Thoughts About A Recent Wedding…….

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Like most guys I know, I’ve never really been that excited about going to weddings. Especially now as I get older, most of the weddings we’re invited to are our friend’s children and often times, I’m not that close to the bride and groom. I may not have seen my friend’s children for a number of years. Kathy and I have also recently moved south away from many of our close friends. But we try and attend weddings if we are in town.

Recently we attended a wedding of friends we had met several years ago through our sons, Lee and Clint. Kathy and I have maintained a close, mentoring, relationship with the bride and groom. We’ve spent many summer nights on our screened in porch eating, laughing, talking, and yes, praying together.

I was excited and looking forward to this wedding. We felt like the “god parents” of the bride and groom.

It was a beautiful autumn day right out of the fairytale books. Tinted leaves from the many surrounding colorful trees tumbled and twisted in the fall air, landing on the ground. Geese, forming their trademark “V” configuration were heard cackling high above us headed to warmer climes. The faint smell of burning hickory wood drifted in the air. This was a small wedding and only their closest family and friends were in attendance. Everyone present had invested in the bride and groom in some way. This made the event even more meaningful and special.

I took this opportunity to sit and quietly reflect on the process that God takes us through in dating and marriage relationships.

The pastor who led the ceremony gave a very thoughtful and relevant description of marriage relationships. First, marriage offers each partner the opportunity to minister to each other in very unique ways. Just as Christ ministers to each individual, spouses can reflect Christ’s love to each other. We reflect Christ’s love in our marriage relationship when we seek to selflessly honor and focus attention on our spouse rather than ourselves. By nature, particularly prior to marriage, we tend to focus on self first then others. Marriage turns this selfish focus upside down. On a scale of 1-10, one being sacrificial love toward my spouse and 10 being self-centered focus on self, where would you rate yourself? The more we can tilt the scale to focus on our spouses’ needs, desires, likes, dislikes, the more brightly we reflect Christ’s sacrificial love shown to us.

Secondly, marriage is a crucible where God allows all the junk, the immaturity, self-centeredness to be burned away. Crucibles get hot. They allow extremely high temperatures in order to purify the gold. I think many couples I’ve talked with have unrealistic expectations about marriage in general. Marriage is not always bliss. It’s not always joyful and peaceful. By the very nature of becoming “one” there is great potential for intense, passionate, struggles and conflicts. In order to allow the impurities to be “burned” up we have to be patient and remain in the crucible. When things get hot, are we willing to work through the conflict? How do we handle conflict? These phases of conflict and tension are the opportune time to press into each other and hang in even tighter. Unfortunately, when conflict arises, we often want out of the crucible and create emotional distance from each other, before God is finished processing and purifying the gold. I’m convinced God wants to show us things about ourselves that can only be revealed in a marriage relationship.

Thirdly, marriages can demonstrate the gospel message. As Christ demonstrates His love toward each one of us, we can demonstrate Christ’s forgiveness, restoration, and love toward each other as husband and wife. Christ doesn’t “keep score.” Christ forgives, is long-suffering, is patient and kind. I have to ask myself, “Do I reflect Christ’s love toward Kathy?” Am I moving toward Kathy in constant love as Christ moves toward me? How can I freely accept Christ’s love and forgiveness for myself yet deny Kathy this same grace?

How Are Your Decision Making Skills?

Posted by on Feb 14, 2011 in Life, Psychology, Spiritual | 0 comments

Often when talking with “leaders,” husbands, wives, or parents, who are experiencing problems, difficulties, road blocks, resistance, revolts, failures, disappointments, or other catastrophe’s, it often can be traced back to making a poor decision.

Some questions to consider:  What is your process for making decisions?  Do you have a process?  How do you decide whether or not to purchase a washer and dryer?  Whirlpool or Maytag, Lexus or Volkswagon?  Are you a leader? Pastor?  Business Owner?  Parent?  Are you aware that decisions have long lasting effects on the future, the flock, our finances, our spouse, children, patrons and a host of other people as a result?

Share in Humanity

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Life, Psychology, Self-Talk, Spiritual | 0 comments

The older I get (maturity yanno), the more people I counsel, with every person I get to know in a deeper, closer way, the more I’m convinced we’re all messed up to one degree or another.  Once you get past the veneers, the facades, the masks, have you ever met anyone who was not wounded in some way by a delusional, angry, mother, abusive father, weird relative, peer, spouse, teacher, pastor, priest, church, or boss?  I haven’t.  But if you’re like me, we tend to look at other people and say, “they have it all together.”  “Why can’t I be like them?”

Relocation Advice

Posted by on Jan 19, 2011 in Funny, Life | 0 comments

Have you ever relocated?  Ever picked up and moved all your belongings, stuffed them in a storage unit, and started something new?  In one way I feel like we’ve moved home and in another like we’ve left our security blankets, 3 kids, and our close friends behind.  We waved goodbye to personal friends, professional buddies, neighbors, neighbor’s dogs, my cat’s grave in the back yard (remember “GURL!),  and our growing church family (shout out to all my Providence family).

Quick Trip The Past

Posted by on Dec 11, 2010 in Psychology, Self-Talk, Spiritual | 0 comments

It’s amazing what observations can be made during a treadmill run at the Y.  I’m facing the clear glass spying the parking lot to help pass time during the painful torture of staying fit. I know it’s almost 9 am because minivans are rolling in and the lot is buzzing with parents and kids making their way into the gym for Saturday morning pee wee basketball.  Single moms, single dads, grandparents, mom and dad seem to be on a mission as they file into the gym.

Some kids eagerly run ahead, excited about the challenge ahead.  One mom carries her 3 year old daughter in her arms as brother lags some distance behind with an anxious look on his face.  Reluctance. Clad in crinkled gym shorts, Y tee shirt, and size 6 tennis shoes, they are wondering, “Can I do it?  “Can I make mom and dad proud?”  “Can I really dribble down the court?”  “Hope I don’t trip today.” The orange rim goal looms overhead twice their height.  It requires both arms to lunge the massive ball onto the glass backboard.  The giant sphere swishes the net….. falling short of the rim.

I walk by the glass enclosed play area and a camera flash goes off as memories are collected for bragging rights later.  As rubber soles slide across the shiny polished wood floors, friction squeaks are heard above loud parents yelling, “Go girl!”  “Way to go!” “Come on, move it!”  Controlled chaos. Herding cats.  “Over here!”  “Shoot!”  A friendly ref blows the whistle and calls it out of bounds.  He points in the opposite direction.

It’s become an American ritual.  Every Saturday morning, families of all colors, shapes, sizes, make their way to the soccer fields, baseball and football fields marking spring, fall, and winter.  Summertime is reserved for swim teams.

Yea I remember when.  My oldest just turned 29 yesterday.  Once my 2 boys grew up, it was a couple of years before I could drive past an empty soccer field without getting a lump in my throat.  That seems like a long time ago. But for some reason, today’s blast to the past makes it seem as only yesterday. Saturday mornings at the Y and to the various sport’s fields filled each Saturday.  Late lunches at Joe and Mima’s with great cheese stake sandwiches or chicken wings at Old Country Buffet.  Crash Saturday night during a card game with friends.

Yea, I remember it all.  If your kids are grown like mine, then take some time out to sit and remember these rituals of parenting.  If you’re not there yet, you’re not married or you don’t have kids, then you have more to look forward to.  If you’re there now, savor it.  Don’t rush. Don’t wish it away.  Get present.  Be aware when holding your son’s hand as you march defiantly into the gym on that cold December morning.  Notice your little girl’s stride as she attacks the ball mid court.  It will pass soon enough.  There’s only a few more trips to the soccer field.  The days are numbered.  It is a spectacular journey.

Ben Franklin and Neil Young Would Be Proud

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Politics, Psychology, Spiritual | 0 comments

We drove to the local firehall today just as we’ve done so many times before on this crisp, fall, November morning.  We made our way past the cluttered campaign signs and a few cheery poll workers offering their last minute hand shakes and tired, somewhat forced smiles.  We slowly make our way over to the table marked A-M.  “Creasy, C R E A S Y.” We autographed the small space and moved to the next station.  An elderly man handed us our paper ballot and pointed us in the direction of the small, dimly lit voting booth that reminded me of those that protect the contestants on final Jeopardy from sneaking a peek.

I notice a lump in my throat.  What is it?  How does one describe the feeling that only manifests and is only noticeable in the polling place each first Tuesday in November?  Is it just pride in our country? Is it an unconscious “knowing” that we are free citizens and can make a difference to protect the republic by voting that suddenly breaks the surface of our conscious realm of thinking? Does this reentry into consciousness strike an emotional chord  that often goes unnoticed during the routine of our daily existence?  I describe this as a sacredness.  It’s a feeling of reverence and deep respect for the privilege of expressing our voice in how we are governed.

I’d like to borrow from Neil Young, a school history teacher in Chester Co. Pennsylvania to elaborate.

Retirement Update…life goes on….

Posted by on Jun 28, 2010 in Funny, Life, Pharmaceutical Industry | 0 comments

Just a few observations about my life after Pfizer.  First of all it’s safe to say that life does go on. I still see about 8 clients during the week but I’m less rushed in everything I do.  I even find myself driving the car slower to get somewhere.  Of course this could have something to do with my aging body and mind and less to do with eliminating my etched in stone schedule of arriving at the gym at 5:30am and at work Monday through Friday at 7:30 am. But who knows for sure?  Days seem to move a little slower.  That’s a good thing, especially during the summer.  In the past it seemed that summer passed so quickly I hardly knew what happened and bam, I’m raking leaves again.  Saturday and Sunday had to be protected and exalted as “my time.”  Ok some things never change.   It seems as though June is lingering around and I like that.  I have developed a new appreciation for “house wives” and completely understand why women entered the workforce outside of the home. Quite frankly, they were bored to tears and had to leave the home to maintain their sanity.  It’s  dull, unimaginative, and colorless to wash clothes and make beds.  It’s much more invigorating to discuss the medical and legal implications of treating patient X with drug Y and developing a training module around the mechanism of action which the FDA will actually approve.  Folding laundry  is not stimulating any way you look at it.  And forget daytime TV.  If you’ve ever wondered how Barack Obama got elected president, just turn on your  TV, any station, any time between 9 am and 5 pm, and you’ll understand.  A whole new world will open up to you. The newspaper only prints the show listings beginning at 6 pm.  There’s a reason for that and it’s because it isn’t worth printing. How do I know this?  I catch bit’s and pieces of programming during the day while waiting in doctor’s offices or while running at the gym trapped and held captive to watch the channel du jour.  Sometimes I’m flipping through the channels looking for FOX news and taste a sample of bla bla. It’s basically mindless drivel with a few personalities mixed in like Regis, Whoopie, Barbara Walters, and my personal favorite,  Joy Bahar (IQ of 89). Then there’s the old stand-by’s, the Soaps where the plot is basically the same as it was 30 years ago and I’m not exaggerating. Of course’s there’s Ellen and Oprah for really mind stimulating talk.  All I can say is, thank God for Facebook!  You know, where we can post stuff like “Hi FB friends, it’s another beautiful day here in Sunnybrook Farms,”  or where we can view family photo’s of strangers we know nothing about or could’t care less about.  Hold on, someone’s trying to reach me by FB chat.  We’ll talk later.

Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 7, 2010 in Life, Psychology, Self-Talk | 0 comments

As Mother’s day approaches this weekend, we recognize the vital and formative role mothers have on individual lives.  I’ll throw out the question, where would we be without our mothers?  Now if your mother was warm, welcoming, nurturing, loving, caring, emotionally healthy, and present, this is a no brainer.  If however, your mother was not “present” either physically, emotionally, or otherwise, then it’s a more difficult question to reconcile.

Many clients (especially men) seeking help for depression, anger, or personality disorders, often describe their mother as cold, depressed, unavailable, ambivalent, distant, burdened, intimidated, lonely, and often a victim of abuse themselves.  The abuse can be emotional, physical, or sexual in nature.  One must tell “self” the truth about our mothers in terms of their personal history, their struggles, and their emotional health in order for us to have peace and healthy emotional feelings.  Sometimes clients place the same expectations on their mother which may have severe emotional baggage and limitations, as those dream girls we see on TV, June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson, (Father Knows Best) Clair Huxtable, Harriet Nelson, and you get the picture.  But the truth often includes the fact that our mothers may have been a victim of abuse, and suffered severe mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or a personality disorder.  The truth is, if our mother suffered from a mental disorder, abuse, or depression, they weren’t ABLE, they weren’t capable of giving us what we needed in order for us  to feel loved, nurtured, and significant. We can’t truthfully hold our mother (or our father but we’ll save that for later) responsible for fulfilling their cultural and God given role as “nurturer” if they are ill equipped, or emotionally damaged.  Problem is, when we’re 7  years old, we can’t process all this psycho babble, we just know we need love and nurturing.  As adults one has to accept the “fact” that “mother” may not be able to give us what we need to survive.  If this is the situation, we must realize that God will provide.  God knows that we need “mothering” and He will provide, whether through another  surrogate “mother” ie. grandmother, aunt, friend, “sister,” or other relative.  One also has to recognize that we are “worthy” and valuable in the eyes of God REGARDLESS of the quality or amount of nurturing one received from “mother.”  Sometimes, “mother” may not have given us what we needed, but we are still worthy and valuable in the eyes of God.  We are sons and daughters of the Father, regardless of our connection with our natural “mother.”  If your mother is living, send her flowers……show that you love her, regardless of what she has given you……

Food Police–Taxes and Regulation

Posted by on Apr 21, 2010 in Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics | 0 comments

Salt, sugar, trans-fats, have all been in the news lately as Michelle O leaves her backyard vegetable garden and takes to the mean streets on her crusade against body fat.  In her wake, there’s a deluge of  federal, state, and local law initiatives rising up against obesity.  What I refer to as the “food police” others call progress.  OK, we are probably the fattest developed nation in the world.  We have access to a wide variety of colas, cakes, breads, cookies, candy bars, chips, carbs and sugars limited only by our grocery budget. But never fear, our great protector and omnipotent caretaker, the all knowing, all seeing, government will swoop in and save us all from plaque buildup, strokes, and a wide assortment of heart ailments.

How will this angel of mercy extend a healing touch?  First, they’ll use stimulus funds (aka our tax dollars) to label menus and advertisements with the danger of calories, and perils of sodium, sugar, and fats.  Recently Massachusetts was awarded over $12 million in stimulus funds to do just that.  Secondly, the government vilifies and demonizes the food industry from Kraft to Crispy-Creme, to big Macs, Frito-Lay to Outback threatening to levy taxes on the cost of their ads unless they place warnings on unhealthy foods.   You’ve seen the warning disclosures currently required by the FDA on TV for pharmaceutical ads that run for 3 minutes listing every risk, every side effect known to mankind, that could ever possibly show up by taking this medication.  Picture it now, a  30 second TV ad for Hellman’s Mayonnaise would run 5 minutes in length; 30 seconds about the great taste and 4 minutes and 30 seconds warning you of diabetes, coronary artery disease, allergic reaction to eggs, rash, hives, diarrhea, glaucoma, nose bleeds, hyper-pigmentation and an erection lasting more than 24 hours. Please see your doctor, NOW!

There’s even an assault by food critics on the portion size that restaurants serve.

Is there anything our government won’t do to make our lives more comfy and safe?

To my knowledge there’s not a shred of evidence that demonstrates our government sponsored patchwork of weight loss, nutrition initiatives, and taxes on food products does anything to directly improve our health.  But we can all feel better knowing that someone in central planning is watching after us.

People’s exercise of free choice lies at the core of this issue.  Is there anyone with an IQ above 100 that does not understand over-indulgence of any product or activity (food, sugar, caffeine, salt, calories, lack of or over exercise) is unhealthy?  That message is out there.  People have knowledge and then make decisions.  The government in this case wants to make those decisions for you. Is it just me, or does it seem a little scary that the government wants to mandate the amount of salt and sugar I can use to season my food?

Shady Maple

Posted by on Apr 10, 2010 in Life | 0 comments

We’ve lived in Pennsylvania for about 13 years.  Traveling West on Rt. 322 about 20 miles, one encounters a step back in time.  Horse drawn carriages with Amish hats and simple dress, expanses of farm land with serene ponds, barns, silos, and corn fields, a scenic crop of soy beans, dot the countryside which creates a relaxing drive out of the “city.”  Kathy and I have traveled the 30 minute calm ride into the countryside for about 13 yrs each Saturday morning.  We’ve used that time to talk, refresh, and reconnect from the busy, frazzled week while listening to “Car Talk” on PBS.  Shady Maple has been a landmark in our area for a number of years.  The restaurant is gigantic and serves  literally hundreds of tourists for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.  I’ve reluctantly indulged in the expansive buffet only a couple of times.  I hate feeling like cattle in a food fight, herded through long lines where obese patrons fight to fill their plates with unlimited provisions for $14.95.

Shady Maple also has a farm market which specialized in fresh produce, deli meat, beef, pork, chicken, at a fair price, and a variety of “country offerings” including a cheap lunch for under $4.  They often offered fresh grilled chicken and bar-b-q and chips with drink.  Hey, Kathy and I were the youngest patrons in the dining area.  We felt great. It boosted our ego.

Well, the modern world has taken over and invaded our simple, country, Lancaster brand living and shopping. Where are the Amish when you really need them?

I visited Shady Maple store today and was sorely disappointed.  They’ve remodeled the entire store.  We saw this happening gradually but did not understand the full impact until today when we viewed the final product.  This time of year, we’re usually greeted by the expansive tent protecting a large variety of seasonal garden plants, flowers, and hanging baskets with Amish clerks manning the cash register.  Cash only please. The entrance has completely been remodeled, re-routed, there is no tent, there is instead a skimpy selection of yellowing geraniums and droopy tomato plants on display within the narrow entrance hall.  Yuk.  Is this progress?  I hate it.  They have completely destroyed the ambiance of simplicity and replaced it with a “modern” touch devoid of my reality, of times past and provide an inferior quality of product.

I”ve reluctantly accepted this transition, although I’m convinced it’s  a negative step headed in the wrong direction, called progress.  Why can’t we leave some things alone? Why do we feel the need to tile, rearrange, carpet, update and destroy articles of the past?  I loved the simplicity and calmness of Shady Maple dressed in 70’s attire. It was a step back in time.  Unfortunately, it’s been retooled, remodeled, reshaped, and no longer resembles anything I recognize or admire.  Why do things have to be so complicated today?

Although they still sell many items in bulk such as cumin, cereal, spices, oats, and I can find collard greens, cilantro, lemons and limes at at good price, I doubt that Kathy and I will travel the inspirational 30 minutes west on 322 as often. What’s the point?

Wegman’s, which is 10 minutes from hour home actually has better prices and higher quality produce. Their fresh baked rosemary/olive oil loaf is warm to the touch when I pick it up. It’s to die for.

I’m sad.  I feel like I’ve lost a good friend.  Good bye Shady Maple….I’ll miss you.