5 Things I’m Not So Fond Of About Thanksgiving

As we all know, Thanksgiving was this last past Thursday. Amid the turkeys, gravies, stuffings, various side dishes and desserts, I took a lot of observations. Usually I’m pretty observant, but, knowing that I have to write a blog, I try to kick my observations up a notch (so I’ll have something to write about). Therefore, I’d like to share with you “5 Things I’m Not So Fond Of About Thanksgiving” (in order of “this bugs me” to “this makes me pull my hair out of my head”).

Are you ready for the countdown?… Let’s go!


#5 – The Guilt… Oh The Guilt

So Thanksgiving is one of those days where you eat, eat, eat, and eat some more. Because you don’t get that level, quality, or capacity of food on a regular basis, it leads to overeating. Overeating leads to tummy aches. Tummy aches lead to remorse. Remorse leads to (drumroll please) GUILT!

(Oh yeah… I definitely felt guilty last week.)


#4 – Traveling

Not that any of you out there in blog land would know this, but I travel a lot. Everything from the morning commute back and forth to work, the weekly commute back and forth to church, or to the many places where I teach music (which can vary depending on the time of year). Needless to say, I travel all the time, but there’s just something about traveling when I should be resting that’s just… uncivilized.


#3 – Traveling with Non-Drivers

So to add to all of this, there’s nothing worse than traveling on the road with non-drivers (or, as my parents like to say, drivers who got their driver’s licenses from JCPenney). They either drive too slow, incoherently, or don’t think ahead (making them cross over 3-4 interstate lanes to get to an exit). Lord have mercy!


#2 – Traveling with Non-Drivers Who Have Nice Cars

So this is a new pet peeve of mine, but it’s creeped up my “Not So Fond Of” list pretty quickly. In #3 I mentioned drivers that drive too slow. Well add to that those same drivers are in cars that are KNOWN to “run”. For example, WHY OH WHY are you driving a (take your pick):

Mustang
Camaro
GTO
Challenger
Any vehicle with a V8 (or even V6) engine
Any vehicle with a Hemi
(add additional fast cars here)

…and going 10 UNDER the speed limit? Anytime I can pass you in my aging vehicle as you plunk along make me… impatient.


#1 – The Commercialization of the Holy Days

Did you know that the etymology behind the word “Holiday” comes from the combination of “Holy Day”? Even if you didn’t know that, Thanksgiving is a day set aside to give (drumroll yet again…) THANKS. Therefore, it’s hard for me to watch the commercialization of Thanksgiving and the even greater offense of the commercialization of Christmas (but that’s a blog for another time). Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and I recently learned about Small Business Saturday. Ultimately three days to help you skip the entire point that if it weren’t for Thanksgiving Day, none of these “commercial holidays” would even exist. It diminishes the meaning of Thanksgiving because if you think about it, what are you really saying?…

“I am thankful… but as soon as I buy that 99% off TV that I have to fight my fellow family, friends, neighbors, and strangers over I’ll be even MORE thankful.”

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5 Things I Absolutely Love About Thanksgiving

As we all know, Thanksgiving was this last past Thursday. Amid the turkeys, gravies, stuffings, various side dishes and desserts, I took a lot of observations. Usually I’m pretty observant, but, knowing that I have to write a blog, I try to kick my observations up a notch (so I’ll have something to write about). Therefore, I’d like to share with you “5 Things I Absolutely Love About Thanksgiving” (in order of pretty important to super important).

Are you ready for the countdown?… Let’s go!


#5 The Christmas Holiday Kickoff

Let’s start here. The timespan between between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day is the ONLY time where you can play the same 25 Christmas songs over and over and over again and it’s OK. Any time before that OR after that is OUT OF ORDER. Therefore, let the commence music COMMENCE (but don’t get crazy with it).


#4 The Food

I’m an eater… I’ve been one all my life… I eat everyday… and I would say that I’m pretty good at it… but there’s something about the span between Thanksgiving and New Years that’s just full of awesome dinners. Sure there’s the traditional Turkey, but if you’re from a family like mine, you get copious amounts of all kinds of food AND depending on who’s house you’re visiting, you might even get an adventurous and tasty suprise… or two… or twenty.


#3 Family and Friends

Just because “family and friends” is in the #3 spot DOES NOT, in no way, diminish it’s significance (because once you see what’s in the 3 through 1 spots, you’ll understand). I love my family dearly and because I don’t live closeby, that makes holiday times like these that much more special.


#2 The Fellowship

Why is this different and seperate from #3? Simple. I’ve learned over my lifetime that just because you’re related doesn’t mean that you have to love/like your relatives. Family members can be in the same room and hate each others guts. I’m blessed to say that’s not the case with my lovey dovey ooey gooey family. Fellowship, which to me is being able to have an awesome time laughing, joking, kidding around, eating, and sharing saying what you’re thankful for, is a MAJOR thing I love about Thanksgiving.


#1 The Actual Giving of Thanks

The Bible says that we should give thanks continually (1 Thessalonians 5:16) because it’s God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. That alone is enough for me to end this section, BUT, for me, the actual giving of thanks in a public forum (at least it’s pretty public with my family) gives me the opportunity to tell a lot of people how God has kept me throughout the year and how I’m looking forward to what’s in store. I think that’s awesome!


What are some things that you absolutely loooooooove about Thanksgiving?

The Paomnnehal Pweor Of The Hmuan Mnid

Have you all ever seen the show called “Brain Games” on the Science network? It’s an interesting show all about how the human brain works and if you haven’t seen it, you need to. Nonetheless, that show got me to thinking about a science project I did back in high school on optical illusions. Therefore, I thought I would present to you a TEXT ILLUSION that will prove to you just how good your brain actually is. Enjoy.

THE PAOMNNEHAL PWEOR OF THE HMUAN MNID.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what order the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny imrmoatnt thing is that the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mswes and you can still raed it wouthit porbelm. This is bcuseae the human mind deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Challenge Is Inevitable [Part 2/2]

Where I live there is a Christian radio station that carries a talk radio show from 4pm-5pm during the weekdays. When I got off work and jumped in the car, I would always catch the tail end of that show by default because I love the 5pm-5:30pm program. The first time I heard the last bit of it, I was not impressed for a great many reasons, but the main reason being that it felt like the host was bashing everybody and everything and then justifying it with scripture. In my mind, he had a “way out there” controversial standpoint.

Therefore, I would get into the car and say to myself, “I guess I’ll see what ‘Looney Tunes’ is talking about today.”

Here’s the interesting thing. To listen to the last 5 minutes of that show outside of it’s context and judge the previous, unheard 55 minutes based on JUST the 5 minutes that I heard was an unfair assessment. One day I left work early and caught a good chunk of the show which made me listen further to check for consistency. Now, understanding where the host is coming from, I can understand (and sometimes even share) the viewpoint that he’s using which is the Word of God.

[SIDENOTE: The sad part that I had to repent on was that I heard the Word and didn’t even recognize it.]

I think that’s the biggest thing with receiving a challenge of this nature. People get so bent out of shape when they hear a counter to their point, but is it because:

(1) they just disagree so wholeheartedly OR

(2) they aren’t solid in what they believe and don’t want to be challenged?

If anything, a challenge to who you are will do one of two things:

1. Make you even MORE solid and unmoveable in what you already believe.

2. Make you re-evaluate everything you thought you believed.

For example, those of us who are saved by the blood of Jesus need to be #1 all day everyday, but if a “wind of doctrine” has you leaning towards #2 then you need to study more, research more, and do the leg work for yourself to prove to yourself what the truth is so you can lock into the #1 position. I’ve read stories where staunch athiests who tried to disprove the existence of God end up giving their lives to Christ because that’s where THEIR research led them.

Bottom line, don’t be complacent where you are. A challenge only makes you stronger and the best thing to do is to prepare for one because challenge is inevitable. I’ve been challenged with the speakers that I’ve been listening to over the last couple of weeks and challenge tends to fire me up. If nothing else, challenge will make me talk my wife’s ear off because of the sheer impact it had on me.

Always remember that precious diamonds are made out of pressure (and lots of it).

Challenge Is Inevitable [Part 1/2]

I think we all know the saying “Change is inevitable”. Basically, change is going to happen whether we like it or not. Change can be good. Change can be bad. The universal truth is that change happens and, even more than that, change is inevitable because nothing, aside from the love of God almighty, ever stays the same.

But what about challenge? Can challenge be grouped into the inevitable category?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to a lot of speakers on YouTube who are speaking on their passions. In case you didn’t know, YouTube is a wealth of free knowledge DEPENDING on what you’re looking for. As long as it’s educational and not pop culture, you can pretty much get it for free. Education is not of significant value, but pop culture movies, especially those containing high volumes of sex and violence, cost money to view.

But I digress…

When is the last time you were challenged? Not physically per se, but challenged on what makes you who you are? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you act the way you act? Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you feel a specific way about this, that, and everything in-between.

A physical challenge is simple. Either you can, in your own strength, do a thing or you can’t. That’s all dependent on your physical ability. However, a challenge to your beliefs, values, morals, thinking, acting, spirituality, religiosity, etc. is different in a lot of ways, but it still shares that “dependent on your abilites” part. Moreso than that, nothing brings out a challenge of that magnitude more than a counter to YOUR point OR a controversial declaration.

Perhaps this is why we like to hang around people who are just like us because there’s little to no challenge AND, to some degree, we all like to hang out with variations of ourselves. After all, who knows you better than you?

This post is not to blast your circle of friends (because everybody needs one of those), but what happens when you receive a challenge that calls for you to dig into the inner-most parts of you to generate a response? Could you do it? How many of us could truly handle a challenge to what makes us who we are?

Double Booked

First let me start off with this. I had an AWESOME WEEKEND!

Second, let me say that I was EXHAUSTED today.

Here’s what happened. This last past weekend was the result of advanced scheduling. In other words, I was scheduled to teach a 3-day workshop over the weekend… which I did. I was also scheduled to spend time with family and friends on day 2 of the actual workshop… which I also did. As a result, my schedule this last past weekend was non-stop (not to mention the full work week leading up to the weekend).

Here’s the lesson: THERE MUST BE BALANCE. Your body cannot sustain constant motion forever and eventually requires a rest period. So just remember that if your schedule is packed to the gills, go on and schedule a break.

Sounds silly to say and oh-so-basic, but if you don’t do it, no one else will do it for you.

The Real Gospel Challenge: WHO and WHY

For those of you who may not be aware of the most recent Facebook trend, allow me to fill you in. “The Gospel Challenge” is where FB members take video of themselves singing their favorite gospel songs AND, afterwards, issuing a challenge to their vocally inclined friends.

And to be totally honest with you… I’ve been loving every minute of it. That’s probably due to the fact that most of my FB friends are actual singers and musicians. That always makes it easy.

But I had a thought about all these Gospel challenges going around. I was talking with my wife and asked the question “What if BET picks this up and turns it into an actual TV show?” (thinking along the popularity lines of “Sunday Best”) Then I thought about it a little further and this is my conclusion.

If BET (or any other network) were to turn the Gospel challenge into a serious TV show, then that disproves the need for auditions. That, in turn, leaves no way to narrow a pool of contestants to vote on, narrow down to just one, and raise to “idol” status only to be ignored and tossed aside once their national popularity has decreased.

The bottom line is that there are more people out there with real God-given talent than we realize. Moreso than that, those same people are more concerned about singing for the glory of God as opposed to the glory of man. So while I am enjoying this Gospel challenge thoroughly, I am issuing this charge to all singers:

Make sure you know WHO you are singing for and the reason WHY you’re doing it.