Pizza and Cheesecake

(Pepperoni Pizza and Plain Cheesecake)

How many times have you either been part of a group or the person responsible for feeding a group when pizza was going to be the main course?

If your experience is anything like mine, “too many to count” would be the answer.

A slice of pepperoni pizza from Blondie's in B...
A slice of pepperoni pizza from Blondie’s in Berkeley, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think about some of those times when you asked, “What kind of pizza do you like?” Again if your experience is like mine you will get responses like, “I don’t care”, “Anything but anchovies”, “The works”, “Everything but onions”, etc. Sometimes you will hear “Pepperoni” or “Just cheese” but it is often as an afterthought. These are not the real exciting choices or the big stars.

Sound familiar? Well it does to me.

Pepperoni Pizza

However, I have noticed this over the years, and I have done many years worth of research on this – I have eaten a lot of pizza – that when the pizza arrives it is often the plain pepperoni pizzas that are the first to disappear. Why is that?

If you haven’t noticed this before the next time you have pizza with family or a group pay attention and see if you observe the same thing.

Plain Cheesecake

Similarly, if you are a fan of cheesecake and have ever seen a Cheesecake Factory menu you know there are many different variations other than the plain cheesecake offered. Often the last one chosen in just the original plain cheesecake.

Plain cheesecake slice
Plain cheesecake slice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to admit I have not done as much research on this…yet…but my theory is if you are at a family or group gathering and have a plain cheesecake and some other variation – chocolate, toasted marshmallows s’mores galore, Godiva chocolate, pineapple upside-down cheesecake or any of the hundreds of other variations – the plain cheesecake will be the first to disappear. Why is that?

I Don’t Know

I wish I had some wise answer as to why this phenomenon occurs but I really don’t. For me and my tastes the pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake are my favorites so I know why I gravitate toward those when they are made available to me and probably why I notice this phenomenon more than others might.

However, why so many others who seemingly do not prefer these plain or basic choices at least in what they say but do end up participating in making them disappear first I really don’t know.

Tortoise and the Hare?

Could this be another variation on the traditional tortoise and the hare fable – slow and steady wins the race or is that a stretch? The multi-faceted pizza and cheesecake selections would definitely be the more glamorous, flashy, ostentatious, or speedy choices representing the hare. Pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake would certainly be the less glamorous, mundane and slow choices – the tortoise. Yet, in disappearing first the tortoise wins the race again.

What do you think?

I don’t know if that analogy fits or not so I am hoping you can help me out with this quandary and comment with your explanations or reasoning as to why this occurs or if your experience differs from mine please share yours.

Thanks for stopping by and getting a glimpse of what goes on in my head and please help me clear it up if you can.

Until next time…

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I don’t run marathons…however

I have never run a marathon, never really had any desire to. To me running is not fun or something I want to spend time doing. However, I do know people who have run marathons and half-marathons and I am amazed by their drive and persistence in accomplishing this feat.

I was reminded of this again this morning as I saw some tweets on twitter about the Walt Disney World Half Marathon being over today. This brought back memories of last year at this time when we were there.

My wife, Sharin,  completed her first half-marathon.2013-01-13 05.07.44

On the next day my daughter Amy, running with her friends Meggie and Anne, completed her first marathon.2013-01-13 12.45.48

I am still amazed and in awe of these achievements as I know they are far from easy and often painful and discouraging. The thrill and sense of achievement one feels after achieving this feat should never go away.

If you have completed one of these events and have lost that feeling of pride in your accomplishment, go back and think about all the sacrifices you went through to get there, days you did not want to get out and run, days when you were unable to run due to a nagging injury your doctor recommended you rest until it got well, days when it was raining and cold, or both, and you ran anyway. Look at any pictures you have of you with your medal after you finished and just be proud of what you accomplished.

Regarding those tweets I found myself congratulating people I didn’t even really know. I have followed @runDisney on twitter since last year and saw the posts and just felt like congratulating them. They deserve it. That is the thing I wanted to emphasize with this post. Even if you, like me, have never even considered running a marathon or half-marathon I encourage you to go watch one. Find a spot near the finish line and just watch. I guarantee you it will be something you will not soon, if ever, forget.

You will see all different types of people and all different types of stories. Everyone has one. You will see young people, middle aged people, and older, seasoned, people. Seeing them push through those last few steps and yards to reach the finish line will inspire you. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. All will make you cheer and by doing so you can share in their accomplishment.

If you are considering running either a half-marathon or marathon I read a book recently called You Can Go the Distance by Bruce Van Horn. I recommend this book to runners and non-runners alike. You will probably learn many things about how to prepare and run a marathon. You will also learn many things about how to run this marathon we are all running called life. One of the quotes from the book makes this point, “Marathon training is like life; it requires that you train in all conditions for all situations.”

I am not going to suggest or recommend you start preparing to run a marathon since I have no direct experience or desire to do so myself. If you are considering it though I say go for it! You will be glad you did. If you are looking for a good first marathon experience check out http://www.rundisney.com. Disney does know how to make anything fun and interesting and they don’t disappoint with these events.

If running is not your thing, I do understand that. I do recommend you go watch one sometime though. It will change your perspective for any future marathons you see in the news. Find someone you know training or running one and go support them.

Congratulations to all runners running this weekend or if you have run and completed one of these in the past. Be proud of your accomplishment and use the lessons you have learned about running and yourself in all other areas of your life.

Until next time…

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Shopping Can Be Fun

Jaclyn Smith_StanJust reminiscing a little bit today about what we were doing a year ago and a few things I learned.

I am sure most of you have your own stories about shopping – good and bad. This is one shopping experience I was fortunate to participate in one year ago today and it was a good one (Understatement #1).

Shopping can be fun!

It started on November 23, 2012 when I entered a contest on the Sears/Kmart Shop Your Way Rewards web site. The contest said,

You could win a trip to LA and a shopping spree with Jaclyn Smith!

I enter contests regularly and often. I figure someone has to win these things and it might as well be me. Of course that doesn’t always happen but I have learned that I don’t win every contest I don’t enter.

No-Brainer

Of course I had been a fan of Jaclyn Smith for many years. I think I was in junior high school when Charlie’s Angels was one of the most popular shows on TV and I suspect most boys my age were fans. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world. It would be before Christmas and we did need to do some Christmas shopping,

It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

To say I was surprised when I received a phone call on November 27th telling me I had won would not be accurate. I was shocked! (Understatement #2) After talking with Sharin for about 2 minutes we decided we would go after we confirmed the details and this was really real. It was one of those moments when you think, “Is this really happening?” or “This is too good to be true. It can’t be happening to me.”

Alabama to LAX

Well, it was really real and on Monday, December 10th we flew from Alabama to LAX, drove to the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City, which is located at the entrance to Universal Studios. After checking in and getting settled we walked around Universal City Walk and had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

You might be thinking, “You were at Universal Studios. Why didn’t you go to the park?” Well, we had already planned to drive to Disneyland while we were there so we were saving our energy and our money. Our original thought was we would go on Monday after we arrived but we decided to wait until Tuesday, after our shopping spree, since we expected that would not last much longer than the allotted hour. That expectation proved to be false in the best sort of way.

Exceeded Expectations

Well, Tuesday arrived and we arrived at the Kmart a little before 10:00 as planned. Everything that happened after that was both surreal and real at the same time. Never having spent much time with a celebrity, (Understatement #3), we were not sure what to expect. We expected it would be an enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime experience, of course, but the time would be limited according to the itinerary. We were wrong. It was an amazing day, far beyond anything we could have expected. Here is a link to a short video Kmart created. We did get the Christmas tree mentioned in the video.

Jaclyn Smith Christmas Tree_2012-12-20 02.50.08

Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

I know this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jaclyn. I mean really, how often does she get to meet a couple from the other LA (Lower Alabama) and go Christmas shopping at the Burbank Kmart with them? I expect this was the first and last time, thus, the once-in-a-lifetime description fits. I am sure she would agree. She did say “it was a highlight of the season meeting the two of you.”

Shopping Couple from LA_IMG_1423 (2)

In case you were wondering, it was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

What Did I Learn?

I knew that Jaclyn Smith was a beautiful woman. I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a beautiful person.

I was reminded it takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make an event like this work and look effortless for those participating. There are many that deserve thanks for this. Kim, Leah, Shana, Amanda, Rena, and Clarine – you all made us feel special and made our day special. Thank you all again. To the local Kmart folks – Mark and Victor – thank you again for your Southern (California) hospitality.

USA_JACLYN SMITH
The St. Jude Christmas Bear Ornament

While watching Brooke shop for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital I learned Kmart is their number one retail supporter. That was fun to watch too.

I learned that shopping can be fun, especially when you are pushing the buggy (shopping USA_JACLYN SMITHcart for anyone confused) for two of the most beautiful women in the world and they are doing what women do while shopping – talking, laughing and having fun. It was definitely a win-win for me.

I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a prophet. On the autographed photo she signed before we went shopping and shown above she said, “I know we will have fun today.” She was right!

After the shopping was done

Probably the coolest part was after the shopping was done – her commitment was complete – she invited us back to have lunch with her, Rena, and Clarine, her team. She did not have to do that. She could have just used the down time to relax but she chose to spend it with us. That was special and will not be forgotten.USA_JACLYN SMITH

We ate lunch and just talked for probably an hour or more about kids, pets, new cars, etc. – just life like most people talk about. She was concerned about her new car that her husband was driving that day. She is a breast cancer survivor so she talked about that and the importance of the annual exams. We talked about Sharin’s upcoming Disney Half-Marathon in January as well as the Ability First Stroll and Roll event she was planning to participate in to support children and adults with special needs.

I learned Jaclyn Smith is a very nice down to earth person, mother, wife and humanitarian in addition to being one of the most beautiful and gifted models and actresses in the world.

You don’t have to fly to Los Angeles and go shopping with Jaclyn Smith to have fun shopping. Although, if you do ever get this opportunity I highly recommend it (Understatement #4).

It is the Giving Season

When you are shopping and looking for that perfect gift enjoy the time with the person you are shopping with and imagine the joy you will receive when you see the recipient open that gift. When you receive a gift remember that joy you received and accept any gift you receive with gratitude and allow the gift giver to experience that joy as well.

I just saw a quote from Andy Andrews about giving that fits well here I believe,

“Giving is an unbelievable action that continues to produce returns that are unexpected in nature.”

Just a note

If you look at my profile picture and the smile on my face you now know why I was smiling so much. I was having a good time shopping!

 USA_JACLYN SMITH

And, just in case you were wondering, we did make it to Disneyland too.

IMG_1453

IMG_1443

Until next time…Happy Shopping!

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 12/11/2013

 

 

Un-Thanksgiving

Since this is Thanksgiving Week I thought writing about the holiday and some things I am thankful for would be appropriate. I expect this will be the only blog post on that subject this week so it should really stand out…NOT.

Anyway, I talked it over with all three of us (me, myself and I) and that that is what we decided to do.

The reason I distinguish between the Thanksgiving holiday and giving thanks I see those as two uniquely different events that intersect at this time of the year. It is really nothing other than my peculiar perspective at work again I suspect.

Thanksgiving – The Holiday

I don’t expect and have really never seen, except on TV or in the movies, everyone or really any one giving a grand Thanksgiving speech on what they are thankful for over the past year. It just hasn’t happened that way in my experience.

I do enjoy the holiday, getting together with family that we don’t get to see as much as we would like and eating turkey and dumplings and sweet potato (not pumpkin) pie. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving and expect will have more after this week.

If you are expecting secret family recipes here then you will be disappointed. I know of none. My role has always been the consumer in this situation, not the manufacturer. Someone has to do it and it is a role I have practiced for many years. I believe I am pretty good at it. It is one of my callings. How would it make all the cooks feel if there was no one there to eat what they had prepared?

The First Thanksgiving…and a few more

I remember our first Thanksgiving together on my side of the family at Aunt Edna’s. Sharin and I were dating at the time. When it was time to eat I got up to go eat as I had always done. I had not mentioned to Sharin that it was our tradition for all the men to eat first, then the women because I had not given it a second thought. It was how we had always done it so I assumed everyone did it that way. Well, Sharin explained to me later that was not true. We did survive that Thanksgiving and 30+ since that one as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next August. It is one we often talk about at this time of year though.

I have many good memories of Thanksgiving with Sharin’s family. Her mother would be cooking cakes and pies for days and it was always a fun time getting together with the entire Clark family. I miss those a lot. She enjoyed getting ready for Thanksgiving, probably only second to Christmas. We had turkey & dumplings, lemon pie, and later sweet potato pie when she learned that was my favorite. I was, after all, her favorite son-in-law (for those who might not know I was also her only son-in-law).

They were differences in the way our extended families celebrated Thanksgiving but there were also many similarities. Both had turkey, dumplings and lots of desserts. Both included getting together with family and catching up as well as naps in the afternoon before we would go back for leftovers. We had to rest up to get ready to eat again.

I Miss the People

I miss those times because of the people that are no longer with us. We can and will eat regardless of what day it is but it is the people that I miss the most, my parents and grandparents, Sharin’s parents and grandparents. We will see them all again one day but I wish we could see them here this Thursday.

Now, we are at the stage of life where we are excited to have our children who are not living with us come home and spending time with them. That is the highlight of the holidays now for us. The eating is necessary and still very enjoyable but it is secondary. It probably always was but we are now wise enough to realize that truth. We get together with brothers and sisters and their families as we continue to grow. We are expecting to add at least a couple new members next year.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks

The giving thanks part of Thanksgiving is done and having the holiday itself provides an emphasis for all to give thanks. I believe that is a good thing. However, giving thanks should be something we do on the 364 Un-Thanksgiving days every year as well.

Here are some of the things and people I am thankful for

* My Salvation – I thank God for the gift of salvation, sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and to die in my place and then to rise again and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and lives in my heart.

* My family that I have been blessed with – Sharin, Sarah, Amy, Rachel, Thomas and Tyler. To borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey, I am doing much “better than I deserve.” I am thankful for that.

My Family
My family on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom

* Salvation for my family – I know that when we are done passing through this place call planet earth we will see each other again in Heaven. I look forward to seeing parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and others who are already there and then those that will follow after I am gone. This is the hope and promise we have as Christians.

* My extended family – Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, Out-laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews – too many to try to name but I am thankful for having them all in my life.

* Friends – I am also blessed by many more friends than I deserve both old and new friendships that have just begun this year. Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and allowing me to call you friend.

* Health – I have been blessed so far on this journey called life with good health.

* Job – I am thankful for a job that helps provide for my family that I actually enjoy. I know many do not have jobs in today’s economy and many that do don’t enjoy the jobs they do have.

* Freedom of expression to be able to live, worship, and express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This is something we, as Americans, often do take for granted. If we continue to do that we might wake up one day and realize they no longer exist.

* YOU – If you are reading this I am thankful for YOU for taking the time to stop by here and read the thoughts I assemble here from time to time.

I could go on for quite some time but I think you get the point. I am blessed far beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve. I am thankful for these blessings on Thanksgiving but also on every other day of the year as well.

I am reminded of the old hymn Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done! If you are not familiar with this hymn or if you just want to here it now you can click Guy Penrod and he will sing it for you.

One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes also fits here I think, 

and by far, the most life changing.

Zig Ziglar_Attitude of Gratitude
Zig Ziglar – Attitude of Gratitude ~Ziglar.com

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Un-Thanksgiving too!

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further.

However, if you would like to see maybe a different perspective on this subject that might revolutionize your regular reading of God’s Word and your relationship with Jesus then you might just want to read a little further. It will only take a few minutes and it might just change your life.

I think I know what you are thinking, “Not another book about how to read or study the Bible!” I was skeptical myself as I do believe God’s Word will teach you what you need to know if you will spend time with it. If you were thinking that, just stay with me a few minutes and hear me out. By reading this far you did say you are not completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus and your study of His word, the Bible.

10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough)  was the original name of the book when this post was published in 2013.

Since I wrote this post the book title has changes but the content is still the same. It is now called How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible. It is a short book. I read it in one evening. However don’t let the length fool you. There are ideas – tips – in this book that make a lot of sense to me and I plan on trying some of them myself.

I fall into that second category I described above. I do regularly read the Bible. This year I have been following a plan from YouVersion Bible App and it has helped me to regularly read the Bible. I know I have benefitted from this. However, I don’t believe I am where I should be in really liking the Bible as Keith describes in this book and in my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I definitely do think there is room for improvement.

I have often thought about memorizing scripture but have used any number of excuses to not really act on that thought. What translation do I use being one of the questions/excuses I use. The Watch The Whole Movie chapter will help me with this. In this chapter, he says,

 He suggests reading whole books of the Bible instead of one chapter as many of us do. Once you have read the whole book a number of times you will understand what the book is about, the big picture, then you can go back and dive deeper on a chapter or verse or passage. You will also have memorized some scripture by following this tip.

I am not going to go through all of the tips here but will list them to give you an idea of what you will see in the book. I will show you a couple of ways you can get your own copy below.

Here are the chapter titles:

1 Remember Why You Are Doing This

2 Set Your Expectations Really High

3 Have a Strategy

4 Watch the Whole Movie

5 Learn from Your Shampoo Bottle

6 Raise Your Voice

7 Read Alone

8 Don’t Read Alone

9 Go on a 60-Day Adventure

10 Take Two 4-Month Challenges

I do want to highlight one more chapter here. In Chapter 1 Keith builds his case for the purpose of and hope for this book. Here is an excerpt quoted in blue.

If our time in God’s Word was primarily relational, instead of informational, then it would have a significantly higher probability of being transformational!

Is there information in Bible? Yes. Do we learn some things about God in His Word? Yes. Does spending time in the Bible lead to a better understanding of God, His will, and His ways? Yes, yes, and yes. 

But the context of that information is the relationship. The umbrella under which all that information sits is the relationship.

So…how do we keep the focus on that relationship?

And so begins the journey.

Let’s review. If you have read this far then you have admitted to yourself that your reading and study of God’s Word is not what it should be or what you want it to be and there is room for improvement. So is it worth an evening reading to see if there is a tip contained in this book to see if there is something here that will help you? I cannot answer that for you but can and do suggest it is worth a couple of hours to find out.

I would love to see your comments either now or after you have had a chance to read How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 11/09/2013

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Outrageously Good

 

The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different.

Here are some highlights from my first time through this book.

“In our attempt to make sure our plans are part of His plans, we must seek Him through the pages of His Word and build in time to simply listen in silence.”

“We need a healthy level of fear to keep us dependent more on God and less dependent on ourselves.”

Something I learned or realized for the first time in reading this book, although I have heard and read the story from the Bible many times when Jesus fed the multitude with two fishes and five loaves of bread, is the twelve baskets of food left over was just enough to feed the 12 disciples. I am sure some of them shared theirs with Jesus.

One line that really resonated with me is, “For years, I have felt like I had a book in me…” as I have and still do have this feeling. Maybe this book will challenge to do something outrageous and write it.

If you are looking for a book to challenge you as Gideon was challenged in the Bible to live an Outrageous Life then I highly recommend you purchase the Outrageous life and ‘let God take you from ordinary to outrageous’.

You can also learn more about the author, Dwayne Morris, and connect with him at his web site at MorrisMatters.com .

In case you were not aware you do not have to own a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon.com has free Kindle readers you can download to your PC, tablet, or smart phone that allows you to read the books wherever it is most convenient for you.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/25/2013

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Unfinished…but Jones is back!

This is a first for me. Not the fact I am writing about a book I have read on my blog, but the fact I am writing about a book I am still reading on my blog. I just reached the 50% point reading The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews on my Kindle and am enjoying the book so much I could not wait to finish the book before sharing some of my thoughts. I want you to get your own copy and enjoy this book too. That makes this an unfinished book review, but Jones is back!

Regardless of how the story ends I am hooked. I know I like this book, have learned from it and my expectation is I will enjoy the second half just as much as the first, so I have no problem with recommending it to others even before I have finished it myself.

The Noticer Returns is a sequel to The Noticer. Our first exposure to Jones, the title character, was during our trip to Tybee Island last May for a family vacation. I had the audio version of the book and had read the first chapter and it looked like it would be an interesting story so we listened to it on the drive. We were taken in at the beginning and, needless to say, (actually that was needless to write wasn’t it?); it held our interest the entire way.

An interesting side note that doesn’t really mean anything – except maybe the fact I noticed it – one block up from the house we were renting was a street named Jones Avenue.

Jones Avenue - Tybee Island, GA

In any case, when I heard that Andy Andrews was working on a sequel and the Jones would indeed be returning I knew I would need to get the book when it was available and see what Jones has been up to lately. Well, the book was released this week and that is what I have been doing.

Even though this is a sequel you do not have to read The Noticer to be able to understand what is going on in The Noticer Returns. I suspect you might want to go back and read it though once you meet Jones and Andy Andrews.

Jones, as mentioned earlier, is The Noticer. He is described as having white hair, blue eyes and wears a t-shirt and jeans. He seems to show up when the characters in the stories need him to show up and help them notice things that were there the whole time. They were just not seeing their situation from the proper perspective.

is a quote from the book. That could be one of the reasons I can identify with Jones. I tend to think my perspective on life is a bit peculiar as evidenced by the name of this blog – Peculiar Perspective.

Another reason I believe I have become a fan of Andy Andrews and his work lately is that he lives here in Alabama, in Orange Beach, and we have spent a lot of time in that area recently. He also writes about the area where he lives.

We vacationed in Gulf Shores last year. Our high school football region changed last year most of our region opponents are now located in the Mobile area so we have traveled to the area often over the past couple of years to watch our son and the Wildcats play football. Two of the areas mentioned in this book, Fairhope and Baldwin County, are two of our region opponents.

If you have never read anything by Andy Andrews you should. You may become a fan of his work like me or you may not but if you don’t pick up one of his books and give it a try you will never know. I believe you will be glad you did if you do. I started with The Traveler’s Gift, then The Final Summit, then The Noticer, and now The Noticer Returns.

Now to some quotes and thoughts from The Noticer Returns. Quotes will be italicized in blue.

“The old man could make me laugh, and he did so quite often; but mostly, he made me think. Not necessarily about a certain thing . . . He made me think in ways I had never considered. Jones had a knack for turning a situation or a deep-seated belief upside down or sideways in such a manner that it became perfectly clear and made total sense. ” 

The old man is Jones and he will make you think or remind you of something deep down you already knew but just haven’t thought of lately or how it might relate to your current situation.

Jones defined himself as an Inclinational Archaeologist.

When she asked what that was, he said he specialized in “the excavation of thoughts by which living subjects were inclined to do great things.” She had no clue what he meant, of course, but I did. Jones’s conversations were designed to reveal a pattern of decisions that eventually unearthed one’s very thinking.

Jesus taught by asking questions and telling stories. Jones does too.

Skipping back to the prologue, the author makes the statement below that Jones helps the characters in the book to learn by the questions and stories he tells.

Through the years and many hard lessons, I have found that no matter how long it takes or how desperately a person battles or denies, the truth always—always—makes itself known.

I am not going to try to re-tell the stories included in the book. I believe that is best to be read and discovered as you go which is what I am still doing myself. I do recommend you get this book and enjoy the stories and principles shared. Some may be new to you but even if not, we all need to be reminded from time to time of truths we have learned in the past.

The best way I can describe the style of Andy Andrews is he uses his storytelling talent, which reminds me of my favorite storyteller, Walt Disney, to remind or teach basic life principles that can benefit anyone who endeavors to read and learn them, which reminds me of Zig Ziglar, another of my favorites.

For me that puts Andy Andrews in good company. I believe if you choose to pick up a copy of The Noticer Returns you will be intrigued, entertained, will learn something too. That is kind of what I look for in a book. I am finding it and am looking forward to learning more in the second half of this one.

You will likely have a new perspective too. As the subtitle of the book says,

If you would like to see the official book trailer click here.

Postscript: Since this blog post was published I did finish reading the book and I did love the second half just as much as the first, as I expected.

Until next time…

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April 10, 2005 – Revisit

April 10, 2005 is a date our family will never forget. Our two oldest daughters, Sarah and Amy were coming home from Dairy Queen, the unofficial Sunday night after church meeting place for our family and church at that time, and were hit head on by a drunk driver.

Sarah has written about this experience lately as only she can since she was the one driving and experienced this like no one else. She is doing a wonderful job describing what she went through and she is a much better writer than me so I am just going to let her speak for herself.

I am always amazed when I think of all she and Amy went through and how they both have handled it. They have taught me and others much from their actions. I am a very proud father as I expect their Heavenly Father is as well. Here is their story.

Be Careful What You Pray For

April 10, 2005 I was driving home from church with my little sister, and we were hit head-on by a drunk driver passing in a no-passing zone along a two-lane highway. Over the next month or so, I would like to use my posts on Fridays to share this story with you because I need to remember how faithful God has been in my life, and I need to share the story of his faithfulness with others… to continue reading  click here

April 10, 2005

The Accident

Writing about what happened that Sunday night has always been hard because I never know where to begin or how much to include. So bear with me.

After church on Sunday evenings we would always go to our local Dairy Queen, but this Sunday, I had a strong feeling that I shouldn’t go. I ignored it. To continue reading click here

The Hospital

After I was life flighted to a hospital in St. Louis, it was all kind of a blur–probably because the nurses gave me my first couple of doses of morphine…to continue reading click here

Hospital Life Lessons

One can learn a lot from an extended stay in the hospital. Here are my top ten lessons. To read more click here

A Change of Heart

Since I was hit by a drunk driver we had to go through a criminal trial against, Mr. Vancil, the man who hit me and my sister. This meant seeing him–which I wasn’t sure how I would handle. To read more click here

 

The Waffle Iron Anniversary

If you were to google “traditional anniversary gifts” you would probably not see Waffle Iron as one of the traditional gifts. I know. I looked,

I also didn’t see vacuum cleaner (still not convinced I did that), bowling balls or truck stop dinners either. Yet my wife, Sharin and I (and yes her name is spelled correctly), have experienced all of these in our marriage so far and we are still married.

Yes, I am a real romantic.

I am often reminded of songs when thinking about life or some songs remind me of life so I have included links to some I thought were appropriate here. They often express my feelings better than I can myself. With that in mind I think the old Alabama song that goes, “She and I live in our own little world, ain’t it wonderful” describes us pretty well. The video is pretty funny too.

On August 25th we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary and this one will be known as the waffle iron anniversary for us. You see, I did ask Sharin what she wanted for our anniversary this year and she said a new waffle iron. So, even though I do like to surprise her with gifts from time to time I have learned (maybe) over the past 33+ years we have been together that sometimes, probably more than I would like to admit, it is best just to forego the surprise and get her what she asks for, if she asks for something. Sharin has learned, I think, I am not a mind reader so if there is something she does want it is better to be just let me know what it is and if there is any way I can get it for her she knows I will.waffle-iron

So there will be no surprise when the waffle iron arrives from Amazon.com this week. She even picked out the one she wanted. I am looking forward to her using it myself.

We have given and received some of the traditional anniversary gifts over the years. For our first anniversary we tried the tradition of keeping some of your wedding cake, freezing it, and then eating it on your first anniversary. That was not very good and a tradition that could be discontinued in my opinion.

For our 25th anniversary we skipped ahead to the traditional 50th anniversary gift and to Dixie, our golden retriever.

Dixie

Dixie has a sense of humor too!
Dixie has a sense of humor too!

The bowling ball anniversary was also in Birmingham and she got bowling shoes too and we went bowling. There is that romantic side of me showing up again.

We spent the weekend in St. Louis one year and went to see the Cardinals and Braves play baseball and went on a riverboat dinner cruise. That was a lot of fun even though it rained one game. We still enjoyed the time together and the game. I don’t remember if we were singing or not. Singing in the Rain works here in any case.

We went to Pasadena to see Alabama play and get beat by UCLA in the Rose Bowl one year but we were with good friends so that was a good time too, except for the loss, which is never fun.

The vacuum cleaner anniversary was really a year I don’t think we got each other anything but I did get the vacuum cleaner in July or August and probably did jokingly mention it was her anniversary present. It was our first Oreck! There is my warped sense of humor showing up again.

I cannot remember them all but do remember when it occurs every year, something I understand some men have a problem with.

What I do remember and thank God for every day is Sharin and the fact has put up with me and my warped sense of humor, flaws and shortcomings for the last 29 years of marriage. That is evidence to me that “It was no accident, me finding you. Someone had a hand in it long before we ever knew.” ~ Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd

I know I am a better person as a direct result of having her in my life. She has been and continues to be the best mother our children could have asked for and the best wife I could have asked for and my best friend. I married way above my head and continue to be Amazed! “I don’t know how you do what you do. It just keeps getting better.” ~Lonestar

We have created many memories together over the past 29 years of marriage. Has it been perfect? No. I would be lying and you wouldn’t believe me if I said it was. We have learned marriage is a 100%/100% partnership, not 50%/50% as some describe it and you have to work at it and be committed to it in order for it to work.

I look forward to the next 29+ years, or as long as she will have me, as we will create many more memories, hopefully more good than bad. We are still learning, growing, and living life as we know it. As Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty put it and I paraphrase, I am in it for the long haul – until they put me in the ground. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know what love is, a new song by Lonestar, does a very good job of expressing my feelings too.

So there you have the story of the Waffle Iron Anniversary and a little bit about us in less than 1000 words, not counting the song lyrics.

Old habits die hard. There is still a chance she might get a little surprise I think she might like before the week is over. We’ll see.

Note: If you did not click on the links go back and do so to get the full musical effect intended for this musically enhanced blog. 

Until next time…

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