Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ah.. the simplicity of life

Yesterday, I had to make a trip to Dillard's to see if they would reissue me a gift card because the one I gave to someone at Christmas was stolen.

So I walk up to the register from which I bought the card back in December (yes, I remembered exactly which one... not sure why, but I did). The nice lady working that register told me that I needed to go to Customer Service on the second floor. No problem... the escalator was near by, so I made my way to the second floor.

As I reached the end of my escalator ride, I see a sign looming in the distance... "Customer Service." Well that was easy, I thought to myself. So I walk straight to this easy-to-find customer service counter. I wait there for what seems like a long time, but it was probably less than a minute.

Finally, another nice lady arrives and asks me if she can help me. I tell her my story... to which she responds (I am not making this up): "Oh.. you need actual customer service."

She then gives me directions: "Go through the furniture section and make a right... you will need to go to where it says Gift Wrap."

I am so glad that life is getting simpler and easier to understand...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

26.2 Miles... are you kidding me?!?!

That was my thought as I saw people continuing on past my scheduled stopping point for the Freescale Half Marathon on Sunday. As I crossed the finish line, I was struck with many thoughts... one of which was, "13.1 miles is plenty for me."

So in case you were not aware, some friends of mine and I ran in the Austin half marathon on Sunday. We had a great time and it is something I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing it. There is something to be said for incremental training... 5 months ago, there is no way I could have run 13.1 miles; but on Sunday, that is exactly what I did.

We were told on Sunday morning that the weather would not get above freezing the whole day.. so we all dressed accordingly. I think that report was incorrect because it didn't feel quite that cold as we were running. However, standing at the finish line (soaked in sweat) it definitely felt like we just ran with some penguins. I am telling you it was miserable... and add to that sore legs and knees... not cool. But the good part was that we were all miserable together, and no one really complained too much.

I think the thing that has struck me the most in all of this is that the training really was (at least for me) the best part of it all. Not to take away from the feeling I had when I saw the finish line... or the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line... but all of that passed very quickly. The best part of running this race was the training because it lasted 4.5 months. The race was over in 2 hours, and all I could hope to do was meet my finish time goal (cuz I certainly wasn't going to win). But during the training, I developed some great friendships... I saw what my body was capable of doing... I learned a little more about discipline... and the list can go on.

The same is true for the Christian life, is it not? The journey is the joy. God could have saved me and brought me to Heaven in the same blink of an eye. But He has not done that. He has left me here to enjoy Him on the journey. To develop friendships (with Him and with others whom He has created in His image)... to see what He is capable of doing in and through me... to learn a little about discipline... and the list can go on.

This is not meant in any way to diminish the greatness of Heaven. But just as the feeling of finishing the race on Sunday was heightened by the training, so eternity will be so much better because of all that we have seen and done here on earth.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It was only a matter of time...

I finally figured out how to post pictures on this thing. So here is my first picture post, and it will be of none other than my nephew Landon Thomas Richards. One day, he will be old enough to look at this and be embarassed... but for now, he is none the wiser.

Here is another (more recent) picture of him walking. Such extreme concentration... I tell you, he is destined for greatness.

He was born during the first round of March Madness last year. Coincidence? I think not. Greatness, I tell you... GREATNESS.

Righteous Indignation

So what is righteous indignation, you ask? Well, let me explain it from the dictionary:

Indignation - Anger aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy.
Righteous - Morally upright; without guilt or sin.

So the question I have for the blog world today is can we as humans respond to something with righteous indignation? The definition given above for righteous would lead me to say no... I am not without guilt or sin. However, in God's eyes (because of Christ), I am righteous.

But what of the indignation part? Who decides what is unjust, mean, or unworthy?

I bring this up because in reading 1 Samuel 11, I stumbled on a passage that intrigued me greatly. In this chapter, Nahash the Ammonite threatens to gouge out the eyes of a group of Israelites - Jabesh-gilead to be exact.

(stay with me, now... the point will get here before you know it.)

So Nahash makes this threat... and the people of Jabesh beg for an opportunity to find someone to save them. This news reaches Saul (the man recently annointed king over Israel). And here is the verse that caused me to stop and ponder:

"And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled." - 1 Sm 11:6

Now the chapter continues and Saul does some odd things in cutting up some oxen and sending the parts throughout Israel... and the people gather to help Jabesh fight against Nahash the Ammonite. (see also Judges 19)

(still with me? here comes the point...)

It was the Spirit of God that rushed upon Saul to make him angry at what was happening to Jabesh-gilead.

So my thought was why do I not have such anger come over me when I hear of things like you will see discussed in the following links (caution - the subject matter contained in these links is extremely sad and upsetting):

Invisible Children

Why do I not have the righteous indignation to do something about cases such as those discussed above? Not sure there is an answer to that question that will be given in a blog... just wanted to give some food for thought.

Thoughts are always welcome...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

They're here...

You guessed it, the Girl Scout Cookies are here. Some people refer to this time of year as Mardi Gras Season... I, however, refer to it as Girl Scout Cookie Season.

I just returned from lunch, and someone had placed a box of the reduced fat lemon cookies by our printer (the place where all of our community treats are housed on any given day). And my reaction was similar to that of seeing the Red Starbucks Cups in late November... it pleases me to think that over the next few weeks, there will be many varieties of delicious cookies to enjoy.

My favorites are the Thin Mints (frozen) and the Caramel Delights (formerly known as Samoas).

I had a great idea for another blog topic this morning, but it was far to serious to throw together in a hurry... so stay tuned.

Kathy Nelson and Ms. Elly... welcome to my blog. You both get personal shout-outs because I never would have expected to see your names pop up in my comment section. You are welcomed additions, for sure.