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Failure

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Too often, we hear the words from the Apollo 13 story “Failure is not an option!” and apply it to our lives. In my years of professional and personal experience, that is a big mistake. I have learned that to fail is not only human (i.e. we all do it), but it is healthy and promotes growth. At least it does if we view it in the right perspective. Let me begin with a true life analogy.

Several months ago a good friend convinced me to really focus on lifting weights as a way to stay healthy. I have had many periods of my life where I went to the gym and lifted weights as part of a health routine, but it never really stuck. Also I never had anyone talk to me about how to lift to change or improve my body. My friend had been into weightlifting in his past and wanted someone to help him stay committed to lifting again, so I agreed even though I am twenty years older than him. We meet five days a week, working different muscle groups each day. More importantly, we are pushing ourselves to lif…

September 11th... 17 years later

On September 16, 2001, I was scheduled to bring the morning message to my home congregation in Atlanta. I was scheduled to share long before the events of September 11th occurred, but any preparation I had made was set aside after that day.  I offer to you my words from many years ago as Thoughts to Ponder today. Something to make you think about your motivations then, and now. How did that day affect your view of God and the world around us?
As this week has passed by, there have been a wide variety of emotions running through all of us.  We have all felt shock, pain, fear, anger and I pray, hope.  At first, it was as if this wasn’t really happening.  I heard one comment that said they were waiting to see Bruce Willis come running out of a building as if this was just another “Die Hard” movie.  I was on the phone in my office when someone put a note in front of me saying a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. With no televisions in the office, a few radios were turned on to kee…

Living in Integrity

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Integrity is a word I have heard off and on throughout my entire life. Never really giving it much thought, but also believing that I was a man of integrity.  I was wrong for a good part of my life. Partially due to some poor decision making, but mostly because I never thought about what it really means to live in integrity. So in response, I have spent time to read, research and interview others on what the word means in one’s life. I desire to truly live this in my life.

For many the word “integrity” is simply being honest or balanced in life. For others is is being “who you are”.  As I have listened and learned, neither of these really describe what “integrity” means as a way of life. In truth it goes deeper. Let’s start at an easy place, Google defines integrity with two statements: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness The state of being whole and undivided

Both definitions are something to aspire to. Being honest and having high moral pri…

50 Years of Progress?

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Here I sit, having spent much of the past few weeks struggling to find the thoughts and the time to sit and add another post to this blog. I apologize for my absence. I think it is fitting that I return on another day remembering Dr. King and his contribution to the world.  Today we remember his sacrifice. He lost his life 50 years ago, but his message continues on.

In 1967, in a Christmas sermon on Peace he offered the following:
"If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream."
Hope, a word that can mean so much.  Dr. King had hope for a better tomorrow, a place where peace was real and people treated each other as equals.  His hope kept him moving through some very rough moments. Moments where violence and anger were all around him, inflicted by close minded people who saw themselves as better. But also times when there was strife and d…

MLK Day 2018

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Today is Martin Luther King Day.  For many, it is just another day. That holds true for me most of my life. I grew up in a middle class white family that had most of the things we needed to be comfortable. I lived in the deep south, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi in my younger days. I saw prejudice and racism up close, but not aimed at me.  I was raised in a family where those thoughts were not part of who we were. I didn’t make much of racism because I didn’t live it; either as the oppressor or the oppressed. I went to school at the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss. A school that has one of the worst legacies in racism. From James Meredith in the 60’s being escorted onto campus by the National Guard to the more recent events Colonel Reb mascot being removed and the song “From Dixie with Love” being banned; the school does not seem to be the best reference for today.  However, it was while I was a student in 1982 that the confederate flag was the controversy. A new black cheerle…

Resolutions...

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It is that time of year when many people look ahead and make a list of things they want to do better in the new year.  Resolutions may include living healthier, losing weight, being more active, or simply being a nicer person.  The health clubs always are packed for the first few days or weeks of a new year. Restaurants that did great business over the holidays, may see a decline as people try to eat at home where they can control what goes into their meal. Whatever the resolution, the odds are against you.  I am not trying to be a pessimist.  For those who know me, I am eternally optimistic, always looking for the good in any situation.  However, New Year’s Resolutions have never been held high in my book.

Various studies have been done over the years. It seems I am not alone, less than half of the population of the United States actually make resolutions this time of year.  I am not sure that puts me in the best company, knowing that there is a large part of the population that just …

The Year in Review: Remembering versus Regretting

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I think it is natural that when we think back on our past that we easily remember the difficult or painful times; those times where we messed up, felt pain or simply made the wrong choice.  We don't seem to remember the joyful moments of our past as easily; but rather have to stop and remind ourselves of those moments.
I believe this is natural. Our animal mind is built to remember the pain, not to dwell upon it with regret, but to recall the lesson learned. My mother used to tell a story, I was reaching to touch the element on the stove top, which of course would burn me if I did. She tapped my hand and told me no, yet I continued to try. She said I was so stubborn the back of my hand was red from her attempts to stop me…  but I touched it anyway.  She remembers the pain she felt trying to stop a stubborn child, the red on my hand. I don't recall any of that but do remember the feel of burned fingers. I learned very fast not to touch the hot burner on the stove. A simple lesso…