Friday, November 30, 2007

Can't Beat Penuche

Friends, beloved wife made the best treat I have ever sampled this week this side of her mother's and my mother's treats. This is taking nothing away from my mother's banana pudding, mom Sue's penuche fudge, Emily's chocolate no-bake cookies, or Alyssa's chicken fried rice (okay -- it's not a treat, but it is still great stuff). However, I have to say...penuche fudge is where it is at!! Kim made some wonderful penuche (brown sugar, sugar and cream fudge -- good stuff, all mixed together...and then put in the freezer). Fortunately, every bite was terrific; unfortunately, it is already gone :-(. I say all of this with great apologies to paw paw John who will have to wait for the next batch (which, Lord willing, will not be too far down the road...say, Christmas, perhaps :-). Anyway, here's to penuche, the greatest of all treats.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

(Not So Super) Sonics


As a follow-up to my 4/18 post, I now offer the following: WHAT HAVE YOU BOZOS DONE TO MY FAVORITE TEAM? Well, it is pretty apparent. The new owners from OKC (and I'm still upset with the old one...and have a hard time buying certain coffee :-) "sold" off the team's two best players (Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis) and drafted some young and talented rookies (Mr Durant and Mr Green). In doing this, they have sacrificed the present (residing in Seattle) for the future (residing in OKC). Now, understand that the city of Seattle has much accountability in all of this. They have had ample time and opportunity to provide the necessary ingredients to make the Sonics work in Seattle. But, at this point, who has a burning desire to go see a 2-14 team? So, it is all going according to plan and the Sonics will likely be in OKC by next year or the year after. My "pain" comes from the fact that the Sonics are Seattle's oldest professional franchise and I used to listen to them on my transistor radio :-) there is some history for me personally -- I hate to see them leave Seattle. On the other hand, business is business, and having "my team" only four hours (or so) away will make it much easier to be able to go watch them if I would so desire. So, as I said earlier, it all works out (for me, at least :-), but it would be a shame to see the Sonics leave Seattle. As pure speculation, perhaps there is some long range plan for Paul Allen's professional basketball team end up in Seattle. (Certain fans from the city three hours south of Seattle surely would not want to hear this, and I hope for their sake that it would never happen, but...just wondering). So, here's hoping that the current Sonics will win at least ten games, but still get the #1 draft pick in the next lottery. Who knows? Maybe the future will be quite bright for the OKC Sonics.


Monday, November 26, 2007

The "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" Heisman


Is it my imagination (?), or was -- once upon a time -- say, 10 to 15 years ago, the winner of the Heisman pretty much ordained out of three or four candidates practically before the season began? If the Heisman favorite changed, it was something of a rarity. Welcome to 2007, where college football teams in the top 5 have been dropping like frozen rain. The latest? LSU, (for the 2nd time this year), and Kansas (unfortunately, after a magical run). Along with the fortunes or misfortunes of their teams, so cometh or goeth the Heisman Trophy candidates 2007. There have been no less than a dozen names mentioned at one time or another. Dennis Dixon for Oregon rode the crest of the Heisman wave for awhile until a season ending torn ACL left him and Oregon undone. Matt Ryan (Boston College) and Matt Grothe (South Florida) were gathering significant Heisman hype as their teams both rose to #2 in the polls. (But, we know what has happened to about a half-dozen #2s this year...BAM!). Darren McFadden, Arkansas running back started out as a Heisman favorite, then dropped out of the race after a few early games where he had a poor showing, only to come surging back at the end of the season with some memorable performances (none the least of which, DM being the main reason that LSU is no longer in the championship picture). Then there is Tim Tebow, the Florida sophomore who has been steady and spectacular all year. Yet, no soph has ever won the Heisman -- which could very well change this year. There have been others in the race at one time or another, as well. My favorite? Chase Daniel, the Southlake Carroll grad who has been a steady and dominating quarterback all year for the Mizzou Tigers. The other night against an undefeated Kansas, he was only 40-49 for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns. Not too shabby. Now he leads his team into the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma this Saturday...surely to be a slugfest. If the Tigers win, they go on to play either West Virginia (likely) or Ohio State (unlikely) in the National Championship game. I am officially on the Mizzou bandwagon (who doesn't love a team on a roll-- c.f. Colorado Rockies until then ran into the Red Sox in the WS :-). So, go Chase...lead the Tigers to the promised land of college football.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blessed are the Peacemakers


I shared this paragraph a couple of months ago in my "Spiritual Balance" post: Balancing the tensions of the roles we play in our lives -- husband, father, counselor, minister, preacher, important; we need to be able to "bend" without "breaking" – "blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape"...other tensions needing to be balanced in our lives are -- immanence and transcendence; sovereignty (God rules) and free will (God gives us freedom of choice); grace and obedience; and unity and doctrinal purity.

I share this again in order to lead into another principle which is in tension and which should be understood and balanced. Another tension in the spiritual world that frequently comes into play in our lives relates to how we deal with circumstances and relationships. Some gravitate toward the need to pacify or, perhaps, as Jesus would say -- "turn the other cheek." Some have interpreted this principle over the years as "peace at all costs," but I do not believe that this is what Jesus is saying. Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers" in relationship to "turning..." and this is a very different principle from "pacifism." Pacifism taken to an extreme often leads to enabling, which is to help someone "to continue to go down the wrong path." This is psychologically and spiritually unhealthy. A peacemaker needs to understand "the necessity of going to battle" or "doing some battling" in order to get to "lasting peace." This is not an easy or comfortable principle to grasp, but is essential to good stewardship or leadership. Others gravitate more toward this "stewardship" or "taking a right stand" because it is necessary, at times, to give an apologetic or defense of a principle, which can be as comprehensive as "standing for the Gospel of Christ." Paul tells us to "put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6). This is an admonition for the soldier who is readying for battle. This provides the impetus for the song..."Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before..." As "turning..." is a "defensive posture," so "marching" is an "offensive principle." "Marching" taken to an extreme leads to "dogmatism" which is a mindset that insists that it is correct and that there is no other way. The first mindset can become too pliable, the second too rigid. We must take care not to be too stubborn in the application of either of these mindsets. The key is this -- wisdom comes in knowing when to stand and march and also when to acquiesce and defend and when to do so in the right way and with the right spirit. Food for thought.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Management Maxims


The following are some principles that have been helpful over the years. I am certain that there are many more that could be added, but it's a start. I would love to say that I have "managed" them all well, but they have been beneficial --

I can't make people do what they do not want to do, but if it is a beneficial principle, I can help them to see it and own it.

My superior idea may not work as well as the inferior idea everyone likes, which is okay.

Motivation comes from within a person, not from without.

Everything looks easy to a novice.

Allow emotions to edify not denigrate.

A lot of good can be accomplished as long as nobody cares who gets the credit.

Better efficiency = better effectiveness.

Leader/follower principles:
Follow in strengths -- lead in weaknesses
Follow among leaders -- lead among followers
Follow in calm -- lead in crisis
Follow in planning -- lead in all other areas of administration
Follow in procedure -- lead in principle
Follow with people -- lead with things

God bless,


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Super Bowl (?)


This has nothing to do with the subject, but is a matter of personal interest -- Oregon is getting a beat down right now, which is too bad because they are so close to a national championship game. C'est La Vie. Anyway, here is a great scenario (wish I could say it's a prediction) but it's a pleasant thought anyway (once again, with apologies to certain members of my family :-). Dallas continues to win, primarily -- maybe lose a couple -- but wins it's way through the NFC playoff system. They get to the Super Bowl. New England continues to mow teams down like a big hairy lawn mower. They win out through the rest of the regular season and go undefeated, win out through the AFC playoffs and get to the Super Bowl, guessed it, the Cowboys exact revenge for an earlier season loss. No more undefeated season. '72 Dolphins happy. Cowboys are the champs! And everyone in Cowboyland rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Yeah, it's sort of a fairy tale, but its a cool one. God bless,


Monday, November 12, 2007

White Dwarf


No, this is not some strange fairy tale about an eighth dwarf related to Snow White. It is about a very small star, of which there are many in the universe. White dwarves are stars that are at the end of their lives. They are not very bright and make up about 6% of the stars that are known. They no longer have fusion reactions and therefore put out no energy. Since they have shed much or all of the hydrogen, helium and other gasses, what is left behind is often a star with a mass about the size of the earth, but with a density about as heavy as our sun. This makes these special celestial bodies very, very heavy. As one astronomer described it one time, if you put one teaspoon of white dwarf material on one end of a scale, you would have to guessed it, an elephant on the other end in order to balance it out. Pretty amazing.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Raining Cats...and Cows (aka A Moooving Experience)


We poked a little fun at Alyssa a couple of weeks ago, so in honor of Emmy's love for cows, we offer this story. But first...what goes moo moo moo moo moo moo moo moo -- thud? An hour north of my hometown of Wenatchee, is the town of Manson on Lake Chelan. The story is told today in the FW Star-Telegram of a couple driving back to their hotel in this area when a 600 lb cow falling at 76 mph landed on the hood of their mini-van. The cow apparently had fallen 200 ft off of a cliff over the road. The couple, on a trip from Michigan, were frightened but fortunately were unhurt. Unfortunately, much to Em's dismay, the cow had to be euthanized. However...for the sake of pondering, this story has brought to mind questions for friends and family. We have to wonder what this cow was thinking??? One person wondered if the cow jumped off or was pushed. Hmm. Someone else wondered if this cow was auditioning for a chik-fil-a commercial. Yet, another thought perhaps it was looking for the cat and the fiddle and strayed a bit off course (?). Since Em is starting Algebra, I thought it would provide a good equation. If a 600 lb cow falls 200 ft at 76 mph (how on earth they figured this is beyond my math capabilities), how many feet per second would the cow be falling? Perhaps there is another reason for this event (?). If you have another reasonable explanation, please feel free to offer...and offer your condolences to Emily (who has offered the encouragement "not to have a cow" over the matter).


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Shepherds


Congratulations to the new shepherds -- Jimmy C. Adams, Danny Hemphill, and Dennis Ensor -- and to the Outreach church of Christ for their choice of leaders. We are thankful for each of these families and know that they will do an excellent service for the congregation. The church started a few weeks ago...and the leaders and the people are making some important decisions at this juncture about the future and all would appreciate your prayers. We are all pleased with the direction and the love of the fellowship. (Ephesians 4:1ff).


Friday, November 2, 2007

Trekking Again

We have not been to space in too long, so here goes...after 40 years and various incarnations, such as The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and a spate of movies, there is a new movie coming out that has created a bit of controversy before it even gets to the big screen. It is pretty well known that William Shatner (Capt.James T. Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) have had a mostly friendly rivalry for 40 years concerning who should get top billing (which sort of reminds me of a certain Bible story :-). Now, the new movie is going to go back to before "where no man has gone before," in a sense, to a time prior to TOS Enterprise's first five year mission. It will include all of the main original characters -- Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, et. al. played by new younger actors. (Unfortunately James Doohan "the original Scotty" and DeForest Kelley "the original McCoy" have passed on). Back to the movie, the kicker is that Nimoy will make a cameo appearance, but not Shatner. This has, well...not set too well. Part of the problem lies with the fact that Kirk was killed off in the movie ST Generations; still, nothing has ever stopped them from bringing back characters before (see Spock in ST movies II and III). So, the story will be interesting if we will indeed see the good Captain again. Stay tuned.