The Art of Standing https://theartofstanding.com Home of The Encouragement System Mon, 19 Jun 2017 19:03:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 40314166 Why Is There No Grandfathers Day? https://theartofstanding.com/why-is-there-no-grandfathers-day/ https://theartofstanding.com/why-is-there-no-grandfathers-day/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:57:39 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7549 Grandfathers Day? It’s wonderful to have a day to sit back and congratulate myself. Time to think deep thoughts and gain perspective, to enjoy the love of wonderful children and, once again, take credit for my wife’s hard work. But life is thick with blessings. I have now lived long enough to take credit for […]

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Grandfathers Day?

It’s wonderful to have a day to sit back and congratulate myself. Time to think deep thoughts and gain perspective, to enjoy the love of wonderful children and, once again, take credit for my wife’s hard work.

But life is thick with blessings. I have now lived long enough to take credit for my children’s hard work as well.

Having done nothing more than love the most precious people I’ve found on the planet, I find myself the recipient of far more love in return than I ever earned. While there is no justification for it, I thought I might at least document this phenomenon for future generations.

Wisdom Of The Ages?

The trip from child to adult to father to grandfather is a great adventure, as time travel always is. Generational perspective is a profound experience that allows me to enjoy the present through as many eyes as I have years.

Looking back at the arc of love required for our survival is a sight that leaves me pressed for words. Looking forward from here draws my eyes higher to the adventure of being adopted into an eternal family beyond my imagination.

All of this makes the present an even brighter gift. For here is the only moment I can recreate the blessings of the past and foreshadow the blessings of the future by loving presently as Jesus has loved me timelessly.

The Word is . . .

Grace has been defined as unmerited favor. This could also be the secret definition of another word. There are many titles a man can achieve through noble birth, hard work, and courage but there is none that can surpass the unearned joy of hearing a gleeful voice squeal, “Granddaddy!”

This is the reason there are no petitions before Congress to rectify the long injustice that grandfathers have no separate national holiday, having been lumped into the generic “Grandparents Day.” We don’t want the publicity.

We’re secretly afraid that someone will catch on.

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Conversion of a Hockey Sceptic: How Nashville became Smashville https://theartofstanding.com/conversion-hockey-sceptic-nashville-became-smashville/ https://theartofstanding.com/conversion-hockey-sceptic-nashville-became-smashville/#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 13:29:44 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7544 I’m from Mississippi. We think ice is for tea. We don’t believe men can skate on water. Seems unnatural somehow. But we also believe in sports. And balls and bats. So the dreamer in me wants to believe that in the great frozen north bats can become sticks and balls can become pucks and men […]

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I’m from Mississippi. We think ice is for tea. We don’t believe men can skate on water. Seems unnatural somehow. But we also believe in sports. And balls and bats.

So the dreamer in me wants to believe that in the great frozen north bats can become sticks and balls can become pucks and men can become bored.

Then I moved to the great frozen north myself – Nashville. I discovered that snow did not come from a cone. And that water had other uses than making ice tea and coffee.

Like caramel macchiatos.

In the end, it all comes down to this. As a Southerner, I believe in Peyton Manning and that professional wrestling is real. Logic dictates that I must believe in hockey. Even if I have to fantasize that they are skating on ice tea to do it.

And they’re winning so . . .

Go Preds!

 

Photo by Stephen Yeargin via Flickr

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It’s No Excuse Week at My House https://theartofstanding.com/its-no-excuse-week-at-my-house/ https://theartofstanding.com/its-no-excuse-week-at-my-house/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 17:11:42 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7527 No Whining Rule We have a No Whining Rule at my house. Confession time, it’s for me. When you’re in a family of stone-cold super-survivors and the hardest adult thing you’ve ever done is stay up late pushing a record button, you need some guidelines. I’m getting a cold. That’s not an excuse. My head […]

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No Whining Rule

We have a No Whining Rule at my house. Confession time, it’s for me. When you’re in a family of stone-cold super-survivors and the hardest adult thing you’ve ever done is stay up late pushing a record button, you need some guidelines.

I’m getting a cold. That’s not an excuse. My head hurts. I’m coughing. I ache all over. These are facts, people! I got the cold from an un-named family member whom I love dearly. I resisted naming names. So far so good.

The Plot Thickens

Today, however, reveals a disturbing trend. Rather than suffer the man-shame of falling into the whiny-pit, I’ve found a loophole. According to the orignal No Whining documents, it’s perfectly legal to let all discipline go – as long as I do it silently.

Technically Not Whining

My good habits start to slip. I don’t make my bed. I forget how to wash a dish. I skip shaving and call it creative.

The next thing you know, I read an internet article about the positive effects of eating chocolate cake for breakfast – and I believe it. (It must be true . . . Internet!)

From here all barriers are breached. The discipline dam bursts. I start over-commenting on Facebook. I develop opinions. I attempt jokes. I try to explain the internet to people.

If this doesn’t stop soon I’ll be hijacking ice cream trucks and buying in bulk! Something obviously must be done.

Smarmy & Smarmy

It has become obvious that just because I’m not whining aloud doesn’t mean I’m not whining. But Smarmy & Smarmy, the legal team in the back of my mind, has quietly gotten me off the hook on a technicality.

My good habits are the momentum that keeps me going when things get rough. I’ve worked hard to put them in place. I can’t really afford to let them go dormant just because I found an excuse. Thanks to my Smarmy & Smarmy, there’s always an excuse.

It’s time for a new rule.

The No Excuse Rule

Whereas whining has been defined as audible excuses, therefore excuses shall be defined as any reason, stated or otherwise, written or unwritten, that I use to avoid doing the duty I have chosen.

That’s right. I chose this. So, any lie I tell is a lie told to myself. I will do this even if it hurts. Even if I’m sick.

But Wait, I’m Sick

But it’s cold. No excuses! I’m dressed like an Eskimo but I’m shivering so hartd I Can’t hold my ifone stilll. Who mad these tiny keys! I remind myself that the troops wer coldr at the Battle of the Bulge. Probbbably.

I grit my teeth, hold my tongue and thank God for dpellcheck. Gratitude is not whining. I didn’t even mention dyslexia.

If only I can make it to the medicine cabinet for a swig of the hard stuff – NyQuil. I manage it without my legs buckling.

There. That’s better. Now, all I have to do is make it to bed and finish writing before I . . .

Operation Restore Order

This morning I got up and made my bed. Okay, it was after coffee but it still counts. It’s a simple, foundational habit that I chose. If I skip it I’m letting myself down. It didn’t hurt much, even though it looked like there was a bar fight in there.

Today will go better because of it.

I also I ordered my hand-tooled leather “No Excuses Tour” bomber jacket to commemorate my survival. No one else will understand what it means. But you and I will.

We lived it.

 

Photo: Chocolate Cake by Tim Hoggarth via Flickr

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Breakfast Surprise https://theartofstanding.com/breakfast-surprise/ https://theartofstanding.com/breakfast-surprise/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 15:23:24 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7523 Suzie woke with the alarm and immediately asked, “Do you want McDonald’s for breakfast?” “Sure,” I answered. It was a no-brainer. Suzie works hard and rarely indulges herself, so when she votes for fun the answer is obvious. This picture was taken out my window where we parked to eat. Swallows skimmed between the taller […]

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Suzie woke with the alarm and immediately asked, “Do you want McDonald’s for breakfast?”

“Sure,” I answered. It was a no-brainer. Suzie works hard and rarely indulges herself, so when she votes for fun the answer is obvious.

This picture was taken out my window where we parked to eat. Swallows skimmed between the taller stems but otherwise not a breeze whispered, not a straw moved. The sun in its golden hour bathed the scene.

It turned into a beautiful nature moment that I thought I’d share with you. Sometimes the smallest thing can fill you with energy to face the work of the day.

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Standing By – Things I Tell Myself https://theartofstanding.com/standing-things-tell/ https://theartofstanding.com/standing-things-tell/#respond Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:47:55 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7504 We stand on the teetering edge of a brilliantly glorious new dimension. Until we reach it, we get today, every hour of it. If we can but see it, there is no end of the good things we can do in Him. If we cannot see it, then we will be left standing hard on […]

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We stand on the teetering edge of a brilliantly glorious new dimension. Until we reach it, we get today, every hour of it. If we can but see it, there is no end of the good things we can do in Him.

If we cannot see it, then we will be left standing hard on the ground, doing only the things that are possible.

We are not short of time, only vision.

 

Photo: Looking Back Over Sunrise by Lachlan Donald via Flickr

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What’s New? https://theartofstanding.com/whats-new/ https://theartofstanding.com/whats-new/#respond Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:36:38 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7430 There's a lot of new stuff going on here. Take a look at our progress and plans.

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You may have noticed things changing around here! I thought I’d catch you up.

New Theme

This one’s obvious but it’s more than just a new look. It’s changing how we do things here. You will see new things roll out as I get them done, including . . .

Rating System

Now you can actively point readers to the good stuff! Not just the most read articles; your favorite posts! What has been most useful to YOU? All you have to do is click the stars and you start taking control of the site. Power! This is also your chance to easily tell me your top concerns.

Posts By Category

You have specifics interests and I want you to be able to get there quicker. Some things won’t apply to you. Pages sorted by categories will help out. The things you want will get pages of their own.

Upcoming Projects

The things I’ve been hinting about are finally coming. The first up is a project I’m calling the Backwards Book. Stay tuned.

Ongoing Projects

I have a unique opportunity to focus on writing “Candles In The Sun”– My wife Suzie’s story of surviving multiple primary cancers. Can’t talk details yet but time equals progress.

That’s it for now! Please rate a post for us. Thanks.

 

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The Personal Cost of Setting People Free https://theartofstanding.com/personal-cost-setting-people-free/ https://theartofstanding.com/personal-cost-setting-people-free/#respond Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:14:31 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7408 Yesterday, a friend posted a long article about being free from politics. He was downright giddy. His great revelation was how blind he’d been and how it made no difference and how he’d only been making people angry and destroying his life. Now, after his epiphany, everything was great and he was free and happy. […]

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Yesterday, a friend posted a long article about being free from politics. He was downright giddy. His great revelation was how blind he’d been and how it made no difference and how he’d only been making people angry and destroying his life. Now, after his epiphany, everything was great and he was free and happy. Smiley face.

But everything is politics

In a world dominated by state-funded experts, there is no subject you can talk about that hasn’t been politicized. Name one. From my GMO food to my government specified toilet, from the beginning of my court-approved life to my death tax, from my bedroom to my kitchen to my entertainment to my gender-nonspecific bathrooms, I am involved in politics whether I want to be or not.

We cannot be free

We cannot be free from it; we can only be silent. If, in the pursuit of being nice, we allow tyranny to destroy lives – nicely – then we aren’t actually being nice. We are spreading tyranny.

The real question is how to talk about politics. Can friends do it? Do we have to? Can Christians possibly do it at all? Can we be Christlike about it? Will we pay consequences for it? Are there dire consequences if we don’t talk about politics? I think the answer to all of these questions is yes.

But we have to be smarter

We have to learn from this heart-rending political season and go forward with wisdom, patience, and yes, kindness. Because setting people free is kind. And loving.

Jesus, of all people, was clear on the price He would have to pay to set people free. The painful details of the garden of Gethsemane were told so we would know that feelings are powerful and can stand in the way of great love. The feelings are real and intense and must be contended with to get to real love.

Because love

Because love is so much more than a feeling. It includes justice and truth. It even includes fighting and sacrificing to set people free. Even people who don’t know they aren’t free. Even when the people we are fighting against are also the people we are fighting for.

It’s complicated. And painful. But love always is.

So, to my kind friends who are still reeling from speaking out during this political season – kudos. Rest. Gather strength. Your kindness will be needed again soon.

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Planning My Week: Why Are You Laughing? https://theartofstanding.com/planning-my-week-why-are-you-laughing/ https://theartofstanding.com/planning-my-week-why-are-you-laughing/#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:00:31 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7397 In spite of all the laughter, making plans is a great way to launch your week.

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Making Plans

Man plans and God laughs. ~ Yiddish proverb.

Whenever people find out you’re planning something this proverb comes out. The joke implies that planning isn’t worth the time it takes, that you will fail, that you can’t be serious. But this is not the last word on planning. How about:

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I can’t plan what happens to me but I can remind myself of my goals. And I can plan how I will respond. I can also practice my values. I can stretch to be my highest and best self. And I can adjust my plans – in case of dragons.

Resilient Planning

In fact, given the nature of life, resilient, gritty, hard-headed, determined plans are the only ones that stick. Because I’m not going to get it all right the first time. Or the second. Or . . . .

How about this from the guy who planned D-Day:

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Big Plans

Also, if I’m going to take the time and effort to resiliently plan, they may as well be plans worth having, right? That means big, aspiring, even poetic plans should be the rule. They need to get you going.

Unless you are silly enough to post your plans on the internet, no one is going to know. So, go big!

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Warren Buffett

With this in mind, here goes my plan for this week. (Stop snickering)

The Plan

Today I will concentrate on what I can do, instead of what others did. I will focus on the world I can touch rather than things beyond my reach about which I can only complain.

I will speak truth rather than criticize liars. I will love rather than accuse others of hate. I will lift rather than opine. I will lead rather than point. I will not stand by.

I will take courage by placing my fears in God’s hands. I will fear not living more than dying. I will not carry the fears of others but will make the courageous my companions.

I will ignore the counsel of my own doubts which have not prevented failure but have stopped all attempts at success. Fear of failure is my enemy. Failure is my friend for it teaches the lessons that I need to better try again.

I will not read the news; I will be my own news and live my own life. No one can do it for me.

I will vigorously implement the plan I have rather than chase (a) perfect plan tomorrow. (<<See) No man’s plan survives the day intact. We learn as we go or we don’t learn at all.

The little I can do is not enough, but it is not nothing. I will give all today and hope for tomorrow.

 

P.S.

“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra

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Quote To Self: Johnny Cash On Failure https://theartofstanding.com/quote-to-self-johnny-cash-on-failure/ https://theartofstanding.com/quote-to-self-johnny-cash-on-failure/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:15:38 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7320 A good quote can pack a lot of wisdom into few words. Like a song lyric, it is easy to remember. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you as Quotes To Self. They're really for me but you can look over my shoulder . . .

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Photo: Johnny Cash-1969 by Joel Baldwin - LOOK

A good quote can pack a lot of wisdom into few words. Like a song lyric, it is easy to remember. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you as Quotes To Self. They’re really for me but you can look over my shoulder.

A friend posted this one from Johnny Cash. I got a chance to work for him for a week and he left an indelible impression as the genuine article.

The album I recorded was at a low point in his career. He’d been dropped from Columbia, his home since 1958. Mercury signed him and would drop him one album after this one. He hadn’t hit the top ten since 1976. He was recovering from open heart surgery while avoiding pain medication for fear of falling back into drug addiction.

Typically, many thought his career was done.

More than a few stars I know have taken such opportunities to sink into drugs or alcohol, give up, move out of the country or drift away on a sailboat into the Caribbean. Several, sadly, couldn’t handle it and ended their lives with their careers.

But after getting dropped from Mercury, Johnny’s response was to record a Christmas album on another label. Then he recorded a version of “Man In Black” with Christian punk band One Bad Pig. Next, he recorded a spoken word version of the entire New Testament. And he surprised everyone by singing “The Wanderer” on U2’s Zooropa album.

In other words, he barely slowed down.

One thing led to the next thing until Rick Rubin signed Johnny to his American Recordings label. It was known primarily for rap and rock. They wanted to try something different. Johnny Cash recorded alone in a room at his house with only his acoustic guitar and won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

In fact, the week I recorded Johnny Cash, on a label that was about to drop him, at a time when no one would bet on him, there were eleven Grammys waiting in his future.

Eleven more!

That’s why this quote lit me up. Here’s what he had to say on the subject:

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” ~ Johnny Cash

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Change The World? Why Settle? https://theartofstanding.com/change-the-world/ https://theartofstanding.com/change-the-world/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:41:09 +0000 https://theartofstanding.com/?p=7288 Let’s face it. The world is big and full of people who are not obedient. They stubbornly want what’s best for themselves. Change them? Forget it! Unless . . .

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Let’s face it. The world is big and full of people who are not obedient. They stubbornly want what’s best for themselves. If I want to rule them, it’s a terrible disadvantage. Change them? Forget it. But . . .

What if I want to serve them, as Jesus said?

Well, it’s still a problem. I can easily live the rest of my life helping people do what they want. I end up helping them rule over me. This is good for neither of us, or so I tell myself. There is a fine line between helping and enabling.

My best way to help people is to serve God, who loves them. I am now serving them with His resources. I am neither slave or dictator. I don’t have to run their world or change it. World changing is God’s department anyway. So, here’s how world changing looks for me now.

Change the world,
For a moment,
For someone.

I can handle that. I can love for a moment, talk for a moment, share for a moment, help for a moment. Moments are all we really have with people anyway. Even our family. And maybe, along the way, now that I’m not trying to run their lives or use them, I can share God’s love and redemption with them.

In this way I can change more than the world. I can change eternity . . .

 

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