Monday, July 30, 2007

NEWSFLASH #9




NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Gas prices are lower than they have been, despite reports a few weeks ago that we should expect record highs. That is where they get us. They build a very bleak image of how bad it is going to be and then do the opposite so we feel fortunate. I saw that today I could get a regular gallon of gas for $2.59 and for a brief second I believed that things were good. Gas is still about a $1.00 per gallon overpriced, and when we do see the record highs in the near future, we will be somewhat desensitized to it due to these recent propaganda and pricing shenanigans.

ENTERTAINMENT - I haven't been too entertained recently. I entered the 20th century (yeah, that's right, 20th) by obtaining a regular XBox from my nephew. I tried to play a game a couple of times, but I haven't been able to get into it. I am an old, regular Nintendo guy that has a directional pad on one side and only TWO buttons on the other. I think that is all I can handle with any degree of expertise.

WORK - It is fine at the office now. The rough patch is over and will not gear up again until September. I like my job - especially in the calm periods.

SPIRIT - A number of things are happening on the spirit front. First, I remembered why I started a spiritual blog. Jaquandor, form Byzantium Shores gave me some interview questions in this post. A big chunk of that post concerned my spiritual life. However, nearly all of the comments skirted the spiritual questions which required the most thought from me. I must sound like a religious whacko to most of the 'Wit readers. They don't call me "Psycho" for nothing, I guess.
Additionally, I when I read Stephanie's comment on the last post below about my PersonalDNA, it touched me. She wrote, " 'Low Trust'. I understand, but it still breaks my heart." First I wanted to email her and tell her that her comment was a very "FRIEND -ly" thing to say and how much I appreciated that - it is funny how one realizes that he doesn't have as many friends as he used to since he got married. However, I got to thinking, "Is it bad that I do not trust?"
As divinity would have it, when I opened my morning devotion, it stated this:
THE DISCIPLINE OF DISILLUSIONMENT
"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them for He knew what was in man." John 2:24-25
. . . , but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.
The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way - if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.
This is where I think I am or am striving to be. I don't say bad things about my wife who is causing me much hurt presently. She just confirms what I already know. People can't be trusted - not completely, anyway.
FAMILY - My family doesn't really know what to do for me. I feel sorry for them because I know what that helplessness feels like when you want to comfort someone but are powerless to do so. I pray that God eases their frustration in that area.
LOVE - Read "Spirit" above, because the second paragraph I think applies to my wife. I think that she demands perfection in me and our relationship. When she doesn't get it, no matter how hard I try, she becomes cold and uncaring. She sent me an email (she is still out of town) that explored how divorce MAY not be such a sin afterall. Whe wanted to know what I thought about it. I replied to her email thusly, "Dear (wife), I love you. Jeff"
ANXIETY - I am frustrated with myself right now because I have no motivation to do some things that I need to do. I bought some tools to work on my house (that I am still trying to sell), but haven't even taken them out of the car yet. My car is also dying a lot when I am driving. It makes getting to work on the highway a hazard. Sure could use that Jeep.
SPORTS - One of the players on my NFL team, the Bengals, was due to come off a year's suspension this past week, but was turned down by the commissioner. This stinks in many areas. For the player, Odell Thurman, he did everything he was asked to do during his suspension and is not getting rewarded for it. I can't recall anyone else ever getting this severe of a suspension for substance abuse. For the team, Thurman is a great player and only played one year (his rookie year). With him, the defense could improve enough to make a run for the title. Without him, I don't know. For me, I bought three Thurman jerseys on clearance. If he came back, they would be worth a pretty penny on Ebay.
HOME - I am having a hard time sleeping at my (our) house. The wife is gone and it is hard to be reminded of what is going on between us. Sleeping in the bed just reminds me that I am alone in it.





Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Am an Advocating Idealist

What does that mean? I am not really sure. However, thanks to Jaquandor from Byzantium Shores, I took this personality test. It is from PersonalDNA.com. When I read about it on Jaquandor's blog, I was in the right mood to play along.

I think some of the profile takes my current state of mind and personal upheaval into account, but for the most part, I find it accurate.

Here is what my personal DNA map looks like:





If you decide to map your own, come back and let me know.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tagging Makes Me Tipsy

And I mean that in a good way!

Choc Mint Girl tagged me with "Blogging Tips Meme". I think it is kind of a pyramid marketing scheme version blogging memes. That is okay, though, because it is free and it should work. I will try to be faithful to its premise.

___________________________________________________________________


--Start Copy--


It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)


Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers.


Try to make your tip general. After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!


Just think– if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!


Here are the tips!


1. Look, read, and learn.



2. Be EXCELLENT to each other.



3. Don’t let money change ya!



4. Always reply to your comments



5. Blog about what you know & love.



6. Don't use filthy language-buy a dictionary.



7. Whenever possible, spread some positive thoughts and love. The world needs more of them.



8. Write down from your heart or head. Either way asks yourself why you ever get started.



9. Try to make your template something unique and easy to look. Your template gives the blogger identity as much as the post content.



--End Copy--


I am going to tag the last ten people who commented on my blog as of this moment:

Shan, Stepping Over the Junk, Freelance, Chris, Loz, Paisley, HollyGl, WriteJerry (Bent Sense), Mammamia, and Rhea. Admittedly, some of those I tagged I don't know very well. If you are tagged and are opposed to such shenanigans, feel free to ignore and accept my apologies.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Psycho Gives an Exclusive Interview

Jaquandor (Kelly) from Byzantium’s Shores was kind enough to interview me. Truthfully, I saw the interview thing going around and had some reservations about asking to be interviewed. I don’t know, it seemed a little self-absorbed to ask someone to interview you. However, after seeing the questions he asked some other bloggers, I was intrigued by what he just might ask me. So, risking my own humility, I asked him to interview me.

These are his questions:

1. Is your wife aware of the degree to which you blog about your relationship? If so, her reaction?

My wife, to my knowledge, is not even aware that I have a blog, much less a blog that reveals aspects of our relationship. I am a firm believer of the “separate worlds” theory as perceived by George on Seinfeld. We all need a place where we can be real, a place that is a sanctuary from those closest to us. If my wife started reading my blog and became familiar with those who regularly read and comment on it, “Independent Jeff” would cease to exist.

No one in my real life knows about or has read my blog, so it is not just about hiding things from my wife. However, I do try to protect the most sensitive of details and people that I mention in my blog by keeping them somewhat anonymous.

2. How much, generally, do you find Christianity to be a struggle?

True Christianity is not a struggle at all. It is we humans who have to incorporate our wills and interpretations on Christianity that makes it difficult. We like to think that we can set up our own agenda. Because we are believers, we believe that agenda can easily be incorporated into God’s will for us. When the square pegs of our agenda items are being forced into the round holes of God’s will, there is bound to be a struggle; we are bound to feel that pain.

Christianity is all about surrender. Surrender is really not a tough thing, but our pride and ego get in the way and make it difficult. For example, if one is being hunted by the police who have weapons fixed on him, how hard is the decision to surrender going to be for him? The problem is that we tend to believe that our own weaponry is equal or even part of God’s - that we are hunting WITH Him rather than being hunted BY Him.

The best “Christians”, although I don’t like to imply that one person is better than any other, are those who have hit rock bottom and completely surrender to God.

So, to answer your question as it concerns me, I still need to work on surrendering from time to time. In those times, there is a struggle. However, what lessens the impact of that struggle is knowing that the Savior has already provided remedy for those shortcomings. So even when I fail, the love of God has already made my life blemish free. The realization within my spirit that God loves me to that degree, makes it a little easier to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him.

3. What's your favorite book in the Bible, and why?

That is a tough question. Each book of the Bible is part of the overall message. However, if I had to pick one, it may be the Book of James. It is full of hope and teaches about love. There are many key passages in this short book of only five chapters. It discusses living in the success of Christ - showing HOW to live it. James also points out how powerful words are to cause harm and blessing. It shows the meaning of God’s love and reveals His heart.

Because of my current trials, the first chapter of James is there to remind me of what I have come to trust:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves.” (James 1: 2-6 – The Message Bible Paraphrase).

I recommend to all that they should read this short book. I have provided it in the easy to read “The Message” paraphrase on my appendix blog. It is fantastically better than any drivel you will read on my blog. Read it here and be blessed.

4. Describe the best and worst meals you've ever had.

The best and worst concept is difficult most of the time. Let’s say I have had 25 simply outstanding meals in my life. From those, how could I accurately pick the best? Some meals are outstanding for reasons different than others. The best I can do is say that when my grandmother was alive, one of the best meals I have ever had was at her house. When she served fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and corn on the cob, there is little that could compete with that. Her chicken was unique for no apparent reason. I asked her what she did to it and she simply said, “Oh, I just use flour and add a little salt and pepper.” Yet, grandma magic made it more delicious than any other I have ever tasted. It is a pity that I will never taste it again.

The worst meal in my life came on a first date. It was a lunch date and we walked from her apartment to the Cracker Barrel which was a short block away. I had . . . chicken, ironically enough. It was grilled chicken and it tasted terrible. I noticed that it was raw inside, but I didn’t want to say anything and look like I was some malcontent on this first date. However, my date noticed the bloody pink filet and encouraged me to notify the server. At that point, I was no longer hungry, but my meal was free, awkward, and bad tasting. I think I recall feeling sick the rest of the day. A great date!

5. You, at home, a night alone, and you won't have to clean up. (Elves, or something.) What do you do? What's for dinner?

As great as a question this is, I don’t want to answer. Is it because I am embarrassed of my actions on such a night? Nope. The truth is, I am boring. However, here it goes: I would probably want an “Una Pizza”. This is a pizza unique to my town (for the most part). It is a thin, cracker-type crust with an interesting blend of cheese, sauce and toppings. I can’t explain what makes this blend taste different than other pizzas (since they ALL have cheese, sauce and topics); it just does. After dinner, I would probably watch a movie that I have been putting off for sometime (there is always at least one), and end up writing (either blogging or working on one of my projects). Before bed, I would get some magic powder from those elves to keep mosquitoes off of me without smelling like DEET, lay in a hammock that apparently those elves provided, stare at the stars, listen to the crickets and other nocturnal life, and fall asleep praying to my God, thanking Him for the gift that the evening was – and, of course, for supplying the elves.







Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Sopranos of Blogs

The awards keep coming in for Psychosomatic Wit. Like The Sopranos, which garners Emmy after Emmy, this blog picked up two more. Of course, this announcement is all tongue-in-cheek, because there are so many better blogs out there, but still, it is good to be appreciated.

Loz, from Midlife - A Journey, nominated me for two. It means a lot to me for Loz to do this, because he has a great, honest blog so I know that he values blogs that are also in that light.

The first one he has bestowed to me is called "The Schmooze Award". It was established by Mike at Ordinary Folk and Danielle at Pink Reviews who have defined it as -Schmoozing as defined by Dictonary.com is the ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much.


The second award, I am happy to announce is my second "Thinking Blogger Award". Even though it is my second one, it has significant meaning to me because I have been so distracted lately with some setbacks in my life, it is actually harder for me TO think.

___________________________________________________________________
Here are the rules of this award meme:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote
(here is an alternative
silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!
___________________________________________________________________

Since this is my second one of these, I am going to tag people a little differently. Stay tuned for that. BTW - I am NOT tooting my own horn comparing my blog to "The Sopranos". In the interest of full disclosure, I have never seen even ONE episode of that program.


Monday, July 23, 2007

NEWSFLASH #8



NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

___________________________________________________________________
NEWS - The Democratic candidates for president are going after the faithful for support in the coming campaign. Many of hired strategists to target Christian groups so the the candidates can appear more faith friendly. I am getting this information at CNN.com. Right after the article introduces this concept, there comes a quote from a Democratic stratigist, "It has to be authentic. This is not about Jesus-ing up the party, so to speak ... It just won't work if it's seen as a cynical ploy." Excuse me, but just the fact that they are hiring faith-seeking strategist for their campaigns kind of defeats the "avoiding a cynical ploy" approach, doesn't it? If a candidate has a strong faith, then let it shine from his/her own presence. I don't find it to be too necessary to hire a staffperson to strategize how to remove the candle from under the bushel basket and place it on a candlestick(see: Matt 5:15). If one is faithful, it will show.
ENTERTAINMENT - I was sad to learn of the passing of Tammy Faye (Bakker) Mesner. She was quite an interesting lady and had a big heart. She was quite a character. If one could get past her makeup, which looks like it was applied with a putty knife, one would find an overcomer that flourished despite the trials she endured, including the last one - her cancer. I began to appreciate her when she was on a season of the reality show, Surreal Life. She held on to her faith while showing love and tolerance to those whose lifestyles come CROSSwise to her conservative Christian faith. Tammy Faye - the world's loss is God's gain.
WORK - this is the big week of the summer for my job. I serve a commission and the July meeting this week will provide new commissioners and officers. That means a new "boss" for me. Impressions will be magnified so I will have to rise above all my personal baggage and let my professionalism rise to the top. It is a good thing that I have plenty of practice in this area.
SPIRIT - It is well with my soul. Even though I feel that I am on a train speeding out of control on a mountain track, I still have peace that I am in good hands. I understand that when this train finally comes to a stop and I get off and look around, I will see the beauty of my surroundings in such a way that I haven't been able to see them before. Plus, I will no longer have the same kind of fear of trains.
FAMILY - My family reununion was Saturday. It was okay, but it isn't the same without my grandmother who was the glue of the family. She passed away about six years ago, and we have only had a couple of get togethers since, as compared to the annual blowout we had when she was alive. Saturday's was a low-key affair where factions of the family stayed together and the puzzled looks on most everyone's face revealed that there were more strangers than "family" in attendance. Of course, my wife couldn't make it. She has been sick so I was very understanding.
LOVE - My marriage, unfortunately, is hanging on by a thread - a frazzled one at that. It is a shame, really. I honestly feel that I have done everything I could do to hold it together. I gave up friendships, took on all the financial responsibilities because she couldn't "handle" her job anymore, I spent the last two weeks being a full-time nurse, housekeeper, gardener, and chauffer. However, I alone cannot fill a love built for two.
ANXIETY - I get a little anxious thinking about all this marriage stuff and realizing that I have a lot of responsibility in the failure. My relationships have been a series of breakdowns, infidelities, and failures. Although, from my perspective, I have never been the culprit, the cheat, or the "I just don't love you, anymore" person, it is naive of me to think that I have just been unlucky. If my marriage failure was merely an isolated incident, than I could try to pick myself up and move on. However, the nasty pattern that has been my love life, just simply can't be ignored. No one likes to think of himself/herself like that. Self-examination is a frightening practice. What upsets me the most, is that I just don't know what it is. Maybe it will be revealed to me when I get off this train.
SPORTS - My nephew and I are going to the Cincinnati Bengals training camp next week. It will be nice to have some one-on-one time with him. He is a HUGE Bengals fan and it is soley my fault. Since there is a good chance that he (and his brother) are the closest things I will have to children of my own, I can smile when I see him wearing his "Chad Johnson" jersey and place my feet on the Bengals floor mats in his car.
HOME - I think my wife is leaving town again this week. I will try to take this opportunity to organize a garage sale this coming weekend. We have too much stuff and not enough room for it. Plus, we can use the money. Anybody need a riding mower? How about a HOUSE?







Friday, July 20, 2007

Birthday Recap

My birthday started off pretty well. Uneventful at work; no one knew it was my birthday.

In the afternoon, I took off work and went to a movie matinee with my wife. We saw Sicko, the Michael Moore documentary. I won't get into it too much in this post, but I do recommend all Americans to see this movie. Even if you aren't American and want to feel superior to America, you should see this film. I may post more about it in the future. The link I have here has some pretty interesting stories about it - worth checking out.

After the movie, we had a nice early dinner at Biaggi's. It was a very pleasant and not at all crowded at that time of the day. A friend at work, gave us a gift card as a wedding gift, so we used that. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to eat there until something financially goes our way.

Afterwards, we went back to the house where we were hosting my mother and my sister for a little birthday get together. The trouble is my wife got a migraine and went to bed before they got there. So, we didn't do the cake thing, since my wife was the one who got it. We did LOOK at the cake, though. It was from a Donut Bank Bakery, which is a local fixture. They make the best cakes. Because I am a Cincinnati Bengal fan, the cake was white with orange and black docorations and lettering.

The message on the cake was, "Happy Who-Dey, Jeff". I'll explain: There is an expression around Cincinnati that boosts the Bengals. Of course, it is "Who Dey?!" It is part of a longer chant that goes like this: "Who Dey, Who Dey! Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?!?" I thought it was a little clever for my wife to think of that for the cake.

We ended up cutting the cake the next day. Considering how BAD my birthdays have been, it was a pretty good day. Of course, that is a topic for another time.

Thanks for all the well wishes I got in blogland. It is a pity that I didn't get any cash from you, lol, but just the fact that you think of me on my birthday is gift enough. Thanks again, from the bottom of my heart!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sam I Am

Samuel Clements (a.k.a. Mark Twain) has an often referred to quote of "The news of my death is greatly exaggerated." I thought I would devote this post on that very subject.

Last week I wrote an entry called "Death." It had the most feedback of any single post I ever had. Most of it was how I would be missed if something ever happens to me - which was nice to read. Then I came upon this piece of feedback from TheWriteJerry, "You're kind of freaking me out. Seriously. You've had us worried as it is with posts hinting at troubles at home and troubles inside of you. Now a post about your death. Stop being so vague. Please. Let us help."

At first I was taken aback. I didn't know if he was hinting that I may be hinting about comitting suicide or something or if I was being dramatic about some diagnosis I had recently received.

Then, I thought about what it would take for me to leave feedback like that and I felt, pardon the cheese, cared about. So, I want to say publicly: Thanks Jerry, for caring about me.

Maybe others thought the same thing but didn't want to say anything. I re-read my post and thought it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that this stranger could be hinting at something tragic. I know some know me better than that, but it is foolish to think that all of you do.

For the record, I am not suicidal and I do not have some condition that is pointing to my death - that I know of. I am going to be around for a long time as far as I know.

I am not suicidal because I am nevercompletely hopeless. My Christian faith is grounded by the fact that my purpose here isn't completed until God takes me out of here. I also understand the blessing of suffering. I may whine about it, but I would never end it by ENDING IT. Part of me that hides beneath the melancholia is excited to see how God is going to lead me through it and present the blessing to me. I am not suicidal and am fundementally not spiritually built to carry it out. Let's put that concept to rest forever.

If I ever become gravely ill, I will post it in a "not so vague manner". A lot of you consider me friends; I respect that relationship too much to play with such a dire matter.

As for the last little tidbit from Jerry's feedback, "Let us help." NOW, you're talking! ;) I figure if I can raise $20,000, it will take care of almost every problem I have. It would get me out of student loan debt and the debt I incurred from the wedding and take the pressure off my suddenly unemployed spouse. So dig deep, friends! Help me just as Jerry requested! Show me the love! lol Today is the day! Why? BECAUSE IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

NEWS FLASH #7



NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - There is still trouble with getting President Bush to come in line with what the American people (and everywhere else for that matter) want in regards to Iraq. What a legacy he is going to have. After starting his presidency akin to a hero, many (some even neutral) consider him one of the worst presidents that ever came down the pike. Pity.

ENTERTAINMENT - I have been catching up on all the America's Next Top Model programs when they run marathon-style on MTV. I know many may wonder how I got into that, look under the "LOVE" aspect of this NEWSFLASH. Anyway, what I have gathered is that Tyra Banks is WAY too full of herself. The contestants go live in a house that is over-saturated with Tyra pictures. Tyra becomes photographer in one part of the series, and every time the contestants get a message from the show, they get "Tyra Mail". Please. I am pretty Tyra'd of the whole self absorbancy thing.

WORK - I recently got my COLA (cost of living adjustment) raise. I needed that, as you know. Now I am gearing up for the next big meeting of my commission which is next week. I am finding that there are a lot of anal cavities in positions of managment in this part of the state recently.

SPIRIT - I had an interesting experience at church yesterday. First of all, the worship part of the service was led by an up and coming band from San Antonio Texas called Abandon. After that, the pastor got up and started his message. It was about being humble before God. He related a story about himself where he recently failed. He then got touched, confessed to God and kind of broke down. After composing himself, he stopped the message and asked Abandon to come back up and play the rest of the service out. It was a very unique experience to see God touch someone like that in front of the whole congregation. Abandon was very cooperative and understanding. The lead singer recognized the presence of the Spirit here when he announced that we are "REALLY having church here today."
FAMILY - There isn't too much to report in this area. Everything seems to be stable at the moment. I am planning to attend my family reunion this weekend (busy week since my birthday is this week, also). I am optimistic that my wife is going with me. She has been sick, though, and I am taking her to the doctor soon.
LOVE - This is the one that purtains to the Tyra Banks quip above. My wife is into the fashion thing as I mentioned before in this blog. She takes a lot of magazines and one of her programs is America's Next Top Model. I have looked throught the magazines and forced myself to get interested in the program because I feel it is important to TRY to do that for the person you love - to show that you have a genuine interest in them and what they like. I think if a person is open-minded, he/she can get interested in anything if they try. I owe my wife the interest I have in Jane Austen novels, for heaven's sake. Unfortunately, my dear wife doesn't reciprocate this 'open-mindedness'. It would be huge for me if she could get interested in my sports teams, western movies, or even Star Trek which I secretly enjoy (not so much of a secret now, apparently). I have mentioned this to her quite a few times, but no dice. However, I will STILL continue to share her interests with her because it is the right thing to do. Besides, maybe someday it just might rub off on her.
ANXIETY - I need to sell my house. This is a recording.
SPORTS - Thank God, football training camps are getting ready to start. My last place baseball team (The Reds) are killing my spirit. I was also asked by a friend to give him some pointers on drilling a major college basketball player for her summer workouts. Drawing on my experience with coaching, I did just that last week. This friend also wants the two of us to coach some sort of team this year. We'll see. In the meantime, I am suppose to help another friend coach youth football. Busy, busy.
HOME - The air conditioning is out at my mother's house. She doesn't mind much, but I worry about her. With my wife not working, it isn't easy to get something major repaired. My sisters and I are working on it, though. I swear, cutting three large lawns a week is taking its toll on me. I am exhausted and I have to cut more today. It is hot and humid. Not cool (pun intended).
That's it for another week. I have a few blogs to catch up on so look for me at your place.






Thursday, July 12, 2007

Death


I was thinking about life and death. Including my own death and how it would affect other people. I am not going to spend time on the people who are closest to me. I would assume they would feel some kind of loss, even if it is only because something that they are used to is now missing.

No, I was thinking about those who read this blog, other Internet friends or those whom I marginally knew in high school or college. Those old acquaintances would see my name in the paper and think, "Hmm . . . that's a shame. What's for dinner?" I don't pretend to matter to too many people. It is a sad thought, but it is reality. This isn't self-pity, it is pretty much true for everyone, don't you think?

Now, for those of you who read my blog - you guys probably wouldn't even know that I was gone. One day you may be going through some old email or something or maybe you were reading someone else's blog and a thought comes to mind, "I wonder why Jeff quit writing on here. Oh well . . . what's for dinner?"

However, I am sure that I matter to some folks and that's not too bad. I may not be Mr. Popular on all fronts, but I am also no Eleanor Rigby.

Next time you see the obituaries in your local paper. Give an extra thought for each name you read. Those people's passing is important to someone and people are hurting and missing them. Or, if you get the impression they had no one, an Eleanor Rigby-type, give them a few extra seconds of thought, will you? For they represent ALL of us. Those people are important to the souls of humanity.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"THE PRESENT TRUTH" HAS BEEN UPDATED

Some of you have been checking my other blog so I thought I would let anyone with half an interst know.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crazy Eights

I was tagged by Laura and some bizarre blog that copied Laura's post to the letter for this. I don't get it, but I guess I don't need to. I sicked Laura on him/her. However, if immitation is indeed the most sincere form of flattery, Laura can be flattered instead of feeling transgressed.




Here are the rules of the Crazy Eights meme:



1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.




Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
___________________________________________________________________


1. I am licensed to teach Government (poli-sci), History, and Psychology in grades 5 - 12).


2. I don't put syrup on my French toast nor do I prepare it in ANY way that makes it sweet. It is an egg food! Do you add sugar to your scrambled eggs for God's sake? If you make it right, it is awesome with a little salt and pepper. If you make it wrong, it will be bland and you are forced to cover it up with stuff like syrup.


3. I still own the first car I ever had. It is a 1970 Dodge Charger. It needs work, but I get asked if I want to sell it at least once a week.


4. I own five vehicles. If you buy my house, I will throw in two (count them) TWO cars.


5. My mother is disabled so I take care of her.


6. I was an adult before I ate a frozen pizza without it being "fixed up" with additional meat, onion, and spices. (Please, I have ALWAYS cooked the thing first).


7. I used to write a weekly column for a professional indoor football (American) league. I thought I was going to get into trouble when I wrote a controversial piece about cheerleaders. However, instead I got complimented for "selling more copy".


8. I am in the middle of writing three novels, two nonfiction pieces, and a children's book. However, I wonder if I will ever finish ANY of them. ;)

___________________________________________________________________


Tags: I am going to do something new. I am going to tag eight blogs that I have never read nor do their authors read me. I just want to see if any of them will find out, do it, or at least comment. It is tougher than it sounds. Most of blogs I happen on either are in a foreign language, set up for a particular purpose (soccer, e.g.), or just for family which I don't want to intrude upon.









8. I tagged someone else and my browser closed. Now, I can't find it. I did tell her that she was tagged so if I tagged you and you do not see your link here, let me know. You deserve a link after all that.
By the way, I don't recommend doing this for anyone else. It was a pain to find suitable blogs randomly like that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

NEWS FLASH #6


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Cindy Sheehan, the perpetual thorn in W's side, has now a new target in Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She has decided that she MAY run against Pelosi as an independent in order to oust Pelosi. Why? Because Pelosi hasn't done enough to oust Bush. Sheehan started out to be a sympathetic figure, losing her son in Iraq. Now, she is coming off as a nut. I would be tempted to say that she doesn't have a prayer in her new ambition, except she would be running in San Francisco - 'nuff said.

ENTERTAINMENT - As promised, I will spend a little time on the new "Big Brother 8" on CBS. So far, the characters there haven't stuck out, save one. One housemate blew a gasket because of the picture BB put up of her. There is a wall that contains all the pictures. When a housemate gets evicted, the picture turns to black and white (at least that is how it has been done in the past). This girl, Jen, had a complete meltdown about her picture. She thought the shading was bad and it caused her to lose her mind. The other house guests thought she was kidding at first and then they freaked out on her. Stability is important in this game and she is not playing with a full deck. Maybe that will be fun to watch (evil laugh).

WORK - I am gearing up for my big meeting. My commission did me justice and cancelled the meeting because it was scheduled on my birthday (I didn't ask). It is now a week later. That is pretty nice, because I tend to work about 12 hours on meeting nights.

SPIRIT - I have been getting too caught up in my life situations lately. When I think about worrying about my wife not bringing in any money with two mortgages to pay, etc., I feel so hypocritical. I either trust in God, or I don't. No matter what the circumstance, things really shouldn't distract me so much. I mean, I only have 40 or 5o years (barring accidents and fatal disease) left on this planet. I can put up with ANYTHING for 40 years. I think about Jesus and HIS world. He just came to offer Himself up. He didn't claim ANY life for Himself. I can't live without a car or financial stress for a while? What a hypocrite I am.

FAMILY - The Fourth of July cookout at my sister's was a huge success. I didn't think my wife would come, but she did. I attacked her with a bucket of water and a water fight ensued. She LOVED it. That stupid water fight did a lot to make things better between us. Whoda thunkit?

LOVE - The wife and I are getting along better. Of course, she got her way in all her endeavors, why wouldn't we get along? People tend to think that I am treating her too well because of the stuff she pulled (job, leaving town, etc.,), but I disagree. What good would punishing her with the silent treatment or something else as petty? We are where we are. We need to work from that point, not some fictional point people think I will get to after her "punishment".

ANXIETY - No worries. I have passed through that for now. God will provide. I can handle it now and hopefully for the future. My frail humanity will no doubt test me again, however.

SPORTS - My Cincinnati Reds, now that they are out of it and sacked their manager, are playing the best ball of the season. That is always how it happens, though. Now, they will no doubt trade the good players before the trade deadline to "rebuild" for next year. It never stops.

HOME - I am the leftover king. I am the only person in my originating family or my married family that is willing to eat a leftover. Why is that? People are missing out, I think, when practicing their "entitlement" philosophy of fresh food, because some foods are just better later. As Jed Clampett once said, "The one good thing about possum innards are that they are just as good the next day." Amen!





Friday, July 06, 2007

Music Please?

Loz from Sunrays and Saturdays and Charles from Am I Thinking That tagged me for a musical memory meme. It is really quite entertaining. Here are the rules:

1. Name between 5 & 10 songs that have made an impact on your life. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how many you wish to describe.
2. Pass it onto five other people with a link back to your own post and this one as the original.
__________________________________________________________________
1. Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker. This was the first song I ever played "by ear". My mother bought me an old upright piano when I was seven. After being subjected to my mother's musical taste (country), pecking around brought up this tune - with many more to follow.
KEY LYRIC - none
2. By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Glen Cambell. When I was very young - about three years old, I sang this song to my family at our family reunion in honor of my uncle who just moved his family from Indiana to Phoenix. The reviews were great and some were even touched. I had no idea what the song was really about.
KEY LYRIC - none
3. Almost Paradise by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson. Back in college, I had an on again/off again relationship with Andrea. I mentioned her in my post called "Peace". We were off again one time when I called her up to see if she would be interested in going to my fraternity's "Rose Formal" dance. It is kind of college's version of prom - except you don't rent tuxes. She agreed to go with me and we got together a couple of times preceding the big dance. During those times, we both mentioned that things were pretty good and that Almost Paradise was a song that we both took a liking to. During the dance, the DJ dedicated that song to "Jeff". I whispered to Andrea, "Isn't that funny, another Jeff is connected to that song by someone (there were a number of "Jeffs" in my fraternity). She replied, "I dedicated that to YOU, silly." I was embarrassed but thrilled because I knew at that moment that our relationship was renewed.
KEY LYRIC - "I swear that I can see forever in your eyes."
4. The Beautiful Ones by Prince. Different story, same girl. Later in that stint of our relationship, I was acting silly one day and jumped up on my desk and sang that song to her. You see, Andrea was gorgeous. I always told her that her looks meant trouble for me. So, I jumped up on my desk and belted it out in a most humiliating yet meant to be crazy humorus way. She giggled like a school girl. What makes it stand out in my mind is just a few years ago, I talked to Andrea for the first time since college. Of course, she mentioned my Prince immitation. Some things just won't die.
KEY LYRIC - "The beautiful ones always smash the picture. Always, every time."
5. The Baby by Blake Shelton. Back in 1993, my mother was rushed to Cincinnati to have emergency brain surgery. She ended up having 31 hours of surgery (17 hours the first time, and 11 hours two weeks later). I wasn't sure she was going to make it. She always called me her baby boy. The lyrics of this song even touched me today as I was looking at it. You can see them (and all the songs in this meme) at any of the song title links. Mom has been disabled, but alive ever since that summer of '93. I have been taking care of her and is thankful for every day with her. There is more to what my mom means to me in my posts "Ode to my Mother Pt 1" and "Ode to my Mother Pt 2".
KEY LYRIC - "my heart, it was breakin'; I never got to say goodbye"
6. The Dance by Garth Brooks. I share this pick with Loz, who tagged me. My last girlfriend and I had a long relationship. I thought we were going to be married eventually. Our relationship came to an abrupt end. There was hurt and betrayal and I didn't think I was going to survive it for a while. When hurt takes over like that, you start wishing you never met the person you felt was responsible for that intense pain. However, when I heard and listened to this song, I knew that I was blessed for what I had experienced with her. I don't regret a thing.
KEY LYRIC - "I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance."
7. You are My King (Amazing Love) by the Newsboys. One day when driving home from work, I was feeling rather sorry for myself. The girl from The Dance story above had recently broke up with me, I had slammed my hand in a door, and I just didn't know what I was going to do with myself. Then, this song came on the radio and kind of put things into perspective for me. I still think of that when I need to - which has been quite often lately.
KEY LYRIC - "Amazing Love, how could it be that you, my King, would die for me?"
8. Live the Life by Michael W. Smith. This song is near to my heart as a Christian. So many Christians come off judgemental and shallow, legalistic Republicans because all good Christians are Republicans, right? This song helps remind us (Christians) what were supposed to be doing and thinking about instead of getting caught up in all the crud that makes the world hate us.
KEY LYRIC - "And God knows it's a shame, as we look to pass the flame, we are not the worthy bearers of His name."
Those are it for me. Some of these lyrics are very much worth checking out. You can see them all in my appendix blog.
Now for the tags: I would be interested to see the list from the following people: Anna, Laura, Michelle, Jimmy, and Sayre. You know the drill.







Thursday, July 05, 2007

Congratulations, Ms. 5000!

Michelle from Crow's Feet just happened to be the ONE. Fortunately for me, she has an interesting blog for me to promote for the occasion.


Crow's Feet is particularly fascinating, because Michelle has a way of writing about spiritual, even occultic things. Yet, she is open-minded and finds herself compatible with most people's beliefs. I am learning a lot from her.


Michelle also has an interesting background. She describes herself, "Born in Africa of 'mongrel' (varied immigrant) ancestry, now living in another beautiful part of this world called Scotland."


She also has an enlightened and hopeful take on writing. As she puts it, "Everyone writes for their own reasons. To share, to dare, to enlighten or just be noticed, but ultimately writing is about connecting. Because the more we connect to others - the more we learn about ourselves. Writing is a journey, an adventure started with a single step. I'm taking this journey with crow's feet, in more ways than one."


Being my 5000th visitor or not, I endorse the reading of Crow's Feet. Go check it out.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NEWS FLASH #5

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Scooter Libby gets his sentence commuted by President Bush. I have been critical of Bush in the past and a lot of folks are coming out bashing him for this. I don't see it that way. I think Libby was the fall guy. He shouldn't have to suffer for just being part of the team that outed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Might as well help a brother out.

ENTERTAINMENT - A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how CBS's "Big Brother" was nowhere to be found in news, promotion or anything current on the Internet. I was concerned that this summer vice of mine had fallen by the wayside since it was suppose to start this week. Well, out of nowhere, promotion began and it is set to air this Thursday. Check it out if you can find the time. After all, I may be referring to it from time to time. You want to be "in the know" don't you?

WORK - As mentioned in my last email, my work computer crashed last week. It was very tragic since it contained all the files and information I need to do my job. Blah blah blah about backing things up. It didn't happen for various reasons that I need not get into at this point. There was a storm. The power went off and came back on. Despite having a power strip/surge protector, the C-drive disappeared and lost format. The tech guys checked it out and told me it was a lost cause. I had been looking to get a new computer for work anyway, but not time was of the essence. Technology. . . (keep reading).

SPIRIT - God is good and He has been busy with me. Life at home is not too good right now. I feel overwhelmed by it most of my conscious hours. Then, my work computer blew up and that was it for me. After exhausting every possible way of recovering my hard drive and even having the tech guys here write the death certificate, I in total exasperation, prayed like a child would, "God, things are getting too much for me. Just please fix my computer." The next day when I turned it on (as habit), it fired right up like nothing ever happened to it. I am using it as I type right this very minute. I explained it to the tech guys, and they said it was impossible, except one who reminded me how great God is.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26)

You want to know what God did for an encore? He fixed my car. No lie.

FAMILY - My sister is hosting a Fourth of July cookout tomorrow. She is one the most awesome and dear people I have ever met. She is the perfect hostess, too. It will be a good respite for me. I wonder if my wife will be willing to go.

LOVE - Things are tough around the house. My wife and I are not understanding each other. She gave up a good, solid job because she doesn't like who she works next to (among other things but that is the main thing). I simply can't understand that. One can't give another such power over one's life that they put one's family in financial distress. She can't understand why I am concerned. Then, in the same moment, asks me how we are going to pay the mortgage this week?

ANXIETY - We simply do not have enough income now, to cover our bills. When my father got ill and died when I was a kid, we struggled financially. I hated worrying about having electricity and eating beans and rice all the time. As a result, I worked hard, received two degrees and landed a fine job. I married a woman with a decent job and we had an acceptable financial status. Now, a monkey wrench is thrown in the works and I am stressed out all over again. It is hard for me to take. God, please fix my finances. I NEED TO SELL THAT HOUSE!

SPORTS - Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, will soon have the most prestigious record in sports - the coveted Major League Baseball all time home run record, currently held by Hank Aaron. Bonds is not a nice guy and most everyone believes that steroids is the main reason he will get the record. I once witnessed Bonds disappoint a 7-year-old kid that wanted an autograph at a hotel after a night game. Not very many people around (I just happened to be staying in the hotel with the Giants that night). Bonds turned the boy down and told him he only signs before the games - to look for him the next day. I decided to turn up the next day and look for the Bonds and that boy. The boy was there, but guess who didn't show? Other Giants signed for the fans, but not our golden boy. When Aaron's record falls, baseball will lose some luster.

HOME - I need to pay two mortgages and sell a house. Help a brother out?