Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
For the past three years, I've been trying to teach my now 7 year old son, how to ride his bike. It was pretty easy at first a la training wheels. BUT, since I am a cyclist, I decided last Saturday was the day he would learn. I had even cooked up a grand scheme to take him to a huge parking lot, and have the glorious Dad's "Push Off" moment that you see on tv. Well, I did have that moment, sort of...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I wrote what I like to call my, "Come Back Post" the other day for the whole world to see. Today, I re-read it and realized that all of it is true! But, it was more or less a big pity party for myself. So, I'm trying to break out of that state of mind, and write about something a little more uplifting.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I'm back at Man Coming Alive after an extended hiatus with my family. I am back, and ready to write again, with a new direction as I will be blogging about the foundation that Marci and I have established: Rylan's Miles to Miracles Foundation. Oh sure, I'll be writing all the spiritual stuff that I'm known for, but there will also be more writing about what we are doing at the foundation, AND my ongoing training. Anyway, more about the foundation..
Rylan's Miles to Miracles Foundation was founded by Marci and I in December 2008, as an attempt to give back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and it's workers that were instrumental in saving our baby Rylan's life. If you are unaware of what I'm talking about, you can read Rylan's story or if you want you can click on the the link at the right titled "Rylan the Miracle Baby".
At the top of this post, you'll see our logo. This logo signifies that we are a Christ-centered organization and the road is symbolic of the journey we have taken and are yet to take. You'll also notice that there are two tiny crosses at the bottom corners. These are symbolic of the cross-shaped scars that Rylan carries on each side of his chest from the chest tubes that pierced his side after his lungs collapsed when he was 3 days old. He carries these scars for life, and every time I wear the logo on a shirt, I do the same as a reminder to what he went through.
What we do is raise money to purchase clothing such as onesies, blankets and the like, and also toys for siblings of the babies in the NICU. We also plan on providing equipment as needed to the NICU and also to help the families of the children in the NICU. In addition to this, we will also donate 25% of all proceeds raised to the Cincinatti Children's Hospital because we have witnessed what they do first hand, and are still in amazement.
You may be wondering why we would want to give clothes, blankets, etc. to a NICU??? Simply put, on the first day we went to visit Rylan in the NICU, we were a little shocked to see that he was dressed in a onesie, lying on a blanket and he had a small stuffed teddy bear in his bed with him (We expected the simple hospital white clothes and a generic blanket). We asked where these things came from and the nurse told us that the girls in the NICU often buy clothes and things for the babies because they feel so sorry for them. This touched us because we had never really thought about how when a baby is born, they have nothing. Sure, there may be clothes at home from showers and presents, but what about at the hospital? Also, most parents are afraid to attempt to dress their child in the NICU because babies usually have wires, leads, tubes and the like hooked to them. This is where the nurses can help because they know how to dress the babies, since they are the ones who hook them up to the machines.
If you are wondering how we raise money, here's the answer: From donations by people like you, fundraising events, and our annual 5K Road Race (October 10, 2009). As you'll see on our website, the Miles to Miracles Foundation is geared around raising money through athletic sponsorship. For example, I'm going to run in a bunch of races this year, and I'm seeking people that will give me "Money per Mile" for a race or races. I already have a commitment from one family that has offered me $5 per mile for every event I participate in! This is exciting, and motivating as well.
We have also opened it up to other athletes that want to participate and race to raise money for the Foundation. Anyone can enter any event anywhere, and raise money by finding sponsors. We provide all participants with a running shirt that has the Foundation's logo on the front and "I RACE FOR RYLAN" on the back. We'd love to have you on our team and if you're interested, click here.
With that said, I'm in training to run, swim, and bike my way to raising money for NICU's and the miracles they serve. I'm going to be writing about my training here, but more importantly, what God teaches me along the way. The NICU's are often overlooked and unsupported by outside donations. We look forward to changing that. So stay tuned and On On!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I just realized it has been two weeks since I last posted. The funny thing is that the last thing I wrote about was how I almost burned down the house. Since then, I've received a ton of emails asking me if everything is OK and not smoldering in the ashes. Good news is, me and the family are doing fine and I haven't burned down the house... or even come close to it...yet.
I've been really swamped lately at work and I've been busy with my new running schedule that I have enacted. I try to run every other day and I usually spend about an hour "out and about". I've written about my new fitness obsession on my my other blog and I really have no excuse for not writing here.
This weekend, soccer season comes to a close and we start looking forward to a couple of vacations we have planned for this summer. Also, I've been filling my calender with upcoming golf tournaments. Can't wait to get out and swing the sticks. This summer should be a great one!!!
Friday, May 2, 2008
They say the reason country music is so popular is because it's about real life experiences. That said, the above lines are the opening stanza of a song I am penning about my own real life experiences with cooking and the failures I've had.
Two weeks ago, I multi-tasked my cooking. While Marci was gone, I had two things going at one time. I was grilling Kabobs on the grill and frying vegetables on the stove. The problem occurred when the grease got hot enough to ignite and a flame ensued on the stove. The flame burned a plastic handle on the spatula I was using and made a pretty good deal of smoke.
I put out the fire, but the house was now full of an acrid smoke that set off not only the inside smoke alarms, but also the alarm tied to our security system. This alarm not only calls some office in New Jersey that monitors our house, but it also announced my conundrum to the entire neighborhood with a loud siren in the attic. I could feel a few sets of eyes watching me as I opened all the windows and doors, and turned the fans on full blast in order to rid the house of the smoke. It probably looked like a scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High when the van pulls up and all the smoke pours out.
Since we have an infant, we had to leave and stay at my mother-in-law's until the house was given the OK from my wife. That took five days...
Last night I decided to fix up something different for dinner. Will and I got home from soccer practice at 7PM so as you can imagine, I was starving. For some reason, I've had this desire for red beans and rice, so that was what I would fix. I got the water boiling, dumped in the rice and beans and heated up a skillet to sear the vegetables. But not just any vegetables... I found the best looking Jalapeno Peppers at Kroger yesterday and decided to fry them up and add them to my concotion.
I got the butter in the skillet hot, threw in the sliced up peppers and started stirring. It took about 10 seconds before I got my first whiff of the peppers. I guess the combination of the hot skillet and the wet peppers instantly created this evil steam cloud that made my eyes burn, and after breathing it, I started to cough. Then, I heard Marci coughing in the other room. Within two minutes, all of us had burning eyes, throats, and a cough. With my eyes squinting I grabbed the skillet, ran outside and threw the peppers over the hill.
When I came back in, it didn't take a genius to realize that we couldn't stay here and breath the acid fog I had created. So I turned the stove off and we quickly gathered up what we would need to spend the night away from home.
So, I'm a failure at cooking twice now. In the past two weeks, my failures in the kitchen have resulted in 6 nights away from our house, inflamed mucus membranes, a burned spatula, a false alarm to the local fire department, and a son that is terrified whenever he sees his Dad pull a skillet out of the cupbord. It's humbling to admit that I am a failure in the kitchen. From now on, we'll leave the cooking to th experts at McDonalds, Wendys, and Taco Bell...
Monday, April 28, 2008
I woke up to something beautiful on Sunday morning. It was early... real early... bottle time to be exact. But, it was worth it.
After I fed Rylan his morning breakfast bottle, I placed him in his little glider seat. I noticed he was staring at me so I started to talk to him. Then, he started to really coo and smile. So I grabbed the camera and took about 57 pictures of it. One of which is shown at the right. Good news is, Rylan is doing great! Thanks for all of your prayers and kind words. As you can see from the picture, they worked and God is good!
A little while later, Will wandered into the room and started playing Webkinz on the laptop. I took this opportunity to teach him how to babysit his brother. And as you can see, Rylan was pretty content watching big bro' type away. God has been so good to Marci and I.
Thank you Lord for allowing me and giving me the honor to live this life!!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
I used to be in good physical shape. Actually, I used to be in great shape and could run and not get tired. But, then I got out of the Army (1999) and it all went to pot. So, 9 years later, I am embarking on a journey of mythical proportions as I seek to recapture the fitness of my youth... well, when I was younger.
I was inspired by my friend Will that is also seeking to regain his military form. He started training and even started a blog to chart his ups, downs, and HOOAHS! over at Help Will Train. Because of him, I am also charting my journey to fitness at a new blog over at:
So, I'm off and running! But I warn you, this new blog will be really, really, really, really boring...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Today, I attended my friend Grant's funeral. I still can't believe that he is gone... 45 years old, 4 year old son, beautiful wife of 18 years, and the world by the coat tails... It doesn't make since why, but I know where he is and that when God called him home Sunday, it was his time to go. Everyone is missing him, but heaven is a whole lot richer today because of his presence.
What struck me right between the eyes was the message the Pastor carried from God and gave to us today. He lingered on the verse that simply says:
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" --Psalm 116:15
Sure, I've heard this verse before, but I don't think I have ever really thought it through, or ruminated over it. Actually, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I've never thought about death being "Precious". I've always associated death with bad things such as loss, pain, suffering, etc... but never precious. That is, until God spoke to me through this preacher today.
When we see death, we see a person that leaves us forever. There is no more interaction with them. No kisses, hugs, handshakes, conversations, or any other thing that we can call person to person sharing. All that our brain can see is the fact that the person is gone and we will never see them again. As Christians, we know that we will see them again (if they were a Christian), but our own petty little psyche is hurt and missing them. I guess we are selfish that way. Anyway, that's how we earthly humans see it.
God on the other hand, looks at the death of one of his children as precious, because of His holiness. You see, when we die, we shed our dirty, stinking earthly body, and our pure spirit leaves it behind to be carted off and buried. Since God is Holy and He can't stand sin, He is overjoyed when our spirit leaves the filthy bag of bones and flesh that it once lived in, and goes to be with Him. The only way that I can even fathom how God may feel is that when a child of His dies, He feels much like a new parent that has just witnessed the birth of their child. Our spirit has been given a new realm of existence, and all new level of holiness that is pleasing to God. We've finished the race and been rewarded with a new holiness with our creator.
Today, I'm missing my friend. But I know that I will see him again one day. I also know that he would not come back for anything in the world. His soul is in communion with God and all of those that have gone on before. There is no more pain or suffering. So long my friend until I see you again one day...
Monday, April 21, 2008
Early Sunday morning I got a call from a buddy of mine. Sadly, I missed his call because I didn't hear my cellphone ringing. When I saw that a call had come in, I picked up the voicemail and was kind of bewildered as to why he called me so early on a Sunday. But when I heard his voice, I could tell something was up by his tone...
"They found Grant Johnson dead this morning... We don't know what happened to him but he told his wife he felt bad and she went to get him something to drink. When she returned, she found him unresponsive. Call me..."
Within about five seconds, I experienced shock, horror, sadness, sorrow, and about ten different memories of the friend that Grant was to me. When I told Marci, I could see it on her face that she was experiencing the same feelings. All that we could say was simply, "Why?".
I met Grant last Spring when I led the men's group at his Church through a study of my book. We instantly hit it off and became friends. We both had boys that were about the same age and both were interested in soccer. One of the things that I admired to the utmost about him was the fact that he and his wife had adopted their son Carson from Central America, brought him home, and become his mom and dad. I got to coach Carson in soccer and Grant helped me out. He was a great guy...
So today, I'm still asking a plethora of "Whys?". Why did he have to go so soon? Why did he have to leave this wife and little boy? Why him? Why? Why? Why? Sure, I've been through this before, but I still don't have the answer. I don't understand God's ways, but I do know that His are much higher and mysterious than any human's could ever be. It just hurts...
In a couple of days, I'll say my goodbyes to Grant. I know that he wouldn't come back from heaven for anything, even though that is what we want. His memory will live on in his blog though. It's over at GIVE ME BOLDNESS.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
SABLE, THREE WOLVES' HEADS, ERASED, ARGENT.
ON A CHIEF OR, LION PASSANT OF THE FIRST.
CREST: A PEGASUS COURANT, SABLE, DUCALLY GORGED
If you know me, you know that I have an affinity for English and early American history. I guess this interest grew from my childhood when my Dad researched our family tree. What he found was that our tree does fork.. several times to be exact! But seriously, he traced the Prater family blood line from me, all the way back to the time of the Norman Conquest of England (circa 1066).
What my Dad found is fascinating. His discoveries indicate that my ancestor (Grandfather) came to England with William the Conqueror and was one of his subjects, most likely a knight. He was a Norman that had descended from a group of Vikings that settled in the Norman peninsula in 911. After William conquered England in 1072, he gave my Grandfather a large amount of land in western England where my ancestors lived and prospered for many generations.
So back to the Prater Coat of Arms...
A coat of arms is also known as a family crest. Crests were used at one time to signify the person or family that carried them. What's even more interesting is that these crests also signify where the family came from and accomplished. For example, the wolves heads on the bottom of the Prater Coat of Arms signify that one of my Grandmothers was a direct descendant of the Yscitheor Prince of Powys because the black (sable) field and the three wolves heads are his symbol. SO, that's my claim to Welsh Royalty.
BUT, the greatest claim is the fact that my coat of arms contains a lion. But not just any lion... This lion is the same style as signified in the Royalty of England. The "Lion Passant" means that it is simply walking and it was the symbol of William the Conqueror that had to give my Grandfather permission to use it. What's neat is the fact that this Lion appears so often in todays world because three lions in the symbol of England. SO, that's my claim to English royalty.
And, to cap it all off, there's a really cool knight's helmet and a winged Pegasus wearing a crown on top of the shield. The Praters must have really been something in Middle Ages England.
But what about your spiritual ancestory? If you think about it, all of us have a spiritual crest that is written on our heart showing where we've been and what we've inherited from our spiritual forefathers. Each is unique and each one tells our story as written by the author of our faith. And what's really cool is the fact that all Christians are royalty because we are a child of the King! What a pedigree!!!
So, I have earthly royal blood from Welsh and English/Norman stock running through my veins. Maybe I should give Princes Harry and William a call sometime...
Nah, what's more important is the fact that I have spiritual royalty from God. He is above all kings and kingdoms on earth, and his inheritance is one that cannot be matched in worldly things.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Marci said this to me just after we crossed over the Ohio River, leaving Cincinnati behind. It's not that we had a bad experience, but rather they were tears of joy because of the AWESOME news we had received.
On Monday, we loaded Rylan up in our truck and headed for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. This appointment had been looming on the horizon for a month, and I have to say, we were dreading it. After all that we have been through with our little miracle baby, we were scared that we would take him up there and would be told he was sick, needed surgery, or any other number of things that we could imagine. But we went...
The first thing I noticed as we walked through the facility was that it was unlike any hospital I've ever been in. First of all, there were kids everywhere and in all different states of health. I saw bald headed kids, kids with masks, kids with IV's, and kids with no outward appearance of any medical treatment or sickness. As I carried our baby through the hospital, my own level of anxiety began to rise. I was scared...
The Doctor we went to see is known as the "guru" of Ear, Nose, and Throat Pediatric Surgeons. Dr. Robin Cotton is his name and he has been at the hospital for over 35 years and has done everything from airway reconstruction to cleft pallet repairs. His list of Medical Boards he is a member of is substantial, and he is world renknowned as the best of the best for kids with breathing problems.
When he walked into our room, he was a pleasant enough guy and he examined Rylan very carefully. He told us he wanted to do a scope and see what was going on. Obviously, the word "SCOPE" hit our panic button because that is what caused Rylan's lungs to collapse in the first place. We asked if there was a chance of this happening again, and he told us absolutely not because he would be going up through the nose and only looking at the top of the trachea. I think he was a bit confused as to why Rylan was scoped to begin with...
As I held Rylan, he inserted the scope into Rylan's nose and began looking around. Obviously, Rylan threw a fit and turned as red as molten steel. While I watched the doctor look through the scope, I'll never forget him saying,
Friday, April 4, 2008
I love to read, but I read really, really, really slow. Sometimes I feel as though I can write a whole lot quicker than I read. I don't think it's because the cogs in my brain turn at a lousy rate. It's simply that I like to read every word so that I can take in what the writer is saying, and have ample food for thought to digest later. Well, this morning I'm digesting heavily on something I read in the book 'Amazing Grace' last night.
'Amazing Grace' is the story of an Englishman named William Wilberforce. It was turned into a major motion picture and was released in February 2007 (I need to go to Walmart and buy it). If you haven't heard of Wilberforce, you have really missed out on a remarkable person and man of God. He was the one single person on earth that God used to take a stand against the slave trade and lead a campaign against it. But what makes it interesting is that he completely changed the minds of everyone for a practice that had been around since earliest of times. Up until his time (late 1700's), slavery was just something that happened and slaves were no more important that any other piece of property one could own. It was actually viewed as vital to the economy of not only England, which was the greatest colonial power in the world, but also to every nation on the planet
Wilberforce realized that slavery was quite simply put, wrong. And, he devoted his entire life to making everyone else realize it too. He took a stand for what was the right thing to do and eventually he fought his way through the toughest of MP's (Members of Parliament) to see that slavery and the trade of slaves be outlawed throughout the British empire. This is one of, if not, most monumental changes that has taken place in the last 400 years.
As you can imagine the tentacles of slavery caused the fallout to be enormous. Slave trade was outlawed in the Empire, so all countries (including our own) found it tougher to get slaves. And, it wasn't until our nation's Civil War that slavery was once and for all put to bed under the leadership of Abe Lincoln. Actually, Abe Lincoln considered Wilberforce one of his idols.
The thing that jumps out at me is that Wilberforce didn't go on his crusade against slavery until after his conversion. Like many of us, he had a Christian upbringing, went to church, played the part, and he was a good person... but not born again. It was not until he spent a few months in the summer of 1785, riding across Europe in a stage coach with the great theologian Isaac Milner that he "Got It". Here's the line I read last night that gives a peek into what he "Got":
"What madness is the course I am pursuing. I believe all the great truths of the Christian religion, but I am not acting as though I did. Should I die in this state I must go into a place of misery... Yet I may become religious. Has God not promised His Holy Spirit on them that ask Him?"
Obviously, he was under conviction that made him realize where he stood with God. And with the help of a great man of God like Milner, who never rammed Christianity down his throat, only discussed it, Wilberforce was changed. He went on to work out his salvation and make a complete 180 degree turn and start living for God rather than of his own desires. This was his Damascus Road conversion and also the day he took the job that God had written on his heart when He created him. On that day, he realized that all men are created equal and that slavery must be abolished. He worked tirelessly and had set back after set back but finally, he saw the vision God had cast before him come to fruition 1807 with the passage of the Slave Trade Act.
So, let me ask you this: Do you "Get God"? If anything, most of us simply go through the motions without asking God what He wants us to do, and do what we desire instead. William Wilberforce listened and allowed himself to be used and he changed the world.
Are you getting what He's telling you?
Or are you just spinning your wheels?
Are you a good person playing the part?
I'm listening God, speak...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck,
Let the winds of time blow over my head,
I'd rather die while I'm living,
than live while I'm dead"
Well, I can already tell you that I am not going to try to set a record for the longest ear hair. From the looks of things, this guy would be pretty hard to beat. So I simply took the scissors and snipped them off one by one to get a better look at my new enemy. Upon closer examination, they are thin and probably no one would even notice them because of their color... But I did snip them, and I added them to the list of "Things to Do When Looking in the Mirror".
So there you go! This is my official TMI (To Much Information) Post for the year. However, it's made me realize that it's always a good time to reevaluate and take inventory of everything physical and spiritual, to make sure you're getting the care and exercise you need. I know that I need to do a whole lot more conditioning and I'm starting asap. I'm going to start a physical fitness routine that involves walking my dog a few miles each night. I'm going to incorporate spiritual fitness into it by using this time to walk and talk with God too.
AND, I'm buying one of those fancy little trimmers as well...
Monday, March 31, 2008
About every three months, our dog runs away from home. Coincidentally, every three months, the battery in his invisible fence collar runs dry. AND, every three months, I forget to change the battery. With these facts in hand, Napoleon the 70 pound Golden Retriever disappeared between 9-11:00 AM Saturday morn. This always adds extra stress to the Prater household because Will takes it very hard. He always cries and we always tell him default answer: "It'll be OK, we'll find him."
I began searching for Napoleon at 11:45 by driving slowly up and down each street in our neighborhood, scanning every porch, driveway, and fenced in area for any sign of him. I really hate looking for him because I always feel like people are looking at me as if I'm a burglar casing for my next plunder. Anyway, I always try to stop and ask people that I see out, if they've seen a big golden ball of energy rumbling around the neighborhood. Sadly, I struck out on Saturday... and then again on Sunday...
Last night before bed, Will started crying because he missed his "Doggy". I told him that if he wanted Napoleon to return, he needed to go in his room and say a little prayer that God will send him back to us. Through his tears, he said, "OK" and retired to his room. About thirty minutes later, he came back into the living room and told Marci and I that he had said a tiny little prayer for Napoleon. I told him that was great, but deep down, we both doubted that the dog would ever show up again.
This morning I called the local Pound to see if anyone had reported our dog to them, but as you can imagine, I struck out their too. Then, at 12:05, my phone rang. Marci was on the other end and told me how two girls had showed up at our door and asked if we were missing a Golden. They went on to tell her how they knew we had one because he barks at them every time they walk by and they thought they saw him about a block away from our house. I rushed home just after the girls had gone up the street and brought Napoleon home! It seems that our dog had spent the weekend with some neighbors that live about a block away.
As you can imagine, Will was ecstatic! And this was a perfect time to show him how God answers prayers. I took Will by the hands and asked him if he prayed for Napoleon. He told me that he had prayed that Napoleon would come home and he did. I then went on to say that God loves to answer prayers. Will was smiling from ear to ear and he simply said, "I Know!!!".
What a great lesson for Will that God answers prayers and that He answers them on His time. What a great lesson for Marci and I... Oh We of Little Faith!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
When I began this blog, I made a vow to myself that I would never discuss politics. Today, I break that vow, but I promise not to rant about any particular party and try to sway you one way or the other. Heck, by the end of this we may decide to form a new party altogether. So here we go...
I don't know about you, but my brain feels like it is being squeezed by the daily onslaught of rhetoric being spun by the potential presidential candidates. Its not that this is , its some new thing that I've just noticed. It's actually the usual for this time in the electoral cycle.
The problem I have that really makes my head hurt is that all of this political mumbo-jumbo makes me like all of the politicians really do think we are stupid, mindless people that are wandering through life carelessly. I also get the feeling that every candidate feels like they want to become our own personal savior that will step in and save the day by providing the vehicle that we can use for the Government to take care of us.
First things first, I have a savior and He is the ONLY one.
Second, I do not want my Government taking care of me, I can do it myself.
I doesn't matter if it's Obama, McCain, Clinton, or any of the others, every time I see them giving speeches on the TV, there numero uno topic is how they are going to solve all of our ills and fix things so that the Government can extend it's hand to all citizens and give them what they need. Everything that is currently being proposed such as increased aid to the poor, tax incentives to businesses, gasoline concessions, and of course universal health care all sound great, but doesn't anyone out there realize that all of them have one common denominator:
THEY ALL COST MONEY!!!
I don't know about you, but I am tired of all the spending that is going on already and is not working. And, I know that whatever "New" program that is implemented by whomever wins the election is going to steal more from the little box on my paycheck that feeds my family. There is already enough stolen and given away simply because of an entitlement attitude that has been bread into our culture through the redistribution of wealth that goes on everyday right in front of our eyes. So, if you think you are entitled to get something for nothing simply because you are an American, you are wrong and should be arrested for receiving stolen property. This stolen property is the money that I worked my tail-end off to provide for my family, it's not to be handed out to you!
So, I urge everyone to take a look at who's running and find out just what it is that each one of them wants to steal more of your money to spend on what they think are the magical cures for our country. Remember, these are the same people that put the lottery into action to save our schools... Just because they are running for President doesn't mean that they are smart enough to fix things. Anyone can throw money at a problem, even a monkey...
And one last thing, stop telling people they are going to hell for voting for one particular party! This actually happened to my Aunt at a bible study of all things. My Aunt is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat that firmly believes in her party, and it is her right (FREEDOM) to do so. You can imagine how she felt when a lady at the small group got onto the issue of politics and told everyone something to the effect of, "If you vote Democrat, you're going to hell because you support abortion, homosexuals...." and a whole other laundry list of items. This breaks my heart because it hurt my Aunt that has since dropped out of the small group. All I can say to this incident is
"...Lest Ye Be Judged..."
Finally, I just want some common since and not a bunch of promises of things the Government is going to give me, that I don't want in the first place. I just want my freedom. I want freedom to think for myself, take care of myself, and conduct myself in a manner that does not infringe on anyone else's rights to do the same. I want my sons to grow up free, with a promise of life, liberty, and happiness in which they will have to make decisions for themselves, and live with the consequences, both good and bad. I want them to prosper and I know that they will also have times of failure. But I don't want them expecting to get some Magical Government Bail-Out when things get tough. I don't want them to think they are entitled to anything!
I guess I've come to a junction in my life, or a three-way fork in the road where I have to decide on something. I've taken the left fork before when I came of voting age and registered as a Democrat simply because my Dad was one. After college, I took the right fork in the road and changed my registration to Republican after I found out I agreed more with the conservative policies. In the past 18 years of being voter eligible, I've seen the good and bad from both parties, and lately, it seems as though they've all gotten worse.
I recently filled out a new voter registration card and designated "Independent" as my party. I know that many would see this as a moderate, middle of the road kind of designation, but I do not. I see it like I'm sitting at the bus stop in the pouring rain, waiting for a bus load of friends going the same way that I am to stop and pick me up. I've already passed on the first two because they weren't going my way. Each bus driver told me I was entitled to a free ride, but I declined. But... Wait a minute... I see one coming from off in the distance... I just wish it would hurry up...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I realize that I am very weird... I've known this all my life, and even been told this before, but today at approximately 8:11 AM, I admitted it to myself. During my morning commute, I was driving along and realized that there was a Jeep Wrangler like mine just ahead of me. Since we were in town, we ended up side by side at a red light. While I was sitting there, I looked over at the other Jeep and started taking inventory of the differences between it and mine.
Mine's red / His is green...
Mine has hard doors / His has the half doors...
Mine is a Sport Model / His is a Sahara...
Mine's cleaner / His is dirty...
Mine has running boards / His doesn't...
Mine's licensed in Kentucky / His is Ohio...
Mine's better!!! / His Stinks!!!
IT'S GO TIME!!!!!
The light turned green and I floored it and sped off like a top fuel funny car driver. All the way to work, I kept checking the rear view mirror to make sure he wasn't gaining on me because, Dag-Gonnit I was going to WIN!!!!
This is the part that made me realize I was weird. It was when God spoke to me and asked:
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO WIN? AND, WHY ARE YOU SO DEAD-SET ON WINNING IT (Whatever "IT" is)?
My answer to God: "I Don't Know for sure... But, I think is has to do with the way YOU wired us men!"
As you can see, I like to blame this sort of behavior on my competitive nature. BUT, I'm starting to realize that there is more to it than that. I know that when God created man, he created him in His image. I know from the recent miracle of my son Rylan that God loves to come through. And, he created man to "Come Through" also and be the hero. This is hardwired into our nature and was written on our hearts (Women are competitive too so don't think I'm being sexist, this s just a post about guy's egos). But when does our competitive nature fuel our egos? Obviously, it does it anytime we size up our opponent and set out to defeat them just like I defeated this other Jeep driver this morning.
The problem is, our egos can grow, and GRow, and GROW until they are unbearable to everyone around us. When this happens, it shows up at red lights and I've seen it rear it's ugly head most often at sporting events. But whenever it does, we have to be ready to realize it and squash it before someone wants to squash us. Because that's the other thing that a strong ego does:
And when this happens, you end up with two grown men rolling around slapping and kicking each other like little kids. AND, the few times I've seen this, I've felt the worst for the men's children that have a front row seat to the action. Of which, they will NEVER forget and it will become a part of them.
So, thanks be to God for giving me a reality check of my ego this morning. I wonder if he talked to the guy in the other Jeep and told him something to the affect of:
"Just ignore that idiot egomanic in the red Jeep, I'll take care of Him later."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
This morning, I realized that there are five very important meetings that I must attend if I plan on making through the day. Four I go to consistently and one that I neglect often. The sad thing is, the one I neglect is the one that is most vital to my existence and this morning, I finally realized it.