Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Front Porch: The Peacefulness of Falling Snow

The Front Porch: The Peacefulness of Falling Snow: I sat in the darkness of early morning. The lights on the Christmas tree and other decorations illuminated our living room. Behind me (whi...

The Peacefulness of Falling Snow

I sat in the darkness of early morning. The lights on the Christmas tree and other decorations illuminated our living room. Behind me (while I sit at our dining room table) is the front door that we rarely use. It has a single glass pane that runs the length and breadth of the door.

In the stillness of this morning, I turn in my chair and stare out the glass pane of the door into a Wisconsin winter wonderland. It snowed 5 inches yesterday and I had to shovel the walkways around the house and Church 3 times. As I look out this morning, through the illumination of the street lights, I see that it is snowing again…big flakes, straight down.

My initial thought was, “Ugh!” Shoveling snow is not my favorite form of exercise. But, have you ever watched it snow? There is something very peaceful about snow falling from the sky. It softly drifts down and lands in place. It gently comes to rest, so gently you can’t hear it. The soft flakes cover the earth with a mantle of white that gives an aura of purity to our dirty world. As much as I hate it, the snowfall is beautiful!

In the quietness of the moment, I sensed God still saying to us, “Peace, and on Earth goodwill toward men.” Yet, all around me there is turmoil. An elderly lady in our Church is in a nursing home and desperately wants to go home. A man from our community is suffering from aggressive cancer and is not expected to live long. A woman called to ask for help with gas to get her husband to the hospital for daily radiation treatments. A 3 year old child from our community is suffering from cancer with tumors so large that he is on a constant narcotic drip to help him with the pain. A Vietnam veteran’s knee is so swollen he can’t walk and doesn’t know if he can get medical help. Then yesterday, I gave a memorial for a 63 year old mother that, very unexpectedly, passed away in her son’s arms while they were waiting for an ambulance to arrive. These are just the immediate situations around me. There are other, greater issues. In Wisconsin, the congress is fighting internally causing the people to choose sides. Nationally, Democrats are fighting against the Republicans creating division in the country. The poor are demanding the government to take more money from the rich amplifying hatred among the classes. Then, to spoil the pot, it seems that little to no one is seeking God which causes a shadow of despair.

So, I sat for an half an hour or so in front of that big pane of glass in the door with a hot cup of coffee and watched it snow. It was great therapy. Then this thought struck me. “It really isn’t the snowfall. It’s getting quiet and being still.” Then, I remembered the scripture, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10 NLT)
In that quiet moment…in the stillness of early morning…in the midst of all the chaos…while the beautiful snow was falling, I knew, I just knew, God was still in control.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Friday, December 14th

President Roosevelt made a speech about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He said it was a day “… that would live in infamy.” The day he was referring to was December 7th, 1941. That day was infamous because Japan attacked our naval base and over 2000 lives were lost….

Friday, December 14th, started like most other days. I was up by 7 am deciding what the most important tasks of the day were. I really wanted bacon for breakfast but we didn’t have any in the refrigerator. I was a little annoyed, after breakfast, that my youngest daughter didn’t get a perfect score on her spelling test after we (and I mean “we”) had worked so hard on it. I was a little frustrated with one of my sons. We are trying to get him enrolled in college. Even though he says he wants to go, he doesn’t seem to have the drive to get through the admission process…and I don’t know how to give it to him.

My wife and I took a drive to pick something up from the store. I didn’t really want to go. I wanted to go to my office and work on my book. I just can’t seem to make progress on it. Someone or something is always occupying my time. On the way home, we could hear grinding in the front wheel of our vehicle.

“Oh Great,” I thought to myself. “There goes $200.00 bucks I don’t have.”

When I finally got back to the office, my son Jon (some of you folks may know him as the guitar player in our band) asked if I had heard the news. I had not. So, I turned on the news in my office and listened…and I cried. After an hour of being paralyzed by disbelief and hearing another news briefing held by the Connecticut State Police, I went home to find that my daughters had heard the news and what had happened in Newtown, Connecticut.  After a little talking, my girls put their heads on my shoulders…and cried. They cried for the children that were terrorized and killed. They cried for the moms and dads and the pain that they were experiencing. They cried.

As my girls were there weeping, I realized something. In the overarching scheme of things, my daughters 96% on her test was pretty good. I realized that I was having a good day without bacon. I realized that my son is working hard to be the best at his new job and that at 19 he is trying to learn how to juggle a schedule. I realized how much I love him and what a great kid he is.

I realized how much I love my wife and my calling. I love what I do and the people I get to be with. I realized how blessed I am.  Finally, I realized that in the overarching scheme of things eventually my vehicle will get fixed.

I also realized some “deeper” issues. I realized that I don’t have the answers for the parents that are hurting. I realized how insidiously evil this act was. I realized how lost the perpetrator was. And for what I know about God, I realized that He allowed it to happen.

There is another time in history that God allowed a massacre of children. In fact, God allowed prophets to predict it. It’s actually part of the Christmas story. You know about the wise men that came to pay homage to the “new born king of the Jews”? After they left to go home, Herod, the King of Judea, had all the Jewish boys, age 2 and under, executed. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus escaped the carnage. The others living in Herod’s kingdom did not.

There is no way for us today to understand the sorrow of the Jewish people during this time. In fact, the Bible says, “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matt. 2:18 NIV) There is no way for us, who are not involved, to understand the grief that the parents of Newtown, Connecticut are experiencing. All we can do is weep with them.

So, why did God allow this? I have no idea. What kind of God would allow this to happen? To the children: A righteous God that honors the innocence of children. To the parents: A merciful God that has experienced, for Himself, the execution of His son. To the perpetrator: A just God that said, “Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (Rev. 20:12)

During these days that follow, many are offering solutions that will not address the problem. Some will say the problem is a cold piece of steel that spews projectiles. An inanimate object never hurt anyone by itself. Some will say the problem is mental instability. The mentally unstable that I know have a difficult forming sentences… and drool. Some will say the problem is Democrats and Liberalism and some will say it is Republicans and Conservatism.

None of these things are the problem. They are all symptoms of the problem. The problem is evil and sin. This means, the only answer to our problem is God and His righteousness. If we, as a nation, cannot see this, then we are doomed to a dark abyss. Can we ever climb out? I don’t know.

What I do know is that FDR said December 7th, 1941 would be a day that would live in infamy. If that is so, then December 14th, 2012 shall forever be shrouded in sorrow. The only thing I know that will get us through… is faith in God Almighty.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Favorite Holiday

I love this time of year! We just got our first permanent snow fall here in Wisconsin where I live. By permanent I mean it’s here to stay until the spring thaw. This year the calendar has afforded us the greatest amount of days possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas…32! We’ve put up the Christmas tree in our house. It is still the same artificial tree my parents had when I was a kid. Over the doorway hangs a string of golden bells that belonged to my Grandmother.

We have a family tradition. The day we put up the tree we have cookies and eggnog with whipped cream served in special Christmas glasses. (These glasses have holly on the side and are only used at Christmas time.) As we are decorating the tree we have popular Christmas tunes playing in the background. And, with each ornament that is placed on the tree, my wife and I try to remember the story of where it came from and why we have it. I get half the details wrong and my wife spends most of the evening helping me get the stories right. We are coming to the place where our kids are remembering the details and help fill in the missing data. The only thing that’s missing from this Thomas Kincaid picture perfect moment is a horse drawn sleigh and caroling. That is happening this Sunday afternoon, so feel free to stop by and join us!

Even in this setting, I am losing Christmas as my favorite holiday. I personally enjoy it. But, man, is it a fight in our current society. Let me explain. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of the savior…God’s gift to the world. Who celebrates that? In fact, most Christians elevate Santa Claus to the place of Jesus in Christmas. If you mention this to Christian folk watch out! For you will hear a parent say, “Don’t tell my kid there ain’t no Santa Claus!”

As for non-believers, they behave as non-believers do. They work hard to eradicate Jesus from Christmas. I expect that from them. So, even though they talk about “Peace on Earth” the first day of the Christmas season is called “Black Friday”. Radio stations will play 24 hours of Christmas music. The songs will be about Santa, Frosty and Rudolph. Occasionally, you will hear a song by a singer with a beautiful voice like Josh Groban singing, “If You Just Believe”. However, if you listen to the words, the song never says what to believe in…just believe. Of course, in between songs, there is the entertaining commercial trying to get people to buy something. To be sure, in our current society, Jesus is pushed out of Christmas.

Call me an oddball, but I still get amazed that God would take on flesh, limit himself and become man in order to rescue me from death. I still ponder the depth of love that exists that would move the great creator to become human in order to pay the penalty for sin… a price that I couldn't pay.

I am absolutely amazed (and not in a good way) to think that in the general public of the United States of America there is no desire to even contemplate such a notion. Then, I am completely ashamed that folks, who call themselves Christian, elevate the myth of a fat man in a red suit to the level of Jesus.

So now, my social holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. It is distinctly Christian. Instituted by President George Washington, Thanksgiving was our country’s first recognized national holiday. The President led the country in a time of prayer where he thanked God for His providence. So it seems that Thanksgiving is our only (socially recognized) Christian holiday… that is until our society can commercialize Thanksgiving and hijack it too!
I was going to end my ranting there, but I must say I want my Christian holiday back. I refuse to let Christmas become pagan. Therefore, I will do all I know and can to keep Christ as Christmas. I choose to worship the baby in a manger.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Comparing Apples to Oranges

I started the idea for this post some weeks ago based upon a news story that I had heard. I will post a link to the story below so that you can read it for yourself. Apparently, a girl (17 years old) in a women’s locker room, came across a guy in the sauna, nude in the women’s locker room. The man is a “transgender” person. We use to call them a “cross dresser” for those of you who are wondering “What’s a transgender?”

According to the story, the local police authorities aren’t going to file charges against the man because of his rights as a transgender.

Then, here in Wisconsin, in the City of Wausau we have an extraordinary case going on. The details of what happened are sketchy but the aftermath is bewildering. It seems that a boyfriend and girlfriend had a “falling out”. The girlfriend killed the boyfriend’s dog in a bizarre kinda’ way that screams, “I NEED HELP…I HAVE ISSUES!” The penalty for her crime is a felony punishable by 5 years in prison…for killing a dog!

The public outcry has been loud. So much so that the city is changing its policy because of the pressure that has been placed on it by animal groups. The City of Wausau is blamed for the animal’s death by this logic. “If the City of Wausau (population 125,000) would have an ‘Animal Cruelty Department’ this could have been prevented.” So, Wausau is passing what is called “Mary’s Law” (named after the dog). “Mary’s Law” is an increase in taxes and fees to pay for the hiring of 3 “Animal Cruelty Officers”.

In both of these cases, it appears to me that we have lost the tremendous ability to compare things equally. As the old adage goes, we’re not comparing apples to apples, but rather we are comparing apples to oranges. Let me say it in math terms (Mr. Wilmhoff, my Algebra teacher, would be so proud of me). When you’re not making the right comparison or equality statement your equation is wrong. If you are writing the wrong equation, you’ll never get the right answer.

In the first case, the dude is a “dude”…duh! Since when did we become a society that allows both genders to publically dress with each other? The bigger question for us all is this: “Why are the authorities blind to the obvious?” That question should scare the common person because if their thinking is askew here (like the math term), it will be in other places too! This means, you will not know how the authorities will view the issue that is important to you. How about this question: “What would you do if that was your 17 year old daughter in the women’s locker room with that dude?”

The second case is more difficult because people rationalize with their hearts and not their heads. Let me see if I can make a comparison here. Killing a dog is a felony. Killing an unborn baby is a choice. The dog has a higher value than a conceived human child…a little out of balance wouldn’t you say?

To further make the point, sometime ago there was a stalking case in Wausau. A teen boy was being stalked by a young man with a gun. I can’t remember all the details of the case. I believe it turned out OK in the end for the teen. It is the interview with the police in the wake of the event that caught my attention and it is something we all know. He said, “We [the police] can’t be everywhere all the time.” So, (follow my logic on this) 3 more officers on the force would help the Wausau police be more places making the city safer. Why don’t they have more officers? Because, it is not in the budget. The City of Wausau would have to increase taxes and fees to do that. This is what Wausau did to protect the rights of doggies and kitties. So, in this case, animal safety is more important than human safety.

To sum it all up (look another math term) I think I can say that logic equations have been made that don’t add up. By missing the proper comparisons, we now have dude’s that want to be women, dressing, watching and exposing themselves to women in a public setting without reprisal. We also have dogs and cats with more protections and rights than human beings. We have gotten so smart in our social thinking that 1+1=3.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Family Titles

The titles that we get placed on us due to our family positions are supposed to be meaningful. The question is do we accept the title, or not? I mean, we have a choice to embrace the titles that we earn by our position in our families…right? We obviously can’t deny the titles. Let me explain.

 When I was a little guy (somewhere in the distant past) the first title I earned was “baby of the family”. The position had its perks…as I recall. Even though my parents took in several kids on a foster basis and raised two of the children as their own until adulthood, they were older than me and my position as “baby of the family” was secure.

 When chores were handed out, mine were lighter. When responsibilities were relegated, mine were almost nonexistent. When it came to bath time, I had to go first because I had to go to bed first. I hated that back then but I’m thinking it’s a benefit now. If you were to ask my siblings why Eric was treated differently they would say, “…because he’s the baby of the family”.

 I lost that title when I was 10 years old. My Mom brought home a little baby from the hospital. I can remember feeling sad that I wasn’t going to be the “baby of the family” anymore. That’s when I became “The Middle Child”! I’m not too sure how well I did there.

 As time marched on, I can remember the great feeling of pride I would get when someone would refer to me as “young man” or “young adult”. I know I would stand a little taller with both hands on my hips (an almost Superman pose…but no cape) when I would hear these terms. Yet, whispering the word “teenager” would make me feel like I was wearing something from the barn lot on the bottom of my shoe.

 I progressed from there. When I started dating, to the girls’ family, I was “the boyfriend”. That title made me feel dirtier than “teenager”. Now, as a father looking back, it is suppose to give that feeling, and I intend to use the term that way myself!

 When I got married, I became “Mister Hambrock”. I wasn’t ready for that term and I still shy away from it. To use a phrase from a movie, Mister Hambrock “… is my father.”

Shortly after the wedding (9 months to be exact) I became “Dad”. That is my favorite title…most of the time…when things are going good. I mean I love being “Dad” when my boys are scoring touchdowns and my girls are handing out kisses. But, when there’s trouble in the house, “Dad” is not the title you want to have.

 So….my oldest son calls a couple of months ago to inform me that I am going to be a “Grandpa”.

“Grandpa”…I struggle just typing the word. I can’t fathom that I am old enough to be a “Grandpa”. I told my wife that I don’t have enough white hair to be a “Grandpa”. She laughed.

 I’m too young to be “Grandpa”. I still see myself as a mature 21 year old. I don’t know how to do “Grandpa”. I don’t like Cardigan sweaters and I loathe plaid, polyester pants! I do hobble a little, but I still have all my own teeth! So, you see, I can’t seem to embrace the title “Grandpa”. I’m just not feeling it.

What I am thinking, is that when the time comes for it to matter maybe I’ll be ready. In the 4 to 5 years that it will take for this little person to grow and form bonds with a “Grandpa” and “Grandma” I will be able to embrace the concept behind the title. You know, 4 to five years is a long time. Who knows maybe the little one won’t like the title “Grandson” or “Granddaughter”. After all, it is just a title...its the relationship that matters.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So…Here We Go!

Thanks for being a part of my blog. Even though I've been at this for a little while now, this is a new launch. If you look around on the blog page you will notice that the purpose of this page is to make you think. My aim is to use my own experiences to help you do some inward reflection and maybe you would even like to share what might be meandering through your cerebrum!

I have always wanted to write, which is really odd because I hate to read. Well, that’s not exactly true. I hate novels. They’re too long! Newspapers, magazines and short stories are what I like. I believe that there are a lot of people just like me in this area.

So, I have been wondering. “Am I an egomaniac?” Think about it. Why would a guy write something and then go out and solicit a bunch of people to read it? Why would someone make a recording and solicit a bunch of people to listen to it? I don’t think I’m trying to satisfy my ego. However, I do think I have something to say. So, I guess, I have to have some amount of ego to think that what I have to say is important enough that people would want to read it.

This is the same for somebody who records a song, writes a book, hosts a talk show, delivers a sermon and so on. I guess there is some level of ego for anybody who submits a public performance. Without that ego, people wouldn’t share their talent. Talent is a gift from God that is to be shared with the world. Have you ever met anyone that gave their public performance just because they wanted to be in front of the crowd? It is obnoxious to me when I see it.

Here in is the problem. I want to share, but I don’t want to be obnoxious.

The Bible says in Romans 12:3 “I ask each one of you not to think more of himself than he should think. Instead, think in the right way toward yourself by the faith God has given you.” (NLF)

I hope I have talent to write and communicate thought provoking truth. I think it is an honest assessment to say that I’m good enough at it to share it with you. I am also honest enough with myself to know that I’m not the best in the world. So how do I approach folks about reading my blog without being obnoxious?

People don’t like egomaniacs…right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Learning Trust from the Bus

Our band has a bus. Well actually, we have two busses…or is that busi? Anyway, we don’t need two vehicles for our band to travel in. We just need one…one that works well…one that gets 15 maybe 18 miles to the gallon…one that doesn’t drink oil…and maybe, just maybe, one that doesn’t break down every 1,500 miles ‘cause our average band trip is 1,800 miles.

7 miles to the gallon is killer on our budget. Especially when we play for “passing the hat” or tips which is most of the time. I often pray and ask God, “Why can’t our bus be more efficient and reliable?” I haven’t got an answer yet. But, I am sure that God has a lesson in this for me and the other guys in the band.

The story goes like this. The bus broke down about a year ago (October of 2011) in Saginaw, Michigan. It just left us high and dry. My wife had to come all the way from Wisconsin and get us! (While I’m typing this I am humming “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucile” to myself) It has been sitting on a church parking lot all this time. We (The Band members) have made many…many attempts to bring this thing back to Wisconsin. Others have tried to help us. We bought the second bus in an attempt to get a trailer and tow the first bus home. (FYI: the band named the first bus Irwin and the second bus Irwin Jr. because it’s smaller than the first bus).

We used Irwin Jr. to travel in for awhile. After a time of building our finances, we prepared Irwin Jr. to go get Irwin. We rented a 20’ foot trailer and took off to Saginaw to go get Irwin. The trip was disastrous and explaining what happened will be for another blog entry someday! Suffice it to say that Irwin Jr. also broke down in Michigan and after 2 days of repairs and some police action, we hobbled home. We spent almost $700.00 to get Irwin and came home empty handed. Finally, after a year of sitting in Saginaw and threatened with impoundment, Irwin was repaired just enough for us to drive it home.

So now, we have two vehicles for the band. Irwin has a bad engine but the cabin has been converted and is more practical for the band to use. Irwin Jr. has a good engine but gets 7 miles to the gallon and is super hot to travel in and still needs to be converted for usefulness. What to do?

We need to get rid of one and use the money to fix the other. We will never get enough out of the sale of either to fully pay for the upgrades. We could sell both of them and start over (that just sounds painful).

As you can see at this point we don’t know what to do. We need about $4000.00 to make this work. $4000.00 we don’t have. There is no doubt our feeble little band needs God’s help. We (The Band) ask for His help daily! To this point, we have not received any subliminal messages, impressions or angelic visitations, nor have we received $4000.00.

That’s where trust comes in. Proverbs 3:5, 6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

“OK, Lord could it be that I’m not trusting You enough, ‘cause, I don’t know how to trust You more than I am trusting you now.”

What would you do?

Friday, November 02, 2012

“I Am Jack’s Kid!”

Have you ever had the privilege of someone coming up to you and asking, “Hey, aren’t you Jack’s kid?” Unless your Dad’s name is Jack, the answer is “no”.

Well, my Dad’s name is Jack and yes, I have lived that scenario…several times! At first, being naive, I thought it was kind of’ neat. I was proud of my daddy and I was aware that my father had made enough of an impression that people knew him and they were able to identify me because of it.

As I grew up, the question started to lose its charm. The more it was asked the edgier it felt! My response went from an innocent “Yes I am!” to an inquisitive and foreboding “Who wants to know?” I began to realize that the impressions that my father had made caused a judgment that was being passed along to me.

What took me the longest to realize was the method to make the identification. Please understand, it wasn’t that this person just happened to be thinking of my father (whom they hadn’t seen in twenty years) looked at me and miraculously put two-and-two together. However, it was my name that led to the inquisition. I can still hear it, “Hambrock… Are you Jack’s kid?” This line of questioning would be followed by the comment, “Yeah, you look like ‘em”

And that’s what got me thinking. When people let it slip that they are “Christian”, they make it known that they are of the family of God. They are telling the world that God is their Father. And just like with my dad, people pass judgment on me because of the impressions He made on them. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized people formed opinions about my Father through me.

So, in a nutshell here’s the truth! People will know us by our family name and will pass judgment on us by the impressions left by our Father. But know this, the way people feel about our Father is based on their judgment of our mannerisms and character.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not too concerned with the impressions God leaves on people. But, I do wonder about the impressions I have made and what people think of Him…because of me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Lesson from the Balloons

For the past 10 years my Church has a Sunday in October that we deem “Salvation Sunday”. The purpose of “Salvation Sunday” is simple. It is a day of intentional evangelism. It isn’t the only day of intentional evangelism, but on “Salvation Sunday” we celebrate offering Jesus Christ and the gift of Salvation. The good folks of my Church intentionally invite their unsaved, unchurched friends and family. We intentionally offer them Jesus Christ and His Salvation using special music and media. Finally, we intentionally fellowship with all in attendance…over an intentionally cooked dinner. (I really like that last part!)

A year ago we added a new tradition. It was suggested that we take balloons, place a simple gospel message inside with the Church’s phone number, and release it to the world. Last year we tried this .We had our fellowship meal together (scrumptious!). We handed out the 35 to 40 pre-stuffed, Helium balloons. We went outside and prayed over the balloons. Then, we let them go.  It was a beautiful gesture of releasing the gospel to the world.

So...we did it again this year with more balloons. This time we filled 79 balloons with a gospel message and Helium. After we intentionally ate our dinner together, we took the balloons outside, prayed over them and let them go.

That’s when it happened!

As we released the balloons, a down draft came out of nowhere pushing the mass of balloons down almost to the ground. Instead of all bunched up, the balloons spread out and rose into the sky quickly…at least 72 did. There were 7 balloons that got pushed to the side and when they started going up, they were caught in the trees. Most of the balloons were held by the balloons themselves, but one pink balloon in particular was caught by its string.

As most eyes were fixed on the mass ascension of balloons (pun intended), conversations began about who might read the message inside and hopes and prayers that God would allow the right person to find the message at the right time. Slowly, the congregation’s attention turned toward the detained balloons and the conversation began to shifted  to wondering if the detained messages would be freed. Slowly, one by one each balloon was individually pushed back and forth by the wind until they were worked free. It seemed as though each balloon was time released. Each balloon was held until it was time for the message to be released. As each captive balloon became released a cheer would rise from the crowd. With each release the cheer would grow louder and louder until there was one balloon left.

The last balloon, the pink, entangled balloon, was swaying back and forth. At times it was stretching straight up with the string so taut it looked as if it would pull the tree out by the roots. Folks stayed awhile to see if the last balloon would be released. But that was impossible as the string had wrapped around a thin branch and knotted itself to the limb. The crowd dwindled as the moments passed

There were only a handful of us left to watch the entangled, pink balloon’s struggle. I, personally, didn’t see it. One of the good folks of the Church said, “There it goes!” I turned my head in time to see the balloon that was knotted at the string, impossible to fly…fly away.

I stood in awe of God and learned a lesson. His message is released into the world. At just the right moment, when we are ready, God releases His message into our hearts. There is nothing that can hold it back or keep it from coming. Even if it seems impossible, God can and will release His message into the world...just like a balloon caught in a tree.

Take heart O, Christian….God is still in control!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Food: A Love Story

I love Food. I mean, I love Food! I’m not sure when this love affair began. I can remember in the early days when I was immature, young and thin, I didn’t pay attention to Food. I knew it was there. I partook of it, but only to take advantage of the relationship. I’m sure I was abusive to it as I would ravage the Food and walk away. With my tummy full, I wouldn’t return again until I felt the desire to eat thinking only of myself and my needs.

Somewhere in time, Food caught my eye. Yes, when I was young it was Food’s more revealing states that would cause me to lust. With just a glance, Food could bring on the hunger. Whip cream, meringue, melting butter, pies, cakes, cookies….. and doughnuts caught my attention. Indeed, as a young man I was infatuated by the desserts. I thought they were racy. They caused my heart to skip a beat and I felt my metabolism could be satisfied by them alone.

As I became older and my waistline began to mature, so did my affair with Food. At that point the racy view of hot banana nut muffins coming out of the oven or the smell of fresh baked bread was not the cause of my heart skipping a beat (although it still brought a smile to my face). Those emotions had been replaced with the visually esthetic mushroom caps stuffed with lobster and the smell of a dry rub, grilling rib eye steak.

I have come to realize that Food is a cruel master. Food turned the tables on me. (Pun intended). It held me in its grip and mocked me as it trashed my body. Armed with this epiphany, it pains me to say that we have been estranged for a while. And now, I don’t see food as often as I use too. I no longer steal away midnight rendezvous’ at the refrigerator. In fact, we have a strict visitation schedule.

The realization of what Food has done, taking my affection and shoving back in my face, has left me feeling used and abused. All the pain from over eating, the embarrassment of loosening my belt buckle, the gas and the indigestion has to stop. I am bringing an end to the abuse caused by Food! I am severing the relationship!

Even though it ended badly, I look back on the affair with great fondness. Can you relate?

Monday, October 08, 2012

In The Spin Zone

I’ve seen Bill O’Reily….a couple of times. He says that his commentary show is a “no spin zone”. “So, what is spin?” you may ask. Well, I’m glad you did! Spin is the ability to take facts and twist them or “spin” them to make them seem to be in your favor.

Now, you may say to yourself, “Self…isn’t that called lying?” The modern answer is “no”! You see it’s not lying because the truth didn’t change. We all know you can’t change the truth. We just change the presentation of the facts so it appears in our favor.

Let me see if I can demonstrate this using our current political climate.

Politician A accuses politician B of doing something that the voters won’t like. Politician A will “spin” the facts so it looks bad for politician B. Politician B will deny the accusation of politician A and give a rebuttal to refute the accusation by “re-spinning” the information and thus making it appear to be in his favor. Of course, if you’re listening to their words, you will be confused. Due to the spinning and re-spinning, the situation will be totally unrecognizable. You must remember, neither politician is lying! They are merely restating the facts in such a way as to make themselves appear favorable to you.  

How about TV sitcoms, we are told that the sitcom is a laughable reflection of modern culture. Have you ever seen a husband & wife sitcom where one or both individuals will skew the facts in order to paint themselves in a different light to the other. This, of course, is part of the sitcoms strategy to earn a few laughs from the viewing audience. It usually works.

The good thing that has come out of all of this “spinning” is that there are no more liars in the world, just different points of view.  So, now we don’t have to deal with the guilt and stress of telling the facts as is. Nor do we have to be suspicions and wonder if others are telling the facts. All of that is alleviated by “spin”. We just need to accept what we are told.

So, in the future when a child puts a “spin” on his or her story to make themselves appear more favorable, do not say they are lying. They are merely learning from the adults.