Thursday, August 28, 2008

running for bagels

I just did the Panerathon 5k race. I finished 33rd overall out of 576.  I finished in 21:16 officially (21:02 according to my watch). I haven't had a timed 5k since my Air Force days. 

This was Deni's first 5k. She did a great job (other than a little ipod malfunction)... I am very proud of her. It was great to do something together as a couple. I respect her for training and stepping up to do a race. It is a lot of fun training together. We had other friends run it too. It was a great time. 

I heard a comment that struck me funny. A kid was standing next to his dad watching people run by and said "look daddy, they are all running for bagels".

That put it all in perspective. Why do we do these things? Yeah, we got a free shirt, some food, water, cookies, chips... but that is not the reason we do these things. (some do it to feed their very unhealthy desire for a trophy/medal). 

My point: exercise & eating right is challenging, but it is good for you physically & mentally. I just want to make sure I am physically able do things with my kids and spouse. I don't want to have to sit on the sideline and watch them enjoy life. I want them to see me as a very active part of what they do. 

I did bring some cinnamon crunch bagels home...

Hannah actually asks if she can go run with daddy. I love that time with my little red head. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

love conflict?

I have never been one to run from conflict. I guess I see it as a necessary part of life and leadership. 

Someone asked me why I "love conflict". That got me thinking. Do I really love conflict. Do I create conflict just because I love it...

After much thought and prayer, I have concluded that I don't love conflict. In fact, I don't even like it. I have found that dealing with conflict is the only way to peace. As long as we are alive, conflict will be present. It doesn't have to be bad all the time. 

I don't love conflict, I love peace. If conflict is not dealt with quickly and directly, it can get out of control and lead to awkward environments or even bitter, unforgiving feelings. 

If there is a conflict, there are feelings attached to it. If those feelings aren't talked through and worked out, relationships can be destroyed. I hate to see this happen. Especially when the conflict is usually the result of miscommunication or something being taken the wrong way. 

I say, give the person the benefit of the doubt. Go directly to them and talk it through. If the person chooses not to hear what you are saying, listen to them first. Sometimes you have to earn the right to be heard. Just because you have something to say, doesn't mean someone has to listen. If it can't be worked out (which is because one or both people CHOOSE to keep it going), handle it in a way that you will be proud of 5 years from now. If you were to retell the story, how do you want to be remembered for your part?

My point: decide if the relationship is really worth ending over something that is probably going to be forgotten in a day, week or month. Give the benefit of the doubt. Let the goal be peace, not getting your point across or proving you are right. Do you want to have great relationships or do you always want to be right?

Isn't it funny how we can be mad at someone for so long that we forget why. 

Hate conflict - love peace

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Well I guess when you hang around people long enough, they rub off on you. Konan does races all the time because he has a very unhealthy obsession for trophies. (He is also very good at them)

He talked me into doing a "sprint triathlon". It began with a 500 meter swim followed by a 12 mile bike and finished up with a 5k run. I was pretty confident I would at least finish but I had no idea how long it would take me. 

I absolutely loved it. I did better than I thought I would and there are definitely things I could do different to improve if I were to do it again. 

My point: you begin to act like the people you hang around. You can also learn from every experience and do it better / different the next time. Who are you hanging around and what do they encourage you to do. What are the people hanging around you doing?

I am blessed to hang around some great people who encourage me to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. I feel sorry for the people who hang around with me...

I am told that you can call yourself a "triathlete" for 2 years once you do a triathlon race. Please address me accordingly for the next 2 years.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

not guilty

Recently I told you how I got a speeding ticket but this time I really wasn't speeding. I went to court to seek justice and let's just say - I feel justice was served.

I went to court thinking I was going to tell the judge my story and he would say "oh, you were wrongly accused. Case dismissed".  Well that may have been a little optimistic and unrealistic but nonetheless, I got what I wanted - not guilty!

I had to call upon my years of watching the "people's court" with the original Judge Wapner (in photo above) and I picked up a few nuggets from Judge Judy as well. I had no idea that this was going to be a real trial. The state was represented by a prosecuting attorney and I was represented by - me!

I figured I was in trouble when he asked for an opening statement. I didn't have one. I was asked to cross- examine "trooper Lee", so I made up something. I was asked to call my first witness and I responded "your honor, I would just like to tell my side of the story". He said, then take the stand. I told my side and then I was cross examined. I wasn't ready for that. 

I was then asked if I had anymore witnesses. I put my wife on the stand... she loved me for that. I was holding Raegan, my 8 month old baby, while I questioned my wife. It was a real hoot. 

When I rested my case, the judge called for closing arguments. While the prosecution was making their closing remarks, I was thinking of mine. 

I actually came up with a humdinger of an argument because the prosecution offered me a deal. They wanted to lower the charges from 86mph in a 65mph zone to 70 in a 65. This would not add any points to my license. The judge asked me if I wanted the deal. This is when I pulled the biggest load of crap out of the bag. 

I figured that if the prosecution was offering me a deal, there must be enough doubt that they wouldn't get a guilty verdict. I told the Judge that my integrity wouldn't allow me to plead guilty to something I didn't do. I actually kept a straight face while saying it. I did feel my wife burning the back of my neck with her laser angry eyes. She wanted me to take the deal... that is until the Judge said "I am entering a verdict of NOT GUILTY!!!" 

I rolled the dice and came out on top. I was banking on "innocent until proven guilty". I had more than a reasonable doubt. I thought that even if the Judge said I was guilty, he would only charge me with the deal I was offered. I didn't have to find out if I was right or not.

My point: You never know when you will find yourself in a position that you are not prepared for. It happens all the time. I just found myself taking comfort in the truth and letting the Judge administer justice. Even if I was found guilty, I would never regret telling the truth. 

I tell my children "do what's right because it's right". I can only control what I do, not what others do. Tell the truth no matter what. You will always be at peace when you do. 

legal mumbo jumbo: if anyone would like legal representation, please let me know. I have won 100% of my cases. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

google yourself

I had a friend from my past recently find this blog. He found it because he googled his name and it came up in one of the comments on a blog post. Go figure...

It was great to email back and forth a little with this guy and he was pretty surprised to hear of my career / profession. I get that response A LOT when people from my past hear that I am a pastor. Anytime I see someone from when I was growing up, from high school, college or the military, I usually begin the conversation with "I am sorry..." I was an absolute idiot. (I know you are saying "was" - shut up). 

Here is the way I see it. I was blind, now I see. When I was making fun of people, tearing them down for my own personal enjoyment and living a life that I am not proud of - I was blind. Then I developed a real relationship with Jesus and "now I can see". 

I see that the things I was doing were empty and led to places I didn't really want to go. Now that I can see, I try to encourage, uplift people and make wise choices. I really do try to treat others the way I want to be treated.

My point: no one will deny what I was and hopefully no one can deny what I have become. When people see you, something comes to their minds - what is it? What did it used to be and what is it now. If it isn't any better now that you are a little older and hopefully wiser, you need to evaluate your life. 

Go ahead, google yourself and see what comes up. 

Some of you have the pleasure of not knowing me back then - believe me, I was worse!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

up & down

In life we all have our ups & downs. As a 2 year old, Hannah embraces them. 

Hannah has decided to name her 2 pet goldfish "Up" & "Down". I thought that was pretty brilliant. I love when she so innocently does funny things. When asked to name her fish, she simply said "Up & Down" like they were such obvious choices for her free carnival fish. 

I was opposed to getting these "free" fish because they are not really free. You gotta buy the tank, decorative rocks, the plastic plants for their entertainment and the food for the disgusting little things. So now the free fish cost us a little money but I think that is a very small price to pay for the memory. Eventually they will be dead and I will flush Up & Down - down the toilet, but for now, I get a little giggle every time I see them. 

My point: take time to reflect on things. Life is happening so fast that it would be easy to rush right by some humorous moments. I love spending time with my family and even if I never look at another picture, I have my memories...

I am not sure if it is Up or Down is in the photo...  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

gold Jerry - gold

I love the Olympic games. There is something amazing about watching people compete for the title "best in the world."

I can't even wrap my mind around that. Best in the WORLD!!! Not just your school, city, town, state, region or even the United States... THE WORLD! Wow, that is amazing.

I can't even imagine the training and discipline that has to be their life. Their lives have to be laser focused on their diet and activity. I am sure they have to say "no" to a lot of things. Things that other people may call "fun". I am pretty sure that they have probably questioned whether it is all worth it. But then... then they get a glimpse of what could be. As the day approaches, they can begin to picture themselves on the stand getting a medal placed around their neck and having the beautiful anthem play. (I am getting all misty eyed)

What if we put even a small fraction of the discipline into our relationship with Christ. Wow! Maybe we should be disciplined enough to press through the frustration of life and say "no" to things that aren't good for us anyway and pray for a glimpse of how it will feel to stand before God and hear Him say "well done, my faithful servant".

My point: as amazing as the gold metal and anthem would be, it has to pale in comparison to being welcomed into Heaven to spend eternity with our Creator and Savior. When God looks at me, does He say - that guy is GOLD or does he see unrecognized potential. 

As an American and a 3 generation war time veteran (I bet you didn't know that), I love this amazing country. No one can question that. I hope and pray that no one questions my love for my God either...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

holy nose

At first glance you may think it is a mole, a piece of dirt or a booger hanging on for dear life but upon further review - Becky got her nose pierced. 

People do a lot of different things for various reasons. I wonder how many people are walking around with marks, holes or ink on their bodies from a time in their life when they made decisions without fully thinking them through. I am one of those people.

I have a couple tattoos. One of them is from my military days and I just really wanted one. I thought about it enough to make sure I didn't get one where it was seen all the time. I even decided to get one that I would not be ashamed of when I was an old man. I got my zodiac sign, Pieces. Yes, I have an astrology symbol on my ankle. Yes I regret it. It isn't a bad looking tattoo but it represents something that I have never believed in. 

I never read my horoscope or looked to the stars to predict or foretell my future. I was never into that stuff and definitely don't believe in it now. With that being said, if we don't put thought into what we permanently do to our bodies, how much thought do we put into anything. 

My point: think it through before you do it. Especially something permanent. What message are you sending by putting a hole, ink or marks on your body. What are you doing when you eat certain things or spend money you should not be spending.

Life is made up of one decision at a time. Make more good decisions than bad ones and do your best to make sure the bad ones don't do too much damage... 

I think I am going to grow a mustache - who's with me?

Monday, August 4, 2008

last first

A couple weeks ago we noticed that Raegan has some teeth in that chubby little head of hers. 
I began to think about how fast time goes by.

When I try to feed her, there are times I get cereal up her nose and all over her face. This is really cute until you are in a bit of a time crunch. 

One morning, I was trying to get her fed and ready to go somewhere when she started being so nibby and wouldn't keep her head still for me to cram the spoon into her mouth. Just as I started thinking about getting frustrated I realized how much I am going to miss times like these. 

There is a song by Trace Adkins called "you're gonna miss this". He sang it on the finale of celebrity apprentice last year. I remember really liking the song then and even more now. 

Each time she does something for the first time, it is the last "first time" for her. The last first tooth, the last first step, the last first da da... (I gotta stop so I don't cry)

I am going to miss this. I am going to miss my baby (the last one) needing me to carry her everywhere, feeding her and yes even changing those nasty diapers. As she begins to learn and do more, of course I am excited for her but there is something about knowing that she is the last baby I will ever have that makes me a little sad. 

My point: in this season of slowing down, I am really enjoying seeing her be a baby. I absolutely love watching my girls grow up but I just wish it didn't seem to happen so fast. I will not allow myself to look back and say I missed it, I WILL be able to say I enjoyed it to the fullest. 

Yes, her shirt says "my heart belongs to daddy" - you just can't read it because of the rolls...