Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Chris Tomlin's Arriving is one the the CDs that is on the shuffle. He is a great singer, and I have been listening to this CD while running. Lat night, I kept playing "The Way I Was Made" over and over again. These lyrics capture so much about who I want to be.
"The Way I Was Made"
Caught in the half-light, I'm caught alone
Waking up to the sunrise and the radio
Feels like I'm tied up, what's holding me?
Just praying today will be the day I go free
I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made
Made in Your likeness, made with Your hands
Made to discover who You are and who I am
All I've forgotten help me to find
All that You've promised let it be in my life
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Yesterday, I was back in the Evans Arts and Science Building room 313 for a general chemistry lecture. However, this time around, I was the lecturer. It was wonderful to be on the other side. The lecture was on electrochemistry and the subtitle was, "Yes, It Really Is Relevant." During the lecture I shared practical applications of electrochemistry and then turned the students loose on a project. They looked at samples of wire and cable and recorded their observations regarding a discolored copper problem. We regrouped and recording some of their findings and ideas. In less than an hour, they were able to come up with many potential causes and focus areas that have come up with the project thus far.
I am extremely thankful for this and other opportunities to be around people with such an enthusiasm for life and learning.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Yes, she referred to boogers at dinner.
Well, she did refer to boogers.
But her cooking continues to amaze me.
Tonight, we dined on a tantalizing blend of spinach, white beans, and pesto with grilled chicken breasts. Another exciting and healthy meal!
"The company doesn't pay me enough,"
"Why aren't we getting a raise," or
"We deserve a raise?"
Note that all of these imply that speaker is on the receiving end of some kind of exchange.
However, what happens when the things get switched around a bit?
What happens when the shift in focus turns from receiving to giving?
A new perspective quickly develops.
This is a major cultural shift.
Let the giving begin.
Monday, April 19, 2010
For much of my career, I have grappled with a great deal of fear: fear of rejection, fear of failure. This has its roots in my academic career and a screwed up understanding of self-value. I get that and am working on overcoming it.
However, something that I did not pick up on is a sense of loyalty. More specifically, where are my loyalties? Are there conflicting loyalties? Godin writes, "The self-hating artist burns out. The hypercritical lizard brain will pick apart anything we do in order to preserve a sense of short-term safety. The alternative is to develop a sense of loyalty to your mission and generosity to your work."
I'm reading this and thinking, "What the heck?"
Loyalty to your mission?
It is okay to be loyal to your mission.
It is okay that perhaps loyalty to mission might trump loyalty to a company, a brand, or some kind of corporate identity.
This developing sense of loyalty to my mission is beginning to develop into a new sense of what my work is about.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Consequently, earlier this week I embarked on a hunt to find a pair of 30x34 khakis. Going into the search, I assumed it would be in vain. Finding pants in size 30x34 has been an ongoing struggle. (The best luck that I had in previous endeavors was online. The problem with online, though, is that it is not possible try them on before purchasing. If I am going to pay money for clothes, I need to know they are going to fit and don't want the hassle of sending them back.) Jenn did not believe me when I told her this so she started looking as well.
Guess what? She couldn't find a pair of khakis. They are rare - and so are 30x34 jeans. So the journey began at American Eagle. They had two pairs of khakis in the entire store. Of course, none of these were 30x34. I went down to Old Navy although I knew the story would be the same. (Actually, I would not have even been able to find a pair if they existed because the place was a disaster.) Jenn already informed me that Kohl's and J.C. Penny did not have them either.
I decided to just call it quits. But, then on a whim, I decided to take one more pass through the mall and find a store that had a pile of khakis that I could see visible through the window. One store stood out, The Buckle. I've never shopped there before but was met by a sales associate who asked what I was needing to buy. She promptly pulled out a pair of 30x34 khakis. Recovering from shock, I ask about jeans. She says, "We have someone in the back who can get you any length of jeans that you want." She proceeded to get me a couple pairs of 30x34 and then recommended the best pair.
Meanwhile, as I was trying on the khakis and jeans, she found a couple shirts that she thought would fit great as well. Now, all of this was particularly interesting to me because I have been thinking a lot about marketing. The Buckle distinguishes itself from other stores because it will modify jeans to desired lengths. They realize that people are truly different, and even the standard sizes do not fit all people. In addition, this particular associate was outstanding and offered personalized attention to get the sale done efficiently and effectively. As a guy, this was really important to me because I was ready to leave the mall as soon as I walked in the door. If other associates even exhibit a fraction of the enthusiasm that this associate demonstrated, then the store is far advanced compared to other clothing stores. This combination of fit and service sets the store apart from any other place that I looked. So actually this ended up being a positive experience, and I'll hopefully be set on pants for quite awhile.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
One area that I have wrestled with for so long is this whole concept of work. For me work should not just be a place where you go, figure out how to pass the time, collect a check, and then leave. It should be invigorating - part of a larger purpose. I have always assumed that the only way to make this happen is to find the right job. In my case, I have always wanted to teach. Teaching is the only way that I believed that I could pursue my passion of making a difference - of positively impacting people and creating connections. (Note to self: part of the problem is this idea of passion is too broad. Hone it down into something manageable.) Yet, despite two opportunities to focus more heavily on teaching - the journey has continued to wind through the business world. You might argue that not taking the plunge into teaching is due to fear or something of that nature. However, I can honestly say that it is not out of fear - it just hasn't been the right thing to do.
Godin points out that most people think that we have to find the job that matches the passion. (I would argue that a lot of people just settle and become cogs without even thinking about it.) However, he offers a great reversal by suggesting, "Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than find a job that happens to match your passion."
And so the the challenge begins...
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Oftentimes, we also don't know when we do something that impacts a life for a moment or a lifetime.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. (John 20:1, NIV)
Okay, so on Sunday, I asked the question, "Did someone role the stone back into place?"
So this means that the stone is removed from the entrance to the tomb. The stones are removed from all the dark areas of life - the fears, sorrows, mistakes.
Now, perhaps, if I can be bold enough to go one step further:
The stones are being removed...
Thursday, April 8, 2010
- Jenn leaning down to the daffodil to see its full beauty
- Meg picking up the baby chick from the heated box
- Troy stooping down into the window sill to find a salamander
Monday, April 5, 2010
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Friday, April 2, 2010
- Friendships are not forced. We choose to enter into friendships with others. Others choose to enter into friendships with us.
- The freedom of true friendships enables those in the friendships to be more fully themselves.
- Within the friendship, we understand that mistakes happen. Despite these mistakes we continue to love and know, with confidence, that we are loved.
- We are free to love.
One of the pictures that I chose to highlight this point is included in this post. This picture is of one special lady, Clella. She taught me a great deal about the freedom of friendship. I tend to be a pretty awkward guy - particularly when it comes to dancing. Yet, whether in the the desert of the Dominican Republic, on the plaza in Woodstock, VT, or on the grocery store parking lot in Bremen, IN, Clella instilled in me a freedom to dance. She didn't care if I missed up. She didn't care if we looked goofy. In those elusive moments, we had the chance to live life freely and to its fullest.
If you are so inclined, please take a minute to share an example of the freedom of God's friendship. It just might be a sign of hope to someone else!