Tuesday, August 31, 2004

some people.....

Why is it hard for some people to say "hi" or acknowledge someone's presence? I'm a friendly person, always have been. My mom said that she had watch me when I was little because I would go up and talk to anyone: the guy reading the water meter, the trash men, exterminators visiting our neighbors. So it's just natural for me to be friendly. But some people....

I'll be walking down the hall at work, and I'll say "hi" or "how's it going" to anyone I see. Most people will respond back, if they haven't already said something first. But some people.....they'll stare straight ahead; or worse yet, they'll look the opposite way! Some will give it the old "look-at-my-watch-because-I'm-running-late" routine. Some people.....

(Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer wanted to have pictures of all the apartment residents on the bulletin board along with their names so that everyone could know everyone? It got so bad that they were kissing each other on the cheeks. Jerry also wondered how many times he would have to say "hi" to the same person during the day. First time, "hi, how are you?" Second time, a smile, maybe a wave. After that, I've seen you enough for today.)

After about a year of observing this wierd behavior, I thought it was just me. I thought that maybe, since I was new here, some people were just really introverted. I mean, there are about 1,500 here in the building, so there's really no way to know everyone. So I talked to a friend of mine who had worked here much longer, and asked him if it was just me. Much to my relief, I learned that it's a pretty common occurance here. Some people.....

I'm not looking for a long-term relationship here. I'm just asking for common courtesy. A simple smile, a "hi", fog a mirror for me, something. Lighten up already! Life's too short to be a prude. The next person you snub could be an interesting person who could make your life even better.

Monday, August 30, 2004

what's the score?

Friday night, Meg went to her first high school football game as a high school student. It just so happened that the Centennial/BGA game was the featured Comcast Sports South game of the week, so it was televised locally. Susie, Sara and I (of course) stayed at home and watched the game. I mean, I guess it wouldn't have been too cool for us to go with Meg. She'd much rather go with her friends. (She doesn't have an option this Friday night, because we're ALL going to the first home game.)

The cameras panned through the crowds during time outs, so we kept looking for Meg, Megan and Cole. During halftime, the principals for the schools were interviewed. Behind the interview of the Centennial principal, we could see the three of them with their backs to the camera. We called Meg, but she didn't answer. Cole called and Sara told them we could see them. Listening to and watching Sara tell them which way to move so that they could be seen better was amusing, to say the least.

We called Meg a couple of more times during the second half. Once, after a big play, Susie called and said, "Did you just see that?!?!?" Of course she didn't. She and her friends were too busy walking around and hanging out. Meg said they kept up with the score, just not how the scores came to be.

Having two growing daughters is funny. I've got pictures of them in my office from various stages in life. Of course the most recent ones are great, but I love the ones from when they were younger. (I have a friend who has pictures of his three children on the walls of his office, and all the pictures are anywhere from 5-15 years old. Someone asked him why he didn't have more up-to-date pictures of his kids, and he said, "Because in these pictures, that's when they liked me and I liked them.") I have one of Meg and me on my desk. She's about 3 and giving me a huge bear hug. There's one of Sara from the day she was baptized. Now these girls are growing up. They used to greet me at the door when I came home from work with screams and cheers. Now I'm lucky if they're even home when I come in.

Parenting is all about making adjustments and transition. We're now transitioning from the "little girls" stage to the "young ladies" stage. There are alot of times that I just hear about things after the girls tell Susie. And for that, I'm pretty grateful. And VERY grateful that I've got Susie with me to show our girls how to be young ladies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

i've got the solution

I believe that I've got the solution for all this controversy surrounding Olympic gymnastics and the scoring thereof. It's so simple, I can't believe they haven't thought of it already. But, then again, I'm a pretty simplistic person, just ask my wife. She always says I only have one thing on my mind, but that's another topic altogether.

Since there's been so much backlash due to human error when it comes to judging the Olympic gymnastics, the committee should look to the NFL for the solution. INSTANT REPLAY! If a coach feels that the scoring was inaccurate or unfair, he/she could throw a red flag out onto the surface of the gymnastics floor. A replay judge, seated separately from the regular judges table, would review the routine and break it down, move by move. After 10-15 minutes of review, one of the judges would come onto the floor, flip his wireless microphone on, and say something like, "After further review, the gymnast should have been awarded 0.00054765 more points. Therefore, the previous ruling is overturned." Or, "After further review, the routine stands. There was no irrefutable evidence to overrule the call." Or maybe, the gymnasts could just perform the routine in their own countries and send in a tape of their performance. The judges could view the tapes, pause, rewind, fast forward, then compile the results. The whole thing could be done through the mail! Brilliant! Think of cost savings of these poor countries who wouldn't have to pay for airfare or hotel rooms!

Should Hamm give back the gold? I don't think so. There's always going to be human error, and gynastic judging is ALWAYS going to be subjective. If they reverse the ruling, they're opening up a whole new can of worms.

Next time I blog, I'm going to talk about a subject I discussed with friends over lunch. It's called "Prayer Request Poker".....

Monday, August 23, 2004

it's just the elevator, stupid

Rubel Shelly, pastor at Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville, had a great Fax of Life this morning. Click on the link and read the whole thing. (Sign up for the weekly devotional while you're on the site.) It makes you stop and think about things, especially if you're in a "holding pattern" in life. Sometimes you have to remember that your current situation isn't the end - it's just a waiting room.

Good weekend. I got a call Friday night about coaching a girls softball team. Sara had signed up a couple of weeks ago, and I said that I would be an assistant. Turns out they needed another head coach, so I was asked to do it. Should be alot of fun. Meg's going to be my assistant, and hopefully some of the parents will help out also. The season starts on Saturday, September 11. I hope to get in at least 3 practices before then.

Worked on some things around the house over the weekend. Susie asked me to wash the outside windows on the back of the house. That's one of those jobs I have to be "in the mood" to do; luckily for her (and probably for me, too!) I was. Did some other various things around the house, but nothing story-worthy for here.

Sara and I are going to UT's first game on Sunday, September 5 with Chris and Landon. We're both really looking forward to it! Fulmer announced last week that the two freshman QB's would start the season. There are good reports coming out of practice and the scrimmages on both of them. The Titans looked good against the Bills on Saturday. Chris Brown continues to impress everyone. Hopefully, the "Dream Team" will kick things into gear now. Big win over Angola today, but they'll probably have to play Lithuania again to get the gold.

Friday, August 20, 2004

yelling isn't necessary

I heard a story this morning about a 10-year-old boy. Matt came home from school and said, "Mom, I had the best day of my life today! Jenni finally talked to me!" When I first heard this, I thought he had a crush on the little girl. Later in the story, it was revealed that Jenni was a selctive mute. Evidently this is a complex childhold anxiety disorder in which children are so uneasy in social settings that they "lose the ability" to speak. Jenni hadn't spoken to anyone in over two years, but that day she looked at Matt and whispered, "You're my best friend!"

Ever notice that God speaks alot in whispers? I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have Him be more obvious about things sometimes. Show up in front of me, part some water, make it snow on a 95 degree day. But that isn't always the way it happens. You have to be paying attention to hear Him.

Try this - the next time someone you love needs to tell you something, just start walking and try to listen to them at the same time. It doesn't work that way, does it? After you get the dirty look from them, go close and listen. You can hear them better, huh? Sometimes I get so busy doing "things" that I don't take the time to slow down and listen to the things God has to tell me.

When there specific needs in my life, I find myself trying to be more attentive my surroundings. You never know how God will speak, but you have to be ready. It could be through something you hear on the radio, or through a friend (or even someone you don't necessarily like) or loved one. The key is to be tuned in.....with ears that really hear.....I'll have to learn how to do that on a consisten basis someday.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

school days

Is it just me, or does anyone else not envy kids when they have to go back to school? I've known former teachers who've said they miss the start of the school year and all that goes along with it. For people like that, you can tell that teaching is/was their passion in life, and I admire them for that. In Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren talks about finding a vocation in life for which you have a passion, and that's just what they've done.

I guess I looked at school as a necessary evil, something I had to have to get where I wanted to go in life. True, I didn't take it very seriously, and looking back on it I realize that. But, onward and upward, looking forward and not back......

Getting back into the school gear can be tough. Just ask Susie. She's been getting up "early" now for three straight days, and it's as if she's traveled from Australia and still has jetlag. Then there's Sara, whose lights-out-bedtime was extended by 30 minutes this year. She's having a tough time adjusting, between the later bedtime, a full day at school, then playing hard outside after school because of the beautiful weather we've been experiencing lately.

For teenagers, it's even tougher. Now, mind you, I'm not talking about any particular teenager; it could be any teenage girl experiencing her first year in high school (nod-nod, wink-wink, say no more). Between being nervous about finding classes, interacting with girlfriends and the occasional boyfriend, life can be downright tragic at times.

One of my favorite places to be is in the ocean at Myrtle Beach, and my favorite activity there is riding waves. Waves have taught me alot about living with 3 females and their emotional waves. There are good waves and not-so-good waves. Some are big and positive, and you can ride them all the way into ankle-deep water. Some are big, and cause you to wipe out; you may even break your board on severe ones. Others look good, but soon fizzle out. Then there are times when you wait and wait on a wave, and they just don't seem to come.

Back to school time is an adjustment time, a time when the waves are either huge or puny. When they're huge, they're either the kind of huge that you love or the kind of huge that you hate. However, the ocean (life) will soon be back to normal, and our normal lives will resume. When they do, we'll be able to look back at the end of each day and realize that the good waves and bad waves were pretty much even. We'll celebrate the good rides, and learn from the bad ones. Besides, it's not all that bad. I mean, Christmas break is just 121 days away.....

Monday, August 16, 2004

very nice weekend

It's the middle of August, and we've just experienced about 2 straight weeks of high temperatures in the upper 70's, with night-time lows in the low 50's. It just doesn't get much better than this.

The weekend was full of errands and dinners at other peoples' houses. Got my hair cut at a new place on Saturday, and it's so short that I can't part it and brush it like normal. What's the old saying, necessity is the mother of invention? Well, out of necessity, I'm getting out of the shower, putting a little gel on my hands, running my hands through all 1/2" length of my hair, and leaving it alone to dry. It's a new look, albeit a temporary one, and Sara's calling me "dude".

Both girls started back to school. Meg survived her first 1/2 day of high school. She hooked up with a sophomore friend who walked her from class to class. By the end of the week, she'll be fine. Since Sara's teacher looped from 3rd to 4th grade, she won't have any getting-to-know-you time. Susie and I had a brief prayer time with them last night before they went to bed, and it was very special. I'm very proud of both our daughters and the young ladies they are becoming. I know they're not perfect, and they're going to mess up, but I think they've both got their heads squarely on their shoulders, and I believe they'll make good decisions.

I talked to an old friend earlier today who'd expecting his third child this week. Robert's three years younger than me, and he'll have children ages 4, 2 and 0 all at once. I told him that I'm an old man compared to him, being 40 and having a daughter in high school. He said, "Yeah, but that just gives you and Susie more time alone together sooner." He's right, and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather being alone together with......

Thursday, August 12, 2004

a few of my favorite things

My never-ending attempt to keep from ballooning back up to the 20+ pounds I once carried with me continues to be a challenge. If I just exercise (run at least a mile every day) and eat right, I can do it. However, that's much easier said than done for me sometimes. With that in mind, I'd like to list some of the foods (and habits) I really like, but can't have them all the time:

Krispy Kreme doughnuts - one of my many rituals is to go to Krispy Kreme after having my bloodwork done every three to six months. I usually don't eat them in between visits, so this is typically a big event for me. I go in, order a chocolate covered cream filled and an cinnamon sugar covered apple filled, along with a milk (and a free glazed while waiting in line), and sit down to eat them before returning to work. If it was up to me, I'd eat a dozen KK's a day.

Ice cream (especially at night) - this has been a huge problem for me this summer. Seems like all the good ice cream has been on sale this year, and the low-carb stuff is twice as much, so we go with the value. Nothing like a big ol' bowl of Moose Tracks with Hershey's syrup. This would also be a daily ritual for me if I could.

Potato chips and french onion dip - for years, I could sit down and eat chips and dip at 9:30 at night and it wouldn't attach itself to my butt or gut. No longer so. I eat them so infrequently now that when I do, I binge and go to the brink of illness. Good times.....

Coming home and collapsing - I can be lazy when I want to be; it doesn't take any effort. To be able to come home, change clothes and plop down in front of the TV without running is something I have to fight. Sure, I watch way too much television, but one problem at a time, huh?

Susie keeps reminding me that I can do these things, but they have to be done in moderation. Sounds like something a non-type-"a" personality would say.....but I'm working on it. I fully realize that one day I'll probably attain a larger torso (fancy talk for "a big gut"), but I don't want to be there yet. In the meantime, all I can do is wait for that new low-carb doughnut that Krispy Kreme is working on.

Wade and Susie - Ellen's & Jeff's wedding reception Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

something that really irks me.....

Ever known anyone who thought that in order to look good, they had to make those around them look bad? Or those who figure the louder they bark, the more important they feel? I guess it's pretty common all over the place, from work environments to churches to team sports. But I just have a hard time understanding that kind of logic.

Growing up, playing alot of basketball, I knew that I wasn't going to be another Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabar. I took one look at my parents, 5'9" and 5'2", and did the math. I was always the point guard, and my job was to feed the ball to whoever was open. Sure, I shot, but not if someone else was open and had a better look at the basket. I knew that if I did my job well, the whole team would benefit and hopefully win. I would have liked to have been the leading scorer every game, but that didn't matter as much to me as winning. I knew my job and did it to the best of my ability.

How do you deal with someone who says they want the team to win, yet their attitude doesn't prove it? I'm sure a full-blown psychological evaluation would give you much more information than you'd actually want to know. I know that prayer can change people, so that's always helpful. The other thing to do is to set an example and treat those around you the way you want to be treated. Simple, yet effective over time. It's called the Golden Rule, and you don't hear that much about it any more. Funny how the seemingly simple things in life are often so easily ignored, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

the stuff that dreams are made of

Last Friday was one of my best days. Remember in the movie "City Slickers", when they were riding on their horses and talking about their best and worst days? I could have answered that question by stating that last Friday was surely in my top 10 list.

I took a couple of days off at the end of last week. I scheduled them back in January, hoping that we could do a 4-day weekend trip. However, putting in a new air unit upstairs kept us from traveling, so we decided to spend part of the day driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway. We've always talked about doing it, and the weather was perfect so we decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out 96. We drove to Leiper's Fork and walked around downtown for an hour or so. Plenty of antique stores with alot of really neat stuff. Visited Puckett's Grocery, and that was pretty cool. After our tour of downtown Leiper's Fork, we got back on the Parkway and headed north. The view from the bridge was amazing. We found a little side road, and their are plenty of these "stops" along the parkway, and ventured off onto it. At the end of the road, there were probably 30 parking spaces. We parked and looked out over another spectacular view toward the east. How people can ever doubt God's existense after seeing His creation like this is beyond me. We sat in the grass on a couple of old towels and ate pbj sandwiches. We left some bread behind for the wildlife. We even had a good laugh about the lack of "facilities", and wondered if the dancing Charmin toilet paper bears were anywhere near. We got back on 96, went to downtown Franklin and spent another hour or so just walking around and going into the different shops.

The amazing thing about the whole day was that neither of the girls said they were bored the entire time. They didn't even watch a movie in the van on the trip! It made me think that this may be one of those times that they look back on when they get older, and realize that being a part of a family isn't so bad after all. Sure, sisters will fight, but they still love each other. Parents will disagree with their childrens' actions sometimes, but they still love their kids. And Mom and Dad may not always agree on everything, but Dad still hugs and kisses on Mom every chance he gets. It's all about being a part of a normal, healthy family.

Don't get me wrong, we don't have everything figured out. Both parenting and marriage are two "jobs" that you never finish with the training. But I'm glad that I get to do all my learning with my three girls. They make the training seem not so bad.....

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

the times, they are a'changing.....

I remember, not too long ago, that Susie and I were one of the couples with small kids. At church, you could always tell the difference between the couples with small kids and the couples with older, school-aged children. Maybe "they" always seemed a little more on edge, more worried about things, I'm not sure. I mean, what could they possibly have to worry about? I think I'm beginning to understand how they felt.

Meg went to Centennial High School today to get her locker assignment and class schedule for the year. She's a little nervous about starting high school. Then there's Susie, who picked Meg up from Cougar Camp a couple of weeks ago and saw some of the summer school students. She said they looked like adults, and the thought of our first baby mingling with adult-looking-people was a bit unsettling to her.

We've been blessed with two beautiful, intelligent daughters. And we've "brought them up" in a way that we hope will help them make wise choices. Is that always going to happen? Of course not. Do I want them to make only good choices? Sure, but I was once a teenager and a college student, and I know that all the great parenting in the world doesn't take away free will. All we can do from here is pray and keep reinforcing the kind of values we want our kids to have.

So if you see us and we look worried, things are cool. We're just busy being the parents of a teenage girl.....with another one warming up in the bullpen.....