Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silent night...

It was a nice service. Christmas eve 2008. We sang, we listened to the Christmas story unfold. We smiled and found our heart warmed by the thought of a baby in a manger some 2000 years ago. It really is amazing. A baby. God became a baby. Mary held him and marveled at the though of it, at the sight of it. And when the reading was over, there would be one more song. Silent night. By candle light. The room darkened except the two ushers candles in the front of the church. Two by two the candles in the room lit up filling the entire room with a golden and glorious light. We sang from our hearts and it was worshipful...beautiful. As the song ended, the pastor spoke so softly. "If you could not raise your candles. Place your hand behind the flame. Now gently blow out the candle." There was beautiful ceremony even in extinguishing the light. "Hold your candles and pause for one more moment." I was on the edge of my seat. Waiting...waiting for that last pearl of wisdom, some glowing reflection of the Savior's birth...something deep and meaningful. And then he said it, "It helps the wax to cool." I had been waiting for some last reflection - he was waiting to protect his carpet and upholstery!

I mean no disrespect. No minimizing of Christmas. But it is funny isn't it?

Carbon Footprint

I don't mean to be insensitive to the whole "Green" initiative. Afterall, I work for a liberal arts college. I went to greenbuild. I'll be LEED certified before summer arrives. Still, I can't resist posting this...must be my past!

Do you know this man?

I do. He wrote the book (literally) on 'high speed - low drag.' Around Christmas time each year, I like to visit the internet looking for Army buddies. I punched in a name and to my surprise, a photo came back. This photo. In fact, there were several postings with this image all over the net. It's kind of cool in a military sory of way. Hoping to stumble on a few old buddies, instead I stumbled on one who doesn't exist. Shhhhhh....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Now that I've held him in my arms

In the bible there's a man named Simeon. There's a lot of men in the bible. There are a lot of facts in the bible. We can all be religious, we can have a knowlege of God. Study the scriptures and interpret, or misinterpret as we desire. But somewhere in it all - if your faith becomes real - the knowlege melts into your heart.

In Luke 2:22 we can read the story of a man named Simeon. A knowegeable man. A man of God who spent all his time in the temple. He knew the prophesies, he knew the scriptures...and he knew something else. He knew that he would not die until he saw the birth of the Messiah. Simeon was an old man, a man who had lived a good life, and now a man ready to die. But his life was not complete, and so he waited. Waited day after day, year after year. God was not a liar, still the time passed so slowly. And then it happened. One morning he awoke as he had so many others. But this morning was different. God told him to go to the temple. His gaze caught them at once. A young and lowly couple with a baby.

They were unprepared for what happened next. The man approached with an anxiousness uncommon in any era. He moved as fast as an old man could toward them. They knew who their son was, but surely no one else could; still his eyes said it all - he knew. They had no fear, no concern, only curiosity as he reached, and Mary raised the child to his open arms. And then he said it, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Mary and Joseph marveled. Read Luke 2:33.

This evening, as I do so often when I consider Simeon, I'm marveling. Google says there are 6,602,224,175 (July 2007 est.) on the face of this earth now. Many more have died, and some undetermined number are yet to live. God cares for all of them. Six billion is a number too large to comprehend, but out of those many billion, he chose one. One man who would not die until he say Christ. One faithful insignificant man would hold Him in his arms, and then 'depart in peace.' My God, what a thought. What a thing to grasp. What peace he must have felt. what tears must have flowen from his eyes. And what wonder must have overcome Joseph and Mary.

If you get a second, listen to Michael Card tell the story...He's posted below

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A little snow (revised)

Who doesn't love a little snow? We're definitely having a white Christmas this year. And this? This is what I get for working late!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The auto industry -'s what I do! (Revised)

Family Friendly version...

A good friend of mine, note the comment section to see just how good a friend, corrected me. GM and Chrysler went for the bailout. Ford and the parts industry only endorse the bailout to save the US auto industry. What do you want - I only stole the image and edited out the potty word!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's what friends are for

"I'd say it takes integrity at that point. Tears, and integrity."

We all have friends in life. Some are fun, some are supportive and some...some just share wisdom and profound truth as the move in and out of your life. I don't know that it's true, but I'm going to say that those kind of friends are the best. At least for today. Life is a challenge. Sometimes it's fun, exciting, thrilling. Sometimes not so much fun - in fact, there are aspects that are downright hard. And still, the right thing is important. Not becuase anyone sees...not because there's an example or a principal, but just because it's the right thing. And sometimes it hurts. That's where the tears come in isn't it. Standing firm and tall, bearing up under it, and shedding a tear or two. Tears and Integrity - Sounds like a Robert Fulghum title.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Airborne...still a leg

"It doesn't matter how many sky dives you have. Until you've stepped out the door of an airplane in total darkness at eight hundred and fifty feet wearing ninety-five pounds of equipment, and forty-two pounds of parachute, YOU ARE STILL A LEG!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Topping Out the steel (click me)

"Topping out" is the term used by ironworkers to indicate that the final piece of steel is being hoisted into place on a building, bridge, or other large structure.1 The project is not completed, but it has reached its maximum height. To commemorate this first milestone the final piece of iron is usually hoisted into place with a small evergreen tree (called a Christmas tree in the trade) and an American flag attached.

Traditions can be cool. As a constructor, I particularly like this one. But I have a better Christmas tree story. I know this guy, let's call him Bob to protect the innocent. Bob had a God event this weekend. He went with his family and his parents to get a Christmas tree. They were sucessful in their search, and having tied the tree to the van, my friend was about to leave. But what good Italian son would leave without saying goodbye to his mother? So walked over and gave her a big smooch (maybe I'm embellishing - but it's kinda fun!). Bob turned to see a woman pondering how she would tie her tree to the car. She was a single mom with no field experience in this area. A tough, self sufficient mom. But alas, a mom at a loss. So Bob not only tied the tree to the car, but he taught her how. Tie a tree for a woman and shell drive for a day, teach a woman to tie...oh, nevermind. As the chocolate on the pillow event, he handed each child an end of the rope through the window and told them to hold on tightly - they would play a critical role in the tree getting home safely. For his efforts, Bob got a priceless treasure...a heartfelt hug.

Only later did he learn that she determined to cut her own tree, and did. But had no idea how to tie it to the car - so she prayed. (remember the God thing). She prayed as my friend was hugging mom (his cheek is still pinched red), and God answered that prayer as Bob turned and summed up the situation. He thought to himself, "what would dad do?" Which is the same as, "what would Jesus do." And he did it. "Topping out the Steel" is cool, but topping out the mini-van is even cooler. I just hope there were enough joyful tears to go around.