Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best Friends

Our dear friend, Larry, died last Friday. It was a shock like nothing I can ever recall. Friends came from all over the community to the hospital, all of us in shock. Larry was a one of kind guy. Genuine, loving, positive, determined, gifted, a get things done person - so smart and talented and yet so self-effacing - humble - what a remarkable person.

The thing that caught my attention is that all of his friends were convinced that they were his "best friend" - that includes me. What does it say about a person that all his friends believed he truly cared for them deeply? Larry knew the art of friend making and he made all of us feel as if we were his very, best friend. That is so powerful.

I want to be that kind of friend to others. I am inspired by his example and determined to make friendship a priority in my life.

I asked my Granddaughter Ella what BFF stands for she smiled and said, "Best Friends Forever", Papa!

Hey Larry - BFF! We take the challenge to be outstanding friend makers! Thanks for teaching us by your example!

Just thinking, Steve

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Addicted to Media

The reports that made the news this week regarding how much time kids spend online, on the phone, texting, playing computer games, listening to music, etc. were not much of a surprise. Kids spend more time with some kind of media daily than they do sleeping.

Parents who hear this are not shocked by this - they know how addicted our kids are. Frankly adults are also addicted to the various forms of media and technology. The challenge, of course, is to find a healthy balance.

William Glasser had the idea that humans will all have addictions, so our challenge is to find healthy ones - he called them "positive addictions." I am not sure there are any healthy addictions frankly. I know people who are addicted to food, sex, drugs, booze, exercise, religion, social networking and the list goes on and on. The nature of an addiction is that we have lost control.

The idea of self-control (temperance, moderation) is almost a lost concept to a culture that goes from one addiction to the next. In scripture, self-control is presented as evidence that we are filled and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:23) I need self-control in my life to do well.

I had a friend years ago who went from one hobby to the next with reckless abandon. He would spend thousands of dollars on a hobby, go after it for maybe a year and then it was on to the next one. He almost bankrupted his family with his addictions to the latest greatest whatever.

Finding ways to limit our time with media and technology is a counter cultural stance and will be viewed as odd. I know a family that raised all their children without ever having a television in their home - all their kids were well adjusted, top students, and a joy to be around. You could actually have a conversation with them because they were avid readers and had great social skills.

Our daughter never had a television or a computer in her room growing up - it was not punishment, it was called parenting. She is a pretty remarkable person today, thank the Lord. Her two kids do not have a computer or television in their rooms and I predict they will do well. (The fact that they are my Grand kids gives them a real advantage, I humbly realize.)

Too much of a good thing, makes it a bad thing.

Just thinking, Steve

Thursday, January 14, 2010

At the Movies

I love movies. Thankfully my wife of 36 years loves them too. We watch more movies than most people. We get two or three movies a week through the mail and usually watch that many each week. The convenience of movies on DVD is still so amazing to a non-geek guy like me - I know that the newest technology will soon make DVDs like cassette tapes and eight track players something of the distant past. For now, I am happy being able to see and experience these movies in the comfort of my home, eating my own excellent, low-cost popcorn.

During the recent Christmas holidays there were a number of new movies that debuted and so we ventured out to the Theater to see a few of them. I love the sound system and the big screen and even most of the fragrances of the movie house. There are one or two smells that I could do with out - something like road kill is under the seats in some older movie places. I love seeing people come out of a movie and talking and laughing or even with tears in their eyes. The experience of movies on the big screen and among people is unique and can be very moving.

What I cannot get over is how expensive it is to buy a bag of popcorn, a soft drink and a bag of M&M's. It shocks me every time I go. I faintly remember going to the movies on a Sunday afternoon, watching a double feature, getting a big coke, popcorn, and candy and the total cost including the ticket was one dollar. That is the problem with a good memory of the past. Honestly, I know that the owners of Theater's have to make a profit and they make most of it from the junk at the concession stand. What I cannot imagine is going to the movies if you had a large family - you would have to cash in your 401K!

I am going to the movies tonight - I have the best seat in the house right next to the cutest girl in California or Texas - and the popcorn will be so good and so cheap!

See you at the movies - just thinking, Steve

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Longhorn Memories

Tonight the Texas Longhorns will play for the National Championship in College Football, facing the University of Alabama, a formidable opponent to be sure. I have no predictions about the game but I will be watching with all the millions of fans, personally hoping for a Longhorn victory.

My memories of Longhorn football go back to the days when they dominated college football without ever throwing a pass. Coach Royal did not know any pass plays and did not trust them, if he did. It was run up the middle, run to the right, run to the left - touchdown! For a football purest it was great but for many it was just boring. My High School coach took us to a Longhorn game each year in Austin - it was amazing - thousands of people - horrible traffic jam - and seats in the end zone. We loved it and secretly dreamed of one day being a Longhorn ourselves. I don't know how they overlooked my talent but somehow they did.

One year we went to Austin and spent the week-end with some friends - they lived just a few blocks from the Stadium and so we walked to the game. We felt like hometown folks - not fighting the traffic and walking right into the stadium - after the game we strolled home celebrating another victory and laughing at all the people in the traffic jams!

Despite the fact that people will live and die with each play tonight, tomorrow life will go on and the game will be history. The coaches will be second guessed, the officials will be vilified, and the cheerleaders will be so glad the season is finally over! The respective Universities will walk away with millions and a few of the players will go on to play in the NFL.

The game of life is more than a highlight film - more than just a big event - it is the daily journey of living, loving, working, trying, failing, trying again, succeeding, and so much more! The game of life is the one that really counts - give it your all - enjoy the adventure -forgive often - love always - trust God - follow Jesus! That's the good life!

Just thinking, Steve