I am going to step out on a limb and state the obvious. I have not been posting much to the site for quite some time now. For those who read this blog on a regular basis, I apologize. Life has been accomplishing its mission of creating busyness as of late and my blog has suffered. With the crazy shifts in weather this Spring my family has consistently been fighting off some type of seasonal illness. We have had allergies, colds, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, etc. In addition I have taken on a second paying job so I am currently working full time at the hospital and part-time with the Alzheimer’s Association. I also took some time off to roof my house. I have somehow managed to continue writing content for my next book but something had to give and that ended up being my business. To call this website a business is a bit of a misnomer. I do have a license to operate Stratosphere Networking as a business but I have invested more money into it than I have made from it. Don’t worry, I have not invested my life savings or anything – it’s just a website, so there really isn’t much overhead. Since the majority of my funding comes from ads, it really doesn’t make much. That’s alright because I started this site as a type of hobby of sorts. It really exists to give me a chance to write for an audience and to give others the opportunity to learn about some really talented people. It also serves as a marketing tool for my books, so it is worth having.
The thing is, however, it just has become a low priority for me. Since something had to give, it was my blog. This doesn’t mean I am going to stop writing or posting funny cartoons. It does mean that I may be uploading less content for awhile though.
All of these transitions are happening for a reason and I am asking you to join me in prayer. I want to hear clearly from God. I don’t think I will continue working two jobs for the long haul. I want to spend time with my family and working two jobs makes that more difficult. I know God has something better for me than my current status and I am anticipating something great in the future. Will you join me in prayer? Will you believe with me that things will get better? Please don’t give up on this site because I hope to one day have the time to invest into it again.
PS - The parrot really has nothing to do with today's article - I just found it interesting.
Check out today's VLOG on change. I'm on a treadmill!! -Tim
Me: “How are you doing this morning?”
Me: “I find it hard to get going so early in the morning.”
Coworker: “Oh, I am a morning person; I’m up at 4:00 anyway so if I come into work at 9:00, I have already worked a full morning at home.”
Me: “I get up at 5:15 a.m. to come to work each day and after 6 years on the job, it’s still a struggle. I guess I’m not meant to be a morning person.”
I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me take a moment to time travel. When I was a child my family lived down the road from the bus driver. This meant that I was the first person to board the bus each morning (unless the bus driver’s granddaughter had stayed at his house). I lived on a gravel road in the backcountry of West Tennessee. I was on the bus between 1.5 to 2 hours each morning. This meant that I was waiting on the bus around 6:15 a.m. I can remember many mornings of awakening between 5:00 and 5:30, getting ready and standing in the cold, dark morning air awaiting a bus that would pass by my house if I wasn’t out there but could be anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes late even though I was the first stop. I remember standing by my mailbox one morning and watching the bus pass right on by because he had not seen me. Those were not happy times for me. One of my biggest memories is the constant thought I had as a child that I would not ever work at a job that required me to be up before the sun. I figured that I would have the freedom to make that decision when I grew up and holding on to that hope kept me going on many of those cold, dark mornings. In case you think I am exaggerating about my morning moods, I distinctly remember that my parents had a difficult time getting me up. I slept through the alarms and my mother had somehow developed a way to awaken me. I can remember her needing to work a late shift at work and dad being the one to wake me up. He would either drag me out of bed or pour water on me. I was not a happy camper in the mornings and to say I detested the morning would be a vast understatement.
Now I am an adult and guess what? I get up at 5:15 each morning to get ready for work. You would think that having done so for so many years as a child it would be easy now but it is not. I don’t need water splashed on me and I don’t get dragged out but my wife gently pushes on my arm a few times to get me rolling. I have a system… I stumble (and I mean literally stumble) to the bathroom, proceed to shower and shave. I have some of that expensive men’s shampoo and conditioner that tingles (no not the dandruff stuff, this is the stuff that comes from the salon). I also use a strong men’s body wash because I have found the strong smells tend to help awaken my senses. I somehow manage to shave, brush my teeth and get dressed in clothing that I preselected the night before. Choosing my clothing in the morning would be unwise, to say the least. After getting dressed, I get my morning coffee, clamber into the car and drive in the darkness for 30 minutes. You may want to stay off the road at that time if you live in southern Illinois – just kidding; I manage to stay alert while driving. I arrive at work around 6:30 and generally start working on reports or visiting with my staff – it all depends upon my level of alertness. Usually by 7:00 or 7:30, I feel alright and manage to make it through the rest of the day.
I managed to not live up to my childhood dream of not getting up early. I have come to realize it’s my ‘thorn in the flesh.’ For those not versed in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul speaks about his ‘thorn in the flesh’: “ So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Now I know that there will be some out there who will get all religious and pompous and will tell me that it is all about my attitude. They will try to guilt me into liking the mornings by telling me that I should be thankful and need to spend it in prayer and reading my Bible; that each morning is a gift. People who give that advice generally come from one of two groups: 1.They happen to be morning people and have no clue what it is like for those of us who are built differently or 2. They don’t get up early themselves, but somehow think they are experts about morning attitudes. You do sometimes meet a convert who hated the a.m. but somehow learned to love it. Those people inspire me and because of them I have tried more than once to genuinely love the morning. I have focused on having the right attitude, tried to pray – although I could never seem to concentrate deep enough to do so – attempted to read but actually the prayer and reading just made me sleepier. I am a deep sleeper and getting up early just messes it all up – it always has. And yes, I do go to bed earlier but that doesn’t really help much either. Unless God works a miracle, I am just not a morning person.
It’s my thorn in the flesh, but that’s okay. Paul wanted his thorn removed and pleaded with God to do so. God chose not to remove it, but instead reminded Paul about grace. Paul decided to boast in his weakness, to be content with it and to remember that his strength comes from the Almighty. I will do the same. Mornings may not be my friend, but I can still have victory over them and I have a daily reminder that God has given me grace and He makes me strong. What’s your ‘thorn in the flesh?’
"You're an elf and elves make toys!" was the response Hermey often received when he explained to others that he really wanted to be a dentist. In case you are one of the two people on the planet who does not what I am referencing, this takes place in the children's Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
Hermey was an elf and was told that all elves made toys. The problem is that he did not enjoy making toys and really wasn't good at - much like Will Ferrell's character in Elf. Hermey greatly desired to reinvent himself. He wanted to abandon the job he hated to embrace that for which he was passionate.
I will turn 39 next month. I think that it is pretty common in the human race that we evaluate our lives at big milestones; graduation, marriage, birth of a child, passing of decades, retirement, etc. I am at one of those stages... I am about to embark upon the end of the thirties. I am looking at my life and trying to decide if I am where I want to be. I can tell you that ten years ago at age 29, I would not see myself sitting where I am. I have a job at great employer but I am doing something that doesn't really drive me. I'm not complaining, it's a good job, but that's the problem - it's a job. It isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life because I often feel like an elf who makes toys but desires to be a dentist. (This is an analogy - I don't make toys and have no desire to be a dentist.) I do my job well, but I'm not driven by it. There are elements of it that I do enjoy but I mostly just see it as a way to put food on the table. Here is the thing... I live in America. I live in the land of opportunity. I don't have to make toys if I don't want to. I have a degree, years of experience and passion. I can change but to do so without a plan may be the wrong move. I have no plans to up and quit my current job, but I must confess that I am doing some serious soul searching concerning where I will be ten years from now. I highly doubt it will be sitting in the same chair.
Do you ever feel like you need to make a change? Do you desire to reInvent yourself? Have you done so? Do you have wisdom to share with me and everyone else who is pondering this? Feel free to share. I will keep you posted as I progress forward.
(This is posted in "Christianity" because the "Inspiration" blog has not yet been completed)
Happy New Year!! I want to start off the new year with a confession/apology. I took the week between Christmas and New Years off and when I say I took it off, I really took it off. I not only took time off work but I intentionally resisted writing on my book or even maintaining my blog. I spent the entire time with my family. The way I see it my children will only be young once and I need to spend every moment that I can with them. As far as an apology goes - it really isn't an apology at all. I would gladly put everything on hold again to savor more moments with my wife and children. If you missed seeing updates on the blog - you need not worry because I am back. The kids are back at school and Julie and I are back at work. This year will see some changes to this site. (I think I say this every January.) The website is changing though and I am very excited. One thing you will see more of in 2013 is guest postings. I have an increasing number of businesses who wish to post on the site and as long as their subject matter is family friendly I have no reason to deny them the opportunity. Due to that wonderful change, you will see more guest postings by professionals this year. I am also planning on making some vlogs (video blogs) this year. I have written about it in the past: Tourism VloggingI don't have plans to do too many tourism vlogs since I don't travel much. (I would love to do it though if anyone wants to pay me for it.) I do plan to dabble in vlogging on occasion though - just to mix things up some. I have some other plans in the works but it wouldn't be fun to tell you all of them today. What would you have to anticipate? Here's to a great 2013!! Also, I would like to thank all those who still visited the blog in my absence. I was pleasantly surprised to still see a high number of hits on this site even though we haven't posted any new material in almost two weeks!! I hope you have a fabulous 2013!!-Tim
I’m just a simpleton who likes to view life in a straightforward manner. When I view things like the U.S. Constitution I look for clear-cut answers. I am not a lawyer and can very easily get muddled in all the nonsensical jargon contained within legal documentation. I know that it is not nonsensical jargon to those for whose profession is legal representation but it is for me. With this in mind, please understand that when I speak of the U.S. Constitution I am speaking from the understanding of one who is not well educated in the reading of legal documentation. Now that I have made my best attempt at making a legal disclosure for my blog, let’s get started.
Yesterday, December 11, 2012, “in a major win for Second Amendment rights, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Illinois’s virtual ban on the carrying of any guns, whether concealed or otherwise.”
This is big news for those of us who live in Illinois. Both sides of the controversy are buzzing. Those who are in favor of gun rights are celebrating while those in favor of gun control are shaking their fists.
Let’s take a minute to look at the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Here is what it says, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
I side with those who interpret this to mean that American citizens have a legal right to own and carry firearms for the purpose of personal protection. I know there has been controversy over the terminology surrounding the word militia and whether or not it was originally meant to be capitalized. Some view it as meaning that those who are in some form of organized armed service are who is given the right carry weapons but many of us view it as meaning that all citizens have the right; and much of this is due to where it mentions the ‘security of a free state.’ Once citizens are no longer able to protect themselves, their freedom is lost. I tend to believe that we are meant to keep arms as a way to dispel the government from gaining too much power. Suppose for a moment that a dictator was elected into our government and established a military order to attack citizens who disagreed with his beliefs. It would be much more difficult to do such an action in a country where the citizens are armed than where they are disarmed.
I am not a violent person. I don’t hunt and personally take no pleasure in killing animals. (I have no problem who those who hunt, I just don’t enjoy it.) Despite being rather passive I still believe that Americans have the right to carry weapons for the purpose of self defense and I believe the Second Amendment guarantees that right. Our right to bear arms helps us protect one another from those who wish to harm us. I am glad that my state has finally been disciplined for its disrespect for our Constitution. I’m sure this is not the end of this war but I celebrate that our freedoms have been upheld.
I sometimes wonder if I am in the right career. I keep hoping I one day see an opening for a position labeled something like, “looking for self starter who is great at generating vision, creating new endeavors, passionately leading others but lacks discipline in seeing the vision fully implemented.” I know, it sounds like I fit right in as a manager [poke, poke] but I think this is something that requires deeper explanation.
For starters, I am not saying that I am lazy, just a little absent minded. I am one of those people who loves daydreaming. I greatly enjoy coming up with all types of ideas. My biggest problem is that I often never put feet to them. Finishing my first book was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s not that the story wasn’t in my mind, it’s just that I am really, really, really good at not finishing. I’m like a sprinter in a marathon. I excel and starting the race with everything I have. I run hard and fast, but I exhaust myself long before the race is finished. This is why I need to find a job where I can create ideas but others can finish them.
I constantly have random stuff flying through my mind. It can really be exhausting to be me at times.
One area is movies. I’m not great at making movies but I constantly have new concepts – usually some type of farce on an existing popular project. Here are some examples of random thinks I thought about last night… while trying to go to sleep… A spoof on Justin Bieber's Baby, Baby, Baby called Money, Money, Money focusing on singing to make money… A spoof of Gangnam Style called Gomer Pyle... changing Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen’s Good Time to Bad Time and some other stuff that I can’t remember. I’ve had the idea of remaking The Amazing Spiderman but changing it to where Dr. Connors is studying the regenerative powers of the starfish instead of a lizard. Imagine Spiderman fighting a giant starfish…out of water.
I am also coming up with book ideas constantly. It is really hard to focus on my current book when I keep thinking of other great ideas.
I also think about changes I want to make to my cars, places I want to live, new business ideas, t-shirt designs (one was of a WANTED picture of a large soda – in New York, another is a shirt that says WARNING, CONCEALED GUNS with arrows pointing at the biceps on each arm – this one is political but a shirt that says “We should have known Obama would be re-elected, the Mayans predicted it,”) stuff I want to invent and on and on and on. My brain is like the energizer rabbit... and that has got to have some purpose… doesn’t it?
I don’t really have a point and I have been really thinking about not finishing today’s article because that would fit really well, but I do want you to see how my mind works. Maybe you have an idea about how I can use this gift to help society.
Wait a minute!! I have a great idea…
I have come to a conclusion, Facebook makes me feel old. Ever since they invented the ‘Timeline’ I have felt older. I see friends and family from years gone by and realize how much we have aged or how old their kids are. Just living life from day to day doesn’t remind me that I am aging so much but looking at my own personal history on Facebook brings that reality to light. I look at pictures of myself from years ago and think, ‘was it really that long ago?’ I’m not sure how I feel about the direction Facebook is going. It makes sense that it morphs into a greater type of ‘Face Book’ or ‘Year Book’ as time goes on; that’s kind of why it started. In tribute of this love/hate relationship we have with Facebook, I have created the following list.
Top Ten Ways Facebook Makes you Feel Old
10. You realize how much your hair has changed
9. You see a big life event and then realize how many years have passed since it happened
8. The bottom of your Timeline says ‘BC’
7. The oldest pictures of you are yellowed on the edges or black & white - Either way they were scanned, not uploaded
6. You remember when Facebook first started and there was no one you actually knew on it
5. Your friend’s status’ are about the chiropractor, back pain, hip pain and Icy Hot
4. Your status mentions the chiropractor, back pain or Icy Hot.
3. You are required to scroll down through countless pages to find your graduation date
2. You see a picture of yourself when you were younger and think, “Who is that?”
1. You don’t know what Facebook is and you have not joined because you don’t want to mess with "that new fangled technology."
I’m sure Pinterest and Twitter will also make us feel old before too long. I have decided that I will most definitely feel old when I am recounting Facebook and a whole new generation doesn’t even know what it is because it has become obsolete. Anyone remember Woolworth?
My office is a mess. I have papers stacked on papers, pens scattered across my desk, piles of stuff on my desk and table. Organization is not one of my strong giftings, but I do like cleanliness. I like it when there is nothing on my desk and everything is in its place. It seems to create a sense of peace. The problem is that as soon as I get everything where it needs to go, it all ends back up in a state of disorder in a matter of minutes.
Life tends to run the same way. We work hard to try to get things in order, to feel like life is neat and tidy. The next thing we know some whirlwind slams in and throws everything into a state of disarray. Our heads are bobbing from the current.
You may feel like everything has fallen apart today, but just take some time to pick up the pieces. Place your life in God’s hands and allow Him to help you straighten things up. Sometimes it takes a storm to help us appreciate the sunshine.