrisystem Kickoff

Happy New Year!

So yesterday Emily and I embarked on our nutrisystem journey.  I intend on posting daily/weekly updates of my progress.  The goal is simple enough...lose 30 lbs.  right?  We'll see.....

Start Date:  January 8th
Starting weight: 254 lbs

Here we go!