Politics as Unusual

2012
12.04

I was in an online discussion in response to the Bob Costas gun control comments from Sunday Night Football. I did not think his comments were appropriate whether you agree with him or not (and for full disclosure I do not). However, gun control is not the subject of these thoughts.

As the discussion progressed, it eventually became the same back and forth name calling: “Flaming Liberal!”, “Racist, sexist Conservative!”, “Idiot!”, etc. Topics like abortion (which really gets my blood pumping, but again not the subject), civic rights and welfare surfaced. I made a comment about most civil rights legislation in our nations history being introduced by Republicans and often fought by Democrats (which is true, you can look it up). However, the response, while not anything new, really got me thinking.

One person made the point that I couldn’t actually call the Republicans of Lincoln’s time “conservative”. He went on to say that parties have changed ideological standpoints many times through the years. I’ve thought about this before and I know people that were once “Old Line” Democrats that are now Republicans. Again, this is not yet the focus but the background.

I decided to do a little digging. How is Conservatism defined? How is Liberalism defined? Is how they are thought of today the same as how they were intended be? Do the definitions really define the core of what they stand for?

I have always considered myself a conservative. Under Bush I adopted the “Compassionate Conservative” label. Later I added my own “Responsible Capitalism” tag. There may be some Republican ideals I question, but there are some Democratic views that I can never align myself with. But, in this discussion the same thought came back to me as before. When I am around staunch conservatives (90% of the time), all I hear is how stupid liberals are and how idiotic they can be. I have very seldom heard some of these people actually agree with anything a person says after they have found one thing they disagree with. It really is insane. I thought the way Gov. Chris Christie praised Obama was very appropriate and classy. I have heard him say plenty to the contrary (with which I agree), but that was not the moment to do so again.

con·serv·a·tive -

  • disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  • a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.
  • a supporter of conservative political policies.
  • a preservative.

lib·er·al -

  • favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
  • favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
  • a person of liberal principles or views, especially in politics or religion.
  • a member of a liberal party in politics

These are just a few definitions courtesy of dictionary.com. I’ve always had very simple definitions: Conservative – Great morals and values. To want what is right. Liberal – Mixed up morals. To want what is someone else’s.

I admit that these are pretty shallow definitions. As I read the definitions, I realize that I like change and I’m favorable to a person’s freedom. Furthermore, I like tradition but I am not exactly disposed to preserving existing conditions. I may have all this wrong (and I’m sure some conservatives will try to preserve me), but I see myself taking on a different mindset. Don’t get too happy either, Liberals. I’m not switching to your side of the room. I’m just not sure what word I want to label myself with anymore. So instead of one word, I’ll use a few.

I’m for what is right. I heard someone say that “rightness” is the extension of God’s character. If change will bring us to what is right, then I vote for change. If we have it right, then I’m all in for preservation. And it’s not either or. Some things should remain and some things should not. I think everyone that is truthful would agree with that, but I want to do this without predisposition or affiliation. I don’t want to assume someone is wrong because we’re not described with the same word. And I will not assume someone is right because we are. I want to love my neighbor and seek Truth. I want my pride to take a backseat to my character.

And just so you know (a little Milespeak right?) I have no problem with how you label yourself. This is not an attempt at a movement or call for a mind shift. It’s just my rant… out loud to myself. I have quieted my inner thoughts for too long.

Dear Les Miles

2012
01.10
To start, I realize that you probably will not read this nor do you care about a fans opinion. I also realize that even if you did care, you make enough money to laugh in my face anyway.The Beginning
You don’t know this, but we have had a pretty rocky relationship the last several years. When I heard you were coming to town I thought, “Who? Surely after a national championship and a great coach like Saban, we would get someone with a name I recognized.” Well, I trust Skip Bertman, so I trusted you. I watched your first game and I remember thinking you just looked out of place.

First Fruits
You handled Hurricane Katrina nicely and earned some points. Three eleven win seasons in a row, “hmmm… maybe Les is more.” The third season even ended with a national title, but it was the “damn strong” press conference that first began to woo me. We had a coach we loved that didn’t love us back, but when you (apparently) turned down your dream job and, more importantly, kept your word to us, you gained some major ground with me. I defended you against the “Saban’s recruits” talk.

Mulligan – Enter Lee
2008 was not very pretty, yet even in the middle of turmoil you managed to gain some more change in those pockets with me. Impressed with removing Perrilloux, I began to realize we had a real man of character on our side. Even with all the pick sixes, Lee became an instant favorite of mine. The fact he kept throwing interceptions told me his attitude was, “I’m going to make this work!” He was just premature and naive. He didn’t have the tools yet to make it happen.

Downturn – Enter Jefferson
The Peach Bowl was a good sign. I was getting on the JJ train. However, I remember thinking even then that I hoped Lee had a chance at some point to redeem himself. He was thrown into an impossible situation. Suddenly JJ wasn’t looking so great. This was a great opportunity to see if Lee had grown, but he saw limited action.

Milesmustgeaux.com
I checked several times to see if this domain was available during the 2009 season and almost bought it. My questions and suspicions turned to outrage. I went back and forth trying to hold on to something. I tried blaming Crowton, then Jefferson.

Ole Miss
I was truly confused after the Ole Miss time debacle. Was Jefferson incompetent? Did you give Crowton too much control? Were you really signaling to clock it? Yes. Please don’t insult me with an explanation. I have seen the video several times and it is very clear what you are motioning. You had built up enough credit that I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Besides, at this point I hated Nick Saban and to admit you were in fact incompetent would mean that my old girlfriend is a lot hotter than my new one. By the end of the season, all was lost. I could only hope that Michigan would come calling.

Signs of Life
I tried not to care. Apathy just wasn’t allowed. 2010 brought new hope, but I was very cautious. Lee had some successful outings and even won a couple of games for us. This would probably had been enough for me if Jefferson were to out play Jarrett for the job. He contributed and redeemed himself. Now he could transfer with his dignity intact. I also noticed how my favorite all-time tiger, Kelvin Sheppard, would talk about you. I realized then that these guys not only played for LSU, but they played for Les Miles. Your number one quality is that they love playing for you. They love going into battle with you. They love that you believe in them.

A Special Year
This year has been unique in many ways. Most importantly, you became my coach. You handled situation after situation with grace and wisdom. You solidified the fact that you are a man of great character. When people were still laughing, I was smiling, proud that you were still here. Again, you spurned Michigan and that told me you were here to stay. I expected the trend from last year to continue. Lee would get his reps at times. Then, with Jordan in trouble, Lee gets his chance at real redemption. Finally, after saying the right things and doing the right things, he had earned a great opportunity. He could have left but stayed. He could have regressed but he prepared.

Lee’s Redemption
I realize that JJ would have been the starter in the first place. And, I realize that those two throws in Tuscaloosa were pretty bad. I’ll even admit that every time he pulled back to throw (all season) I still cringed a little and held my breath until it fell into the right hands. But I was a believer in General Lee. If ever someone deserved a chance, got a chance and knocked that chance out of the park, it was Jarrett Lee.

The Last Five Games
I understand that Jefferson earned back his starting role. I wasn’t convinced at first, but then I was won over. I was confused as to why Lee didn’t get more reps the first couple games, because he still needed to stay fresh and he needed to build some confidence back. I was suspicious, but you were my coach so I didn’t question. Then comes Arkansas. I could not enjoy the end of the game because I was so upset. You had never played style points before. This was a perfect opportunity to get Lee some time if even just to have him ready in case of injury. Or, at the very least  let him throw it around his last time to play in Tiger Stadium. Georgia was even worse because it was apparent that we desperately needed him. Oh, yeah. You were right. We didn’t need him after all. Sorry, I should have never questioned you. Letting him kneel at the end just floored me. You took advantage of a man that gave you everything he had and never complained.

January 9, 2012
All things must end at some point. All the credibility. All the respect earned. All the chances given have run out. You owe Jarrett Lee, above all, a very public apology. You owe everyone that went to bat for you and called you a players coach, an apology.

Three Reasons You Should Have Played Jarrett Lee

  1. A chance to win. I get it. JJ was the best choice for a good rush. You needed mobility. Please review the game film, because obviously you did not see that Jefferson was ineffective. At some point, instead of planning for what to do when a play breaks down, you should plan on a plan not breaking down.
  2. Strategy. Changing up the QB looks have been effective. Why not do what works? Besides, when things aren’t going well, change it up and see what happens.
  3. He deserved better. I really can not imagine what it would be like to be him right now. If anyone is deserving it is Jarrett Lee.

Without playing Lee you failed 3-fold, coaching from fear, bad planning, and betrayal.

Jarrett Lee’s Redemption

2011
08.26
One thing that really impressed me about Jarrett Lee’s first round as a starter was how he never quit. Do you know why other guys don’t throw so many INT’s? They lack the courage to make the tough throw. Inexperienced and thrown into the fire, Lee showed he has no shortage of courage. Most other guys would have stopped trying. They would have played it safe. Make the easy throws, throw it away or tuck and run. Not Lee.

Impossible situations, bad odds, slim chances, this is what he lives for. Most other guys in his shoes would already be lighting it up at an FCS school. Most other guys would be sulking and envious. All we heard last spring was how Zach Lee was coming to town. He came and left. Next it was Mettenberger (And I think he will be great for the program). But how do you stick around when the news is always about someone else?

Lee prepares like he’s the starter. When I hear him talk, I buy it, all of it. He has proven he can handle the tough scenarios. If ever there were a Tiger deserving of a second chance, it is this guy. If ever there were the making for a great story of redemption, it is this one.

New Year’s Restitution 2011

2011
01.02

My life is not where I thought it would be. I should have a master’s degree, a nicer house, and a decent income. There should be a boat in my garage along with a truck large enough to pull it. Instead, I have one semester of college under my belt and no garage to store a truck or boat. My list of shoulda, coulda, woulda’s is long. I have asked myself many times, “What could I have done differently?” The process goes on and on, but I always come to the same conclusion. My life, no matter where it is, includes my wife and our four children, and the thought that even one “right” choice could potentially mess with that scares me. I love my life even if there is a lot I do not like about it, because it includes them.

I have tried (almost successfully) to stop asking the question concerning my past. It’s over. I cannot change it. I will not forget it. I can only move forward.

I have a bad habit of over-correcting. I’m kind of like that Boise St. kicker. If I’m wide right the first time, I’ll probably be wide left the next… I just hope for a third shot. I began to ask myself, “What should I do next?” The question was not really that different though. I would ask the question as if I had it to do over again. By the time I began asking this question, it had little to do with my career or income and everything to do with my children and wife. I remembered telling Jonathan several times how tired I was and how I didn’t feel like throwing the ball right now. I decided to make up for my fathering deficiencies. But my children were older now and the same things did not apply in the same way. This brought on more depression. I felt like a total failure and that I could never make up for any of it. I even felt that if I read to my youngest daughter every night that would not be fair to the others that I seldom read to.

The question began to beat like a drum in my head and I became very confused until I realized there was a better question. “What should I do right now?” I have put it into limited practice over the past few months, but now I think it should be the question I ask the most. I could approach life with regrets of the past or promises of the future but I will do neither. I will take what now gives me and make the most of it.

The funny thing is this has come somewhat full circle, because “living in the moment” is what got me here in the first place. However, this is different… I will not live with a reckless abandon to what surrounds me. Instead, I will live with a new understanding that I can only act now and must do so with an awareness of everything in my reach.

What’s In a Name? Saints Lose to Browns!

2010
10.24

“’Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

I can still quote some of the passage I memorized in 9th grade English. I love the whole exchange. Juliet goes on, “Romeo, doff thy name; And for that name, which is no part of thee, Take all myself.” Romeo responds, “I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz’d; Henceforth I never will be Romeo.”

It’s strange how a football game can bring back such a memory. Today’s game could definitely remind us of the Aint’s and paper-bag fans. I could think of a few QB’s that have had better outings. But Shakespeare? “What’s in a name?”

October 19, 2010, day 292 of the year (293 on leap years):

  • Texas Rangers defeat New York Yankees 10-3, game 4 ALCS
  • San Francisco Giants defeat Philadelphia Phillies 3-0, game 3 NLCS
  • Thomas Edward “Tom” Bosley, best known for portraying Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, dies of lung cancer
  • Bowen Christopher Brees is born

I’m sure that the 03-04 college football season presented a challenge for the LSU quarterbacks coach. To summon the right personnel he had to choose between two Matt’s (Mauck and Flynn – who BTW were the last two national champion QB’s for the Tigers). However, the squad also included Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell. Not too weird, but a bit strangely similar in sound.

The Saints defensive backfield shares a Sharper and a Harper. The Saints top two quarterbacks both were undersized Texas high school prospects overlooked by major Texas schools. Both were incredible college QB’s and Heisman finalists. But possibly stranger than that, they both wore black and gold in college.

Sometimes strange things happen with a perfectly good explanation, but still just make you smile a bit and ponder. Have you learned the definition of a word only to hear it used by someone in a conversation that same day? Maybe it was a different scenario for you, but I would guess that we all have had times where we asked, “Did anyone else think that was strange?”

Drew Brees had one of his tougher days as a quarterback today. He gets no complaint from me. He could throw 4 INT’s a game for the rest of his career and will go down as probably one of my favorite people and NFL players of all time. However, I can’t help but notice that his first game after a new son was born, Bowen – a name he had admittedly wrestled with his wife over and sent tweets requesting unique “B” names – he had not one but two INT’s returned for scores by Linebacker David Bowens. In fact, Bowens doubled his previous 12 year interception total which none had been returned for touchdowns. Is that unusual? Not incredibly, but why on this day, this timing?

What effect do these semi-strange things have, if any, on our lives? Do they possess any meaning? Could some be a result of our own intangible reasons? Maybe preparing for the game, Drew Brees noticed the name on a jersey or list and his preparation was simply thrown off. Could he have not made the connection until the game and his mind drifted to his new born child causing his concentration to be altered? What if there was a subliminal desire for his new son to be successful and in turn put the ball right in Bowens’ hands twice as a symbol of great things to come. Or, I guess it could have been VooDoo.

Yeah, these ideas are absurd and have no merit, but I can’t help but notice. By the way, my wife just got home with a movie rental… Letters to Juliet.

Thoughts on Burning the Qur’an

2010
09.10

Perhaps I should stay out of this, but right or wrong, here are some brief summations of what I’ve been thinking. Enjoy or get mad if you must. That is your right.

FIRST REACTION
I admit, my first reaction was if the roles were reversed then people would be saying, “They have every right to burn Bibles even if Christians don’t like it”. I was actually a bit angered at that thought, but quickly realized that may not be the right thinking.

(For the record, I feel the same about the controversial proposed Mosque in New York. I may not like it, but they have a right to build it.)

INITIAL THINKING
After reflecting on the matter, I see a few issues:

1. Muslim Reaction – The fact that it could move moderate faithful Muslims into the radical Jihadists column is the biggest tangible problem.
2. Christian Responsibility – My faith demands that I love even my enemy. This is the biggest non-tangible issue. My friend Tony wrote a good post on this… http://www.watersedgegathering.com/blog/?p=133
3. World View (of the USA) – This could drive an already negative picture of America worse.

I’m sure there are other issues, but I want to keep this short.

ON SECOND THOUGHT
Now I have another question for you and myself.
If in fact, this is within his rights, what does not allowing this mean?

1. Freedom of Speech – Where are the usual suspects? The ACLU, Rev. You Name It, etc. who regularly fight for people who want to do something dividing yet legal.
2. War on Terror - The idea of terror is to paralyze people with fear. I DO NOT want to see another soldier or American citizen die as a result. However, if fear removes our freedoms, who is winning the war.

FINAL ANALYSIS
It’s not about rights… it’s about responsibility.

1. Rights says, “Screw you! I can do what I want. Consequences and other people don’t really matter. This is my right.”
2. Responsibility says, “We may not see eye to eye, but I recognize that we live in the same world. I realize that sometimes exercising my “rights” can be very wrong.”

CONCLUSION
I could be politically correct and say this guy is crazy and needs to be stopped. I can recognize his rights and jump to his defense. I could say nothing and let other people sort it out.

Instead, I’ll share these thoughts with you above and below.

Nothing I think or say will effect this man’s decision tomorrow, but maybe as you read this it can be applied to your world. You have rights and so do those around you. How you treat those rights and people make all the difference… and there is no catch-all solution. Sometimes giving up your rights makes the greater impact (Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13). Yet, other times having your rights taken away in fear can have costly effects. Life is filled with very tough choices and how we react when our “rights” are challenged could be the toughest. But, the choice is your right to make… and your responsibility.

Identity

2010
08.04

Vision (via dictionary.com)
1. The act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.
2. The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.

To see. To anticipate what will or may be. I need vision to drive. With vision, I can avoid other vehicles, pedestrians, and potholes. I can stop at red lights or hit the gas pedal when it turns yellow. In fact, outside of some cool modern technology, it would be almost impossible to drive without it.

Vision, when applied to corporate direction or mission is not much different. We think of vision as what we want to happen. For example, New Hip Community Church is contemplating vision. As a team they begin to process new ideas they each learned at conferences and networking with like-minded people. They begin to dream and dream big. They envision a church triple their current size with it’s own private jet for mission trips to Azerbaijan. They begin to set goals based off of these ideas and place milestones on the shared google calendar. I’m all for dreaming big, but this is not really vision.

Vision, remember, is “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be”. Vision is not the ability to create the future, but the ability to simply see it or get a very close picture of it. If you don’t like what you see then take action, but you need an accurate picture of yourself to do so. I guess my real purpose for this post is to help those that stress over trying to “produce” vision instead of just discovering it.

Enter Identity. I have a pretty good idea that when I get to my parents house in Mobile, AL on Thursday it will take less than an hour to hear (or say), “Anyone seen the dominoes”. It will be one of the few times a year that all of my brothers will be in the same place… and that means, moon, golf, disc golf, and hopefully Kamikaze in the pool. We’ve been doing this far too long to be wrong on this one. That is because I know my family. I could even attempt at how long it will take for the first argument to start, but “if you don’t like what you see then take action”. And I fully intend to do a little better at that one.

People try to cast vision without discovering identity first and it does not work. Identity is foundational to vision and mission. Identity is composed of capability, personality, and character. Capability is the talent level or potential – what one can do. Personality tells us how and if it will be carried out. Character dials in the moral compass. Determining these three things is like putting a quarter in a viewfinder at Lookout Mountain.

Once you have a clear picture of Identity, then you can begin the discussion of Vision. Once you begin to see the future, you can start setting goals.

FINDING IDENTITY
Questions to jump start your team conversation:
Who are we?
What do you care about (personally)?
Does our organization/community have a personality?
How does it feel to be a part of this organization/community?
What drives our decision making? Bottom line, member benefits, difference making, etc.
What other organization/community do you dream about being a part of?

Don’t focus on getting the questions answered. Focus on letting conversation happen.

Brainstorm Gumbo

2010
02.22

Brainstorming is a journey of discovery rather than idea creation. It doesn’t have to be awkward and filled with pressure. I have brainstormed with many different people and teams over the past 15 years. Some experiences have been successful, a few were flops, but most have had a lot of untapped potential that never made it to the table. I want to help bring a little nourishment to your team with my Brainstorm Gumbo.

Overview

Brainstorming, like gumbo, has some elements that need to be done in order and some that don’t. One common mistake I find is when people try to “organize” a creative meeting. Some structure and preparation are good, however, the outline needs to be flexible and expectations should be reserved for the end result. Brainstorming is a journey. I’ll expand on these thoughts at a later date. We are going to break this down in four parts: Roux, Ingredients, Rice, and Extras.

Roux is foundational. [Ideas start with conversation]

You can’t mistake the smell. I remember smelling it and walking into the kitchen with my mom stirring flour and oil in a cast iron skillet. Oh yeah baby….gumbo tonight. Roux is the thickening base – the foundation to a good gumbo. If you don’t start with a good roux you shouldn’t have started at all.

Conversation is the “roux” of brainstorming. I have been to so many creative meetings where everyone is expected to open their mouths out of the gate and let the creative thoughts flow. Some of those meetings have produced way more ideas than you can actually manage. Then you have to whittle them down hurting someone’s feelings along the way and killing some great ideas that may never surface again. These same meetings usually have some prep time and the expectation of bringing your 5 ideas with you. Well, I really hate putting a lot of thought and research into one idea that no one likes, much less another 4. Preparation is good, but don’t stress over bringing a bag of goodies with you. Ideas come (Again…more at a later time). Other times these meetings have started with awkward silence because either no one was prepared, no one was actually creative, or no one was brave enough to speak first.

Ideas start with conversation. Tell me about what you want to get across. Tell me about what you want to accomplish. Let me respond. Let me ask questions. Ask me questions. Let me challenge the core idea. Solidify the idea in your brain. Help me understand. Better yet… let me discover as I listen to you… and to myself. As we enter a conversation about the end result, ideas begin to grow. You don’t have to rule out bad ideas because good ideas rise to the top. Suddenly people who are too scared to speak open their mouths and make sounds because they are entering a conversation and not being exposed as a non-creative (btw – while synergy is important, anyone can add value to a creative meeting {more on that… well you know}).

Within this conversation emotions surface, ideas emerge and the creative process begins.

Ingredients determine potential. [Ideas expand with creativity]

Do you want seafood or chicken and sausage gumbo? Do you like okra in yours? What about boiled eggs? Gumbo has several variations – many of which I will not touch. Even within these variations are even more options and ingredients that can be included. While some ingredients may be universal, the type of gumbo you choose determines what possible ingredients can be included.

Creativity lives within the ingredients. When you build on the conversation, ideas begin to grow and creativity takes over. Light bulbs go off and hands raise. People get on the edge of their seats waiting to jump in (I love this part). You begin to hear stuff like, “Hey, what if we…”, “Yeah! And you know what else…”, “Wait a second, we could…”.

Ideas expand with creativity. This is the part of brainstorming where ideas are like popcorn. But, the ideas, while some can get out there, are conceived out of the conversation and usually are strung together instead of several different ideas. The ideas that rise to the top get bigger and/or sharper.

The honing process takes over at some point and you take the expanded ideas and whittle away until the idea takes shape. The craziness you just experienced comes back to reality and then (my fav) ideas that seemed out of reach become possible. Remember this is a journey of discovery. The right idea is out there, you just have to find it.

Rice makes all the difference. [Ideas need timely development]

I love gumbo. I love the expectation of gumbo. When my wife tells me she cooking gumbo, I can think of nothing else all day (a little exaggerated for effect). As much as I love gumbo, I equally hate when the gumbo is ready… but the rice is not. You can’t rush rice. You can’t turn the heat up and you don’t want to eat it under cooked.

The second and maybe the biggest mistake I see is with the development of ideas. 1- No one develops it at all until a week out and then it’s rushed. 2- Responsibilities are handed out, but the work we just accomplished as a team is now up to individuals to carry out.

Ideas need timely development. And developing ideas is best in (smaller) teams. You do not have to regather the entire creative universe to develop an idea, however, the right 2 or 3 usually works better than 1. I’ve written scripts myself – and they worked well, but the greatest scripts have been with someone else and it’s a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stress. Everyone should leave the meeting knowing what is expected and when. And I don’t mean a general understanding. Get specific with expectations and deadlines. Follow up with good communication. If something is due in 2 weeks, don’t wait until day 13 to call Bob and see if he ordered the daisies.

Like the rice, you can start it early and let it sit in the cooker, but if you wait too late, everything will be stopped in it’s tracks.

Extras make it taste just right. [Ideas need reflection]

My dad puts his potato salad (“you say potato I say potat…uh” that doesn’t work with text does it?) in his bowl of gumbo. I don’t even eat potato salad. However, I’ve never seen a bowl of gumbo that couldn’t use a little Tony Chachere and gumbo file (fee-lay). I like mine a little saltier than most.

Ideas need reflection. This can be before, during and even after the rice. Reflection may not be the best word, but you have to stay open to the right touch that turns a good idea into a great one. This can come at any time. My wife calls it “The Constant Storm” with me. I really should stop letting my brain spill over at inappropriate times… like 3 in the morning when she is sleeping. But it’s true that our minds never stop and you never know when the icing will hit you.

Leftovers

If you know gumbo then you know that it’s even better after sitting in the fridge a day or so. Try out my recipe and you’ll find the same here. The creative process should be fun and productive. If it’s not, change the process or do something that is. I plan to write more about about brainstorming, but that’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Hidden Colors

2010
01.06

It’s hard to separate the colors. To see them I have to look hard. I have to study. I need to be awake and aware. Apathy cannot win. If it does, everything turns gray – or even black. Patience must carry me. On his back I can explore. I will see with open eyes. I will feel with sensation and smile at the sky. When regret temps, response incites. The ability to respond holds me a willing captive to life as I know it – as I love it. But, not always. I love life: when I care, when I love, when I act. I begin to hate life when I must beg for it to love me back. It’s hard to separate the colors. To see them I must be willing. I have to accept. When I see them they speak to me. Explanation is useless unless they speak to someone else as well. It’s hard to separate the colors. No one will listen. No one wants to see beyond the imagination. Reality awaits if perception can be silenced…

THE PROBLEM OF REALITY

Reality (apparently) is not a constant. “Perception is reality”. Could I please correct this statement? Perception is only a false reality unless you discern and accept what is true. One could argue that “what is” might not matter as much as “what appears”. This argument makes sense when you consider reaction. We react to what we see and feel. Therefore, since our response is real the cause must be also. Example: Ed is driving home late one night. He is growing tired and his vision is getting weak. As he nods he thinks he sees an animal run in front of his vehicle. Ed swerves to miss and ends up in the ditch. Ed’s truck stuck in the ditch…reality. Ed’s walk to get help… reality. Ed’s tow truck bill and repair bill… reality. The animal Ed saw… the moon flickering through the treeline. One could say that Ed’s perception was reality, but that would not be true. His false reality merely led to a harsh reality…

THE IMAGE ILLUSION

Do you remember Andre Agassi’s Rebel commercial? “Image is everything”. Agassi is one of my favorite tennis players, however, I just never agreed with him on this one. Image is at best a representation of what is real and at worst a deceptive ploy to gain unmerited favor…


New Revelation/Extremes

2009
09.15

“With new revelation comes new extremes”. -me. I discovered this about 4 or 5 years ago. First let me define a little bit. I told this to someone a while back and they began to tell me how there is no “new” revelation (Biblically speaking). To agree or disagree with that is really not my point. This is not a Biblical discourse, although this very much applies to what I believe the Bible may say. Maybe enlightenment or realization would be better words.

“New revelation” for our purposes will simply mean to discover a new belief or idea. It could be personal, spiritual, scientific, or whatever. Anything is game. Let me clarify that the belief or idea is new to you, someone else may have discovered it a long time ago. Here’s a couple examples: 1) I didn’t eat boudin until I was 17 or 18. I’m a picky eater and didn’t think I would like. Like it!? I love it! Many of my meals over the years have been 2 pounds of Abe’s boudin and an A&W rootbeer. Man, I was missing out. 2) Drinking alcohol (please don’t send hate mail one way or the other) – For the record I don’t drink hardly ever, but don’t mind people that do. I grew up with the whole one drop is two too many mentality. I think the whole drinking game can be destructive, but when I look at Biblical evidence, I have to acknowledge that God’s intent was not “be careful that it doesn’t touch your skin”.

“Extremes” may not need an explanation, but just in case. We like to test our limits. It’s one of the first things we learn. If you don’t believe that, go hang with a family that has children in the 1-18ish age range. You ever wonder why your kids are always breaking things? No, it’s not because they desire discipline. It’s because we like to push limits and to find those limits you have to exceed them. One definition of extreme could be “reaching the limit”, but I also like one of Dictionary.com’s definitions, “exceeding the bounds of moderation”. That’s closer to the thought here. Considering my two previous examples, here’s the extremes: 1) I’ve discovered I love boudin so let’s say I begin to eat it everyday. Now, maybe you are different, but at some point I think I’ll begin to hate it. With moderation, I can keep loving it. 2) Drinking (again – hold all comments until the end please). If your a Bible person (like me), you may be familiar with a verse that says, “Don’t get drunk (my paraphrase).” For me, I can draw a line in the sand. Drinking – OK. Drinking too much – not OK.

So, what does that have to do with “jack squat” (I can hear Matt Foley saying that). Well, for me I have started being more careful when I “discover” something new. If I think something is OK that I used to think was not, I have to make sure and not run with it. It’s easy to get caught up in a new insight and cross a line without even knowing it. We also have to be careful how we express what we learn. When we are “enlightened”, we really feel like enlightening everyone else we know. Instead, how about just starting to live out the new insight. When people begin to notice on their own, you end up with a lot more credibility and can actually make a difference.

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I’m writing book about life’s hidden colors and how we all relate to each other. Please, comment and give me your thoughts and insights.