Monday, April 27, 2015

Love Revolution

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 People know we are believers by how well we love. Jesus is clear when He discusses our intentions to love. He is seen when we love. He is hidden when we walk away from this truth. A couple of week's ago, our church had a guest speaker. His ministry is to help those with sex addictions, addictions to pornography, and the like. He started a website called XXXchurch and the ministry exploded. Obviously, there is a need for this in our over-sexed society. He said he never set out to be a "porn pastor" but that is the road that was chosen for him. He sets up a booth at porn shows in order to speak and show the love of Jesus. Scott and I talked a lot about this sermon: we talked about our marriage and the state of our intimacy, what we need to discuss with our boys (scary but so very necessary), how important this message was, and how humbled and proud we are to go to a church that doesn't shy away from these taboo topics . The one thing we both walked away with was that this man did not go into these conventions to condemn those in attendance or to judge those who work in the industry. His focus was to love; to walk alongside. One example he gave was of a woman who needed a ride to one of the conventions. She called his staff asking for help and they gave her that ride. Many people opposed this advising him to not give her a ride to such a "sinful" place. His perspective: she's going to get a ride whether in a taxi, Uber, or by his staff. He knew it was far greater for his people to be in the car with her for forty-five minutes developing a trusted relationship showing the love of Christ than pushing her away in judgment. A couple days after his message, I read a quote by Jen Hatmaker. She said, "People may hate us because of Jesus, but let's never give them a reason to hate Jesus because of us." I think we have given people far too many reasons to hate Jesus because of us. The biggest turn-off when it comes to Christianity today is that Christians tell everyone else how to live. We judge and point fingers and tell them how wrong they are living. While I do feel there is a time to guide people away from sin, I think loving them first and foremost is the most important. People know our Savior by how well we love. Jesus hung out with "the least of these" for a reason. We needed to see that this matters. Love matters. He loved them and stuck up for them and because of that, they turned from their old ways to follow Him. What an example to all of mankind! Whether you believe in Jesus or not, He got this right. We, as Christians, have lost sight of this way of living. Our world isn't much different from the days Jesus walked the earth, yet we throw our stones so quickly because we feel justified in our faith. He wants us to love first. The rest will follow. Lisa Bevere says, "The Word is not for us to use to block others or to judge." The Word is for us to follow; to learn how to live righteously in love and become more like Jesus. Last night, Jackson read the story of Zacchaeus to the family. He read from the Jesus Storybook Bible and I loved it's interpretation. The talked about why he was hated so much and how no one wanted to be around him. But, BUT Jesus. Jesus took a stand and had dinner with Zacchaeus; a known liar and thief. But Jesus...don't you wish people could say that about you? Everyone walked away BUT that one person who stood by the sinner; not condoning and accepting the sin, but showing the love of Christ by loving them even with all their flaws. What if we all created a "but Jesus" moment in our lives? What would we start? A love revolution maybe: a shift in the flow from the norm of hatred and condemnation to a rise in love. We don't need to talk about, judge, or give our permission to the sin. We all know it's there. Each of us sin every single day whether it be a curse word under our breath, a judgmental thought that never sees the light of day, yelling at our kids when we should have remained calm, or an addiction to pornography. Each of us sin. Each of us make mistakes. Everyday. None worse than the other. Jesus sees it all the same. What if we were more like Jesus and the pastor who spoke to our church and we walked alongside each other in love being examples of Christ? Scott made a good point when we were talking about the sermon. He said that walking alongside someone who is in the porn industry or has some sort of sex addiction is frowned upon than say, a prison ministry. We praise those who walk into our prisons and speak the love of Christ to men and women who have done atrocious acts. Yet, when we walk alongside someone whose in the porn industry we begin to judge, gossip, and shy away from those that may need Him most. Let's not be scared to love. Let's not walk away when it gets tough or uncomfortable. No one wants to hear how wrong they are living. Trust me, they already know. They want to know they matter; that they are loved and accepted. Not their sin. Just them. Let's start a love revolution. Let's have more "but Jesus" moments in our lives. Let's walk alongside one another showing the love of Christ so powerfully that our words are unnecessary. Let's love so well that lives are changed solely by our actions and not our words. Let's stop telling people how wrong they are and instead, tell them how deeply they are loved. It all starts with us. God loved us so much He gave-He gave us a way. Let's love so hard that we give others a way out; a way to Jesus. Love & Blessings, Meg I am not one to sell anyone anything. That is NOT my spiritual gift! However, I believe in this so very much and want to give women an opportunity not only to hear amazing speakers (Lisa Bevere and Bianca Olthoff), but to learn how to love-love ourselves, love others, and love the world. We are hosting a women's conference at my church entitiled, Love Revolution. I would LOVE to see the place packed to overflowing! It's time we change the flow of our culture back to love! You can sign-up at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things you may (or may not) know about Megs

Here's some of trivia about Meg most of you probably won't know. In fact, she may not know herself. Sound intriguing? Here we go......

1. She averages about 50 text messages a day (and has for over 2 years). I know because I used to track them until I was forced to buy the unlimiited text plan. So if you break this down into minutes, she sending a text every 19 minutes or so. I figure she spends the rest of the time reading the 50 that are incoming. She texts while eating at the dinner table, brushing her teeth, relieving her bladder, and my personal favorite, driving.

2. She almost got fired from her hostess job at Chevy's Mexican restaurant for (allegedly) telling a patron to go eat at El Torito. If I remember right, she got suspended for a few days. Awesome.

3. The first time I saw Megs, she was crying. You probably know that we met at work (the above mentioned Chevy's). I was walking in, and she was crying her eyes out while being comforted by one the female managers. She and her boyfriend had just broken up. Too bad for him. I guess he had a cool mustang though. She traded him in for me and my Geo Storm. Sweet.

You want to know?

So you want to know what Megan and I argue about. Well, this morning, I was scolded for 3 things: 1. I forgot to push in my chair after I got up (this is Meg's current pet peeve); 2. I didn't securely seal the zip-lock bag containing tortillas; 3. I didn't securely fasten the wire twist-tie on the bread bag.

Of course Megan did nothing wrong this morning, so I had no ammunition to fire back. I just took my lumps and went to work. Before I left though, I made my peace by saying, "you can't change me, so don't waste your energy." Brilliant, huh?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jackson's Smile

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Eight Series Finales....If I were a writer

Of course I only watch Nickelodeon and Noggin, so some of you won't understand, but for those who hang around small kids, read on.....

8. Backyardigans.....

Special agents Pablo and Tyrone are tricked by Uniqua and Tasha, former KGB operatives, to accept a secret assignment. The mission: go to the frozen tundra of Siberia and find Austin, who has been missing for 3 seasons (which is true, I think). Along the way, Pablo, who is clearly the coolest and smartest of the Backyardigans, is separated from Tyrone, who is found dead at the bottom of an imaginary cliff with a crowbar in his back. The investigation reveals that Tyrone was murdered! The drama builds as Pablo now must find Austin and Tyrone's killer. Was it Uniqua who has been serving a double agent for the CIA? Perhaps it was Tasha, who has ties to the Russian mob? Or maybe it was Austin after all........In the words Horatio Cane: "Snack time...(pause) over!"

7. Lazytown....

Stephanie, after 35 episodes, finally moves in to Lazytown. She is new in town no longer. Her obsession with pink hair and accessories wanes as she begins listening to The Smiths and The Cure. She now prefers black and smokes a pack a day. Sportacus, after several therapy sessions, learns that he can walk from one place to another without doing back-hand springs. Ziggy realizes that there are only 3 humans in Lazytown; so if it's not Stephanie or Sportacus, then it must be Robbie Rotten, who is never to be trusted - unless of course he offers the right amount of candy, then it's cool. As it turns out, the incompetent Mayor of Lazytown has been keeping a terrible secret; he has fathered two illegitimate children from two mothers. The kids names, Sportacus and Robbie Rotten. Cue Horatio: "Those two...(pause)...are nobody's puppets!"

6. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse....

Things in Toontown have gone awry. The magic words, "Meeska Mouska Mickey Mouse", do not make the clubhouse appear. Apparently, Mickey has lost his grip on the rest of the cast as they begin to revolt and overthrow Mickey as the clubhouse leader. Pluto finally learns how to talk which leaves Boo Boo Chicken as the only pet who has yet to speak. After a close election and a long smear campaign, Pete wins as the new clubhouse president, narrowly defeating Minnie, who was looking to become the first female clubhouse president. She has since demanded a recount, by fives. Donald and Goofy go hunting as food is scarce now that the clubhouse is gone. Donald is seriously injured by an "accidental" gun shot and has lost the ability to talk, thank god. Goofy, now that Donald is out of the picture, moves in on Daisy. Horatio: "Looks like Donald could've used...(pause)...a helping hand."

5. Doodlebops....

Rooney Doodle, as if it was a secret, comes out of the closet. Deedee Doodle comforts him in a cheesy yet uplifting song, but Rooney has become depressed. Bus Driver Bob, offers to take Rooney to California where proposition 9 is passed and overturns proposition 8. Rooney is excited and leaves the band without so much as saying good bye to the others. Moe is kicked out of the band for drinking as he struggles with his inner-self. Once he realizes that he cannot dance (outside of one break dancing move) or sing or play the drums, he turned to the booze. He is never seen again. Audio Murphy marries Jazzmin and saves her from a life of prostitution and a bad array of flapper outfits. Horatio: "This Dooblebops are...(pause) Moe?"

4. Blue's Clues.....

Steve and Blue are not happy together. Blue begins to regress and, instead of leaving his trademark paw print as a clue, begins to go number 2 on the carpet. Steve injures his hand in a gang fight while skidoo-ing from his house to South Central. Apparently, he was wearing the wrong color sweater. Unable to draw pictures in the handy dandy notebook, he must rely on his own memory to piece the three clues together. This proves to be too much and he begins lashing out on Blue. Blue vows to leave Steve, but suffers from beaten dog syndrome, and insists that Steve beats her because he loves her. Horatio: "Looks like from now on it's going to be black...(pause)...and Blue."

3. Wonderpets.....

When we last left off, Linny and Tuck were arguing with Ming-Ming about the WWI pilot's helmet and goggles that Ming-Ming refuses to wash. The phone, the phone is ringing when Linny answers. Heavy breathing is heard on the other end when finally a deep voice asks, "do you like scary movies?" Terrified, Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming begin to sing what they believe to be their final operetta. Looks like the animals in trouble are themselves. Realizing that they are 4 years old, they decide against taking any action and pee themselves instead. Horatio: "This is....(pause)....serious."

2. My Friends Tigger & Pooh.....

Pooh is depressed when he finds out that his name represents all that is filthy in the world. In an interview with 60 minutes, he likens it to having the last name Hitler. He continues to pack on the lbs as his obsession with honey takes control. Tigger was last seen bouncing in the rice patties when a unexploded land mine renders his tail useless. Eeyore was secretly happy since Tigger had always flaunted his superior tail in front of him. Rabbit chokes on a piece of raw brocolli. Kids everywhere cheer as their moms have become too paranoid to serve it for dinner. Darby is forced to sleuth on her own as she realizes that she is the only competent investigator. She moves to Miami where she becomes Miami's most well known CSI. Horatio: "This is a load of....(pause)....pooh."

1. Handy Manny.....

In an effort to teach a second language to the youth, Manny begins taking English lessons. It seems to work as he musters up some courage and finally asks out Kelly (insert your own hammer/nail jokes here). She agrees if Manny can do one thing: stop teaching kids about the most useless tool ever invented, the flat-head screwdriver. Turner, the flat-head screwdriver, orders a bulk shipment of steroids online and changes his name to crowbar. However his roid rage and acne force him to live in exile. He was last seen at the bottom of a cliff in the back of a imaginary moose (see Backyardigans). Meanwhile Mr. Lopart is arrested in his candy store for pushing crack to the neighborhood kids. Disgraced, he shouts out his love for tools, in particular, Dusty the saw (ouch!). Manny, torn between his guilt over Turner and his feeling for Kelly, closes up shop. Jobless and unable to contribute anything besides a drain on American Taxpayers, Manny is deported back to Mexico. Dusty the saw, thinking she can help any situation simply because she's a woman, accidentally cuts of Manny hands when trying to remove the cuffs. Horatio: "Looks like we'll have to call him....(pause)....just Manny."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

10 Things I Would Like My New Baby to Inherit

10. My coordination
9. Meg's hair
8. My math skills
7. Meg's social skills
6. My patience with adults
5. Meg's patience with kids
4. My love for competition
3. Meg's love for education
2. My thick skin
1. Meg's beauty inside and out

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to pass any test.....

I know what some of you are thinking...."I'm out of school. I don't have any tests to pass." Wrong. Life is full of tests (I'll call them 'trials' for my Christian readers, for others, they will be, well....'tests').

Of course this is just my strategy, but I can tell you that it's worked me in school and in life. Here's the first key to passing any test: anticipate the question. Easy, right? I can be, but often times it requires a lot of work. For example, if I were in school (and who knows, I may go back someday), and I had an exam coming up, instead of reading and memorizing definitions and text, I will read a portion of the text and make up questions as I go; questions I believe the proctor could give. In my head, they will be true or false questions, but knowing the simple answer is not enough. I'll need to know why. If I make up the question and the answer is 'true', I'll think of ways to re-word the question until it's 'false'.

Now for the harder part: the kind of questions to make. As mentioned, they should be questions that you believe the proctor will ask. Sometimes you'll need to see a test first. This may mean that you could fail the first one as you're 'getting to know' your teacher. At most, it should take two test before you start understanding what your proctor wants you to know. So next time you take a test, instead of just sweating and answering questions, you should be learning the teacher's language. Sun Tzu (The Art of War) would call this "knowing your enemy." (not implying that teachers are enemies - well, not all of them)

The hardest part: do not ask yourself the questions for which you already know the answers. In short, know your weaknesses and anticipate all the questions geared toward those weaknesses. At a minimum, you should be a little more mentally tough and prepared for the upcoming test.

This is easy enough when applying to school and dealing with teachers. The tricky part is working through real life situations. For me, one my major weaknesses is my inability to admit that I have weaknesses. Therefore, I always prepare as though my weaknesses will be exposed. I think this drives me to be a little more competitive than most. If I win, a lot of my weaknesses remained concealed. If I lose, my weaknesses are exposed. So I practice, and practice, and anticipate until my weakness is a strength (another Sun Tzu philosophy).

For those of you who know me, you know that I would much rather not lose than win. Fine line, I know, but this is my weakness. I've gotten a little better over the years, in part because one of my strengths has become my ability to filter out others' perception of me. This may come off sounding like I don't care what other think, which is false. I do care, but I always consider carefully the source and credibility of criticism. I wouldn't let a three-time convicted felon give me ethical advice - an extreme example, but you get my point. Therefore, most of you should not listen to any 'social' advice from me since, for the most part, I'm emotionally withdrawn; other's feeling do not impact me as much as they impact you. This would explain why I'm unusually blunt.

For those of you who know Meg, you know her weakness is her inability to let go of things she cannot control. She is a control freak. For the record, this is not a bad thing, she is extremely organized, punctual, and self-motivated - all byproducts of a controlling personality. So her life tests usually revolve around realizing there are some things she simply cannot control. Some days she accepts this, other days she struggles. But she will attest that her tests are designed around control and who really has it.

In short, know your weaknesses, design the questions around your weaknesses, and anticipate the teacher's questions by learning their language. You are now my kind of test taker.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who did you vote for?

In fact, does your vote really count? After all, we use the Electoral College to elect the President. We cast our votes, district by district, assuming our popularly-elected representative will cast his or her vote for whoever wins the district. Why do we go through all this? On the surface, it would appear as though your singular vote does not count unless you reside in a swing state. Here in Texas, we vote Republican, so very little time and energy is spent by the candidates trying to influence our vote. California votes Democrat and likewise does not get a lot of attention from the candidates. So to win the Presidency, the formula is simple: win the swing states.

So let me answer two questions I know your dying to ask (in fact, Megan asked one this morning while calling the Electoral College "stupid." – sounds like she has a platform from which to run.)

1. What if my representative does not vote with the plurality?
-In fact, most states have laws which require him to do just that. Likewise, if he abstains from casting his vote, there are laws designed to remove him from his elected position. Theoretically it could happen, but it hasn't. I think I remember reading about a representative who may have died before casting his vote, so I'll have to Google about that to see how it was handled.

2. What happened to "majority rules?" It seems more in line with true democracy.
-True. However, the system was designed to give ALL states a voice. Not just the ones with dense populations. If this were the case, the candidates would spend all their time in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and serve just their interests. Essentially, farmers in Ohio would not have much of a voice. The Electoral College requires that candidates serve a broader set of interests, not just urban-centric ones.
(Editorial: the 2000 Bush election. Bush wins the electoral, while Gore wins the popular. Use your imagination and try to envision how Gore would have handled 9/11 if he were President. While you might not agree with the Bush administration tactics, you have to admit he kept the country relatively safe.)

One question I got:
But why are some Electoral Colleges a lot larger than others? Like why does California hold the most, with 55 (or something like that)? What does the size of your Electoral College have to do with?

Answer: There are 538 electors. This is equal to the number of Senators for the state plus the number of seats in the House of Representatives (side note: District of Columbia is given the number of electors equal to the smallest number among the states). Let's do some math: 50 Senators plus 435 Representatives plus 3 for District of Columbia equals 538. The President is elected when he receives a majority (270). To answer your original question, the most populous states have the most seats in the House of Representatives. The number of electors for California equals 2 Senators plus 53 Representatives. Most states employ a winner-take-all paradigm. For example, if the electoral results for California tallied 28 for Democrat and 27 for Republican, the Democratic candidate will win all 55 electoral votes. Maine and Nebraska are the two states that will divide the number of electoral votes among the parties based on poll results. My hope is that you study your local Representatives next time you vote since he or she is casting your vote for you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because I Know

Because I know Megan so well (we've been married for several years and dated for several years before that), I thought I'd start a supplemental blog in order to give you some more insight into Megan and her brain. Think of this blog as "The Fish Tank: Behind the Scenes." I will also try to give some much lacking male perspective. For those of you who don't know Megan that well, I assure you that every word posted on The Fish Tank is painfully well thought out. So well thought out in fact, the I have been forbidden to write on her blog unless the editor-in-chief herself approves every word. For the record, I think that's fair considering how much time she spends maintaining the blog. However, it's time I was heard...........

Expect the upcoming posts to mirror those on The Fish Tank. Only this blog will be much more......much'll just be different. Sometimes funny (to me anyway), sometime serious, and most of the time sarcastic. Megan and I pride ourselves on our ability to communicate honestly with each other. So much so, that when I mentioned this blog concept to her, she said "you're a dork." Thanks Meg. I love you too.

That being on.