Friday, June 27, 2014

Weed control

At some point in the near future, I am expecting to be able to climb the weeds in my back yard, preferably to a cloud home in the sky, where I’m hoping to find a golden goose. The theory seems perfectly sound given the hardiness of the weeds. I’ll keep you posted.

Every year, we fight the same battle with weeds and yard maintenance and every year I seem to promise myself that I won’t let it get as bad as the last time. And yet, every year I find myself staring down a back yard that more resembles a wild jungle landscape and less like the well manicured ideal I had in mind. Part of my dilemma has been my allergies to most of the weeds and I am fairly certain that this is God’s way of telling me to avoid yard work. Seriously, just thinking about it all makes me itch, and not in a good way. Achoo.

All around me are new neighbors. In the last year, a home builder has put up five new houses, thereby filling up our little street. Four of those houses were filled immediately with new owners and I’m sure when the fifth house is complete, it will have a new owner as well. All of this has meant the advent of new people to get to know which has been very exciting. However, all this newness has left me wondering if maybe I just need to rent a bobcat and rip out all the weeds and everything else and start over. At the very least I know I would enjoy driving the bobcat!

Weeds are such a pain to deal with, mainly because they seem to be so relentless. They come back month after month and never stop. My new neighbors appear to have a handle on the weeds since their yards have just been put in, so maybe I just need a new yard, which sounds easy and I want easy. However, maybe I’m supposed to let my weeds grow really tall and sell them. There seems to be a market for everything else these days, so why not weeds! Maybe in other countries, these aren’t even weeds at all, but precious plants revered by many. There’s a thought!

Seriously though, our dog is not allowed back there for very long for fear she won’t make it out alive. She has actually created little nests out of pockets of weeds and tunnels so she can navigate the space. My biggest fear is that the Loch Ness monster is going to appear in there somewhere and eat her whole and that would be unfortunate. For that reason, I’ve stopped going out there altogether. Of course, we can’t live like this for long; someone has to take a stand against these viscous killers. Maybe I’ll send my kids out there and pay them a few dollars each…that could work.

Meanwhile, I’ve assembled some climbing gear and a team of Sherpas. We plan to make a run at the summit in approximately two weeks if the weather holds. The Sherpas seem a little concerned though because of the lack of snow and the direct vertical nature of our ascent. I’ve assured them however that there is a golden egg at the top, awaiting each of them. I’ve also let them know that if they hang around base camp too long, the Loch Ness monster will surely eat them whole.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pouring on, pouring into

Once again I find myself wondering what to do, especially given the place I seem to be working into in leadership. As I ponder the last several weeks and the personal interactions I have had with several key people, I am left to believe I am where I’m supposed to be, but like Moses I am doubting my abilities. It would seem there are several men who are seeking me out for the sake of some sort of relationship. This is all something I prayed for in earnest several months ago and now that it is happening, I am troubled with finding time for anyone.

I suppose that I did not wander into this current state of mind with the intention of being too busy to pour into the lives of those around me, but none the less I am now shaking my head, proverbially of course, at how this life will leave you breathless if you let it. This position of leadership can be wrought with difficult moments and maintaining a strict schedule seems to be one of the more key components. Aside from scheduling, there is also personality management. Another way to say that is babysitting. Truthfully, it’s less of that, I suppose, and more of having to cater to multiple egos…all at the same time.

As I wade through the personality differences of those around me I have come to the conclusion that having an open ended schedule and broad shoulders are a big deal. In light of the fact that my schedule is nuts and from time to time my shoulders sag, I am also learning that patience, perseverance and persistence are attributes I cannot live without. It also helps to be realistic while at the same time being optimistic. This is tough to do when a lot of times you find yourself wanting to be pessimistic. Unfortunately, it is easy to be a pessimist in light of the schedule I often times try to keep. The trick is to minimize any downtime and keep my mind active, lest it wander.

For a while, I was staying up really late and then trying to get up at a decent hour, like six. My justification was my show of productivity at night after the kids went to bed. I would read, write, listen to music and read. For some time that worked well, but in the last couple of months my efficiencies have soured and I’m finding that my evenings are not nearly as productive as they used to be. Enter in a couple of early morning opportunities and suddenly I find myself refreshed with new ideas and a new outlook. Granted, getting up at four is not for everyone, but at this moment it is working for me. A subtle retraining of my bed time and I am loving the early morning meet ups with a couple of different guys.

Two days a week are not going to alter my entire perspective but it is certainly a welcome change. The most immediate shift in my thinking has been in the desire to start a men’s group, specifically one for guys that I know who appear to be singular in their day to day lives. What I mean by that is there are some men who seem to operate solo a lot and it is those men who I would love to seek out and create a level of support for. This is how God works too, in putting on my heart a core group of men who for whatever reason just need some other guys around them for support and accountability. I could easily claim I am too busy to tackle another endeavor but from my view, there are already too many people saying those exact words.

Pouring into someone has a weird sound to it and most people simply do not want to know what all is involved. Not because they couldn’t handle it but because they simply do not want to take the time necessary for such a thing to work. The days we live in are busy and everyone seems to not only get that but some even seem to celebrate it as if it were a badge of honor. Busyness is not, however, all that honorable and if we are not careful it will take away from the things that are actually the most important in our lives; namely the relationships we should be pouring into.

If you were to know how many days you had left to live, would you change anything? Probably, you would not only say yes but your behavior would shift immediately. For some, it might be an opportunity to check things off of a list of to-do’s prior to leaving this place. For others, there would be an imminent need to work on the relationships in their lives. The truth is we do indeed only have so many days left and those relationships need your attention right now, even the ones that you haven’t even created yet. Pouring into the life of someone near you is critical thinking; that is, it is not something to put off until tomorrow.