Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rest For A Tired Head

At the end of January, I broached the subject of Mindfulness. I was about twenty days in on my, certain to be short-lived, meditation practice and you all NEEDED to know just how Zen I was!

Then, in April, I addressed it again. The App had a glitch in it, and just short of my 90th consecutive day, the "daily counter" showed ZERO days. I was nothing short of acrimonious. Such an injustice! Well, today is the last day of the year and:

This is a screenshot of my Progress from the App. In 2015, I spent EIGHTY hours in meditation! Do the math. That's 3 1/3 TWENTY-FOUR hour days spent in silence, simply trying to give my racing brain a small rest. The results, believe it or not, have been nothing short of phenomenal.

For most of the past 10-15 years, about every third breath I have taken has been a long, deep, mournful sigh.That's probably due to the fact that I hold my breath most of the time. To say I'm wound a little tight would be a gross understatement. I am impatient, grossly intolerant, and stay about half pissed off. The sheer weight of my personality just crushes me!

I'm not exactly sure what I meant by it. But I do remember looking at T and saying, "I'm just not sure I'm gonna make it." A change was needed. I just wasn't sure of what kind of change.

As I described in the January post, a couple years prior, the Denton Yogi had suggested a new meditation app that had a 10 Day Free Trial. Meditation was certainly going to be impossible for me. But, why not give it a try? It was cute. Kinda fun. I talked about it for 10 days. But at the end of the free trial, the app asked for a credit card number and my meditation days were over. I'm not a hippie, for crying out loud!

But on January 5th, I pulled up the app, got out my credit card and purchased a whole year. As cliche as it sounds, the rest is history.

I will not bore you with the details. But most of my tens of readers are friends of mine on Facebook. You know that my Angel Baby spent three months studying abroad. You remember my Bride spending nearly two weeks in the Mediterranean. Big Tuck was nearly a month in the Middle East!

These are just three life events that would normally drive me insane! But add to that you.....You are a veritable smorgasbord of insanity! I get calls almost daily from friends and some people I don't even like and listen to their stories of death, divorce, restraining orders, joblessness, drug-addicted children, aging parents, cancer....this list could go on and on and on.

Add to that, the daily flood of images of bombings, beheadings, mass shootings, and the IDIOTS who are in power, or those who are seeking to be in power, acting like they give a popcorn fart and can actually do something about it!

My brain is pooped! It just needs a rest. And that's what I've given it almost every day during 2015. You can obviously see that my progress board does not read 360. I have not been perfect. But that's why my little Tibetan Monk calls it a practice. What that screenshot above does not show is my current "run streak." This morning was Day 159 in a row.

I see subtle changes. I know the long, deep sighs are fewer and far between. It seems as though I'm rolling with life a little smoother. But my actual mirriors are those closest to me. And they are OVERJOYED and DELIGHTED that I have committed to this life change.

So, on January 5th, I have no alternative than to renew my subscription. I actually look forward to going to bed at night because I know that when I wake up, I'm going to get a little relief. I'm going to sit in silence and just breathe. I'm going to start my day by giving my brain a little rest. I get to give my mind some space.

That space allows me to get through the day. It helps me tolerate you! But more than that, it enables me to put up with me. After all, as you are all very well aware, it IS all about me!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pure Religion In A Cardboard Box

The trip to England, back in November, revived a topic that has been swirling around in my head for a couple of years. This disturbing thought arose as I learned of the daily activities of the evangelist there at the Summer Lane Church. In listening to Trevor share, I was reminded of what I often hear missionaries talk about when they come home from the field. Trevor's activities and these missionaries' work never seem to match up with what I see here in the States. They seem to do it differently over there. Their priorities are not in sync with the way we do "church" over here. I find that troubling, as evidently, we are all reading the same book.

In the Epistle of James, the author writes in the first chapter, verse twenty-seven, that "Religion that our God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Religion that is pure. Religion that is faultless. The word "religion" is no longer socially acceptable today. Even religious people refuse to use it as they ALL claim they are enlightened and they have learned to be SPIRITUAL, instead of that nasty, politically incorrect term, RELIGIOUS!

But the Bible speaks of religion. Specifically, James speaks of pure religion. And the obvious question that comes to mind is, Why are all these spiritual people so opposed to practicing pure religion?

Trevor ministers daily to elderly widows. There are a number of widows in that small congregation and they live in public housing that houses many more. He sings with them, prays with them, plays bingo with them, and offers transportation for them all over the city of Birmingham. He refers to them as "old biddies" and they just laugh at him because they love him. He exemplifies unconditional love. a true servant heart, and a purpose driven life.

I hesitate to use the word "orphanage." Even among my tens of readers, there will no doubt be a couple of you to take umbrage with that word. But it's the only word I know. The Old Man tells stories of going into those Orphanages in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe that I simply will not relate in this post. Most of you are simply not equipped to hear of some of things he has witnessed.

But, seldom do I hear a missionary returning from the field, that he does not speak of their daily work in the orphanages. Their stories break my heart as they look after those children in their distress.

Over here, however, we are spiritual! In our church foyers, we have huge tables and hundred dollar banners hanging, advertising our Retreats at a 5 Star Conference Center. We can't wait to get away and learn how to be spiritual! Kicked to the side of that table, almost in a corner, is a box for which the church bulletin has reminded us to donate a can of corn or a tube of toothpaste because the truck from the "Childrens' Home" will swing by on Tuesday to pick it up.

Spirituality is at the Conference Center! Pure Religion is in a cardboard box.

I am writing this for myself! I have NEVER been on the property of a "Children's Home" in my entire life! I did swing by the Funeral Home a few weeks ago to offer condolences to a widow. Yay me! Big pat on the back for that unselfish act of service!

I'm not making any promises or resolutions. I'm way too self-centered to follow through on them. But, I'm thinking about being more religious in 2016. And I'm thinking of it in terms of Pure Religion.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Stealing Blackie Sherrod's Schtick

November has come and gone so quickly that I can hardly recall what happened. I have made mental notes of at least a half dozen topics for this silly little blog. But, candidly, I am just not motivated to address any of them in detail. I do, however, feel the need to get some of this stuff out in the open in order to make room for fresh ideas to pop into my tired little brain.

Famed Sports Writer, Blackie Sherrod used to write a Friday column called "Scattershooting." So, as I sit here with a proper cup of British Tea, I think I will do some Scattershooting, while wondering what ever happened to Fred Biletnikoff.

Does anyone remember when Airline Travel used to be kind of glamorous and high tone? Not anymore. Most travelers look as though they are just coming in from a frat party.

While standing in Lichfield Cathedral, the idea struck me that worshippers sure were obsessed with their worship facilities back in the day. Then it occurred to me that 900 years later, very little has changed.

I dare you to take an escalator very deep under the London City Streets to catch The Tube and not think about some coked up idiot, on the platform, wearing a vest filled with explosives.

I don't think they are frying Fish n Chips in lard anymore. Not quite the same....

Too much football during the Thanksgiving week. I'm thinking of giving up on it until both college and pro football can determine what a Catch is.......

Am I the only one that is disgusted by the fact that we have gotten so lazy that we will actually sit and watch other people play Cards?

It's time they gave Reality TV another name!

Anyone excited about the prospect of another show about Alaska?

The Angel Baby came home to visit as an Engaged woman. Yes, HE was with her. She could have done a lot worse!

I know Big Tuck hates the fact that he is acting more like me every day. On the one hand, I'm proud. Then, I start to pity the poor kid....

Sandy was a good Dog!

Forty-Four years old is WAY too young to die......

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crossing the Pond

If everything goes according to plan, the Old Man, Big Tuck, and I will be departing DFW this evening aboard American Airlines Flight #50 for London, England. Upon arrival, we will board a bus for the city of Birmingham. We plan on trying it all! Planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.

I can hardly wrap my mind around how this all came about. As you recall, the Angel Baby spent three months studying abroad in London earlier in the year. (I told her I studied a broad or two in College, but it didn't involve international travel). Then, right after school was out, T was asked to join some very dear friends of hers on a Mediterranean Cruise. About that same time, Big Tuck was in the running to go to Kuwait to open a new restaurant.

One morning, while T was on the cruise, I was sitting here considering my woeful existence, and trying to convince myself that when Shoe and I DROVE to Atlanta, for a THREE day weekend, that we would have just as much fun! For some reason, I was failing in that attempt, and seemingly, I was getting the short end of the travel straw!

The Old Man called that morning. He asked if I had a Passport. Right! Rub it in, Pops!

He then went on to explain that the church where we had worked and worshipped in the late 70's was having its 150th Anniversary as a congregation. The Summer Lane Church of Christ in Birmingham, England formed in 1865! Quite an accomplishment to survive 150 years, in my opinion!

Anyway, they were scheduling a Celebration Weekend in November and they had contacted Pops and asked if he and I would come over and speak during their celebration.

So, that's why we are going. And that's why we are leaving this evening. On Saturday night, the Old Man will speak during the Celebration, and I will preach the next day.

Prayerfully, this will go down as a high water mark in my life. Getting to share a pulpit with Pops will be very cool. And getting to take Big Tuck along, and show him where I lived, attended school, and worshipped as a kid is going to be a very special.

In a perfect world, T and the Angel Baby would be joining us. But Jentry got to see these places when she went there for a graduation gift. That's what lead to her moving there for three months.

And T got to see the COLOSSEUM! I don't feel THAT bad!

I will certainly address this trip not long after my return. Maybe, the title will be "Musings of an Internationally Sought After Preacher." Sound humble enough?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Never Have To work Again

This one has been floating around in my little brain for a couple of weeks. A number of thoughts and/or events, lately, have necessitated the inevitable. This particular post may be the most difficult idea I've yet to address. But, money is a little tight right and now and this goofy exercise really is cheaper than therapy.

The genesis of this topic goes back nearly five years. In December of 2010, I woke up on the morning after completing the White Rock Marathon and I could not move my body at all. There was a soreness that is impossible to describe. Work was out of the question as was the thought of getting out of bed.

I knew a former high school classmate in Flower Mound who owned a medical massage clinic. On a whim, I gave her a call and she offered to get me back on my feet if I thought I could get into her office.

The Flower Mound Miracle Worker (as I now refer to her) did indeed back up her claims and after a brief massage and some of that voodoo kinesio tape, I was back upright and well on my way to recovery.

During the session, the Miracle Worker, whom I had not seen in years, told me her story about getting into that line of work. Then she said, "Once I found my passion, I've never had to work again."

What? Never had to work again? I've had to work every stinking day of my life! This seemed a little unfair.

Yesterday, I was driving down I35, thinking about the Miracle Worker, and the sentiment she expressed that day. I was wrestling with the idea of writing a post about it. But I was fairly certain that I'm not  quite ready to be THAT transparent. Then the "blow hard" Talk Radio Host said in that same instant, "Well, you know what they say. Once you find your passion, you never have to work again."

Are you kidding me? Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not!

I know that during the past few weeks, I've found myself reflecting on the decision of a year ago, to NOT pursue my passion.  Consequently, for the past year, I've continued to work every day, just as I have since getting out of college. Work! Drudgery! No passion! Only burden. My only relief comes when, in meditation, my little Tibetan Monk reminds me of "shared human experience." And I hope, that many of you have to go to work everyday, too!

Intellectually, I know why I backed out of that preaching gig and I am still fairly certain, that it was the right decision at that particular time. But that doesn't always squelch the chorus of "shoulda, coulda, wouldas" that take over my thinking mind on almost a daily basis.

One of my spiritual advisers, the Eyetalian, explained to me that many folks do have a fear of success! I find that notion offensive and I nearly smacked the smirk off his face! Who knows? He could be right. Trust me. there is no need to ask him if he thinks he is right.

Maybe Fear of Success will be a post in the near future.....

Meanwhile, I need to get back to WORK!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Problem Is So Warm and Squishy

Imagine this scene. I'm sitting out by the pool, at a fairly decent hotel, in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. Oh, the good part? It was a church trip. (Some churches simply do a better job of picking their mission points than others). I am in full fledged RANT to an Elder in that church. In my mind, he was one of the wisest men I've ever known and one of only two or three elders, in my entire lifetime, that I would give 50 cents for.

He actually listened. He did not interrupt. He did not roll his eyes. He was attentive. He let me wear myself down, until I was nearly out of breath. Then, he said, "Well, Kevin. Are you gonna be part of of the problem or part of the solution?"

That conversation happened THIRTY YEARS ago, and I dare say that a week has not passed, in those thirty years, that his question has not haunted me. And except for a few brief periods in my life, I have made the conscious decision to be a part of the PROBLEM.

Staying in the problem is where I'm most comfortable. The problem is familiar to me. It's just like a fresh meadow muffin, dropped by a Jersey cow. It's warm. It's squishy. And I just settle down in it, and lay there, completely unaware of the foul odor that surrounds me.

I just had a lousy week! Starting with last week's post and the realization of just how powerless I am, I spent the entire week spiralling down into the abyss of of GROSS intolerance. I have never seen it more clearly. When I don't feel in control, and the powerlessness is so prevalent, I simply cannot abide you! NONE of you! IDIOTS! After a somewhat emotional weekend last weekend, and the resulting realizations that arose from that, I spent the entire week bumping into, talking to, and conferring with IDIOTS!

Then, seemingly without provocation, those silly cliches pour in. "If you spot it, you got it!" "By the time you've encountered your 3rd idiot of the day, you might want to look in the mirror."

I hate the cliches. They torment me! But, interestingly, they are STILL the problem. Very little solution in taping the problem to the bathroom mirror. It's still the problem!

I'm not in the solution yet. So I dare not try to address it. The solution will have to be addressed in a future post.

Meanwhile, I will just lay back and relax in the problem. So warm! So squishy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

God Doesn't Have Grandkids

It sure is easy to say. Just rolls right off the tongue. I've said it for years. Any time, anyone has come to me with questions or concerns about their children, I have piously reminded them that "God doesn't any grandkids. He only has kids."

This past weekend, those words came back to haunt me in ways that I truly never expected. The weekend turned out to be reflective, emotional, fearful, and generally just anxiety-filled.

My Angel Baby got engaged Friday night! It was no surprise to me as her fiance had called in advance, seeking my blessing. So, I knew Friday was the night. Teressa knew. All of Jentry's friends knew. Chad's friends knew. The southern part of metro Nashville knew! Evidently, this guy is quite the romantic sap, and he pulled off quite the Coup. (No doubt this subject will rise again in future posts).

We spent Saturday viewing social media and all the activities of the night. Jentry posted a pic on her FB page with the caption, "I get to keep him forever." I felt that one in my gut!

In addition to that, on Saturday, Big Tuck boarded an Airbus 380, headed to Dubai, with a final destination of Kuwait City. He is a member of Raising Cane's first international "New Restaurant Opening Team."

And that was it! In the blink of an eye, I had to turn my kids over to God. Seemingly, my kids are on the paths that we raised them to be on. My job seems complete, and I am finally seeing that their future rests in God's hands and I am powerless over trying to orchestrate the outcomes.

What a year thus far! My Angel Baby has trekked all over Europe, with a backpack on her back. My wife spent twelve days cruising around the Mediterranean. Tucker was all over the Southwest, opening new restaurants, while preparing to head off to the Persian Gulf. And seemingly, all this occurred without any need of my protection and control. God was in control the entire time. And He provided for their care and protection.

Abruptly, the words I have shared with so many of you got shoved right back down my throat this weekend. I've had to come to grips with the fact that, truly, God Does Not Have Any Grandkids!

For that, I am humbled. But mostly, for that, I am grateful.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hoping To Obtain A Better Past

Some time ago, I either read or heard the statement, "I've finally given up on trying to have a better past."

Funny! Real funny! LOL, ROFL, LMAO!

It really is kind of funny. I would dearly love to laugh at this sentiment. And I would. Oh, I would, if the thought of it did not make me want to break down and cry.

Some time, very early on in this little experiment, I titled an entry "Wreckage of the Future," or some such. And on that day, I was being as brutally honest as possible. And today, I really still feel that way. In my mind, it seems that I always project to the wreckage of the future. Fear, plain and simple. Terror, actually! It is startling how, when anything does not go my way, within a matter of seconds, I've lost it all, and am living under the bridge at Hines Boulevard and Northwest Highway.

However, you all know that I've been meditating now since the first of the year. Quite proud of that, actually. As of this morning, over 200 sessions, and nearly 50 hours of total time spent in meditation. That fact is nothing short of astounding for me. But I digress.

What the true attempt to be PRESENT  has taught me is that I really, really need, hope, and aspire to a WAY BETTER PAST. Do any of you realize just how hard that is to accomplish? It seems almost impossible! And I'm getting real, real close to giving up on the whole idea.

The "shoulda , coulda, wouldas" paralyze me. They pretty much render me worthless and completely prohibit me from being of any kind of real service to God and my fellow man. And, trust me, my fellow man is in BAD shape. I talk to people daily who are in real crisis. They are in pain. They are fearful. They are lost. The need some hope. And time and time again, the thought crosses my mind that I could actually help them, if only I had made some different decisions in June of 1991, September of 1983, or any list of dates.

All these thoughts are probably rising to the surface as I approach the one year anniversary of turning down the preaching gig. In my heart of hearts, I did the right thing. I simply was not ready to take that on. Oddly, my detractors are convinced that they are responsible for that decision. They insincerely apoplogised to me for making me back out. Bless their hearts! No, the reality is, my supporters caused me to rethink the decision and realize that the timing was all wrong. To this day, they don't know that. Maybe, it is best that they don't. I suppose there is some regret about the Blog post that completely burned that bridge. But I truly didn't think the post was that offensive.  The "hate text" from the guy who was not even a member at that church seemed to indicate that it was. But, what are you going to do? God love him!

Today, I am resolved to GIVING UP ON THE WHOLE IDEA OF TRYING TO HAVE A BETTER PAST. It is SO exhausting. And if you are plagued with the "coulda, shoulda, wouldas," you might consider joining me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Eaten Alive!

In her recent book, Blackout, Sarah Hepola quotes David Foster Wallace, from a commencement address he gave at Kenyon College:

"In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship---be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles---is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive."
I cannot get this quote out of mind. And those of you who know me, know that four of these options are not on the table, for me, as objects of worship. But the idea of being "eaten alive" by any other object of worship has been resounding in my mind ever since I read this passage one night last week.

Seemingly, everyone I talk to, everyone I follow on the Twitter, every news story I see on the TV or the Internet.....this ENTIRE planet is being eaten alive!

For the most part, I could not give a popcorn fart about any of it. I've been accused of not "suffering fools." And if you are just THAT stupid, if you are just THAT ignorant, if you are just THAT unaware.....I have absolutely NOTHING for you.

But the calls still come in. My phone still rings. And very often, on the other end of the call, is someone who is being EATEN ALIVE, because the object of their worship is not God!

Wives, kids, jobs, exes, hobbies, coworkers, employers, churches, flags, governments, politicians, celebrities, sports figures......the list goes on and on and on and on.

I find myself getting caught up in it, too.  And I find it to be an empty, empty place. Our need to worship, being radically displaced in things and people other than God is eating us alive!

Maybe, I will offer a solution in the coming weeks. Or maybe, I'll just let you discover it on your own. But discovery is must! For I truly believe, that a RECKONING is near!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Could Someone Please Define Authentic?

I deactivated Facebook........AGAIN! Consequently, no one will read this. I suppose that's good. Because this post will meet with GREAT opposition. Once again, I am in the minority. I am just an "out of touch," narrow-minded, bigoted, homophobe, who tends to be a little judgmental.

The hashtag #authenticself makes me want to vomit! Period. End of sentence.

The same rant applies to #authenticself that applied to #liveyourtruth. Am I the only one on the planet that sees this? If we allow truth creation, instead of truth discovery, then NOTHING, I mean NOTHING matters! And if NOTHING matters, then who are we to judge?

No one wants to celebrate Joseph Stalin, who by most estimates, is responsible for the death of 20 MILLION people! Should he not be celebrated for being his #authenticself?

We seldom hear of a baby being named Adolph. But I would suggest that Adolph Hitler was doing nothing more than "living his truth" and being his #authenticself when he sought to wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth. His goal took a tremendous amount of courage. Should Hitler not be considered posthumously for the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage?

And speaking of courage! In my mind, those boys that decided to fly those airplanes into those Towers and into the Pentagon exhibited a level of courage I will NEVER have! And if anyone ever "lived out their truth" and acted on the convictions of their #authenticself, those boys did!

I truly anticipate that #authenticself will soon be heard as a defense in our Court system. Eventually, some Priest who has diddled countless numbers of altar boys will simply state that he had to be "true to himself" and live out his #authenticself.

Some child molester will argue convincingly that he was born with the desire to have sex with 4 year old little girls and he felt it necessary to be his #authenticself.

We live in a society that really doesn't ask us to just "accept" people. It requires us to place them on a pedestal. To worship them! To adore them! To bestow honors upon them!

And society calls me a hypocrite? No, indeed society is the hypocrite. Because it does NOT celebrate, worship, and adore EVERYONE (the Stalins, the Hitlers, the Terrorists, the Predators) that are doing nothing more than being their #authenticselves!

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm Just Not That Unique....Neither Are You

It has certainly been awhile since I was moved to jot some things down and blast them into cyber space. I could list any number of reasons, which would read a whole lot like excuses, and end up looking very similar to lazy. My old man took the opportunity to remind me I was lazy the other day. Bless his heart.

My little monk continues to challenge me almost daily during my morning meditation. And he keeps coming back to a theme which I cannot get out of mind. In fact, the idea for this post has been simmering for a number of weeks. I don't like it. I'm not comfortable in addressing it. Indeed, the whole idea kind of *isses me off.

But, no matter what the topic, no matter what he's addressing, time and time again, my little monk keeps reiterating the theme of "Shared Human Experience." Be it anxiety, stress, happiness, anger, contentment, frustration, joy, or irritability......just fill in the blank. This dude always seems to frame at least one session around the idea of shared human experience. Indeed, the fact, that at this very moment, hundreds of millions of people on the planet are experiencing the exact same thoughts and emotions.

Supposedly, this is some how supposed to make me feel better! He opines, that if I can just observe where I am, at this very instant, and understand that I am NOT unique in that place, that the power this thought is wielding over me will be at least halved in its intensity.

I have a very difficult time applying Shared Human Experience to me. I have an extraordinarily EASY time applying it to you.

With any example I give, my inbox is certain to fill with your complaints and questions as to why I am singling you out. You will think that I'm speaking directly to you, because, apparently, you are THAT self-centered.

This list can go on ad infinitum. But here goes: You are not the first parent on the planet to have a kid eating dope. You are not the first person to ever get divorced.  Lost parents.  Lost children. Jobs lost. Houses foreclosed on. Parents in failing health. Children with horrible diseases. Murders. Car wrecks. Suicides. Addictions.

Even making the list seems a little stupid. But I do know this and I know it as plain as the nose on my face. Whether, I have experienced one, or all of the above, when I am in the middle of it, I know of a certainty that NO ONE ON THE PLANET UNDERSTANDS WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH OR HAS THOUGHT THE THINGS I AM THINKING RIGHT NOW!.

That LIE, that I've told myself thousands of times, has rendered me useless and caused me to squander thousands of hours of my life away, that I could have been doing something useful for someone else.

Daily, I try to stay very aware and employ several tools against the disease of Terminal Uniqueness. It usually involves me knowing two things for sure: 1) It is terminal 2) I'm not unique.

My hope is that you will join me as we can benefit from our Shared Human Experience.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Streak Is Over!

I still have NOT missed even ONE day. I have set aside a time to meditate every single day since purchasing the App. The cool thing is that the App counts my consecutive days meditating. The App calls it my "Current Run Streak." This morning, my current run streak said ZERO! Yesterday's effort had not been logged. As a matter of fact, next "in Line" was the same meditation I did yesterday! I am nothing short of MOROSE!

Oh, trust me! I am aware of the problem! And somehow, through the maze of the World Wide Inter Web, I think my little Buddhist Monk was reading my mind! He knew I was just trying to get to 90 days! He knew I was treating his App the same way I treat Nike Plus. He knew my motivations had gone askew. He knew I was being "mindful" only for the streak. He understood that the streak was cancelling out any benefit I was gaining from the practice. He knew that deep down I wanted to broadcast my "90 Consecutive Days" just like I informed the world that 10 Mile Run last Saturday.

Can I not do ANYTHING for the right reasons? Are my motivations and intentions always going to be this ego-centric and self-centered? Apparently so!

The funny thing is, I have no idea how my little Buddhist Monk knew to end my streak on the same day that I celebrate the most important streak in my life. How did that dude know that I got married on April Fool's Day?

Twenty-Six years ago today, the most significant streak in my life began when Hike pronounced a life sentence on my bride and me and that streak continues to this very day.

Miraculous is the only word to describe it. It is truly a miracle that I was not kicked to the curb several years ago just like the weekly trash. It was what I deserved. It was not what I got!

So, my frustration with my Meditation App will go away. I'm actually grateful to my little Buddhist Monk for helping me see the importance of the truly meaningful streaks.

The meaningful streaks are why I will continue to meditate and I will continue to use this seemingly unreliable App. The App is teaching me to be mindful. And today, the App taught me to be grateful.

And gratitude is not a bad place to be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jesus Didn't Die for a Street Name

For those of you keeping score, you know that I turned down an opportunity to go into ministry on a full time basis last year. If that scenario had played out, I would have started in that role on January 1 of this year.

We are now well into March and not a day has gone by that I have not second-guessed that decision and wondered if I did the right thing. In reality, I think very little would have changed. The only difference is that I would be getting paid for it and become one of the very things I have always despised.....the dude that's preaching for a paycheck. But that's another topic for another day.

Today, my heart is heavy and troubled because my faith tradition is disappearing and I am seemingly powerless to do anything about it. Churchitis is killing my church. We are so "churched up" that we have lost all perspective as to why we even assemble on Sunday.

In Texas, and in many other places, we name our churches by the Street Name where the building sits. Except for one. It's actually on Marsh Lane, but carries the street name of the crossroad just north of there! I know. It gives me ice cream head, too!

When one goes into the assembly at these congregations, he is "street-named" to death.

"Would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to <Street Name>."

"<Street name> is a loving, caring bunch of people."

" Please let <Street Name> know if we can serve you."

It goes on and on and on ad nauseum. We put our faith in <Street Name>. We put our confidence in <Street Name>. We put our hope in <Street Name>. We say INCREDIBLY stupid things about <Street Name> and its impact or reputation in the community.

And I wonder what our Savior thinks about that? I wonder if he almost weeps and and wishes that things were different. I wonder if he is jealous of <Street Name>. I wonder if he ever says, "If they would only put their faith in me! If only their confidence was in me! If only they had hope in me!"

Oil-Can has been making hash marks on attendance cards for months, keeping tally of the times that preachers mention Jesus in a sermon as opposed to the times they mention the church or <Street Name>. I think the most recent average is about 9 to 1. <Street Name> gets 9 mentions for every 1 mention of Jesus.

<Street Name> or what I like to call "churchitis" is killing our church. One <Street Name> I used to attend and love very dearly is deader than a mackerel and another <Street Name> right around the corner is heading in the same direction.

In both these places, on a Sunday morning, one gets "Street-Named" to death. Bless their hearts. They don't recognize it. They never will. Because they are so in love with their <Street Name>.

But almost weekly, they continue to act ASTOUNDED that the Millennials are leaving their <Street Names> in herds! I'm not astounded. Really! Sadly! I am not.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm More Zen Than You!

Yesterday was my FIFTIETH day in a row to meditate. was 51! The money I could have made if I had laid a wagering line on that streak!

The stats indicate that you are bored with this topic and very few of you are reading and keeping up. I totally understand that. However, your lack of interest forces me to remember that this exercise was supposed to be all about me, anyway, and hopefully, I could find some peace by simply getting these thoughts out of my head and launching them into cyber-space.

It's been suggested by at least one of you that I'm not "a meditative, mindful kind of guy" and that this fad will soon pass and I will get back to being the curmudgeon that I so relish in portraying. I'm not sure I can argue with that. There probably should be an "odds line" put on that notion.

But I will say this....I, I know I have NEVER done something so potentially positive for 51 consecutive days in my entire life! For those of you thinking that I'm exaggerating because I'm a "man of prayer," the contention remains true.

Now, here's the rub: I am really bad at it. At least I think I am. My little monk keeps reiterating that it's okay to find theses exercises difficult. But I just keep thinking that this Cat has no idea what a dangerous neighborhood I'm in when I'm in my head! Bless his heart! Everyday, though, he continues to provide a positive, encouraging word that is seemingly beneficial, even though I struggle to process exactly what is going on here.  At age 50, however, I am experiencing a few things for the very first time:

1) REST---Not sleep. Rest for my tired head! At the conclusion of each session, I feel as though I have given my busy, racing, churning brain a rest. It's just like a cool drink of water. Refreshing.

2) PRESENT---For 15 minutes each morning, I am present. At least as much as I can be. Of course my mind wanders. But, I am getting such a pay-off for simply trying to be right HERE, right NOW, for a few minutes each day. If only for 15 minutes, I am attempting to avoid the wreckage of the future. Relief.

3) MINDFUL---I hate this new catch-phrase as much as you do. I actually find it annoying. But mindful is the only word I can come up with. This has especially been true as I am in the middle of the series on Relationships. Wow! I'm spending time being mindful of the ones I love, the ones I'm indifferent to (weird...have no idea why he added that element), and you guessed it, the ones I truly do NOT care for.....the ANNOYING ones....99% of you! Respect.

I am not going to try and educate you as to what is happening here. As stated earlier, I'm not sure I know.  It is no different than the running. There is no way I can describe what "hitting the wall" at Mile 20 feels like. You have to experience it for yourself. Less than 1% of the population of the globe will ever experience it. My guess is that the same is true for meditation and mindfulness. I can promise you this, though. It's not for those who need it. YOU ALL NEED IT! It is only for those who want it.

Today, I want it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mindfulness Versus the Shirt

The few of you who are friends with me on FB are aware of the Shirt. It is glorious! It is beautiful! Truth is, it's down right funny! The Shirt says "I Don't Even Like the People I Like." Shoe delivered it Saturday night. His wife custom made it for me, pursuant to my specific instructions. I really do the love the Shirt.

The timing, however, could not be worse. The shirt is harshing my newly acquired mindfulness. No, that's not exactly true. The shirt is inconsistent with my recent attempts to learn to meditate and be more present and mindful throughout the day.

So, here's the update and the reason for my dilemma. The meditation website I subscribed to started out with a 30 day Foundation Series that was supposed to teach me the basics and "how to" meditate. The first 10 days were 10 minute sessions. The next 10 days were 15 minute sessions. Finally, the third 10 days were 20 MINUTE SESSIONS! Do I need to repeat that? 20 Minute Sessions! Does anyone understand just how long that is?

Yay me! I did the first 30 sessions in 30 consecutive days! Buy the plane ticket! Time to head off to Tibet and teach those boys how it's done!

One of the main reasons for wanting to get through the Foundation Series is that ALL of the other "Subjects" were locked until I completed the entry level, beginner stuff. And I truly needed to unlock that Library. I could see the offerings.....Performance, Health, Relationships and a plethora of sub-titles under each of these  categories. I was SO interested in moving on! I am a runner, for crying out loud! I need to get done with this elementary stuff and get into the Performance Library!

Well......I didn't click on the Performance Library. Seemingly, I need to address more important issues. I once read a book that describes folks like me. This book indicated that I was "seemingly incapable of forming a true partnership with another human being!" Kind of a tough indictment, huh? So......I clicked on Relationships. And this morning was my 6th consecutive day of meditating on and being mindful of my relationships with you!

Which brings me to the T-shirt. Coincidence? I think not. Just at the time in my life when I am finally open to the idea of learning mindfulness and meditating on my relationships with you, the T-shirt arrives.....I DON'T EVEN LIKE THE PEOPLE I LIKE!

It's anybody's guess as to how this is going to turn out!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

England Swings Like a Pendelum Do!

Today has been a Super Bowl Sunday unlike any other I've ever experienced. To say I've been distracted would be a major understatement. My mind has been "across the pond" most of the day. Typhoo tea, double-decker buses, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus. All things that I experienced as a teenager in the late 70's. But someone else is about to experience them this time.

Last Saturday, the 24th, we took Jentry to Love Field and put her on a plane bound for Nashville. Yesterday, the 31st, she left Nashville with a group from Lipscomb University headed to London to spend a semester "abroad."

Many of you read my "Peanut Butter Sandwich" post in August of 2013. We had just returned from taking my Angel Baby to Nashville and I was trying to process the fact that my little girl was 680 miles away and I was a feeling a little powerless.

At 3 o'clock this morning she texted from Heathrow Airport, where they had landed safely and had just cleared Customs, or whatever they call it. Living in Texas, I think of it as Border Patrol. This time, however, she was 4,745 miles away and it seemed like a world away.

I slept through the text and the attempted phone call. Upon awakening this morning, I learned that Teressa had been in contact with her and discovered that she had felt a little ill on the flight. I spent the next several hours without taking a full breath. She texted about 4 PM, 10 PM London time. She was going to bed and was exhibiting no real interest in the Super Bowl. She said that it had been the longest two days of her life. But a shower, and anticipated rest had made her feel a little better. I finally exhaled.

Jentry has dreamed of studying abroad since she was 10 years old. When she learned that Lipscomb was adding England to its Global Learning Program, the decision was clear for her. She was headed to Nashville for college and probably, by her Sophomore year, she was heading overseas. Maybe, I thought it would really never happen. Well, it has happened! How am I gonna get through the next three months?

It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am SO excited for her! But that doesn't make my role any easier. This world is changing. And it seems that most of the residents of this Planet are breaking their standards faster than they can lower them. That causes me anxiety. No, that really scares me to death!

My prayer life has certainly changed in the last few days. And I am RE-learning the same lesson everyday. God doesn't have any grand kids! He just has His kids. And my Angel Baby is one of His kids.

"England swings like a pendulum do. Bobbies on bicycles, two by two.
Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben.
The rosy red cheeks of the little children."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mindfulness......So Trendy!

In my defense, I tried it two years ago. Back then, one might encounter the word "mindfulness" once or twice a month. Twenty-four months ago, I did not know mindfulness was a word. I was just trying to meditate because some old hippie from California challenged me, in a presentation Shoe and I heard him give, to give it a shot.

But now, mindfulness is the new buzz word. It's SO trendy, SO now. Even the cool kids are doing it. Celebrities, executives in Fortune 100 companies and yes, even the hippies......Everyone is talking about mindfulness. And the noise that's being created about taking a little "quiet time" is deafening.

So, the question that I must answer is "Am I gonna let the trendy part drive me away?" I don't like celebrities. Even my little former Tibetan Monk who's guiding me is a celebrity now! The Corporate Guys are just trying to work an angle to make a buck, and the hippies? God love 'em! In reality, the labels don't matter. I don't like any of them. I have a T-shirt on order. "I Don't Even Like the People I Like!" Yet, they are ALL being mindful now in 2015. And I have to fight 'em or join 'em.

Here's the deal. The studies (real studies) indicate that no matter what the task we are participating in, our minds are SOMEWHERE else 47% of the time! I knew that was true for me. Actually, in my case, 47% is a little low. But I thought I was unique. I thought I was special. I truly believed that none of you understood when I blogged about living in the the wreckage of the future.

But, evidently,  you are just as bad as me and the Science is backing that notion up. So.......47% is not far from 50%. And 50% is half. HALF! HALF! We are spending HALF of our LIFETIMES participating in activities and our MINDS are some place else! I'm still trying to process this idea and I am staggered by its implications.

Today was my 22nd CONSECUTIVE day to meditate. And it was HARD! And it's getting harder! The first 10 days were only ten (ha!) minutes. The second 10 days were 15 minutes. Now, I'm into the 20 minute sessions and my head is spinning! The silent pauses between the Guide's "directions" are getting longer and just as I am thinking that I've lost Internet connection, he pops back in! But by that time, I've forgotten all about the breath and.....oh, just forget it.

I feel like such a failure at this mindful thing and I wouldn't trade it for anything! The early results are amazing. I am actually sensing a difference in my life by simply trying to be present for just a few minutes a day. However, my wife is tickled to death! Last week, I spoke of actually paying someone to help me meditate. It's probably the last time I will pay for it. T will gladly renew by subscription when the time comes around.

In the end, my self-appraisal of whether or not I'm getting any better is pointless. The Person  that I live with is my TRUE mirror. I think I'll go with her appraisal on this one.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Paying To Be Bored

I just finished Day 15 of something quite new in my life and I thought I had better get some thoughts down about it and launch it into cyber space.

A few years back, Shoe and I heard a guy address Prayer & Meditation in a way that, quite candidly, left me feeling a little ashamed. He spoke of meditation as an absolute necessity. Mandatory! He kind of indicated that prayer is a waste of time, if one is unwilling to meditate. What a scandalous assertion!

Now, it's not like meditation had not been suggested to me before. The Denton Yogi had opined years ago that I might have the NEED for Yoga more than anyone she had ever encountered! I have NO idea how she arrived at that conclusion!

Anyway, within a few days of that guilt trip being piled on Shoe and me, I reached out to the Denton Yogi and she passed along a link to a website and said that she had no experience with this site; but maybe I should check it out.

So, I clicked on the link and signed up for a 10 Day Free Trial and jumped into the world of daily meditation. The results were astounding! It's all I wanted to talk about during those 10 days. I got immediate relief. I enjoyed it. Then, at the end of 10 days, the website asked for a credit card number, and my daily meditation practice came to an abrupt halt! I was simply not going to pay some former Tibetan Monk to guide me through a daily meditation. Don't be silly!

Two weeks ago today, I went to the website and entered my credit card number. The site forced me to do the same 10 Day introduction that I did a few years back. However, there was much more information available to me since I had joined the community and I am BLOWN away by the results (relief) I am getting!

I may or may not share the link or name the website in here some day. I am hesitant to be a "non-paid" spokesperson for this site. I mean, really. Since I've deactivated my FB account, there may be as many as 4 people read this post. But for me, a few things are already becoming crystal clear:

1) I can learn to do this. All my former attempts at meditation were pointless. My mind would RACE! "Meditate, meditate, meditate...Sex. Meditate, meditate, meditate...Bills. Meditate, meditate, meditate...Work.  Meditate, meditate, meditate...Squirrel!"

2) This Cat guiding me knows this and gives me permission to fail. However, he doesn't see it as failure. He sees it as normal. Just as my mind wanders, the next thing out of his mouth is, "At this point, your mind is probably wandering off. Just gently bring it back to the breath." WHO TOLD HIM?

3) Possibly for the second time in my life (the first being a few years back), for 10 minutes a day, I am completely PRESENT. I spoke of the "wreckage of the future" very early on in this Blog. I live there. I am NEVER right here, right now. This exercise is giving (teaching) me that skill.

Now that I've imbibed of the kool-aid on this Instructor, I've researched him in addition to his website. I watched a 90 Minute workshop online that he did for Google. During the Q&A, one of those Google intellectuals asked, "How do I keep from getting bored?"

In a kind, gentle way, without embarrassing the dude, the Instructor answered, "If you will just keep with the practice, you will eventually learn that boredom is the goal."

As you might have guessed, we are not done with this topic.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I'll Grant you Crazy....but Delusional?

Finally, I am resolved to get back to what this little experiment was suppose to be about all along.
That is, a forum for me to blast my thoughts into cyber space and stop irritating my family and friends with them.

This year has gotten off to a horrible start and I am absolutely miserable, wallowing in the bitter morass, with self-pity oozing from every pore. I am trying to get down to causes and conditions and, at this point, finding it impossible.

I deactivated Facebook (AGAIN!) and know that only five or six people will even see this. Consequently, without the pressure to entertain, hopefully this post will truly be cheaper than therapy and I can get some awareness of just what is going on!

Recently, my mind is returning time and time again to a quote from an anonymous author in an anonymous volume, "Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?"

At its very core, this quote seems absolutely moronic! As a matter of fact, if a survey were done on the streets, I think that 98% of respondents would indicate that "managing well" is the recipe for success.

I mean, that's what I was taught. That's what atheists, agnostics, and most Christians teach. The Christians will wince at that comment! They will say otherwise. They are lying. That's okay! They don't know they are lying. That's why it's a delusion!

This is 'MERICA! John Wayne. Remember? We pull ourselves up by our own boot straps and we "don't depend on nobody for nothing!" (Triple negative intended).

Do I really need to outline where this formula for success has gotten us? Okay, maybe you are perfectly content. Do I really need to outline where this formula for success has gotten me?

Self-reliance continues to leave me falling way short! You have NO IDEA how badly I want to "manage well." I am comparing my insides to your outsides and seemingly, you are managing well.

Or.......are you just as DELUSIONAL as I am?

I call Him God. I make no apology for that! You may call Him Higher Power or Spirit of the Universe. (Those of you atheists and agnostics just see your god in the mirror). I do know this. In the past, God has done for me what I, seemingly, could not do for myself. I am not expecting Him to do the same thing again. I am depending on it!