Thursday, December 24, 2009

100,000 visits to my blog

You know, when I started this blog a few years ago, I never thought I would ever have 100,000 visits. Some are looking to an article I linked to, or a photo I posted, and some are regular readers of my ramblings. Thanks for stopping by.

I know some blogs have 100,000 hits a day, but I don't mind, I would keep writing if no one read another post. Writing to me is part therapy and part creative outlet.

So what was the 100,000th visitor reading? My post of how to suck up to your wife. How appropriate.

I will take this time to thank my wife for no throwing things at me from the bedroom when I am clicking away on the keyboard at 11:00PM.

Thanks again for stopping checking in.

Do you suffer from a "Drug Problem?"

There must be a sea of ink written about the true meaning of Christmas in newspaper columns by now. I am going to resist my natural inclination to continue this tradition, and instead write about investing. Not a 401K or an IRA account, but the investments we make in ourselves, in our relationships, and the currency for this type of investing, your time.

If your IRA is anything like mine, the past few years have seen the balance in my account go up and down, and down, and then down some more. But what about your spiritual account? How is it doing?

If you have not thought about your spiritual account in a while, or even contemplated having one, you may want to use this Christmas season to do a little internal audit.

In your daily life, how often do you think about spiritual matters? Are you making any deposits in your spiritual account? Is your spiritual account overdrawn? I know mine can be. It seems when I get up in the morning, I immediately start thinking about my problems, or things at work, or even looking forward to the weekend ahead. My mind starts grinding away in the here and now. Don't get me wrong, there are some here and now issues that do take careful consideration and events that need planning, but if I spend all my time wrapped up in these worldly matters, where does that leave my relationship with God?

Wouldn't it be better to start your day, everyday, with a spiritual jump start? I'm not talking about an hour on your knees in prayer, although the benefit of that one hour would be paid back ten-fold if we would make that big an investment, but let's start small. Let's start with that walk to the shower, or pouring that first cup of coffee, or whatever makes up your normal routine. How about this as a very small, first step. Give thirty seconds of your time to acknowledge God, and the blessing in your life. Then another thirty seconds to pray for the coming day, and for the insight and direction in facing the day. That's it, just one minute, about the time it takes to make toast, but that minute could make a tremendous difference in the way you go through your day.

Once you start investing into your spiritual account, even in a small way, you can start looking at investing a little more currency in your account. How about an hour or so on Sunday? That's right, I'm talking about church. Okay, I know I am going to lose many of you right there, but stay with me, there are many wonderful churches in our area. Find a place that meets your needs, a place where they teach the Bible in a relevant way, in a way that speaks to you. Find a church with music you like and friendly people who you would want to get to know. If the first one you check out doesn't feel right, check out another one.

This weekly, corporate worship, meaning large group worship, is essential to your spiritual growth. The personal relationship you have with God is the most important, but being part of a larger group of believers, people you can lean on, learn from, and serve with is a big part of developing your faith. In many local churches, they have small-group Bible studies, they can be a great way to dig into your faith. I love my small group, they are wonderful folks who have become great friends to my family.

I know, I know, some of you have a "drug problem," you were drug to church every Sunday as a kid and hated every minute of it. It can leave a bad taste that last a lifetime. I understand this, but please, give church another chance. You may be surprised what you find there. Hey, they let me in, and if they let me in, they will let anyone in. It's not about being perfect, or about judgment, or guilt, it's about second chances and third chances. It's about love and grace. God's love and grace.

In this Christmas season, I would like to remind you that while the world likes to measure our success by our bank statement, the size of our house, or the car we drive, these things are purchased with cash. They can come, and they can go just as easy. The investments I am talking about, these spiritual investments, grow in a direct correlation to how much time we invest in them. I think spending time with God is the best investment you can make. It makes your faith stronger, it makes the relationship with your family stronger, and it keeps you focus on the things that truly matter.

Time is our greatest currency, and no one knows just how much of it they will have. How are you spending yours?

Here is hoping you and yours a very, merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When the world won't stop

Tomorrow, the sun will rise. Just as it has for eons, just like it did today. The world will awake to another day, and people will stumble into their routines and their busy lives as if nothing happened. People will walk from the parking lot to their offices, check their email, say hello to their co-workers and finish that second cup of coffee. Just as if nothing happened. How could they know, how could they know this is not just another day?

For you, this has been the day that you never thought could come. It is a day that doesn't seem real, but it is, it is all too real. It is the most painful day you have ever experienced. The most painful thing you can even imagine. The loss of a child.

Your world, as normal as it ever seemed just a few days ago, is gone. Gone forever. It has been replaced with sorrow, anger, doubt, and an empty feeling in the middle of you that you cannot seem to fill. In that void are phone calls you never thought you would have to make, and decisions you never thought you would have to decide.

Friends and family want to help, but they can't fix what needs fixing, they can't heal what is hurting. No one can make this right, not this. You feel like you life will never be right again.

All you want is for the world to stop turning, for time to stop, just for a few days, just for a few hours, just until you can get your head around this terrible thing. But you can't, you can never understand this. Why? Why now, why him, why so young? There are only question, no answers.

People will say that as time passes, the sorrow will slowly go away; and it will, to a certain point. That deep, immediate sorrow will diminish over time, only to be replaced with a longing for what could have been, what might have been. A life that touches yours at such a base level, at such a elemental level, will stay with you forever. This will be the day you measure ever other day against.

Every joy, and there will be joy in your life again, will be measured against this terrible low. Every low, and you will have your share of those too, will also be measured against this day. But that is for another day. .

Forgive the sun for rising today, it does not understand. Forgive the world for going about its day, the world does not know about your loss. Forgive you friends and family for not knowing what to say, or what to do to help you. Forgive God, this was not His doing.

It may not seem like it right now, but you will get through this, even when all you want to do is cry. So go ahead, we will be crying alongside you.

For Rendell and Jasmine, in memory of Esius.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Hide the decline

With the UN's Copenhagen climate change summit fast approaching, how about this for an inconvenient truth, the "settled science" of man-made global warming is unraveling because the scientist have been cooking the books.

How many times have we been told in the past decade if we don't act today, not next week or next year, we will have gone over the tipping point and the earth would be irreversibly destroyed by global warming? We should be cooked to medium-well right now if these predictions were accurate, but they are not. Just in case no one has told you, and it is a pretty fair bet they haven't, the global temperature has actually gone down in the past decade.

How is this possible? China is firing up two power plants each week, and building them for nations all over Asia. Eighty percent of China's power comes from coal, and coal is evil, right? Didn't I read in Tom Friedman's Hot Flat and Crowded, that when we put carbon into the atmosphere the earth gets warmer, and that is indisputable? Hmm.

Did we all stop driving cars 1998? Did we stop burning coal, cutting down rain forests and all go vegan in the late nineties? It must be Bush's fault somehow; he hates polar bears you know.

For all the "settled science" out there, have you noticed that in the past few years the new buzzword for the environmental crowd is now climate change, not global warming? The high priests of environmental science had to stop using global warming as a means to scare us. It is pretty hard to scare people when your global warming conference has to be canceled due to a blizzard.

So why has the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) been hiding the decline in global temperatures and destroying the raw data? Cold, hard, cash. Your cash. If you haven't figured this out yet, the whole climate change scare is a money play, plain and simple. Carbon credits, carbon taxes, Cap and Trade, if you just listen to the folks at the forefront, they want to use global warming to create the largest redistribution of wealth in history. The idea of carbon trading was created with the help of Ken Lay. Remember Ken Lay, from Enron?

Many smart people, with good intentions, have been snookered into believing that driving your car, mowing your yard with a gas powered mower, buying a new HDTV, and using incandescent light bulbs are equivalent to drowning polar bear cubs with your bare hands. Don't worry, there are actually more polar bears on the earth today than there were 30 years ago, but the global warming crowd suppressed that information too.

So where do we go from here? Good question. First, let us get scientific with our science. In science, I was always led to believe you go in with a few assumptions, and you let the data lead you to the facts, whether they support your assumptions or not. However, climate change science seems to have become more of a religion than a scientific pursuit.

Hey, let's invent the "carbon footprint" to make people feel guilty about living their lives and ignore that gigantic ball of burning gas at the center of our solar system. Let's not talk about the reduction in solar radiation in the past decade, we can't tax the Sun, we can only tax people.

There is an unlimited amount of grant money, publicity, Academy Awards and Nobel prizes out there for anyone who can write a research paper claiming humans, and more specifically Americans, are causing the earth to warm. If you produce a study saying the only way to fix this mess is some type of Cap and Trade scheme, well then, you get on CNN and the Today show. If you actually follow the data and find there are many other factors that affect the global temperature, then you are labeled a climate change skeptic.

Look, I believe the earth's temperature could start warming back up this year. It could also decline for another decade, or another century. The only truly settled science is this; the earth has been much warmer than it is right now, and it has been a lot colder. The earth's climate changes, and it will continue to change, no matter how many awards Al Gore receives.