Wednesday, January 30, 2008


God whacked me over the head - again - today.

1) He reminded me "I am going too quickly". Again, something came up at work today where I went too fast, moved too quickly. I think God is reminding me - again - to slow down, do one thing at a time.

2) God also reminded me through this - again - that what He wants and what I want can be two different things.

Where do I get the idea that God has asked me to do all the things that I think he has - or at least put on my list for Him?

Where do I get the idea that He has has called me to other than where He has me right now?

I only have so much time - and I cannot slack on my true responsibilities to whcih He has called me: husband, father, child of God and ambassador of Christ; death to self, denial of self, consecration of self, sanctification of self. These are goals that Scripture calls out - the rest, the things I wrote down, may be, but they're only of secondary importance.

The Gap between Reality and Fantasy

I have been thinking much lately about the gap in my own life between the dream life - call it imaginings - and the reality of what it is. I think everyone probably has some level of this, from the very simple dreaming of a better physcial circumstance to those who have created whole fantasy lives online through online gaming.

There is some inherent element as well to the documented "Peter Pan Syndrome", a general term which covers the fact that it seems that many people have a form of extended adolescence, living in a sort of world where one extends being a teenager by 10, 20, or 30 years.

For myself, I think that the imaginings and the worlds that exist within them are more a reaction to the life that I am in - the very things that I imagine and see are seemingly the very things that I cannot control or feel powerless about in my own life.

The concern is that these things start to become more real than reality itself.

If you were ever a hopeless romantic, you know well of what I speak: the girl whom you liked in high school (you never had a date), who was nice to you once or twice, on which experiences you built this whole construct in your mind about "What would it be like?...", never knowing (or knowingly ignoring) the fact that they 1) Really didn't seem to know you existed; and 2) Were in practice very different from what you had imagined.

And then there came that point - that point always comes - where your imagined relationship hit the rocks of reality, and you ended up floating to shore (again) on the wreckage of your dream, spitting seaweed and sand out of your mouth - yet already seeing the next ship of dreams in your mind.

It happens with relationships, jobs, finances, conversations - almost anything where there comes a gap between what you thought and what you have.

My question is: Are my desires to much, or are they too little? If I am imagining about things that are not in my life, are there elements I can bring in? Is one doomed only to dream, and never to experience?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pleasing People

I was confronted today by the fact that I am a people pleaser - not in the typical way I think of it, a sort of greasy obsequiousness, but wanting to "go along" and help others - to the point of not doing what I really should be doing.

Why? My excuse in the past has been that I want to meet the needs of my clients/customers/authority figures, and the way to do that was to do my job and run my life in such a way that I would be continually get their approval - be the guy that everyone thought "was useful and helpful and darn funny."

That changed today.

It was pointed out to me in doing something which I thought was innocuous - a document which was being revised, but which in point of fact had been revised some time earlier. This revision had become lost and was now off someone's desk. I, to move it through the system, looked at it, saw it was filled out properly and marked up accordingly, and sent it on. I got read (very gently) the riot act.

So no more.

In my life, I am not as attentive to detail as I should be, being a member of the "good enough" club. That will change.

At work, I always try to find a way to work things so that they work out, a go along-get along sort of philosophy. Again, that changes today. I will review each thing thoroughly in turn. I am trying to be liked by people, instead of doing the job for which I was hired.

I have to fix this. No more stupid mistakes.

Knowing When To Go

There are times that I wish that we were wired like geese and salmon - that when the time to make a change or go somewhere else was upon us, we would just know it.

There is a sense in which I often struggle with making a decision - not just the fact that I often feel that I have made bad ones (which can be debated, I suppose, at a later date), but that I worry that I am making the right one - the one God want me to make.

Which is somewhat remarkable of itself, because if left unchecked that essentially become soothsaying - looking for signs in the stars, flights of birds, and sheep's livers for an indication of action to take.

Gary Friesen, in his book Decision Making and the Will of God, divides decisions into moral and non-moral. The non-moral - those not directly informed by God's commands and precepts - are those that He leaves to us, so long as we break no moral laws in doing so.

Is it that I am uncomfortable with this level of responsibility - or possibility? Am I looking to have God as my "escape hatch", my ability to say "I didn't really do that myself - it was God"?

How do I merge God's omnipotence and control of every aspect of the universe with my responsibility to choose (and yes, I know wiser minds than I have dealt with such - and failed)?

How, I really suppose, does one grow up and not continue to list the same things in one's goal list and "should do" list year after year?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Old Planners

Tonight, as part of my goal to incorporate some forward thinking and planning into my life this year - thinking time - I was going to work on long term goals. As I did, I thought I had done something like this before, so I reached over to pull out some of my old "Daily Planners".

My planners are not typical Daytimers. They are usually accounting books, which I have subdivided into various weekly and daily lists, mission statements, goals, quotes, and sundry materials. I have gone to smaller ones, I guess out of expense or wasted pages (I've yet to fill one up).

Methinks I'm going back to the larger books next year. In looking through my older ones (2003, 2004) a wealth of things jumped out at me, most which I had forgotten: copies of my checks from real estate, life planning emails, the quotes, e-mails from work or friends that were inspiring.

Oddly enough, most of the goals are the same as they are today (Lesson: I'm writing them down, but not really acting on them).

But I see the wisdom in keeping and referring to them. They show where you've been, they show what you've accomplished, and they show what you still need to do.

And make sure that they are physical (no electronics, please!). It destroys the ability and joy of going back and remembering.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life Change

So I'm in the process of considering a life change - something drastic, something I've done before. And I'm finding I'm not all that enthused about the opportunity.

Enthused, I suppose, in the sense that although I want a change, both the thought of arranging to make the change as well as the change itself are almost burdensome to me. Which means one of two things: 1) I'm lazy, or 2) I'm not really interested in the change.

Part of it, I suppose, is that I have made changes like this in the past, and I know what the outcome is: yes, you reap some different benefits of the change, but in reality, in 6 months things will be largely as they were before.

Part of it too is that I have had a habit of changing almost randomly, which usually works out for the best - but at some point, you have to stay in things for the long haul. One can't change anything every few years - churches, relationships, houses, jobs - without it eventually creating a sense of disconnectedness with the thing in question.

My father lived in the same house for 30 plus years, had the same job for 32, and is still married to my mother (40+, of which we are all quite happy). I know he didn't always enjoy the job, and I'm sure wanted a bigger house from time to time - but that certainly gave me a sense of belonging somewhere. It also, as I look at it now, should serve as an inspiration to be diligent and focused in my career - again, I'm sure there are many days my father did not want to get up and go do the same thing over again, and again, but he did. Now, he reaps the rewards of it.

Change is not always what it was cracked up to be...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


- Here's a thought: I wrote 569 words tonight for a book draft. The Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writer's Association considers a novel to consist of 40,000 + words. If you divide that by an average of 500 words a day, that's only 80 days to writing enough for a novel!

...and, that doesn't include the 2200 words I wrote for a back story since Sunday...

- The bees will be coming. How do I know?: The bill went in and we were charged. I am hopeful within the next month to go see our current hive, to (hopefully) ensure that they are still alive.

- Last week, I worked two days, got sick two days with the flu, and then had car troubles the last day (so I didn't make it into work). I had really been trying to change what I did and how I did it, to make a new start this year. I felt really discouraged - physically and emotionally. Then today, I wondered: is it an indicator I was really doing too much, or was it an immediate challenge to test my commitment.

- Finally, keep Bogha Frois in your thoughts and prayers. She has to write her application for an advanced study program, and she's having a bit of difficulty (and I'm sure she'll appreciate all of you keeping her honest...).

Friday, January 04, 2008


So I think I've finally figured out what I want to do with my life. Which is kind of scary - because it represents making a decision, committing to a end, ignoring other decisions, even (gasp) publically discussing what your decision is.

It may even mean having some self confidence in myself.

What kind of brought me to this decision making process is the realization that I have been doing what I am doing, literally the very same thing at different companies, for 6.5 years. Simply put, I'm tired of it. And just switching companies will not change it. I need to switch careers.

At the risk of opening myself up to scads of criticism, I want to be an author. I want to be a successful author. I want to support myself from writing.

Can I write? Yes. Can I write a novel or non-fiction book? I need a lot more training on how to write (which is a subagenda in itself, dealing with pride and the willingness to learn and open myself up to criticism).

I cannot stomach the idea of spending the next 10-20 years doing what I do not care for or love (especially the document processing - I hate document processing!).

So the choice is made. Now to execute.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Gardening and Life

I had an epiphany today - one of those things that just happens, and then you realize the significance of it.

I was out in back, trying to be proactive in doing some work on New Year's Day prior to the rains hitting this Thursday. One of the things I did was prune back a Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) that has overgrown the retaining wall. I have no experience pruning, and have always been afraid of doing it for the fear of doing it wrong or killing the plant. But, it really was overgrown, so in I started.

And it hit me, as I was going through the first cuts, that I had done this before on the Lavandula dentata next to it. I was forced to last spring - it had died back, so I had to prune it back hard. Now, as I look at is, it has come up as I need it to, inside the retaining wall.

This is what it is to prune: to cut, seeing in your mind the end result even as you trim away the reality right now. Gardeners and garden designers who are truly successful do this all the time; the rest of us just stumble along.

Like gardening, so life. It seems especially appropriate to me that this discovery was made today, the day for traditionally setting goals. Those who are truly successful in their goal setting see the result as already existing, and then do the tasks necessary to grow into that space.

It's pruning with a purpose, see the end plant from the tangle in front of you.

So my challenge to myself is see what it is I want to be, and start the pruning and shaping process to get there.