Who is Sean Thomas?

No, this isn’t a Jeopardy answer, although that might fit. I think To Tell The Truth fits this story better.

I received an email yesterday morning with the subject Enterprise Schools supposedly from a “parent with students in your system”. It was sent at 10:21 but I did not see it until yesterday afternoon. The email wasn’t addressed To me. I was copied though. It was addressed to all the school board members and Greg Faught. The email is from someone I had never heard of prior to this email, named Sean Thomas, or was it?

UPDATE: Since the original post this story and blog was mentioned in a news story on WDHN on 9/28/16. You can see that story here Enterprise school superintendent’s contract set to end; concerned residents call for non-renewal Continue reading Who is Sean Thomas?

Well Done Enterprise! Don’t stop now!

we-are-enterprise-logoYou know how you see athletes interviewed after an important victory and they are asked how they feel? Their answer is often something like, “It hasn’t sunk in yet“. That is exactly how I felt last month when we learned the election results from the city elections in Enterprise and it lasted a good week at least for me. Continue reading Well Done Enterprise! Don’t stop now!

YOU Are Not Alone

we-are-enterprise-logo-150x150A little over a week ago I published a post called Watch Your Back. In that post I asked for feedback both positive and negative as feedback is the only way I know whether my thoughts and observations have any validity or not. I mentioned I would be happy to post a follow up if feedback indicated I was on the wrong path. Well, this is that post.

Most widely read post I have ever published

Watch Your Back was the most widely read post I have published so far. Continue reading YOU Are Not Alone

To write or not to write…Is that even a question?

For me it is not. Writing is how I best express my thoughts. Writing gives me control over the final edit to, hopefully, make the finished product the best I can make it. Writing is the form of communication that works best for me.

That being said, writing is just one form of communication. Others include speaking, body language, listening and sign language. If I had to rank myself on the first four here is how they would rank for me from best to worst – writing, listening, speaking, body language. I know nothing about sign language at all.

Writing

Writing allows me, although I sometimes don’t take advantage, the option to edit, delete, rewrite and add to what I probably thought was pretty good to start with. It allows me to potentially stick my foot in my mouth (replace foot with pen or word processor) less often. I should be able to catch these errors in grammar, spelling and judgment and edit them to make them more palatable for the reader. Do I always do this? Of course not, but with writing I do have that option.

Speaking

When speaking I cannot take back what I said (edit it) so the edit option is not really available. I do have a filter I can use but once words pass the filter and the lips they are out and cannot be un-said. I can try to explain what was said wrong or offensive with more talking but that normally just digs a bigger hole. That is why I will normally not be the most talkative person in any group setting.

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln says,

That is one of my favorite quotes.

Body Language

I have never been accused of wearing my emotions on my sleeve. I am often accused of not wearing them at all.

Emotions are part of body language but not all body language is expressed by emotions. I do try to pay attention and communicate that to the person speaking. Body language is expressed in many ways such as smiling, nodding, crossing your arms, leaning forward in your seat, or leaning back and reclining. I recognize body language is an important part of communication and it does communicate whether you want it to or not. I do try to make myself aware of this form of communication but I often fail.

Listening

Listening is the least used but most important part of communication from my perspective. If there is no one to listen, the speaker is just talking to themselves. Many speakers don’t really have a problem with this as they enjoy hearing themselves talk but there is really no communication taking place when that happens.

Listening is often thought of as being a passive activity. However, it really is an active activity that you have to consciously focus on and work at to be master it. When involved in a conversation most people are multi-tasking, listening with one ear and thinking of what they are going to say in response to words they haven’t even heard yet. Listening with one ear, trying to think ahead and predict what the speaker is going to say, and then formulating a response all at the same time does not work very well.

Listening also provides people like me topics to write about.

2 Ears 1 Mouth

I am sure you have all heard the saying, God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth so that means He intended for you to listen twice as much as you talk. I think we would all be better off if we put this into practice and really listened to what is being said. If there is silence for a few seconds or even longer before you speak there is nothing wrong with that. It shows you were listening and now you are processing what you heard and formulating a response. This shows respect to the speaker and will have most believing you are the best conversationalist in the room.

Try it the next chance you get. You just might learn something.

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.

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Doing wrong anyway

The internet stopped working a few minutes ago. As much as we have come to depend on the internet that might seem like an issue and if it continues for an extended period of time it might be. However, since I cannot waste time there now I decided to write so I am treating this as a blessing in disguise.

What about you? Are you dependent or even addicted to the internet and all its many bells, whistles, and distractions? How does this occurrence, if it does happen to you from time to time as well, affect you?

I know that I spend too much time “on the internet” browsing Facebook, twitter, checking email so this is just one more reminder to me that I need to limit the time I spend there just as I need to limit the time I watch TV, another time vacuum.

I know I am much more productive when I leave the TV off, close my browser, or at least the Facebook and twitter tabs and shut down my email program so why don’t I do it?

This reminds me of Paul in Romans where he describes the internal battle going on inside of him between knowing what is right to do and what is wrong but doing wrong anyway. His battle is much larger in that it is the one we all face between good and evil but I do see similarities.

The scripture I referred to is Romans 7:15-20 which says, For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

If you want a picture of this passage and you have seen The Lord of the Rings, think Smeagol/Gollum

Gollum
Gollum (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

and how his personality changes between good and evil. I believe that paints a very vivid picture of this battle we all face.

I know it is the best thing to do and will help me achieve so much more and be much more productive in whatever I am doing. I have heard the studies that the higher one rises in leadership the less TV they watch. There is a direct correlation. The internet is different but not that much. There are a lot of good activities and information available on the internet. There are good reasons to spend some time there to keep up with friends, news, and issues that are important to me. But, as in most things, too much is not good. It is bad.

I don’t have any grand illusions that me writing this will magically solve this issue for me. I suspect I will still wrestle with it as Paul was wrestling with not doing what he knew was right. It is not really a sin or is it?

 We all get the same 24 hours each day.

If you were looking for a grand conclusion that resolves this conundrum I don’t have one to offer. Many of the words and thoughts I post here will not have a solution. They are not designed to. They are designed to share some of my thoughts and feelings and maybe get you to think yourself. This may or may not be an issue for you. I know it is for me. I am going to try to improve and be a better steward of my time. We will all be held accountable one day for what we did with the time God gave us.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments and let me know how you manage this yourself if you have. Do you think this is a sin? Let me know.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 3/11/2014

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Reading and Writing in 2014

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2014?

If so, have you broken them yet?

If you have, give yourself a break and pick it up again tomorrow.

Reading and Writing

I have set a couple of goals and what you are seeing here is one of the results. My challenge – not really calling it a resolution – is really officially just for the first 31 days of the year but I hope, if I can persist for that long it will become a habit I can continue. If you are a regular visitor and reader here you will know how I fare in this endeavor.

A couple of authors I follow and happen to have a great deal of respect for invited their followers to participate with them in a couple of challenges to begin 2014 and I signed up for both. I believe they will complement each other but the proof will be in the execution.

30 Days of Hustle

First was Jon Acuff and his 30 Days of Hustle Challenge. This challenge has no specific subject or topic except for the hustle. For those near my age I suspect you have a song stuck in your head right now…sorry about that. The hustle can and should be unique for everyone who participates, although some will likely be similar, the requirement was only that it be your own goal.

My Hustle Goal is to read for two hours every day. Chances are I was already doing this but I am trying to be more intentional and read more books during these 2 hours and I am trying to time myself. I had a goal last year to read 25 books. I only read 21 but if I add the audio books I listened to that does put me over 25 at 27 so I did pretty well.

Reading for two hours is the WHAT of this goal. The WHY of this goal has many facets. I wanted my goal to be a positive goal and not a ‘NOT’ goal. If I do follow through with this one though a lot of positive NOTs will materialize.

First the positives

Reading is how I learn so I expect this to expand my knowledge and also give me new ideas to share here on my blog, as well as help me on my job and in my personal relationships. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “In five years you will be the same as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.” I don’t want to remain the same. I want to improve a little every day and be a much better person in five years. Reading is one activity that should help me accomplish that goal.

The Positive NOTs

Some of the positive NOTs reading for at least two hours a day will accomplish are NOT wasting time browsing the internet, Facebook and twitter, waiting for the next “You’ve got mail” notification, and NOT wasting time browsing channels on the TV trying to find something to watch, which would probably be a waste of time if I found something.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

My 500 Words

The second challenge I signed up for was started by Jeff Goins. If you have read some of my earlier posts (See A Peculiar Perspective Begins!) you would know that Jeff is the reason I call myself a writer.

This challenge was pretty simple, to write 500 words a day for 31 days. That is what I am doing now and if I continue should provide many posts for your reading pleasure or consternation during 2014.

I have no aspirations or goals to publish a new post every day as some bloggers do. I don’t think I have that much to say. However I do want to be more consistent in 2014 and publish on a more regular schedule instead of just randomly as I did last year. I would like to publish at least one new blog a week on the same day and then will sprinkle in others, probably regarding current issues, as they arise during the year.

Well, there you have my goals for the first 31 days of 2014. I think breaking the traditional New Year’s resolutions down into smaller units like this is a good approach to help them seem more achievable. My expectation is this approach will be better than just breaking New Year’s resolutions.

If the first month is successful then you can either continue, since you will have built a new habit, or come up with something totally new for the next month. Time will tell. As I said earlier, the proof will be in the execution.

Midway checkpoint

I wrote this several days ago as part of my 500 word challenge. Since I am publishing now at the halfway point I can report I am batting .733 for both reading and writing so far this month. If I was a baseball player I would be in the Hall of Fame.  I would like to be 100% but am not going to beat myself up about that. I have accomplished much more both reading and writing than I would have without these challenges. I have read three books so far this year and published three blog posts, counting this one, so my year is off to a good start. Starting today I plan to get back on track and finish January strong.

If I can do it anyone can do it so you can start today and finish January strong yourself. I hope you choose to do just that.

Whatever your goals are for 2014 I hope you are off to a good start and are able to achieve them and make this your best year yet.

If you like any of what you see here or it makes you think, which is one of my goals, enter your email address in the sidebar on the right and subscribe. If you do you will receive an email in your inbox whenever I publish a new blog. I know many of you see these when I share them on Facebook or twitter but if you subscribe then you will be sure to NOT miss a single publication, another positive NOT. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time…

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Don’t believe Phil…or me either

Unless you live under a rock you have heard about the GQ interview where Phil Robertson was asked for his beliefs about what sin was. If you want you can see the entire interview here What the Duck? Read it and draw your own conclusions regarding the attacks on Phil and response by the A&E Network and others.

That is really the point of this post…Get your information from the source and form your own conclusions. Don’t just accept what you hear any news organization or supposed experts or group say about anything. Chances are they are reliable sources but there is a better chance their information is slanted in favor or their own beliefs and life experiences or agenda.

Here is the question and answer from the article

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Below is the passage from the Bible in I Corinthians 6:9-10 in the English Standard Version. You can see many other translations at the link above.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Go to the source

It looks like a pretty good paraphrase to me but don’t believe me either. Go the source; your Bible, or the link at the scripture reference above and read it for yourself.

I try to do this with anything I share on Facebook, twitter, Google+ or here in my blog. I click on the link and read or view the information being shared to make sure it is what I thought it would be because I don’t want to share anything I haven’t seen. When I am expressing my thoughts and perspective as I am now they are based on what I learned by going to the source and, of course, my beliefs.

My thoughts based on what I read

If you read the entire GQ article it appears to me that Phil was sharing the gospel with the reporter as he was showing him around his property. There are some things Phil said that are a little coarse but the reporter also used language in the article that Phil would not have used or approved if that was his place to approve it, which it wasn’t.

What GLAAD did was to pick out one of the sins listed, homosexuality, and focused on that when there were numerous examples of sin listed in the scripture Phil quoted from. What GLAAD and others either do not understand or choose to ignore is when a Christian is describing what sin is and who sinners are we always include ourselves in that list.

Lying is a sin just as stealing is a sin just as any sexual act outside the confines of marriage, which God defines as between a man and a woman, is sin, and that is where homosexuality and adultery come in.  If someone has an issue with that it is with God and not Phil Robertson.

What they do understand

People say they don’t read the Bible because it is too hard to understand. There are some parts that are hard to understand. However I believe it is what they do understand that really bothers them. They use the “too confusing” excuse to not read it for themselves. I believe if they did read it for themselves they might find there is more there they do understand and believe than they thought, and they will see that God offers forgiveness for any sin except the sin of disbelief.

There is a lot in the Bible I don’t understand. I do not claim to be an authority. That is where faith comes in. However, the things I do understand are very clear even when they do convict me of committing a sin or “step on my toes.” That doesn’t mean they are not valid or important or not applicable today because they are outdated. It means I need to change.

Get the facts

Those are some of my thoughts and my perspective on this subject but my challenge to anyone who is caught up in this “controversy” or whatever the controversy of the week is next week is to go to the source and then base your opinions on facts and not someone else’s interpretation.

Never Judge Someone by the Opinion of Others
Image courtesy of Billy Cox – Ziglar.com

For this one, don’t believe Phil. Don’t believe me. Don’t believe GLAAD, Don’t believe A&E. Read the article and read the Bible. I expect you will possess a different perspective after doing so.

If you really want to understand what Phil Robertson believes get his book unPhiltered, which was published after this article and controversy.

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.

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Feedback Is Always Welcome

Happy, Happy, HappyI love getting feedback from the words I post here on this blog. This has been a learning experience for me as expected and as my tagline says, “There is always more to be learned.”

I am writing today to say thank you for all those who have read any of my musings here and commented whether that be online here, on Facebook, or in person. They do mean a lot to me and are appreciated. As is mentioned in my About information,  I hope something might resonate with you and be worth thinking about, commenting on, agreeing with, disagreeing with, or sharing, or all of the above. That certainly has been the case for many of the posts I have made here and, did I say I appreciate that? Well I do.

Bad Information – Misconceptions

I received what I believe is my first phone call directly related to a post last Wednesday after my Two Questions post which was also published as a letter to the editor in the Southeast Sun as Two questions to ask of the superintendent candidatesI am not sure if the caller read the post here or there but, he did not specify. In any case, it did generate a phone call. I enjoy all kinds of feedback because that is the only way I will learn if what I write is being interpreted as I intended when I wrote it. This feedback was certainly interesting. Continue reading Feedback Is Always Welcome