Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We Have MOVED!!

Please Note:

CREEations has move to our new home:

Please update your bookmarks and favorites.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Moving is Stressful!

OK. So last night I spent several hours working on moving the blog over to my new home. I get things situated well enough that I thought I could just bite the bullet, make a grand announcement and send everyone over there.

I had about an hour to fiddle this morning before I go to a church leadership meeting then down to Jacksonville for about 12 hours of work.

And I can’t even access my new web site!!!

It’s like it doesn’t even exist. I can’t bring up the hosting control panel, log into WordPress, or even see the blog from the outside.

I must have done something wrong last night. I put a support request ticket in with the help desk but I don’t know if they will get it back up at all today.

This just in…

Oh, I just got a response from the help desk (less than 30 minute response time!). They said, “The server has been experiencing some kernal errors.”

Don’t have a clue what kernel errors are (sounds crunchy!). But they assure me they are working on it and the site should be back up soon.

At lest I didn’t mess things up on my end!

So enjoy the new site (when they get it back up…)

P.S. I still have a whole lot of unpacking to do over there at my new home!


UPDATE: Just passing through after my meeting on my way out of town for work and they've updated my trouble ticket to tell me they had a hardware failure. They are waiting on a part and expect to have the server, and my new blog, back up sometime today.

Don't know what a RAID controller is, but it sounds serious. (My guess is it has something to do with the war on terror somehow!)

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Friday, June 09, 2006




We are moving this blog to our NEW LOCATION.

Please update your bookmarks, favorites and bring along any links you may have as you come and visit the new location of our home. You can enjoy the same great ponderings in a fresh new format.

If you are subscribed to our feed, do not fret. With a little bit of skill we should be able to continue feeding your reader with no difficulty via Feedburner. You shouldn’t have to change anything on your end and you won’t miss a beat. Hopefully! :)

Please be patient with me as I unpack all my boxes in our new home. It is going to take a bit of doing to get organized in our new surroundings. Things will most likely change from day to day as I learn and figure out what I am doing.

But I promise you this move will allow for a much more feature rich blog reading experience on your end.

Thank you for your patience.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

A Time for Everything

Most of you who are 40-ish and up, or maybe even if you are a child of a Baby Boomer and heard their 8-tracks growing up, have probably heard the song by the Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!”.

But did you know they took their lyrics straight out of the Bible?

See for yourself what Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has to say:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
I guess my version today would be there is a time for using the free Blogger service and a time to move up and pay for your own blog.

Last night I stayed up late and got a hosting account set up with A Small Orange. For some reason I had the urge to keep my site in state and everything I’ve been able to find out about these guys says their customer service is second to none.

That means I’ll be moving the blog over to a new domain this weekend, and learning a new blogging platform with WordPress with all the challenges that entails.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m first on call this weekend at work? So it’s going to be Sleep Deprivation City for me, baby!

All I can say is Bring it ON!

Where’s my coffee?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interesting Coincidence

I find it very curious that Blogger has been running painfully slowly the day after the Official Google Blog has a post urging folks to lobby Congress to Support Net Neutrality.

Is this an untimely coincidence, or shades of things to come? Are the big phone and cable companies putting the squeeze on Google for speaking up on the "wrong" side of the issue?

Here is what the Blogger Status Blog says, "For many users, Blogger will have been extremely slow or down for most of the morning. We continue to work on fixes for this problem and hope to have it resolved as quickly as possible."

Of course I'm also told by some who are more exprienced than I am that Blogger is notorious for having outages, so maybe I'm just being cynical.

But I've never had a big problem with them in the 6+ moths I've been with the service. And I'm not one to complain about a free service that has as much to offer and is as easy for a beginner to use as Blogger has been for me! As far as my (limited perhaps) experience goes, Blogger is a great platform that I'd recommend for anyone starting out. It is an exceptional low cost way to try blogging out and see if it is a good fit.

Just the same, perhaps it is now officially time to move CREEations to a more reliable and robust (and yes, more expensive) host.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Time to Get Preachy About the Internet

OK guys. It’s time for me to get a little preachy. If you are in the US, and most of you stopping here at this point are, you need to know there is something big happening in Congress in the next week.

It will affect everyone. Globally.

Do you support any non-profit charities? How would you like it if their information could no longer be accessed?

Congress will be voting on the issue that has been labeled “Net Neutrality”. The outcome of this vote will have lasting repercussions that affect your access to information on the internet and ultimately how everyone in the world can access information flowing from the US.

Congress may decide to keep things the way they have been for years by passing a new law. Or they may vote to give the giant phone and cable companies complete control of the internet so they can convert it to their own private network.

If Congress gives control to these corporate giants, these companies say they will choose what information their customers can and cannot access.

And it is already happening.

For example Craigslist is being blocked by Cox Interactive.

What can you do?

First – Get Informed.

You can read my previous posts on the issue here and here.

Go to the advocacy sites It’s Our Net and Save The Internet.

Read what Google says about the issue in today’s entry at the Official Google Blog.

Liz over at Successful-Blog has a whole page of links devoted to Net Neutrality. She’s been tracking this issue for a long time.

And you can read what Mark has to say at R-Web Designs. He was targeted with a comment spam attack because of his advocacy.

Then – Contact Congress.

Make your voice heard. Send an email. Make a phone call. If you don’t speak up now then you are allowing Congress to be swayed by the multi-million dollar marketing campaign that the corporate giants are using to tell their side of the story.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

We Are Passionate People

We are incredibly passionate creatures. We are hardwired to care about things. Passion is the fuel that drives us forward. Without it we stagnate and can get depressed.

Did you ever wonder why one person excels in a given area while at the same time someone else, who might even seem more qualified, never seems to gain any ground?

A difference in passion between the two might be part of the answer.

Everyone has passion. There are no passionless people out there. Some folks have chosen to numb their passion and may have a hard time remembering that they ever had them. But they did.

Need proof? Look at any child between two and five years old. There is so much passion and energy and enthusiasm that some of us wish we could bottle so we could tap into it as we get older. Of course then after that age, kids get shoved into school and their passions are “redirected” which can be a fancy way of saying they are suppressed in the interest of conformity.

Did you know that God cares about your passions?

A lot of folks know that He does. But they think He only cares because He wants to squash all passion out of his followers and make people into uncaring zombies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tells us
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
You see, not only does God know about your passions, the desires of your heart, but He wants to see you get them. God knows what your passions are because He wired them into you before you were born.

The danger comes in when we lose sight of those passions we were given. Gorgeous is reading a book, Pathway to Purpose by Katie Brazelton, and I want to share a paragraph from it.
A lack of passion can quickly turn into a serious problem, especially if we attempt to fill that void with unhealthy passions. There is no denying that the compelling attractive force of passions for gambling, alcohol, pornography, overspending, overeating, adultery, or drugs. Even innocent-sounding intoxicators like television talk shows all day long, constant shopping, perpetual telephone conversations or obsessive-compulsive house cleaning can be destructive ways of feeding an unmet need for real passion. If we want to truly experience the desires of our heart and discover God’s purpose, we must guard against the seductive power of these unhealthy passions. (page 157)
What’s the best way to fight against these unhealthy passions?

Fill your time with healthy passions! It is so much easier to not do something if we are doing something else in stead.

The military has a saying, you’re better doing than thinking. And there’s some truth to it. Just simply stopping a destructive passion is nearly impossible unless the void is filled and that time and energy is filled with something constructive. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves right back where we started.

Have you lost sight of your passions? Is it holding you back?

Find them again and excel like the overcomer you were made to be.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Persecution is Alive and Kicking

Most of us have head the stories about how the early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Tradition holds that all sorts of nasty things were done to believers throughout the first few hundred years after Jesus walked the earth.

The Bible even records how the Apostle Paul, before he changed his name from Saul and converted to follow Jesus, went around arresting believers in an attempt to destroy the church.

But did you know that followers of Jesus are still being systematically persecuted in all kinds of different places throughout the globe today?

Let me take you on a little tour around the world to give you a taste of what can happen to you today in some places simply because of a choice to follow Jesus. The tour is compliments PersecutionBlog, which is the blog of The Voice of the Martyrs.

Just last week a house church was brutally attacked in Vietnam. Imagine getting together for a work day to do some much needed repairs on your church and having a mob show up and attack you. The police stood by for a while before arresting 11 of the believers and hauling them off for a few more hours of beatings and interrogations. Oh, yes. Then the mob partially tore down the house that the believers were trying to repair in the first place.

Last month a mob stormed a church in India, beating believers and breaking furniture. Then they hauled off the pastor to the police station where he was immediately arrested.

Then there’s Somalia where believers are beaten and killed by people who are taught that killing a follower of Jesus is a sure ticket into heaven. Believers can’t even register in refugee camps because of their religion. Or you could be a western relief worker and get murdered in front of your family by a mob that then burns your house and forces themselves on your wife after you’re dead.

Be glad you are not in a Pakistani prison where you might get tortured simply for holding a Bible study with your fellow prisoners and then locked in solitary confinement.

Or maybe you buy into the Myth of Chinese Religious Freedom. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you register your church with the government or not. The Chinese Public Security Bureau surrounded and raided a church that was registered with the government, and arrested several of the leaders on the grounds that theirs was an “illegal evil cult” meeting.

Have there been horrible things done by people claiming to operate in the name of Jesus Christ? Unfortunately the answer is yes, and way too many.

But I thought you should know that in many parts of the world today the cost of following Jesus is much more than simply getting dressed up for an hour a week while you try to stay awake during some preaching.

Think about that.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

What is Peace?

I’m having an interesting discussion over on Reddit with someone who objects to my previous post on the grounds that the only reason I could have experienced a peaceful moment is because I am not living in abject poverty.

People make that mistake a lot. We often think that peacefulness comes from an accumulation of wealth and things and if we could just get that raise or be able to buy those new things then our problems would be over.

If that were the case then there would be a whole lot fewer celebrity suicides. We’d also find that psychiatrists and counselors would be out of work. Wealthy people would not need their services and poor people who would need them wouldn’t be able to afford them.

The truth is that personal peace is not at all related to the amount of wealth a person has. Wealthy people can be peaceful or tormented. People living in abject poverty can also be peaceful or tormented.

I did an 8 part series on Peacemakers a couple months back. Part 6 looked at the source of spiritual peace.

Here’s what it boils down to:

Peace comes from a closeness to God. It has nothing to do with how much stuff we have or don’t have.

Am I always close to God? Nope. I often go wandering off on my own because I can be stubborn, willful, and feel I need to be in control. That’s why moments like last night are so precious and get my attention.

But here’s the best part. In spite of how screwed up I am, God still makes the effort to get close to me just like He makes the effort with you. God took concrete steps to make a close relationship with us possible. He cared so much about you and I that He traded His most precious possession for us.

He willingly gave up the life of the one closest to Him, His own son Jesus, so that we could experience that peace.

There is nothing I can do to either add to or subtract from that. No matter how much wealth I accumulate or even if I gave it all away and became dirt poor I would still not find peace unless I got close to God. Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

All is Right in the World

There are occasional moments when I have this overwhelming feeling that all is right in the world.

Now before you get all hot and bothered, I know there is still war, murder, starvation and all kinds of evil and suffering happening. I don’t live in la-la land.

But every once in a great while I just know that it is going to be OK.

This evening Gorgeous had a conference call so I went out to the store to get some milk, eggs, and other needful things. As I walked out the door to the car there was a surprising absence of gnats. I could hear the chuk-chuk-chuk of sprinklers in the neighborhood as the sun was starting to go down. A lawn mower was running a few blocks away.

It was peaceful.

It was like God was telling me, “Everything’s under control. Enjoy your evening. Have a good night’s rest tonight. I’ll keep an eye on things. In the morning we’ll talk.”

Gorgeous and I still have the same stresses in our lives. We still tons of problems and gobs of unknowns.

But it’s like God told the prophet Jeremiah
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Life is messy. Jesus himself said that we will always have problems. I like the way The Message puts it
I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.
It is reassuring to know that God has a plan. And if He’s the planner then I bet it’s a pretty stinking good one! Couple that with the fact that Jesus conquered the biggest problem I can ever face when he came up out of that tomb that first Easter morning and you begin to see why I can say it.

All is right in the world.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Mission Makes A Difference

I was given a tour of the Old Savannah City Mission this morning. Talk about and educational experience!

Walking in I sort of figured it was simply a homeless shelter. While it is that, the shelter is only a part of what they do there.

The Mission serves daily hot meals to inner city children. They help families in crisis with food and clothing distributions. They operate a thrift store.

But the thing that got my attention is their Urban Training Institute which is a year long residential recovery program. The program teaches life skills to men and gives them an opportunity to build a life as well as helping them get free of their addictions.

Their approach uses High Standards, Strong Boundaries, and Clear Direction. They call it Discipline with Grace. Students who are further along in the program help and mentor those who are in the earlier stages.

The really cool thing is that what they are doing is working. Lives are being changed. Men are learning how to be men and families are being healed. We heard some powerful stories from people such as Curtis and Randy about where they came from and how they’ve changed since they arrived at the Mission.

Here are some things I learned today:
  • 75% of all men who are released from prison end up back there

  • For women it’s 85%

  • Americans would rather build more prisons than actually do the messy work required to see these folks able to re-integrate into society

  • God is still in the life changing business

  • A little bit of help can go a long way.
There is probably a mission organization doing something similar in your city. You can check some on this interactive map. And here’s a partial list.

Make a difference in someone’s life. Get involved.

You will likely find you are the biggest winner if you do.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Evidence I'm Getting Older #458

Summer is no longer my favorite time of the year.

When I was growing up I couldn’t wait for summer every year. Since I was an only child and we lived in the country outside a (very) small town, my childhood was a very Calvinistic experience. Well, without the intellectual stuffed tiger sidekick, but I was allowed to run amok on my own. Yes, it was a different world then. We often didn’t lock our doors at night either.

But I digress.

I would endure the final few sweltering days of the school year with as much patience as I could muster. Our school building had been dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt and didn’t have air conditioning. But I could deal with it because I knew it meant summer with all its adventure was right around the corner. I’m sure it didn’t help my grade point average at all to be taking finals with my brain frying from the heat but somehow I muddled through.

These days it seems I have to endure much more than a few sweltering days. There are vast stretches of the year of what I call Summer. I broaden the scope out a bit beyond the calendar season.

My definition of Summer is any day the temperature gets above 75F (24C). I figure my definition on the fact that we keep our air conditioner set at 74 in the summer and if it gets above that we have to close the windows. I know it’s not at all scientific. But it works for me.

Down here in the Southeast we not only have the heat, we get the humidity smothering us like a wet wool blanket. There’s nothing quite like breaking a sweat just walking the 35 feet across the parking lot to your car. I suppose that part’s not so bad though because you know when you get there you are going to climb into a blast furnace. And it will take approximately 18 minutes before there is any noticeable temperature difference in the flow coming out of the a/c vents.

If you’re trip happens to be over 45 minutes long the interior might actually get cool enough for you to stop sweating. But the a/c probably won’t be able to dry out your shirt until after the sun goes down. By that time you’re bound to notice some interesting smells are following you around.

It must be a sign of aging. Something I so looked forward to when I was a kid now fills me with a sense of dismay.

Thank God for air conditioning!

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Attention Fellow Bloggers

Dr. Nora Barnes of U-Mass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research is conducting a study about bloggers and is doing something smart – asking for input directly from authors of blogs.

Are you tired of the misconceptions that persist out there about blogging? Now you have an opportunity to help set the record straight. Take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey and return it to Dr. Barnes.

This study was brought to my attention by Liz Strauss over at Successful Blog who first heard about it from Diane Ensey at A List Review.

(We now return you back to your regular blogging program…)

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Inside Out

In my business I am on and off a lot of ships. It can be interesting because you never really know what you are walking into when you board a ship. A really rough looking, poorly maintained ship may have a very competent crew. But maybe their owners won’t pay for proper maintenance. At the same time a really good looking vessel may have an inexperienced crew.

Of course sometimes when the ship looks rough the crew also doesn’t know their business.

The point is you just can’t tell until you get on board what you are walking into.

The same is true when I have to inspect individual containers. There is no way to tell the condition of the cargo inside until the seal is broken and the doors are opened. The nastiest looking rusty container may be full of high dollar cargo. And a pristine brand new box may be mostly empty.

People can be like that too. Some folks are really good at putting up good fronts so that the outside doesn’t match what is really on the inside.

Those people can fool us for a while, but ultimately they will let us down.

The Bible tells us that God is not fooled by appearances
The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions.
It’s a good thing that God isn’t fooled. And maybe you’re thinking, “Duh! He’s God. Of course He wouldn’t be fooled.”

But I appreciate that He came right out and said it so that I don’t have to guess. And He made point right in the middle of a story to drive it home.

Take a look at that story and you’ll see that character counts. Who we really are on the inside, our driving thoughts and intensions, matters a whole lot more in the end than whatever image we present to everyone else.

Image is not everything!

Being real with folks can be scary. But ultimately it is better in the end because we don’t have to worry about the “what ifs.” What if the image cracks? What if they find out who I really am?

I try to be genuine, a Popeye person. You know, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am and I ain’t no more.” What you see is what you get. It works for me.

How’s keeping that image in place working for you?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Immigration vs. Outsourcing

Everyone with a pulse in the US is probably aware of the whole immigration debate going on here right now. (If not, the link is the Googled “immigration debate”. There’s only about 60 million sites that can fill you in.)

And for years we’ve been hearing complaints about jobs going overseas due to outsourcing. Dilbert is dealing with that in his usual humorous way today. Apparently even some Christian prayer lines have been outsourced to India.

So what’s your opinion? Are the two issues related in any way?

Speak up and leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You're Just Passing Through

Last night we had a going away party for some friends of ours who are moving up to Boston. There was a ton of good food. We had a lot of laughs and bunches of great conversation. And now we have a really good reason to visit that wonderful city.

The whole evening was a solid reminder of the reality that life is a very transient thing. For an increasing number of us here in America it is becoming normal to move around quite a bit. Gorgeous and I have been married a little over 8 years and we are on our fifth home and third state.

Yet some folks live in the same place their entire lives. Do you suppose folks who do ever lose site of how short life is? I know it would be tempting for me to believe that this life was a more permanent thing if I stayed in one place for a long time.

But the reality life is fleeting. The Bible says
Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.
Not one of us knows how long we have here. I don’t see anywhere that it’s written we are promised to be on this world tomorrow. Keeping that in mind can help us make the most of today.

The other life lesson that was reinforced by our friends leaving was that we shouldn’t hold our possessions too dearly. They had to lighten the load considerably to make their move due to the tremendous disparity in housing costs between Savannah and Boston. They de-ballasted by giving away a ton of stuff. The chair I’m sitting in while I type this was one of their gifts.

We have the capacity to put way too much importance on our stuff. Voice in the Wilderness says you can learn a lot about folks and their stuff just by looking in the church parking lot. When you move around you have an incentive to lighten the load that isn’t there when you stay put for a long time.

Right before He told a story to illustrate how short life is Jesus pointed out that
Real life is not measured by how much we own.
It goes back to what I said about life a while back. The meat (the real substance) of life is the sum of our relationships. Everything else is just flavoring.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Day to Remember

Today is Memorial Day here in the States. The holiday’s roots go back over 130 years to shortly after the Civil War when the federal government set aside a day to honor the fallen from that war.

And then after World War I the significance of the day was officially expanded to honor the dead from all our nation’s wars.

This holiday is personal for me, and not only because I am a Navy veteran. It is a day for me to remember some of the incredible people who have given their lives in support of the liberty we so easily take for granted.

Today is a day to remember Sonny Bubeck who was engaged to the best friend of a girl I was dating at the time. I watched Sonny die when his F/A-18 Hornet did a lateral hard-over right off the catapult on the USS Saratoga and crashed into the Adriatic Sea. His plane was loaded with war shots because we were flying over Bosnia at the time trying to keep the various factions on the ground there from massacring each other.

Today is also a day to remember one of my flight school roommates, Rich Calderone.

Rich was a monster on the ping-pong table. He was the inventor of our constantly changing ruled “room-ball” where the ball could hit on any surface in the room after it hit your paddle as long as it hit once on your opponent’s side of the table. His specialties were the ceiling fan rocket shot and two-walling it off the wall behind his opponent so that it hit their side heading in the wrong direction and was impossible to play.

Rich died when his helicopter crashed one night off the USS America.

If you would, in honor of Sonny, Rich, and the thousands of others who have given their lives defending the liberty that we all enjoy today, please take a moment to watch this video clip, We Support U. And remember their sacrifice.

There is another reason why this particular holiday has special meaning to me. Because Memorial Day is a time set aside to remember the fallen, it is a day when Taps is traditionally played.

And it’s not just that the music is particularly gripping for anyone who’s been in uniform. (Here you can listen to Taps and hear for yourself.) But there is a family connection, as well.

I am actually related to General Daniel Butterfield, the one usually credited with helping create the song and bringing it popularity. My grandmother’s maiden name is Butterfield.

Last year, my cousin, Hannah Sollecito was invited to participate in the Echo Taps project. Echo Taps was done to highlight the shortage of buglers to perform Taps at military funerals. 866 musicians spaced along 41 miles of rural New York between Elmira and Bath echoed the funeral dirge for nearly three hours, one to the next along the entire distance.

As a descendent of General Butterfield, Hannah was asked to be the first to play and started the chain. Here’s the Washington Post article from last year.

Take a moment today to remember our fallen heroes.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Famous Privacy

What do you do when you see someone famous?

Gorgeous and I are up in Charleston this weekend staying with some friends. We all went out to a pizza place to grab some dinner because, well, eating is fun.

Now the pizza place happens to be located right down the road from our church. And it just so happened that I looked over and noticed our senior pastor, Greg Surratt, sitting a couple tables away having dinner with another couple.

Now I’m pretty sure Greg would dispute that he is actually famous. But he does lead a church of 10,000+ people. And something tells me that probably a lot of them stop him to say, “Hi” when they see him out and about.

We ended up having a little discussion at our table about the whole thing. Do we go up and say hello, being part of the church he leads, and from an out of state campus” The friends we were eating with happen to go to one of the Seacoast campuses up here too.

Or do we skip the introduction because he deserves his privacy and may not get much of that when he’s trying to have an evening of his own out with friends?

In the end we decided that going over to them would really be about us, not him. So we didn’t disturb them.

Was that the right answer?

Have you ever encountered anyone famous? What did you do?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

, , , ,

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who Wants to Be Rich and Happy?

Gorgeous and I are having a bit of a rough week. I guess you could say we’re on a passion search.

Don’t get me wrong. We got no problem with our passion, if you know what I mean. But that’s not what I’m talking about. (Besides, this is not that kind of blog. Sheesh!)

We’ve been asking ourselves lots of questions.
  • If money were no object what do you want to do?
  • If you could set aside all the things you have to do and had all the time in the world, what would you want to do?
  • What do you find yourself thinking about when your mind wanders?
Asking those sorts of questions helps refine what your passion really is.

Liz Strauss over at Successful-Blog some advice for folks who are searching to figure out what their passion really is
If you’re after an answer to that question, here’s how to spot something that’s your passion.

You have a passion, if what you are thinking about is
  1. a pastime or idea you’ve been interested in from the minute you encountered it.
  2. a pastime or idea you talk about, read about, and write about even when you don’t have to.
  3. a pastime or idea other people know that you know a lot about.
  4. a pastime or idea you would miss sorely if you had to give it up.
  5. a pastime or idea that energizes you when you get to share it with others.
What does it matter what your passion is? Why bother answering these tough questions?

Well it turns out you are likely to be more successful throughout life if you allow yourself to work at something you are passionate about. Curt Rosengren says passion will fuel your success and he tells us why.
Passion is a renewable resource. Doing work that comes from the heart of who you are and what you're drawn to energizes you. And that is energy you can put into doing the hard work of success.

Success in your career doesn't come with a snap of the fingers. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes commitment. Above all, it takes the energy and inspiration to make it all happen.
Curt feels so strongly about the subject that he calls himself a Passion Catalyst and has made his own career out of helping others figure out their passions.

But here’s the best part about finding your passion and letting yourself focus there. Not only are you likely to make more money because passion pays, but you will be happier too.

Again Curt tells us that to Focus on Money, Prestige, Success is a Recipe for Unhappiness.

So there you have it. Finding your passion can make you rich and happy. And now you’ve even got some pointers on how to get started working out what your passion really is.

All and all a good day.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Exercise is a Pain

Exercise is such a pain. Why is that?

I mean the best part of working out is finishing, at least in my book. I’ve never been one of those guys who loves spending hours each day at the gym.

My idea of a work out involves not getting a good parking place.

Am I alone in this? Looking around America, I don’t think so. We seem to be getting heftier, don’t we?

We had a friend visit from Australia a while back who said, “I’ve never seen so many obese children as you have here in America.”

And she’s not wrong.

My challenge here is one of priority, I think. I’d rather sit in front of this computer than go down to the YMCA and get on a machine. I know part of that is convenience. If the Y was in my back bedroom I might be more inclined to actually get on a machine.

I stress “might” because I also know the reality is the lack of convenience is just an excuse. And when I’m looking for an excuse, any excuse will do. I could just as easily say I don’t go to the Y much because it is near the airport. Or the TV’s are too loud. Or the A/C is too high (or too low). Or they don’t serve coffee.

The truth is I could pick any excuse because it doesn’t even matter. What I claim, my excuse, is not really why I don’t work out. I don’t work out because I don’t want to work out. I mean I want all the benefits of consistent exercise, health, stamina, looking good, and all that. But I don’t want it enough to actually pay the price, which involves an investment of time and effort. I prioritize it so low that it rarely actually happens.

Our nation is so wealthy that we seem to be able to afford to not do a whole bunch of things these days, exercise included. So many of us are unwilling to put in the work required to excel that we end up living lives of quietly despairing mediocrity.

I remember a quote from Finian’s Rainbow when Sharon asks Finian if there are any poor people in America. He answers something like, “Yes, but they are the richest poor people in the world.

And how true that is.

I can see a good side to this trend, though. With so few people actually exerting the effort required to excel these days, it means that we really don’t have to do all that much extra to stand out. As the saying goes, it only takes a little extra to change ordinary to extraordinary.

Even so, I still canceled my Y membership yesterday. I just wasn’t getting a good return on my investment.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What is Life?

Yesterday in my talk about heroes I mentioned that Jesus told us we have an enemy whose only purpose is to “steal and kill and destroy.” Did you click on the link to the verse where Jesus told us that? If not, take a look.
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.
Jesus said everything He did – the teaching, miracles, healing people, his horrific execution, and world changing resurrection – was for one reason only: to give people life.

That statement begs a question.

What is Life?

Only three little one syllable words, yet the question is huge. So big in fact that I’m not going to pretend to give a definitive answer to it. And I want to hear what you have to say about it. Go ahead and leave a comment at the end of this post with your thoughts.

At the same time, if this is really a blog of “practical life philosophy,” then we ought to look at the question of Life, eh?

Is life simply the sum of our biological function? I mean Jesus did heal a whole bunch of physical maladies. Even so, that seems like a pretty small view of the term. I’m sure the theologians would holler, “Wait! Wait! There’s more to life than that.”

The thing is we humans seem to somehow be “aware”. We know we exist, and yet we question that existence. What other living thing on this planet does that? Why are we different that way, then?

Why is it all of us deep down have a similar craving to be healthy, happy and rich? Is that what it means to be fully alive?

I recently had a conversation where I said that I believe communication is one of the fundamental keys to life. Because without communication there are no relationships. Without relationships life is pretty pointless.

But is Life simply the sum of our relationships? That may not be the whole enchilada, but I really think we are on to something now.

It makes sense in terms of what Jesus said about His motivations. Did he come to help us with our relationships? Was He kind of like a cosmic, all knowing version of Dr. Phil?

While that question is a bit simplistic, and may even be seen as blasphemous by some, I don’t think it is all that wide of the mark.

Read through the things that Jesus has to say. He is consistently beating the same drum. He talks almost exclusively about our relationships, both with God and with each other.

Jesus summed up what was most important to us this way:
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."
Jesus said the Life He came to give was all about relationships.

That’s my take. Share yours. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

We Need More Heroes

A friend of mine just got out of the military this week after serving our country {i.e. you and me} for something over 11 years. When I asked him how long he’d been active duty, he rattled off the exact years, months, weeks, days and hours.

Do you think wearing the uniform was a big deal to him?

I think he’s a hero. But he probably doesn’t look at it that way. He feels he was just doing his job. Of course doing that job meant spending years in Iraq over multiple deployments during both a war and an “insurrection” which is just as deadly dangerous as a war.

Here’s the thing that blows me away, especially when I read all the junk the news media pumps out about Iraq day after day: One of the options he is seriously considering is going back over there as a civilian contractor for a while.

Now I know the money is pretty good. But quite frankly it would have to be pretty stinking outrageous to tempt most folks to go over there. Um, people have a tendency to blow up and stuff. I’m not sure how much money is worth the risk of getting blown up.

So I don’t think it is just the money that would get him back there if that’s what he decides. I think he truly is a hero. And that’s a good thing in my book.

We need more heroes. We need more folks to make the difficult choices, and be willing to actually sacrifice something to help make this world a better place.

Does that mean you have to fight a war? No, not necessarily. But it does mean that you have to stand for something worthwhile, good and supporting of your fellow man. And whenever you actually take a stand for something, it most likely will involve a fight.

Because there is an enemy out there that doesn’t want you or anyone else to stand for anything remotely good. Jesus said that enemy’s sole purpose was to “steal and kill and destroy.” Paul told believers to
Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.
There’s a real war going on all around us right now as you read this. All that hurt and heartache that you see around you and in the news is simply mass casualties from that war.

What this world needs is a whole bunch of heroes who are armored-up and standing firm against the enemy. We need more warriors who are willing to put it all on the line, pay whatever sacrifice is needed, to take a stand for truth and for justice for those who can’t fight for themselves.

There has been a fun Superhero Quiz going around lately. I’ve had a good time with it.

But my question is this: are we going to be content to just be pretend heroes? Or are we going to actually strap on the armor and get in the fight for real?

Oh, and Aaron – no matter which way you decide to go career-wise at this point, you are already a hero in my eyes.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sleep Deprivation Experiment #748 Complete

Well we successfully made it through this week’s sleep deprivation experiment. I managed to get through it without driving off the road, making any technical blunders, or getting short with anyone. (Although I did have one minor issue with my camera at 3 AM on Sunday morning…)

This time we added a twist to the experiment. I really didn’t have to work all that many hours this weekend. They just all happened to be at night. And I learned something.

I must be getting older. (Oh, there’s a shocker!)

It used to be my motto was “Anytime – Anywhere.”

Now obviously that motto wasn’t original with me. Google the two words and you get nearly 50 million hits. Some of them I’m sure you don’t want to click, if you know what I mean.

But when I was younger that pretty much summed up where I could sleep if I decided to. Sleep was never a challenge for me. My dad would probably tell you that I acquired that skill at an early age. I remember a little friction many of my teenaged mornings when he insisted I get up before I was awake.

My time in the Navy only reinforced that special ability. Spend 6 months with your bed about 10 feet directly underneath JBD number 4 and you’ll be able to sleep through a hurricane. (Check out How Aircraft Carriers Work if you want to know what a JBD is.) Heck, I even slept strapped in an ejection seat. More than once! (Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it, knowing folks on the pointy end of the spear might be asleep on the job!)

Of course I still remember the noise sequence of a typical launch.

First there is the relatively quite jet engine noise of the plane taxiing into place. Then there’s the whine of the hydraulic motors lifting the JBD behind the plane which ends in two dull thuds followed by four loud clicks of the locking pins being driven home. Next you have a rush of the seawater surging through the cooling pipes. Shortly after that the whole room will start to shake as the plane runs up to full power, but can’t yet go anywhere. Then after a few seconds, the shooter will fire the catapult and the engine noise rushes away forward. The sea water stops. The four pins click and unlock. The hydraulics whine as they lower the JBD. Finally there’s the two dull thuds as the JBD comes back to rest on the deck.

The whole process takes about 2 minutes and then starts again.

I remember all that from 1992!

But my point is that I never had any trouble sleeping through that insane racket. Yet this weekend, in a very quiet house, with the boys not bothering me at all (they were very good), I couldn’t sleep more than a couple hours during the day. And this even though I was totally exhausted!

Why does getting older have to mean having trouble sleeping? I’m not digging this aging process!!

Hope you have a great day and sleep well tonight.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

On Planting and Harvesting

I had a conversation with a friend of mine a couple of days back. My friend was getting discouraged about doing some good things that involved being especially nice to folks and not really seeing much back in return.

It prompted me to go on a bit of a rant.

Planting and Harvesting

I'm sure most you have heard of the principle of planting and harvesting (sometimes called sowing and reaping by the old schoolers out there). It seems to be a universal principle that you will always harvest what you plant in time.

The principle obviously works in agriculture. You can’t plant corn seed in a field and harvest wheat after those seeds mature. To get wheat, you have to plat wheat.

The Bible says it this way:
“Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!”
And the principle holds true in other realms too. Down in Jacksonville last night (actually I guess it was this morning) one of the guys in the office had John Tesh on the radio. John was talking about some study or other that showed people who were generally nice and had senses of humor tended to be healthier overall than people who worried and were selfish.

Sure the results of the study may seem obvious. But this is another example of the planting/harvesting principle. If you are friendly, then most people will be friendly back to you. Doing nice things for others lowers your stress levels and helps you stay healthier.

And while it’s true that you will harvest what you plant in time, the challenges of the principle are twofold.

First, people tend to want to leave of the "in time" part of the equation. They forget that the farmer has to wait along time after he plants his crop, time spent working like a dog tending his fields, before he finally gets to the harvest. They think the principle is invalid if they don't harvest as soon as they get the seed covered with dirt. How silly!

Here’s a Bible’s take on that one:
So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
Another thing that is true about the life principle of planting and harvesting, and this is much less obvious, is that you often don't harvest from the same fields that you planted in.

For example, I have helped bunches of my friends move. And, as a result of the planting/harvesting principle, whenever I've moved I have always had plenty of help lifting furniture. But it is rarely the same people helping as I helped, mostly because one of us isn't in the same spot because we've moved!

I shouldn't be frustrated with Jim-Bob because he didn't personally return the favor to me. The help will still come, just from another quarter.

It’ll come because the planting/harvesting principle still holds. What goes around comes around, eventually.

The last thing I want to point out about the planting/harvesting principle is that the size of your harvest is directly related to how much seed you plant.

Once again I go back to what the Bible says on the subject:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
A Recap

What do we know about the principle of planting and harvesting?

  • The principle is universal (even if you don’t believe it!)

  • The harvest takes time to appear

  • The harvest often comes from a different field than the seed was planted in

  • The size of the harvest is directly related to the amount of seed planted.

That about sums it up.

Choose your seed well. Plant lots of it. Be patient. And expect the harvest because it is coming!


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Superhero Round-up

Well, it seems I'm not the only Superhero out there. A few of the guys have taken the quiz. (And why is it just guys? Hmm...)

Here's what we've got so far:

Kevin Bowman is Green Lantern (and where I first saw the quiz.)

David Turner is Superman

Tadd Grandstaff is The Flash

And as we all know, it appears Spiderman is my alter ego.

So it would appear that folks can rest easy because we have the Superhero spectrum covered.


If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Highway at Night

It's time for another sleep deprivation experiement.

The time is now slightly after 2300 hours, or slightly before departure for work in Jacksonville, FL (approximatley 2.0 Hours driving time).

I'll check in somtime in the morning. Gotta love being first on call when wierd stuff happens.

If you are going to be on I-95 in the next several hours, don't forget to wave. I'll be the one with the coffee IV drip...

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Who'da Thunk It?

Goof off online during my lunch break and I find out I shoulda been Spiderman. Who'da thunk it?

You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

With great power comes
great responsibility.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

A Bit of a Discussion

We’re having a bit of a discussion over at the Da Vinci Code post from the other day.

Voice in the Wilderness says that the only winners in the whole hubbub are going to be the publishers and movie studios. (Check out his blog. He’s got a refreshing perspective on church and Christianity in general.)

Tania from Germany and I have been discussing the source of guidance we look to. She’s got a lot to add that stimulates conversation. (I wish she had a blog I could link to for you. I bet it would be a good read!)

Here’s your assignment for today: Go read the comments, then come back here. I can hang out for a minute or two until you get back. (Oh, and you can re-read the post too if you want a refresher on how the conversation started.)

When you come back here, join the conversation by sharing how you figure out when you are on the right course or not by posting a comment below.

Or just share your thoughts on the whole Da Vinci Code Hubbub. Are there winners in the whole thing? If so, then who is loosing?

I’ll go get another cup of coffee and wait here.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Wall Street Journal Blows it Big Time

The Wall Street Journal has an article up today The Web’s Worst New Idea that totally misses the mark on the issue of Net Neutrality.

They say that the current fight for Net Neutrality is a bad idea basically because making laws to preserve neutral data flow by the internet providers would open the door to lawsuits. They claim the government shouldn’t “regulate what isn’t broken.”

The one sentence that sums up their apparent complete failure to grasp the reality of this issue is this:
Given the impulse on the left to regulate anything that moves, perhaps the real surprise here is that it's taken this long for someone to seriously suggest the Net will wither in the absence of a federal regulatory apparatus.
They seem to think those supporting Net Neutrality are only on the left side of the political spectrum. Um, read my profile. I’m sure not in the crowd. Although I pretty much agree with them on this one issue.

But, hey, my own political credentials aren’t all that substantial (which is A-OK with me). Regardless, the WSJ should take a look at the Charter Members on the site. They’d see that the fourth one on the list is Gun Owners of America.

That’s not exactly the type of organization characterized by the WSJ as supporting this issue. Check out what their Executive Director wrote to Congress about the issue. The question is will us little guys be able to make our voices heard in the future?

The other flaw in the WSJ reasoning is that they seem to think that because every thing’s going well now, there is no problem. The issue is not what has happened to the internet, but what the providers say they intend to do with it.

Here’s what’s at stake in simple language, so that even I can understand it:

The high speed internet providers want to be able to start charging for data flowing over their network regardless of where the content originated in addition to charging for each computer that connects to their network.

As it stands right now everyone pays based on how much data flows to the internet at the connection point. That data volume is called bandwidth. The result of the current system is that Google pays a whole lot more for their internet access than I do because they are shoving way more data through their connection than I am.

The current system is fair to everyone because as a company grows, and needs more bandwidth, it is reasonable to expect them to be able to afford to pay more for their access. Suffice it to say that Google has much deeper pockets than I do.

The change the providers want to make is hard to describe because the double charging concept is so foreign to us. Basically it’s without precedent. But I’m going to try.

It would be like setting up a toll interstate highway system. As it stands now, everyone getting on that highway system would have to pay a toll to each state where you get on the highway. How much you currently pay determines whether you can get into the fast lane, or if you have to stay in the slow lane.

Now imagine a different, additional, toll structure. Say a truck was going from Florida to Wisconsin. Under the new system (what the internet providers want to do), the truck would pay his toll to Florida like he always did and get into which ever lane he paid for. But now he would also have to pay an additional toll to Wisconsin the moment he got on the highway or he wouldn’t be allowed to get off the highway there.

It might almost sound reasonable except where the analogy falls apart when you translate it to the internet. Be cause with the internet, you put your data on in one place, but it doesn’t get off in one place, but many. And under the new system you would have to pay an additional toll everyplace you wanted your data to be able to get off the highway.

It would be like the trucker having to pay a toll to every one of the 50 states the moment he got on the highway or he wouldn’t be able to get off wherever he didn’t pay. If you are a big trucking company, like say Schneider, you could probably swing the extra new fees. But what if you were an independent trucker with only one truck?

You end up only being able to work on back water routes and you no longer can make a living because you can’t compete with the big boys any longer. In the end you go out of business.

The same thing will happen to all of us little internet users if the providers have their way. We’re the ones who will be affected most, not the big guys like Google, even though they have an interest in this too. If the providers get their way, check out how it will affect you personally.

If you’re involved in a non-profit this will affect you big time. Hello! Church crowd! Are you even listening?! How much more can your budget afford to pay? Or are you willing to let the providers keep people from hearing your message?

Net Neutrality is a big deal. The WSJ totally missed what the fight is about. If you do any business on the internet and don’t want to be shut out, get active. Contact Congress now, before it’s too late.

Save the Internet: Click here

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

About CREEations

CREEations is a blog of practical life philosophy based on my sleep deprived life juggling a marriage, maritime industry career, volunteer commitments, cat ownership, writing, yard work, and massive coffee consumption.

My goal is to challenge the way you look at your world. Sometimes I’m profound, other times just plain silly, but I’m sure you’ll find I spend most of my time somewhere in between.

Here’s what Liz Strauss over at the Successful Blog has to say about CREEations:
“SOB Chris Cree’s blog is upbeat a nice place to go when the world has been a little too much and you want to have a space to breathe. His posts shed a little light on humanity and how to face the world with a positive outlook. They’re easy to read and rest easy on the mind. I think of Chris’ blog as a great place to unwind.”
If that sounds good to you, go ahead and subscribe to my feed.

Or enter your email address to get my posts in your in box:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Da Vinci Code Hubbub

The Da Vinci Code Movie is coming out this week. I get the feeling that there are some Christians who are afraid Dan Brown’s story will somehow usher in some kind of evil darkness devoid of Christian thought.

Google “da vinci code Christian” and you find that the Da Vinci Code needs debunking, breaking, deciphering, dismantling, and cracking. You can find out the truth about it, whether it’s fact or fiction, and why it has appeal. And every one of those links is on the opening search page. I didn’t have to hunt for them. Sheesh!

I got an email Jerry Falwell this morning with the subject line “The Da Vinci Code Deception.” My first instinct was to delete it. I do that a lot with his stuff because I’ve grown tired of his combative approach to every issue and what I perceive as his need to be right about everything.

But as I started thinking about writing this, I went back into my deleted items because his stuff is usually pretty well thought out, even if it is belligerent. I was hugely disappointed to find it was just an advertisement hawking a book of his own on the subject!

Our church has even had a few weekend messages devoted to the subject. I think they were a good idea because the approach was to try to give folks an idea of what all the hubbub is about.

Now here’s my thing: Are Christian leaders really afraid that the Scriptures that have withstood assaults for millennia are suddenly going to collapse because some guy writes a novel? Come on!

If I based my world view on something that flimsy, I would want it shaken up a bit!

I want to base my life on capital ‘T’ Truth. If some new mystery/thriller was all it took to shake my belief system then how true could it be?

The author even claims it as fiction. Does he stir the pot and muddy the waters? Of course he does. I bet he thinks the more controversy, the better since it equals free publicity. Publicity sells books and lines his pockets. If you read Dan Brown’s faqs you’ll see what I mean.

So we are in a rather ironic situation where Christians, in their effort to stand for truth and confront evil, are doing all the heavy lifting to make sure that the offending book gets as wide an audience as possible.

I think they’ve missed the point. God is big enough to manage His own reputation. He doesn’t need my help. (Sure I try to do little things to make Him look good. But that’s really more for my benefit than His. It’s not like His reputation is dependant on me!)

The problem is most people have never put any real effort into figuring out what they actually believe so they end up chasing what ever new idea comes along. It’s as futile as chasing the wind.

Sailors know you don’t chase the wind. You certainly can’t control it. The wind is going to blow where it will. All a good sailor can do is set his sails to the best of his ability so he can harness the wind to get where he wants to go.

When folks chase each new idea that comes along they are like a sailor steering all over the compass trying to chase the wind.

If they actually invested some time getting familiar with the source documentation, they might actually come to understand the things they believe and not be so prone to wander off after the next big thing. They could set their sails based on that truth and steer a straight course through life.

It’s high time Christians got a little passionate about the things they are for and stopped worrying so much about all the things they are against!

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS Feed.