What is Real About Me?

Separating truth from fiction online can be difficult. If you are one of my regular readers, you have seen carefully chosen snippets of my life. Which ones are genuine and which ones are fiction? You decide.

I approach my blogging with a mixture of truth and creativity. I have been told I am a convincing liar. That may be true. If so, how ironic. The best lies contain a nugget of truth in them.

It is like the movie The Perfect Storm. Based upon a book, based upon true events. By the time the final movie reached theaters, the truth was slimmed down to this:

  • A fishing boat went out.
  • A big storm hit.
  • The boat did not come back.

Everything else that happened to the boat during the movie is pure speculation. Did George Clooney really charge up a tidal wave 300 miles from shore? Nobody knows.

What followed the next few years was the adoption and overuse of the title phrase as it was used to hype other events of turmoil in the world.

  • Financial markets – “We’re headed for a perfect storm of crisis events…”
  • Petroleum markets – “We’re seeing the beginnings of a perfect storm of economic pressures…”
  • Housing markets – “Buyers are facing a perfect storm of financial upheaval…”

So far, I have not seen any of my blog postings go viral. No media outlets are skimming my text for buzzword phrases to embellish their reports. That is just fine with me.


How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?

The Zone (of Danger)

Kenny Loggins had a hit song “Danger Zone” for the movie soundtrack from Top Gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK0P1Bk8Cx4

The 1986 song inspired me to drive the wrong way down a one-way street with a car full of friends and the radio at maximum volume. (Hey! I was only going one-way!)

It further encouraged me to race at speeds well above the legal limit each time it was played.

Good thing those days are past me now. These days I plod along wherever I go. Half the time, I’m in the daydreaming zone. Thoughts travel much faster than traffic and my destination appears in due time. No hurry.

My mind plays like an audio book of past, present, or future blog posts. Compositions form from random streams of thought and await capture at the keyboard. The jumbled mess of words take shape from incoherent babble as they spar for attention in an unending bout of verbal judo. Sometimes there is no winner.


Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?

Cystic Fibrosis – Be Gone!

If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?

Cystic Fibrosis sucks. It is true that it represents a fractional portion of the diseases in this world and a cure would not save the masses of humanity, but I want to be selfish about it. If I could cure it, my children would not have to deal with it any longer.

A brief overview from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation web site (www.cff.org)

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF.

In people with CF, a defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • Clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.
  • Obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients.

In the 1950s, few children with CF lived to attend elementary school. Since then, tremendous progress in understanding and treating CF has led to dramatic improvements in the length and quality of life for those with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

When my first son was born, he came out with all ten fingers, ten toes, and was beautiful to behold. Three weeks later, he was projectile vomiting and losing weight. Doctors called it a “failure to thrive” and had no diagnosis. I wrote about it on another posting here (Miracle in My Life).

My daughter was also diagnosed at birth. She was tested for it specifically because of her brother. The confirmed test was another blow to us. We spent 14 exceptional years with her good health before her body changes impacted treatment effectiveness and resulted in a cycle of repeated respiratory infections, hospitalizations, diminishing lung capacity, and reduced stamina.

Machines hum in my house multiple times each day for respiratory treatments. A soundtrack of wracking coughs and throat clearing provides the backdrop of our family home.

Their appetites have been huge for most of their lives because of the reduced nutrition absorption. We half-joked that our single-age children ate like teenagers. When they hit teenage years, it almost doubled.

Each year, the CF Foundation reports medical advancements and genetic treatments in the pipeline. We watch each one with hopeful anticipation and are repeatedly frustrated. The complexity of fixing a disease at the chromosomal level is a daunting task. The CF mutation has thousands of variations that further complicate developing a single solution for a cure.

If only…

Clothes? Wear Them

A fashion plate I am not. Clothes need to be worn for the safety and protection of others at least. Others that would otherwise have to see my naked body and all its imperfections.

There is the appendectomy scar earned as a teenager. It is much larger than you would think. Plus, it is not low enough to be in the underwear region. The last thing I remember the surgeon saying before he left me for his surgical staff to prepare was, “Yes. His appendix is enlarged and must come out. I’m going skiing and will be back in four hours.” I woke up after the surgery and found a scar large enough to fit both his hands. Perhaps they were cold after skiing and he needed to warm them up inside me. Ugh!

There is the general hairiness factor that could contribute to other people’s nausea. I like to think of it as a teddy bear belly, complete with all the fur. At least it does not continue around to my back and shoulders.

The fat is a problem. Too much of it and jiggly where it should not be. Like most Americans, I am in the statistical majority of fat people. I avoid pears, avocados, and other similar shaped fruits in fear of being compared to their shape. You are what you eat is not a nice phrase.

Clothes are the answer. Cover it all up. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever possible. Shop for the “Executive Cut” clothing. By the time you make it to executive level, they expect you to be fat and make the clothes that way on purpose.

Gone are the days of buying pants that were snug at the time of purchase with the optimistic plan to exercise until they became loose on me. That ship has sailed. The plan now is to seek hidden elastic waistbands that expand upon demand behind the cover of a belt with a few extra notches right up to the end. Repeat purchases as necessary.


How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

Journey

The dawn fog seemed to part before and silently close behind. The warship crept at 5 knots barely disturbing the flat glassy surface.  The forward lookout peered into the mist seeking to identify objects ahead. He had already lost count of the sea snakes. They floated coiled on the surface until the ship neared and then stretched and dove straight down.

He saw irregular shapes ahead. Headless sheep carcasses floated here. Bloated and bloody, it was disturbing.  He was told they were dumped by cargo ships from Australia and New Zealand whose ship masters sought to avoid disposal costs in port. A portion of every flock died in transit and the crew severed the heads and discarded them by the dozen.

The warship would anchor outside the port later today. Before then, a helicopter would make multiple runs to deliver parts, supplies, and most importantly, mail. The crew had not received any mail for 52 days on this transit. They had been too far from the rest of the battle group for the aircraft carrier to shuttle mail and there had been no port stops since Spain.

Before they could enjoy news from home, they first had to finish navigating the narrow waterway in the fog. This area experienced heavy oil tanker traffic and the small margin for error was compounded by the tactical geographical vulnerability. The crew remained at battle stations on high alert this morning.

The lookout felt the ship turn left and scanned around for threats once again. He saw nothing in the few hundred yards of visibility in the dense fog. After a few moments the course changed again and he realized they had made the final turn into the body of water that would be their home the next few months. The Strait of Hormuz lay behind them now. The Arabian Gulf loomed ahead in misty mystery.


Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

Laughter Makes It All Good

Embarrassing episodes happen everywhere. What makes them bearable is the freely given mocking by those present for the moment. Need examples? Think about the television show America’s Funniest Home Videos. That is the entire premise. The show has been on the air in prime time since 1989. It began with people sending in their VHS tapes. The technology may have evolved, but the content remains stable.

Crotch kicks for guys, bats or clubs to the head for those standing too close, women tripping in wedding dresses, pets playing with toilet paper, and little kids saying inappropriate things they don’t understand and so on are the main threads. In spite of the Internet with YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and other media outlets, the show remains on the air. I don’t understand it. What keeps people tuning in? Oh well.

At least it makes my point. We now have a generation of Americans conditioned to respond to one another’s embarrassing moments with derision. If prepared, we might even catch it on video and upload the failure for the world to see. If lucky, it could go viral. Who could have pondered your face plant into a bowl of potato salad at the summer picnic would be seen and mocked by 1.3 million strangers?

That’s the world we want to live in, right?


Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?

Jealous? I know you are, but what am I?

Jealousy. Envy. Feelings of inadequacy. Sounds exhausting. It must be hard for you. Fortunately, there is very little lack in my life. God has blessed us greatly.

We have a place to live. Cars to drive. Jobs to perform that provide income. Benefit packages that cover our family health needs. Friends all around us. Extended family at least 500 miles away allows us room to breathe. Life is good.

Why focus on the negative side? What would be the point? Why take inventory of your life by building a list of all the good and bad things. How about starting with the list of the good and then stop there? I recommend it.

There will always be inequality. Someone will have more or less money. More or less education. More or less attractiveness. Better or worse health. Some inequality remains by choice. Eat fast food six days a week? Don’t complain about your pear-shaped lower half or blame the drive-thru. Study hard and sacrifice your lifestyle to earn multiple degrees and eventually earn a rewarding career? Don’t let the protesters try to take it away to give it to others not willing to work for it. Don’t get me started…


We all get jealous from time to time — what wakes the green-eyed monster for you?

Forgive them. They Weren’t Paying Attention

It was my turn next. I turned 10 last week.  I was old enough to drive the tractor in the field as we gathered hay. It was going to be great.

I would guide the huge machine and wagon expertly while my little brother went ahead and made the “road” for me. My big brothers would flex their muscles to throw hay bales into the wagon. I was simply waiting for my parents to make the assignment.

For now, I kicked another bale out of the way as my Dad drove into the field. Any moment now he would call me up to the tractor seat to take over. Meanwhile,  I plodded ahead to clear the path through the first turn.

I completed the way and looked back. What was this?! My LITTLE brother was driving? He was too young!  I was next! What is going on?  Not fair! My older brothers started at age 10. I was now 10. The little twerp should have to wait 2 more years!

I was angry. I crossed my arms and sat on a bale in silent protest.  My little brother shouted at me to keep moving bales out of his way. I pouted and glared back. He waved his tiny arms and screamed urgently. I sat.

The tractor approached a bale threateningly. If he ran over it and smushed the bale, he would prove he wasn’t ready for the job. Little brother stood on the clutch and brake pedals while pulling hard against the steering wheel for vertical leverage. He managed to stop with the front wheel touching the bale.

My Dad came out from behind the wagon to see why they had stopped. I still sat on a bale with an angry pout. Little brother shifted to neutral and told him I wasn’t doing my job. Silently, I agreed. I should be driving. HE should be working for me. It wasn’t fair.

My Dad came to me to investigate. Through angry sobs I made my case. Dad didn’t seem too concerned with the affront to me. He simply needed someone to guide the tractor through the field at a crawling pace. It wasn’t truly difficult. That’s why he had put the 8 year old into the seat.

He did tell the twerp to switch places with me and I drove the rest of the day. The victory was hollow. I would always be the one who drove AFTER my little brother. It wasn’t fair.


Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.

Perfect Community?

If we look to the Bible for an ideal community we have a couple of passages that provide a glimpse of it.

Isaiah 65:17-25

Revelation 21

Each of these provide a brief description of an awesome new city made with gold and precious gems. The city will be lit by the glory of God. There will be no day and night. Extra security is provided by massive gates guarded forever by angels at each one.

But wait, all the bad guys will have been rounded up and tossed into the eternal lake of fire by then. Why do we need to live in a gated community?


What does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?