Monday, November 26, 2007

turkey goodness

This is turkey dinner. It is good. Please do not lick your screen. Remember why you are thankful and then make it a point to show your gratitude all year long, not just one day a year.
And yes, I ate it all and went back for more.

still struggling

Why do I struggle so much with the idea of peace? I have talked to hundreds of people over the past 15 years regarding this topic and they either fall on one side or the other, there is no gray area.

On one side there are those that believe that war is necessary to achieve peace and protect freedom. On the other side war is not the answer and we should seek peace at all costs. Those are somewhat broadly painted strokes but essentially it is that simple to label. Defining each of these by any standard is the harder part.

Within the realm of justifying war as a means for maintaining peace, controlling an enemy and enjoying some sense of freedom from a would be captor, one must accept at least this fact of what war is. It is violent. Saying that by going to war you are affecting peace in any given region means that first there is unrest. Within this unrest lies violence which most likely inhibits murder and a death toll. By actively participating in this unrest, you are contributing to the death toll.

In all of the talking and listening there are some consistent remarks to be shared regarding this topic. One is that soldiers who are on your side that are killed during a time of war are commonly referred to as murdered. The opposite can be said of those that are killed on the enemy’s side, it is said that they are simply killed, and quite simply it was self defense on the part of the soldier who did the killing.

Occasionally there are accidents involving friendly fire such as what happened to former NFL standout Pat Tillman. Situations like these are seemingly more tragic than if the soldier had been killed by the enemy. We can hate the enemy because they are trying to kill our guys but when it’s one of our guys who accidentally did the killing, it’s much harder to swallow. Either way I have to ask the question of why was this necessary in the first place?

Many on the peace activist side of things are commonly heard making the statement that an eye for an eye only leads to more blindness. However from the standpoint of protecting a collective nation such as the USA, our military has the right to defend itself from would be aggressors. There are those in the world who would like nothing more than to see us here in America wiped out completely. With that said is it not reasonable to be prepared and ever ready for such attacks? Is it not reasonable to seek out those that have publicly declared their hatred for us and eliminate them before they eliminate us?

Much has been written and said over many hundreds of years regarding war and peace. This is no light subject for a coffee table book, it is meant for serious discussion only, there can be no joking here.

The problem is however, that I am still struggling with it. I want peace...I am at odds with how to attain it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


have you ever pinpointed exactly what it is you are good at? i mean, what are you bringing to the table of life? specifically, your talents and abilities that make you special for who you are. for instance, are you a particularly good public speaker that people intently listen to when you speak? are you more handy than the next guy and can fix anything? are you a born leader?

regardless of your talent or skill set you are unique, in so much as once you add up all the things that make you who you are, there is no one like you, past, present or future. with that said, as you come into contact with anyone on a daily basis it is that skill set that not only sets you apart from anyone else, but inevitably benefits the greater good of all mankind whenever put to use. sounds kind of out there but it’s true, let me explain.

at some time in your life, there has been someone or possibly more than one person who has had an impact on your life. typically we only think of major impacts such as our parents or a specific teacher or mentor, but i challenge you to consider every single person who you have ever come into contact with. if that thought seems staggering it should. too often we take for granted the talents and gifts of others but the truth is we are gleaning from everyone along the way, or at least we should be.

think of all of your family, then all of your friends. next think of the people you would consider acquaintances and finally the few people who would be considered enemies. no matter how nice you are, there is still at least one person that rubs you the wrong way. you would not go out of your way to do anything for that person and would be just fine if they were not involved in your day to day life any longer. even that person is someone that we can learn from.

figuring out what you’re good at is important, as is learning. so let’s roll those together in a way that benefits those around you. as you demonstrate your talents on a daily basis subconsciously, you are actually teaching others, you just didn’t realize it. likewise, as you are surrounded by coworkers and friends and relatives, you are learning from what they are “teaching”.

most people “learn” this way by osmosis, meaning that it is unintentional on our part when we pick up a new trait or behavior or habit. this is especially true when we are very young and impressionable. learned behavior is as much what shapes our outward characteristics as anything we could ever learn in a classroom. what others see in you is essentially a collage of every person you have ever come into contact with in your life.

now imagine if all of this were intentional. imagine that you shared your gifts consciously and gleaned, or learned from others as they shared their talents. most of the questionable traits we pick up throughout our lives would never happen, instead focusing on learning only that which is good and positive. naturally we would encourage each other more as we sought to learn from those around us they had insight to share.

take the time to listen to those around you, regardless of their age or experience level, you will be amazed at what God has instilled in them if you give them a chance to reveal it. then recognize that as you are learning from them, they are learning from you. with that frame of mind, do you suppose it is important what we show others for them to learn? knowing that someone in your sphere of influence is going to glean from you, are you concerned about the content?

every word that comes out of our mouths and every action we take is a textbook of information for someone in this life. some of us will affect (infect) more people than others, but ultimately the outcome is the same. you and i make a very real difference in the lives of everyone around us, whether positively or negatively. we have the choice as to that impact.

ask God to reveal your gifts and how to use them for His glory. then ask God to show you your sphere of impact, because it’s much bigger than you think. lastly, ask God to guide your way as you share what you know about the good news of Jesus. the most positive gift you possess is the story of our Savior and others are paying attention to how you tell it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

an officer's life

This is a forward from a friend and local police officer. Sometimes we forget or take for granted what these men and women go through. The author is unknown.

You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding? He just worked an accident where people died because they were going too fast.
You wonder why that cop was so mean? He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid.
You work for 8 hours? He works for up to 18 hours.
You drink hot coffee to stay awake? The cold rain in the middle of the night keeps him awake.
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick? He goes into work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before.
You drink your coffee on your way to the mall? He spills his as he runs code to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside.
You make sure your cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house? He makes sure his gun is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight.
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you? He watches his buddy get shot at, and wounded in front of him.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls? He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash.
You complain about how hot it is? He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in the middle of July and still runs around chasing crack heads.
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong?He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.
You get out of bed in the morning and take your time getting ready? He gets called out of bed at 2 am after working 12 hours and has to be into work ASAP for a traffic homicide.
You go to the mall and get your hair redone? He keeps the bloody hair out of a college girl's face that just smacked the windshield in a crash while waiting for an ambulance.
You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over? His shift ended 4 hours ago and there's no end in sight.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight? He can't make any plans because on his off days he still gets called back into work.
You yell and scream at the squad car that just passed you because they slowed you down? He's in the driver seat of the squad car, going to cut somebody out of their car only to find out that they're dead when he gets there.
You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public? He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying.
You criticize your police dept and say they're never there quick enough? He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move while talking on their cell phone and doing their makeup.
You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better? He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and loses his life doing it.
You sit there and judge him, saying that its a waste of money to have them around? Yet as soon as you need help he is there.

my friend is an officer here in Central Oregon. also, my father-in-law is retired Portland police. if you think about it, say a prayer for all the men and women who serve and protect us as police officers, fire fighters and EMT. Their lives are of service to us. Make sure and thank them for it.


let's talk turkey

Holy bacon wrapped smoked turkeys bat man!!! Is it that time of the year again??? if so, pass the gravy, and make sure there’s extra, cuz this time I’m leavin room for fourths…

This time of year is great isn’t it? The bears have their hibernation for which they eat like mad in the fall and then more or less sleep through the winter. We eat like mad in the fall, then eat even more madly in the winter, then we swear we’ll never eat that much again and vow to work it off in the spring with renewed vigor by way of new year’s resolutions…..hahahahahahahaha. do me a favor, don’t write your resolutions down or tell me, cuz mine look similar and there’s going to be some serious hilarity come spring time when I break out the shorts for the warm weather.

OK, let’s forget about that thought and concentrate on the really important stuff, like what foods will be at the annual turkey dinner at my mom’s. for sure there will be my grandmother’s famous green beans with sautéed bacon and fresh snowcap mushrooms and extra garlic. It’s important to be one of the first people in line for this dish as the forks fly for dibs on this one.

Another important facet is the gravy. I mean, the mashed potatoes are important too, but mostly it’s the gravy, which is sometimes an overlooked accoutrement that deserves the utmost attention. Truly good gravy is best experienced when poured over every last piece of food on one’s plate, even the cranberry. I tried it one year over pumpkin pie, and trust me it was worth every last minute of indigestion I experienced that night. Good gravy can make or break a turkey dinner.

Almost as imperative are the rolls. It never fails that somebody has to bring the ‘health conscious’ wheat bricks that pass for a bread product. You know who you are, leave the rocks at home and use them for doorstops and paperweights. Rolls are serious business and need their own special mention. Similar to the gravy, I like to experience my meal in every way with the use of a roll. For instance, pumpkin pie can be neatly sandwiched in between two pieces of a very good dinner roll, as can cranberry, and turkey, and mashed potatoes and gravy, etc.

Good rolls are fluffy and soft and yummy. You should be able to find someone at the store to lead you right to that brand, you know, the yummy roll brand fit for turkey dinner consumption?! When buying rolls, make a mental head count of the expected attendance, then multiply by 6, (that’s the safe count, but if my brother and I are coming, multiply by 8). You can NEVER have too many rolls, in fact you will want them for the leftovers the next day (unless my brother and I are there, in which case there will be no leftovers).

Lastly, a petition needs to be filed with farmers who raise turkeys. Something has to be done regarding the lack of dark meat on a bird. I would love to claim discrimination here but I am sure it has already been done by our good friends down at PETA, (which stands for “People for the Ethical Tasting of Animals”). I myself am a lifetime member of this fine organization, not to be confused with the other PETA.

Dark meat is to turkey like caffeine is to coffee. All you decaf psychos have no idea what I’m talking about but you should give it a shot, you might actually wake up to the idea. Dark meat is absolutely quintessential to a good turkey dinner. And while urban legends would have you believing that dark meat is not nearly as good for you as white and in fact is high in fat, I have provided a link to prove otherwise….

Similar to a s’more, if you had your choice you would skip the graham cracker and the marshmallow just to eat the chocolate. When it comes to turkey, you can keep the white meat at home with those petrified brown chunks of wheat that no human can digest in less than 6 months. Dark meat has flavor as opposed to the white stuff, which requires heavy amounts of salt and pepper and gravy just to get down. Of course, with the amount of gravy I plan to use, there really is no health benefit to argue about here.

So let’s recap. Prepare for turkey dinner with this list, it should be quite helpful…

72 – 96 rolls – get the yummy brand
4 gallons of gravy – may not be enough, make it 8
40 pounds of turkey – dark meat
6 gallons of mashed potatoes
10 pounds of green beans – call for the recipe
Cranberry sauce
6 pumpkin pies
1 Partridge in a pear tree (just for good measure)

If my brother and I are invited, double everything.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, November 5, 2007

anonymous? tell me who

shrink the definition of who is "them" ­ to understand that, as important as our differences are, our common humanity matters more. The inability to embrace this fundamental value lies at the heart of peace and conflict throughout the world today, and of course in the Middle East.

Yitzhak Rabin understood this. My friend knew that the Middle East is highly interdependent, that there could be no final military victory: it would come only through peace and reconciliation based on our shared humanity. He worked tirelessly to forge a just, secure, and lasting peace with the Palestinians, and his ultimate sacrifice proved it.

While the events of the last several years have delayed the dream for which Yitzhak Rabin sacrificed his life, they in no way undermine the logic of his vision, the power of his faith, or the beauty of his gifts to us. Since his life was taken, we have seen the resolution of seemingly intractable conflicts in other regions of the world. In each instance, the parties decided that their interdependence compelled them to lay down their arms and embrace a concept of security through dialogue and cooperation, based on respect for our interesting differences, and the possibility of cooperation rooted in shared values, shared benefits, and shared responsibilities.

No one was more committed to the security of Israel than Yitzhak Rabin. No one understood better that maintaining that security requires a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians, and a commitment to share a peaceful future with them.

In this spirit, the words of the late King Hussein at Yitzhak Rabin's funeral resound as powerfully today as they did several years ago:
"Let us not keep silent. Let our voices raise high to speak of our commitment to peace for all times to come. And let us tell those who live in darkness, who are the enemies of life and true faith, this is where we stand. This is our camp."

We must remember and honor both Yitzhak Rabin and his mission. The future must belong not to those who live in darkness, but to those who stand with Yitzhak Rabin for life and peace.

Name the author of this piece…..

Sunday, November 4, 2007



during a sermon today, in which the pastor asked openly for responses from the congregation regarding things they praised the Lord for, someone yelled out the word freedom.

now in my head i began thinking about what that meant. freedom as an answer in that instance can mean a few different things. first is freedom from a life of no hope. we could literally be enslaved by our sin and face an eternity in hell. fortunately we have freedom from sin through Christ Jesus, halleluia.

second is freedom of religion, something that gets walked all over in this country. something that does not mean what it used to. now a days we have individuals who express their freedom, in order to squash others’ freedom, especially that of religion.

next is freedom of speech, which thanks to some in the media and a few over paid lawyers who do nothing but work to find loopholes, is becoming more of a circus side show. freedom of speech is reserved for those who have enough money to fight the litany of thousands who feel you have no right to say or write what you want because it offends them. anymore if you are smart you say things or write them privately, so as not to cause a stir, or worse yet to be persecuted, or prosecuted. therefore, your freedom of speech is not what you think it is.

many in the united states brag about their freedoms, in fact they justify murder just to have this so called freedom. the funny thing is however that those precious freedoms are becoming as scarce as the humanity for which they stood in their primitive beginnings.

once upon a time, in a land far, far away (haha), ‘we the people’ meant something completely different than it does today. back then, our ancestors fought against those that would captivate us under their rule. there were those who did not want us to express our thoughts, share our religions or live the way we wanted to. it was their way or no way. the only freedom of choice was whether to live their way or die their way.

the united states was founded on that premise, that those who lived here could escape the tyranny of britain. soon, others came from other countries outside europe that also faced oppresions and persecutions in their homelands. getting to ‘america’ meant getting to the promised land of sorts.

soon, the usa became known as the ‘great melting pot’, where unlike any other country or place in the world, people from all walks and ethnic backgrounds and religious upbringings, could call home. at the same time, all these people were supposedly ‘free’ to express themeselves in a way they had never done before.

in the early 20th century, new forms of transportation made coming to ‘the new world’ easier than ever. america was the great melting pot like never before, as people arrived from all over the world by the thousands. new influences were beginning to take hold as big industry and world wide trade became commonplace.

throughout the last 300 years america has seen many changes, including what we consider to be our rights and freedoms as americans. most of us have taken these freedoms and rights for granted for so long, we no longer understand what our rights are nor what we are free to do. today, 'we the people' is the header for the class-action lawsuit you are joining in order to express yourself.

as i sat there this morning pondering all of this, it occurred to me to ask God for some light in this situation. it all came down to one simple fact; free country or not, i would be nowhere if not for the blood of Jesus. that is the only freedom i need in this place.

i fear that most people would deny Christ like peter did if faced with imprisonment. their so called freedom means that much to them. if terrorists walk down their street and demanded all the Christians come out with their hands up, what would they do?

freedom of expression needs to start with your faith and not your right to bear arms. freedom of speech needs to be a public announcement of who your savior is and not a denouncement of some book because it offends you. freedom of religion is your unique opportunity to share the good news with everyone and not an opportunity to bash someone else's beliefs.

more than anything else, be thankful for your freedom of choice. our God chooses to love you as you are, and for someone like me that seems hard to believe. i am free to praise Him. i am free to follow Him. i am free to sing to Him. regardless of my circumstances in this life, no matter where God puts me, i am free to be His child and free to accept His gracious gift of grace through His son.

and that's all the freedom i need.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.