It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Really? I have to run around and buy things in the cold rain or snow. I have to make sure to see everybody while juggling family time, church, work and shopping. I have to deal with stressful family situations, driving all over the country side to be in those stressful family situations… while putting on a happy face and ‘enjoying the holidays’. All the while, knowing in the back of my mind that Christ was really born in April or July or August (there is scholarly debate on the exact day) and not on Dec 25th. Wiki defines Dec 25th as Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is celebrated on December 25, but this date is not known to be Jesus’ actual birthday, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, a historical Roman festival, or the date of the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas).
So… I am doing all this knowing that Jesus is the Reason for the Season might just be something someone came up with for a Christmas card. None the less, I will continue trekking through this time of year. I will use this time not to celebrate the Savior’s birth like many, but will celebrate the Savior’s coming. To me, the miracle is that he came to save me, not that he was born in a manager. I give gifts not because the wise men/shepherds/kings brought gifts to Jesus, but because Jesus gives me the gift of salvation. I will spend joyful time with family not because everyone expects me to be there, but because family is a blessing from God and I am truly blessed to have a family (even as stressful as it may be at times). I hope that you, my faithful two readers, have a blessed Dec 25th. Remember that Dec. 25th is just one day of year we open gifts… but we get to open Jesus’ gift everyday of the year.
Whilst driving into work this blessed morn, I was traveling 65 mph in a 55 mph zone on I-465. There was a car about 3 car lengths ahead of me, which I try to leave for safety reasons (no at fault accidents since 1997). It drives me crazy when the person behind me flashes their lights at me when there is no where for me to go! Now I try to not get mad at people when the person in front of me is going the speed limit, since they are going the legal limit and I really should be too. However, when I am trying not to get run over by going 65 in a 55 and someone wants to me to move, I get a little irritated. I tried to switch lanes, but there were cars in my way. .. SO, I slowed down to the speed limit and the idiot went around me, only to have him cut me off and nearly run me off the road. All things being said, I felt somewhat justified when I exited and came to the stop light only to find Mr. I Need To Get There Yesterday right in front of me. Looks like his life risking move didn’t really pay off. I saw him look in his rear view mirror and I politely waved… and he politely flipped me off! Got to love those with the holiday spirit! Drive safely!
4. – Build a better mouse trap.
A. – I feel that God calls us to be better. When we accept God in our lives and Jesus as our Savior, He recreates us… He rebuilds us. We are no longer bound to a sinful life, we are holy, we are different, we are new. Through this “rebirth” we are to strive to be more than what we were. Likewise, I think we are charged to make things better. We should be constantly watching for and working towards being more than what we are and like Peter, we are to take the new foundation God has given us and from that build.
Biblical reference: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hell will not over power it.” – Matt 16:18
5. – Find peace with your choices.
A. – Often in life, the devil uses doubt in our lives to make us stumble, fall or miss out on opportunities. Most of the time, we make decisions based on what we know at the point of making the decision. It is not like we have a crystal ball to gaze in and see what our future holds. Even though hindsight is 20/20, we have to make peace with the decisions we have made. If the decision was a bad one, then we need to learn and move forward. If it is a good decision, we need to rejoice and move forward. Ultimately, we need to make the decision to follow God’s will in our life and find peace with that decision. God did not say it would be easy to follow His will, but He will walk with you every step of the way.
Biblical reference: “‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘Everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.'” – Mark 14:36
6. – Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing.
A. – We can lose focus very easily. Sometimes I think I have the attention span of a infant with a shiny object placed in front of me. It does not take much for me to lose focus. In Christianity, we often forget that it is not about how big our church attendance grows, or what songs we do or do not sing or who’s ideas the church follows. In life, we forget that is not about how big our house is, what car we drive or the degrees on our walls. It is about keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing. That Main Thing can vary based on the subject, but don’t get caught up in the details and forget who or what is your Main Thing.
Biblical reference: “This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — and I was the worst of them all.” – I Timothy 1:15
Have people lost their minds? Where has the standard of acceptable behavior gone? It drives me crazy when parents act as if they have no sense. This past weekend, on the way to my parents, Autumn and I stopped at Ikea. It is one of our most favorite places to go. I was astounded with the amount of parents that allow their children to improperly ride on carts. Now, I know I don’t have kids, but common sense tells me that a kid standing on the front edge of a cart (outside the basket) is not right. Heaven forbid that the parent runs into something or someone. Why doesn’t mom and dad tell the kid to get off and walk? Probably because the parent would rather put the child at risk than be a parent. It appears to me to be out of convenience.
One would think that parents would have more sense, but it appears that as an adult, it is not a requirement. I also witnessed a grown man and woman displaying lack of common sense. At Ikea, one cart option is the flat cart. It is a cart that has 4 turning wheels, sets very low and has a flat-bed so that you can stack flat boxes on it. I saw a tall WOMAN sitting Indian style on it while her TALL husband pushed her around. I would have to estimate they were in their late 30s. Not only did they pose a risk to injure themselves and others, they looked like idiots. And maybe that is where the problem is… it appears that in today’s society, it is ok and even encouraged to be an idiot. I can only imagine that employees didn’t say something to them because there was a fear that the idiots would be offended. What has happened to standards?
A wise relative has a saying that has stuck with me for some time. He said, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I think that is so true. The other principle I try to live by when I am debating on making a decision is, “If everyone did it, how would the world be?” So if everyone let their kids ride on the front of carts or if all adults rode on flat carts, what kind of world would we have? We would have people getting hurt and everyone would look pretty stupid. Therefore, it is improper for individual people to do such things because everyone as a people shouldn’t do them. I can only hope Flat Cart People have an accident next time and they learn a lesson that the brain God gave them couldn’t reason out.
Autumn and I went to Ohio this weekend to visit my family. On the way to Chillicothe, we stopped over to Ikea in Cincy. I made some observations that I know you (my four daily readers) are just dying to read.
16. We are in a recession? It drives me crazy when everyone goes on and on about how bad the economy is… We stood in line at Ikea for 15 – 20 minutes because there were zillions of people buying non necessity items like book shelves, Christmas decorations, and pet beds. I mean, come on, I heard on the radio someone talking that this is the worst the economy has been since 1932… AKA the Great Depression era. Now I know there are people without jobs, and I am not unsympathetic to that issue. But there is work out there… People are still spending money… the grocery stores are still filled with food… Gas is at $2.38/gal… and Arby’s just came out with a $1 value menu. It isn’t the doom and gloom the media would have you believe. I hope Ikea is hiring… they need more cashiers!
11. – Based on # 10, from time to time, someone misunderstands my extended index finger hand shake. It drives me crazy when someone tries to convert my handshake into an attempt to partake in a special secret handshake of a secret society. This white-boy from the sticks of Ohio, who can’t dance or rap or do anything ‘cool’ has no ability or knowledge on how to convert a handshake into some modified version of thumb wrestling. Please don’t try… I am not that cool.
12. – I have a cubicle. It drives me crazy when someone walks up to my little piece of Heaven and says, “I don’t mean to interrupt you, but…” My question is, “What did you mean to do?” Help me with what I am working on? Bring me a big cardboard check and balloons? I can’t stand hollow words that have no meaning and no purpose. I wish someone would come to my cubicle and say, “I mean to interrupt you and I want you to stop what you are doing and listen to what I have to say!”
13. – I am very busy when I am working at my cubicle. It drives me crazy when someone comes to my 6 ft X 6 ft of mock solitude and says, “Can I ask you a question?” First off, that is a question. If one asks such question, one gives me two options in answering it: “Yes, you can ask another question” and “No, you can not answer a question… you just used your one question of the day.” If one is willing to ask, one should be willing to receive!
14. – Because of the cubicle farm I work in, I am engaged in conversations often… I was engaging in such conversation when someone said, “I don’t mean to offend you, but…” This is also been used in the form of, “your face is ugly… no offense intended” It drives me crazy when people can say what ever they want, no matter how offensive, if they preface it with “oh by the way, I am going to offend you, so here it comes, ‘sorry’ you won’t like it.” I would rather someone just spit in my eye and go on than to insult my intelligence with meaningless prefaces. Sorry if that offends you. 🙂
15. – I have a hour commute to and from work daily, which means I see a lot of ‘stupid’ people attempting to drive on the road. It DRIVES me crazy (get the pun?) when I encounter a ‘stupid’ person on the road. To qualify and as a ‘stupid’ driver, one must attempt something like the following (I have seen these): Someone talking on a cell phone, while driving, and picking their nose in slow, but moving, 20 mph in bumper to bumper traffic. Attempting to drive a SUV while talking on one phone, texting on another, smoking a cigarette, and finding a radio station (while going 50 mph). My favorite is when I observed someone swerving down a 4 lane highway, going 55 mph, while talking on a cell phone and LIGHTING a cigarette and having their kid in the back seat holding a baby blanket out the back window… maybe the kid was signaling “HELP ME! MY MOM IS A CRAZY!) All of these actions take at least 2 hands and I always wonder, “How are they controlling their car?” Do people not realize that in one second (or the time it takes to text the word ‘the’) you can lose your life, or worse… like killing me… by being in an accident going 40 mph because both hands aren’t on the wheel and paying attention to what is going on around you? HANG IT UP AND DRIVE!
6. – It drives me crazy when I am driving down the interstate and the person in front of me decides to clean theirs and my window. Can’t they wait for a few minutes when they are not in the midst of traffic? Like I need their bug guts on my window!
7. – It drives me crazy when someone in my office sends me an email and then sprints to my cubicle to see if I have read it and reacted to it. I mean give me a minute to address all the other components of my job please. It drives me even more crazy when I realize I just did it my self.
8. – It drives me crazy when I go somewhere that is offering donuts and coffee and the doughnuts are cut in halves. Never in my life have I ever eaten .5 of a doughnut. Nor have I picked up 2 donuts and eaten one and gotten to the second and said, “Boy, I wish this doughnut was cut in half.” Serving cut doughnuts is criminal and breaks the heart of every pastry chef.
9. – I receive about 100 valid, real emails a day between my work and personal account. It drives me crazy when someone makes a statement and puts a question mark at the end of it… where it doesn’t belong? I then have no clue as to what they mean? Are they asking me or are they unsure or do they simply have no clue as to how use the “?” (Which I was taught in 1st grade) I wish people would really think about what they write? Basic communication is not hard?
10. – Hi! My Name is Hank (extend hand for handshake) Normally, in our society, we introduce ourselves with a hand shake. And normally, this is a nice, greeting gesture. However, it drives me crazy when someone has to prove to you that they are a strong individual by squeezing the crap out of your hand. It is bad enough that I do not have MEGA hands, capable of cracking walnut shells, but it is worse when someone has to show you that they can. Add the carpal tunnel syndrome I enjoy from time to time, and it is such a wonderful, warm, glad I now know you experience. A great friend, who has rheumatoid arthritis, taught me a trick to thwart such mega-man culprits. Simply extend your index finger when grasping the other persons hand and they will have a difficult time putting the squeeze on.