Monday, December 26, 2016

Sundays of Christmas Past

All the guests left today and the excitement of Christmas 2016 is now history.  I can't remember the last time Christmas landed on a Sunday (actually it was 2011) and it is not 1/7th of the time.  In fact the next occurrence is 2022 and only 14 times in the 21 century. 

I asked J.R. today at lunch when New Years Day this year?  His response - same as every year 7 days from Christmas - hence Sunday. 

But what is the optimal day for Christmas to fall for retailers?   "Super Saturday" is actually the Saturday before Christmas Eve and was December 17th this year.  My random observation today (Boxing Day) is that retail traffic was light and sales tepid.  In fact many sales were pre Christmas Eve this year. So my guess is retailers are not that interested in Christmas falling on Sunday.

Based on attendance at Armstrong Chapel Sunday morning, Christmas falling on Sunday will also be a low revenue day for the offering plate.  At Crossroads there was only streaming (which I presume is pre-recorded) so attendance was only virtual (and also probably a non event).  Traditionally Christmas Sunday is the first Sunday after Christmas - which means this year it is Jan. 1.

Next year Christmas resumes to Monday - seems much more traditional for the Monday U.S. observed schedule for Holidays and less confusing for church for Christmas Sunday.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Calling all the Time

I have been reviewing the study that our Men's Fellowship Group did back in Sept. 2006 - "The Blueprint for Life" a study by Mike Kendrick of Ministry Ventures Inc.  The last 8 minutes of Tony Evan's talk on "The Importance of Calling" is one of the best summaries I have heard about purpose and time.

"Time is given for one reason..... to accomplish your purpose", preaches Tony.  We sit inside of time and God "ordains" that time and when it is complete.  "You can die before your time, but you can't live longer than your time" Tony adds.  So if you don't have purpose you will not use time wisely.

So what happens if you believe you have wasted time without knowing your calling?  That's the Grace you have been given - and even today you can get back those years by changing your focus.  Making the most of the time you have left recaptures the prior lack of focus.

Every time you think about death is good because it should remind you of time.  And... since we are all going to die - you might as well start living........ your Calling ........ all the time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas Mystery e-card

Wisner Family - December  2016

It Takes TWO    is the theme  for the Wisner’s  - two loves, two lost, 2gether 22ever.   We are thankful for a mul-ti-TWO–ed of blessings including good health and spiritual wealth.   
Ellen (Second Wind –IHS Senior)  -  Twice at JH Ranch, no Words can describe the Friends she has made. Drawing Something deep in perseverance, she worked double duty in 22 jobs – Frieda’s Baking, Dog Walking, Baby Sitting; Adult Caring (Hospice).  Matched savings doubles her smile and bankrupts Garen.  Twin trips to Chicago has made her a veteran traveler with daring dual landings – all alone.  Next May marks a milestone – My am I proud of her pending graduation. Oh i only hope she stays in State.  U C we still don’t know her choice.
Jenna (Fiancée – Finally J ) – Almost two cubed years of dates resulted in a proposal with a Memorial date pending.  Still at Christ Hospital, Jenna is pairing as an Assistant Nurse Manager – half in and half out -  a double-edged schedule.  Paul Robinson (her future duet) says that she MAy Love It BUt,  she’s still singing the blues. 
Susan (Couples – Consultant) – Politics trumped her out with no tea for two parties.  She TaKEs aLL ERrors in stride. Instead, she became a couple’s coach (for all ages) focused on high wire relationship advice; downstream rapid financial calculations; and wedding dual accounting budgets.  Not one – but two Emmaus walks puts her All In – for the second year.  She’r lock it at home (vs Outback) with two new clients occasionally blowing out of the house for duplicate tournaments.
Garen (Dynamic – Dude?) -  He had to repeat the Marriage retreat first at the Lodge; second at Outback. The duplicity of material suits him well.  Booster-ed (or busted) by more time away from duplicate, he went Full Throttle into SVP Membership, Miami Mock Recruiting, and Movie Ministries.  Reversing the heat, building new bricks of legal traditions, Garen restricted his stock trading to Susan’s new found options.  He is Sirius about Holiday Traditions never forgetting the echo of Watercolors. 
Travel included Portugal, Chicago, Shaker Village, Tennessee, California with traditional stops in KS and NC and even an Ark encounter.  TWO big events pending – wedding and repeat tuition creates another Magnum financial hit. This year a Cavalier candidate emerged from Cleveland only to disappoint both political Tribes.
As we recover from a year of brokenness - political incivility and political divisiveness - our family reflects on this year’s power of TWO driven by the birth of ONE. “ONE can have a dream but TWO can make a dream so real”.  We are privileged to be connected to the ONE … and to you – TOO!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
“Again, I say to you, if TWO of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in Heaven.”                     Matthew  18:19

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Resting Space

"Music is best where there is space between the notes" remarked A.S. at a Vistage meeting some time ago.   How true also for our life -  "Life is best where there is space between the busy schedule".

In this Holiday hustle and bustle, everyone seems to stress out on running out of time - for the Christmas Cards, decorating the house, shopping for presents, people we want to connect with, year end deadlines and the list goes on and on.  Yet everyday (and even the most scheduled person) has white space - time in car, time between meetings, time between tasks, even time during meals.

How do you celebrate that "space"?   Do you fill it with noise, randomness, or purpose?  Here's a radical idea - schedule some space!  Schedule some ..... Rest.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Board Room Exit

No one got my point when I said the departing Board members for SVP Cincinnati reminded me of the final scene of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.  They wanted me to explain - my response (like the intrigue of interpreting the book) was - "watch the movie and decide for yourself".  It is a very complicated book. The movie, with Jack Nicholson, is a 1975 classic, and does a good job of delivering the complexity of the book.

The interesting philosophy I remember most about the book and the movie is trying to determine who is crazy and who is sane?  What is "prison" and what is "freedom"?  Who is in control and who isn't?

In the final scene the Chief (pretending to be deaf and dumb) leaves the Mental Ward and it's up to you to decide, based on the outcomes of all the characters, who is better off.

So what was my point as the three departing Board members left me with yet another term?

Depends on your perspective :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Revealed

Yesterday was the close of the study of "Hidden Christmas" by Tim Keller.  Keller reveals insights of the real meaning of Christmas by the various responses of each human's first knowledge of the news (usually from angels) about God's coming.  In today's language a supernatural encounter.

So how would you react to a supernatural encounter?  Terrified; Amazed: Disbelief; Humbled; Fearful; Confused; Curious; .....

How do you react when someone describes their personal supernatural encounter (like the Shepherds, Wise Men etc.)?  Yeah right; Crazy; Dreamy; I'll give you a pass on this one; I believe you;

Who do you trust or respect when they witness to their theories/beliefs and philosophy of the unknown?  Scholars; Leaders; Clergy; Scientists; Friends;  Family; Strangers;

All of these were questions our group wrestled with and even answered.  The evening ended with the final question:

Someone today approaches you and asks:  "What does Christmas mean to you?"

Embedded in your answer is the revelation of your Hidden Christmas,  and your story is in fact your encounters in life revealed to someone questioning their unknown and trusting your answer.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Let's say you discovered the gift you gave someone was "re-gifted" to someone else.  How would you react?  There in lies the danger of re-gifting anything.  You have no control over where it might end up or if the trail of discovery could be traced back to you as the original giftee. 

A version of this happened to me when I took a bottle of wine over to M.L.'s house who was hosting Susan and I for dinner.  In this case it was totally innocent as I had just pick any bottle of wine from our wine cabinet.  However this bottle just happened to be the exact bottle the M.L. had brought over to my house two weeks prior for a Vistage social that Susan and I were hosting.

I immediately put two and two together when M.L. commented on how much he enjoyed that brand of wine.  It was the joke of the evening that I had "re-gifted" the exact bottle of wine back to it's original owner. Quite a potentially  embarrassing situation, but luckily with friends like the M.L.s not an issue.

The moral of the story: "He who gifts should be flattered to get it back."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Musical Memories

At Wednesday tennis, D.P. mentioned there would be a holiday concert in the community symphony that he plays in - did I want to attend?  That launched into the memories of my music background and the many hours devoted to practicing, playing and listening to music. 

Mom and Dad planted that seed of interest and watered it with encouragement, lessons and coaching for 15 years. Once in college (and after two years in the Miami Marching Machine), all that investment would lay dormant (other than the listening part). 

I tried to do the same with Jenna and Ellen but with less success (maybe only 6-8 years).  I remember Jenna's piano teacher saying that it takes 7 years (on  piano) to give the gift of that skill for a lifetime.  Not mastery - but the ability to sit at a piano and play a decent piece - maybe even sight read.

Using my 15 years of dormant knowledge, I asked D.P. what instrument he played.
Trumpet he replied. 

Arrogantly, I asked  "Have you played the most famous trumpet trio piece"?

"What would that piece be?  he asked, obviously indicating it must not be so famous.

I didn't know the name or composer but could easily hum it it for the tennis guys  attempting to get help.  P.N. asked for a repeat performance and an additional stanza to no avail.  D.P. even tried to google "most famous trumpet trios" on the "smart-alec" phone.  No luck!

So this is where the mind is fascinating.  I just couldn't get the tune out of my head.  How would I ever find out the name and composer?  Yet last night it popped into my memory......

The Bugler's Holiday!    And with the power of the internet - confirmation of it's stature.

Buglers Holiday - by Leroy Anderson performed by the US Coast Guard

Friday, December 9, 2016

Work to Live or Live to Work

I remember my Grandfather Well's wisdom when he said: "You either Work to Live or Live to Work".  He said this as he was asking me also about my hobbies recognizing that my work-aholic  tendencies may have over emphasized the Live to Work part.  He also said: "Without hobbies, interests and other relationships..... the day you retire is the day you start to die."

I just finished reading Barry Schwartz's Ted Original book (from the TED Talk series) titled "Why We Work".  The question seems simple yet the answer is embedded in a complex weave of our human nature, institutional and governmental systems, motivations, and yes.... moral sentiments with the haunting of life's purpose.

I always felt that attitude was 80% of the solution.  Even life's worst job, with the right attitude, can be fulfilling - as Schwartz says "who they are, not what the work is".  I even remember at Accenture when the Functional Head of the Human Resource consulting practice shocked me with the HR principal that money (and incentives) will not create sustainable employee job satisfaction -  substantiated by significant surveys and psychological data.

Schwartz postulates that our ideas and/or ideology (which may be false truths) about why we work may "bear a large measure of the responsibility for the nature of our work".  I grew up in a billable hour mindset (consulting fees) and as such started putting a price on time - an evening with friends has "costs".  My obsession with studying time and money may have grow out of this very mindset.

So there is some danger in false ideology - meaning that it can become true simply by people believing it's true.  I reconstruct how I think about my actions to match the false ideology; The self fulfilling prophecy can take over; The Pygmalion Effect of expectations by others might take over; or Institutionalizing the idea in social and governmental structures overpowers you. 

So before you give up and believe that we are stuck in a declining spiral of unfulfilling work paradigms. Remember that human beings are "value soaked" creatures.  Everything we do announces a value (a purpose).  Embedded in our hearts is that search for value - which is our choice.  Our "work" will always reflect our value (good or bad).  If our work is bad or unfulfilling, the conflict in our soul will press us with suffering until we resolve the false ideology.

Working to Live .... for what purpose?  Living for purpose is your work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Vistage Inklings

Tomorrow I will meet with my Vistage 1107 group. I look forward to these meetings each and every month.  I can even "blame" a Vistage session by B.E. for this blog.

There are only four of us that remain as the founding group that started meeting back in July 2004.  G. B. will be in the "spotlight" and I'm sure it will be interesting.  Reading about C.S. Lewis's group called the Inklings, Vistage serves this purpose for me.  A  group of very talented business professionals meeting monthly for friendship, "carefrontation", business idea stimulation, and personal development. In fact, every meeting I get some sort of inkling - a whisper, a nudge from one of the members.

I reviewed my inklings and scribbles from all the 2016 meetings and found the pages littered with quotes, ideas, goals, to dos, and a tapestry my own and others comments.  With twelve years of nudges and notes, I can see a pattern improvement and growth.

My next Spotlight #11 is March 2017 and that responsibility launches me into what has become a very enjoyable activity of self reflection, philosophical musing, and deep emersion of research and learning.  Covering all topics from personal mission, time/money, risk/reward, luck, happiness, longevity, Heaven, friendship and even "Golden Oldies",  I wait to get inspired by a subject that will be fun to research and valuable information for the other members.

So what will be the subject?  Business topics I'm considering - Leadership; Customer Experience; Technology Shifts; Margin or Revenue; Ethics Interpersonal topics I'm considering - Memories, Hobbies and Habits; Creativity; Giving;

I need an inkling :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Deep Breath Please

I've been reviewing old journals (financial, spiritual, grateful lists) and blog entries.  Interestingly, my journals have little to do with world events.  My great grandmother recorded in journals every day in the 1800's and when I was reviewing them about three years ago the same phenomenon was present.  She recorded events that impacted their life, farming items, weather, birth/death, family visits or excursions etc. 

So many people are so stressed about this Presidential election and the impact of future policy and/or world events. Yet when it comes to recording the things in journals that really impact your life these macro events yield little interest or, dare I say, impact.

Someone told me Oprah Winfrey tweeted about the election: "Take a deep breath" #HopeLives.  How appropriate.  There are plenty of historical writings about the gloom and doom of the times and when read to an unknowing audience sounds just like today's times.

So try to use this advice to create peace in your life.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Giving Counts

At breakfast with fellow Social Venture Partners (Cincinnati) we began discussing philanthropy.  While SVP Cincinnati's public purpose is "to enable our investees to make the Cincinnati region a stronger and more vibrant community", I believe the real purpose is to grow an individual (a Partner) in their giving of time, talent and treasure.

Cincinnati and our giving community is one of the most philanthropic in the United States.  I remember doing the business plan for SVP Cincinnati and discovering the Cincinnati's contributions to the United Way is in the top five cities (at least back in 2007) PER CAPITA.  The Cincinnati chapter of De Tocqueville Society ($10K or more) claims over 900 members and $11M and "one of the largest chapters in the country".

Naturally the skeptic in me wanted to fact check this "marketing claim".  Indeed it is one of the largest .... but naturally it depends on how you count:

- Denver 400 $10M; Chicago 650 $12M; Milwaukee 403 $15.3M; Houston 876 $17M; Dallas; Atlanta (claiming to be the largest) >1000 members;

Even SVP International attempts to count our impact:  "With more than 3500 Partners from Boston to Bangalore, Social Venture Partners is the world’s largest network of engaged donors".  SVP Cincinnati promotes ourselves in "Giving Results" - Partners Give More, Strategically, and are More Involved in their Community. 

So are all these discussions an attempt to show Pride in Giving?  Or to be an examples/witness of the journey of a giver. 

Externally it is impossible to discern.  Internally it is impossible to measure.  Or as a more famous person said:

"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; Everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." Albert Einstein   (see "Counting Feelings 1/11/2011")

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pride or Prejudice

Rarely do you get to admit mistakes or experience the growth in your own thinking.  But authors, writers, bloggers, and journal keepers have that chance. Now with visual technology advancements there is the historical trail of speeches, movement, and precise location of events with proof of attendees and fellow patrons.  Increasingly this is available for public scrutiny or as one author called it social surveillance.

Much of the basis of criticism we have of others is finding a mistake or pointing out some form of hypocritical action.. Yet every individual is subject to both mistakes and obtaining new sources of information that allow them to grow in emotional and intellectual maturity.  How easy it is for the smarter or more emotionally mature person to use their "perceived" superiority or power (in knowledge or experience) to belittle or intimidate the other.

I'm concluding that the 2016 election has been a divide driven by intellectual prejudices  fueled by the media who enjoy (and are economically incented to and rewarded for) widening this gap.  Deplorables, Racists, Dogmatic Far ... left or right; Demographic stereotyping, Uneducated, Elitist, ... the list goes on and on. 

Change the context of superiority  and think in terms of parent/child or teacher/student.  How would you communicate and interact with your child or student?  What language, examples, or stories would you use to create the necessary dialogue in your relationship?  Out of what goals and emotional connection would you accept each others actions and behaviors? Is the parent always right and infallible?  How is truth revealed and discovered?

Pride or Prejudice -  either cloak will hide your soul.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy Self Day

Birthday calls, cards, texts, emails, and ......  Facebook/LinkedIn posts - which make you feel most appreciated?    Do any of the technology driven Birthday wishes even count?

I've never been a big Birthday celebration person as it seems like just any other day (other than probably to the Mom's in the world who were ... "all in").  But the reality is seeing the technology acknowledgements by other does require them to do something to acknowledge and congratulate you electronically (even if they are prompted by the web site reminder). 

First this year was Susan (since I didn't log in my computer or look at my phone) with a wonderful birthday card (yes a physical birthday card with a handwritten note).  Next in line was Ellen with both a gift and a card.  Then technology took over - text from Jenna (6:28am) followed by a slew of Facebook, LinkedIn  friends and even vendors, retailers and interested institutions (Cinemark; Allstate, Miami Oxford, Adidas, etc.)

You could say that every technology congratulations started with my input of the Birthdate in te web site  profile.  So was I indirectly  congratulating MYSELF?? (how's that for the ultimate narcissistic trend)?  Google even had a birthday cupcake on my phone automatically and on my computer search page. 

I suppose Apple is researching how Siri could automatically sing happy birthday to me on a phone (that is if I ever would get an iPhone ---NEVER).  Microsoft (Bing) is again behind the times - absolutely nothing!

Blue Mountain allows the sender to generate an e-card today and send up to a year in the future.  I wonder how many dead people get Birthday wishes?

So ..... why not top all this off with the MOST  narcissistic birthday wish of all.  A blogger wishing himself a Happy Self Day:

Happy Selfday Garen.   Have a Wonderful Day.  :)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What God Thinks

Today I will finish C.S. Lewis - "A Life" a biography written by Alister McGrath that is the start of the small group Susan and I are participating at Crossroads.  Since I rarely read fiction books, I have not read any of his Narnia books but will likely be required at some future date as we continue with this small group. 

"Lewis did not really see himself as "creating" Narnia.  Creation is a misleading term. He preferred to think of human thought as "God-kindled" and the writing process as the rearrangement of elements that God has provided.  The writer takes "things that lie to hand" and puts them to new use".

And so it is in the random bloggers posts of their thoughts and philosophy. The ebb and flow of my own personal blog is a rearrangement of memories, current events, relationship connections, and soul searching answers to purpose. 

It brings to mind the quote I have already used in a Vistage presentations to answer why I blog?

"I write to discover what I think"  Daniel Boorstin  (Former librarian of Congress)

Maybe I should modify that with a C.S. Lewis spin"

"I write to discover what God thinks"

Monday, November 28, 2016

I'm Sorry

Measuring and quantifying things has dominated my interest and study in life.  So when it comes to emotional feelings I have wondered about love, hate, sorrow and joy.   Intellectually I have stated that love is infinite and mysteriously and can't be quantified.  However Jesus in the Bible posed the question to Simon - "Now which of them [the two debtors] will love him [the forgiver of the debt] more?" Luke 7:42  

More means a quantity and in this case it is based on the amount of debt forgiven.  Later in verse 47 Jesus says "But whoever has been forgiven little, loves little".  

So what popped into my mind immediately -  Trump's answer to the question (July 2015)  about asking God for forgiveness - "I am not sure that I have".  However he then followed up this statement of doubt by talking about his participation in communion as his form of asking for forgiveness.  We all need our methods of being forgiven -  a lot!

Forgiving is mysteriously wrapped up into the emotions of guilt, sorrow and hate.  The hardest five or six words to say in the English language are  "I'm sorry, please forgive me".  Pride and power makes these words almost impossible to publically verbalize. 

Just remember - saying I'm sorry is saying I love you ..... a lot.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ornamental Opinions

Decorating brings out the very opinionated side of each of us.  This year the major dispute came about by the central location hanging ornament that greets each new visitor as they enter our front door.  It traditionally has been a large green and white jeweled globe with a white ribbon.

But traditions change.  Last week in an unusual move, I purchased from the Shaker Village gift shop (yes me), a large mobile star made of basil wood. Probably too fragile to hang outside, I placed it in the location of Christmas tradition - A Star is Born.

Jenna was on the same track of changing tradition when she had purchased a mistletoe  decoration to hang in the same location.  Purchased to coordinate with her beautifully decorated tree she was quick to find allies to remove the hanging star.

Finding compromise is difficult as there is only one critical entrance available.  Susan was thrust into a calamity of Christmas conflict. 

The advantage of "first to market" has temporarily won the battle.  But I suspect the millennial will win the war.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

To all a Good Night

It is the traditional weekend to put up the Christmas tree and outdoor decorations. Also to get all the outdoor furniture and rugs up and stored for the winter.  There are great memories that I have in getting all the decorations out and put on the tree each Christmas.  It becomes a day of nostalgia as te house fills with music and the lights go up.

Jenna is my energy for doing this each year.  Her enthusiasm is a great motivator for all.  Susan and Ellen reluctantly place a few decorations around the house to show support.  Paul was smart this weekend and got out of town with a after Thanksgiving trip to Columbus.

It will be about 20- 40 man hours total (decorating and tearing down) effort for one month of beauty.  But it gets us all in the Christmas spirit - which is the joy and celebration that makes it all worth the effort.

December is almost here -  decorate in good cheer!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Frozen or Fried Turkey

One turkey was not enough this year - we decided to have a backup and appease me in putting my Butterball Fryer to use again after three years of rest.

Actually it was by luck that Susan allowed a second turkey.  Since her loyalty is to Butterball she gave Ellen strict orders not to come home last week from Kroger with anything but a Butterball Turkey. Alas, when Ellen was at Kroger the only Butterball Turkey was a new technology - Frozen to Oven Bagged Turkey called "Ready to Roast Whole Turkey". Yet another first and would be added to the prior year Turkey variations:

2013 - Fried Turkey Experiment
2015 - Turkey Trials

So Susan allowed a second traditional frozen (needing thawing)  Butterball turkey to be purchased and agreed to another Turkey contest -Frozen or Fried.

Well the results are in -  Fried Turkey won hands down in taste only. The Ready to Roast wins in convenience, time, cost, and cleanup. 
Caution - never put a frozen turkey into a fryer unless you want a very explosive fire.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Redskins Football

Tuesday night my Miami Redhawks  (or should I really say Redskins) season tickets were put to good use by the guys (M.L.  J.R. and K.M.).  What a great Miami memory - freezing our toes while sitting on the edge of the bleachers on a come from behind win against Ball State:  21-20.

Actually we didn't see the end of the game since the three reluctant and frozen Miami fans negotiated with me (the driver) to leave the game early if Miami scored the go ahead touchdown.  We did and in the warmth of the car listened to the last four minutes on the radio.

So much history of football at Miami (the Cradle of Coaches) with yet another statistic in the record books.  The first team to go 0-6 for the first half of the season and then win six in a row to actually get a chance at a Bowl invitation. 

When Jenna started at Miami (2009), I sent her a letter  (the MMM - Monday Miami Memory) each Monday for her first 14 weeks.  Letter #5 was my favorite describing the first Nationally Televised Miami Football Game:

Here is the except from the letter I sent Jenna (10/27/2009):

The first Miami Home game was with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) on  9/23/72.  In those days both Bands were allowed to play at half-time and this was the first nationally televised game at Miami.  It was played at Old Miami Field which is where  Pearson Hall and the Psychology building is now located.  Since the game was televised,  Dave Wottle was being honored.   Wottle was a junior at BGSU and had stunned the world by winning the gold medal in the 1972 Olympics 800 meter run coming from last place at the half way point to win the race against the Soviet favorite (remember it was the Cold War back then)– all while wearing a golf cap (unheard of for a runner). His was the last gold medal won in that race by an American to this day.

Well since this was going to be televised (remember there was not cable in those days just 3 channels and only two televised college football games each Saturday) , some of the freshmen guys in East Quad came up with this idea to get on television.  They made up signs with the letters BGSU.  Sitting in the Miami Student stands, they all stood up to display the letters during a time out.  What a nice sportman’s like gesture.  One of the students waited to see camera lock in (the red light showing they were on national television).  Once locked in, three additional Miami men stood up with their letters --- cks.  Yes -- right there on national television before they could cut it for tape delay was BGSUcks.  It was unheard of to allow filthy words on TV.  We lost the game 7 – 16 and were, to some, in national shame.
Miami University 1970s
Not only were these students reprimanded – Dr. Shriver issued a public apology for the Miami Freshman’s rude and crude behavior. For the rest of us the East Quad Freshmen were immortalized.  In fact South Quad was upset that East Quad had outperformed us in creativity and we began a major planning exercise on how we could top that!  The R.A.’s were getting very nervous as the ideas began to blossom.  One R.A. tried to think of something legal and without negative administration consequences and said “Why not a Flag Football Marathon?” The South Quad FreshMen would play flag football all day and night – rain or shine -for a week (Sunday November 5 to November 11).  We all signed up for different slots and played day and night.  I think it ended prior to plan because of the rain and mud (we were tearing up the beautiful Miami turf  by Morris Hall ) at 9:00am on Thursday November 9th and Papa contributed a total of 16 hours of play.

It was a spotty season for the Miami Redskins although we ended the season on an up note winning the Liberty Bell beating UC (at UC) 23 - 0.  That was a memorable game for Papa since the half time show included a high kick performance by the MMM band during part of a song (like the Radio City  Rockettes).  That’s tough to do with a clarinet and play simultaneously  --- Papa got out of step  briefly--  something easily seen by all and very embarrassing.

The very next day  - Sunday 11/19/1972 the Miami Marching Machine would play the same pre game and half- time show at the Bengals game at Riverfront Stadium.  The Bengals played the Baltimore Colts (yes – back then the Colts were in Baltimore).  Now the Colts were Papa’s favorite football team mainly because his hero was the famous Quarterback Johnny Unitas ---” Johnny U”.  Papa decided he would do whatever it took to shake Johnny U’s hand at the game.  The Bengals were favored but Papa was rooting for the Colts.  The Colts won 20-19 in an exciting last minute 26 yd field goal by Jim O’Brien.   At the end of the game, Papa ran out to shake Johnny U’s hand.  Didn’t say a word – just shook his hand.  A brush with greatness!!
So the message here is celebrate your memories (the good ones) and remember each day is an opportunity to create yet another good one.

"When it/s time for memories to really count ...... It's good to have one nearby"   Fred Owlett

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ark Encounter

It was a fun overnight trip to Shaker Village, Ky with a stop on the way back to the Ark Encounter.
Just recently opened (July 2016), the Ark Encounter is jus 30 minutes south of Cincinnati and  conveniently right off of I75.  It's worth one trip to experience the actual size of Noah's Ark. - an would definitely be a fun experience for kids.  We spent about two hours walking through the Ark and ate lunch at the restaurant.  Full of fascinating Bible facts and rebuttal arguments to non-believers.  The other fascinating exhibit was the display of early Torah and Bibles - my favorite was the 1651 Geneva Bible.
I highly recommend that any Cincinnati visitors find a way to invest a half a day at this exhibit..    

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Predicting Presidential Confidence

My predictive ability this presidential election matches my forecasting record on stock market timing - clearly 100% wrong.  As a statistician, it is rather embarrassing for the profession when so many people were surprised by the result of Donald Trump winning the electoral college vote.  Yet my training in this field gives me amply opportunity to defend the analysis before and after the election.

The best statistician is " 99.7% confident that he is three standard deviations from the mean".  Which means (no pun intended) that he is 100% confident that your outcome is impossible to predict.

Predicting human behavior (which is an attempt at prophecy) is exactly what caused me interest in statistics.. Yet time and time again human behavior surprises us.  That is the beauty in life with others- and keeps everything interesting.

My emotions about the election have less to do with ideology and more to do with being tickled about the very surprise that seemingly occurred. Are events really random?  Is there an interwoven master plan and designer?  Is it some combination of both of these with a dash of free will sprinkled on top?

I am confident about predicting Donald Trumps actions -  He will be unpredictable.

"We plan, We predict and God smiles"  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Monkey or Pig

I've been reviewing my "dinosaur blog" - namely "penned" spiritual journal(s) that I started over 10 years ago.   Back in October 2007 there was an entry from the book "Treasures of the Transformed Life" by John Ed Mathison - namely Chapter 27 titled "Faith is Rewarded".

As we approach Thanksgiving (and the natural cycle of Stewardship campaigns, Salvation Army Red Kettles, Crossroads Thanksgiving Meals, Non-profit donor requests, and Christmas giving), it is natural to reflect on the emotions, calling, and action of everyone of us.

Are you a monkey or a pig?

How to catch a monkey - put seeds in a gourd with a small hole on top.  The monkey will grasp the seeds with his fist, not let go and can't get them out.  He'll continue to hang on to those seeds, even until people come and capture him.  Is that what we are doing with our time and money?

Pigs never look up.  They will eat almost anything. They keep their head down looking for another acorn or nut.  Never looking up to give thanks for where those nuts and acorns come from. Is that what we are doing - consuming endlessly without even looking up to say thank you?

Maybe we should release our grip on money and pause to look up for the blessings we have been given.  

"No one has ever become poor by giving"   Anne Frank

 PS  -   For the Chinese Zodiac fans ..... this is the year of the Monkey. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sweater Weather

It is my first day of wearing a sweater, when Ellen informed me that the temperature was expected to peak at 71 degrees.  While we have had a few days of fall chill and frost has come, wearing a sweater has not been necessary. 

I personally like the image of a sweater and I try to find excuses to wear all types - vests, V neck,  and crew.  I prefer pullover to cardigan (button) and plain versus patterned.  My last sweater was a Christmas present from the girls.  It was a plain blue pullover, zipped V neck, with patched elbows (Vineyard Vines I believe).  It has become my favorite.

I am also partial to sweater vests.  J.B. quipped at Sunday fellowship, "I see you are wearing your 2nd Amendment sweater" awaiting for my ability to decipher his intellectual wit.  Alas, as he smiled to my puzzled inability to understand, he revealed the punchline:  "You know, the Right to Bare Arms".

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Red Kettle Reason

Today was a luncheon for the Salvation Army that I was graciously invited to by M.L.  It was a pleasant surprise to see Brian Tome (Sr. Pastor Crossroads) give the invocation.  We sat a tables with empty plates for a reason - to highlight the number of families that will go hungry this holiday season and how the Salvation Army tries to minister to those in need.

Luckily food was delivered to the table - "Family Style".   What a great touch to have each table pass the food and/or serve each other by passing the plates.  This annual luncheon starts off  the tradition (beginning Friday) that everyone comes to connect over the holidays - the ringing of the bell at street corners (or your local Kroger in Cincinnati)  encouraging people to put money into the Red Kettle.

So this Holiday Season - empty your pocket of change into the Red Kettle.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Selfish Reds and Blues

The post election emotions of a surprise upset by Donald Trump, with a slit decision between the electoral college results and popular vote, has raised the volume of rhetoric around racism.  How appropriate (and maybe a God wink) that a page from Timothy Keller's book "The Reason for God" fell out of my spiritual journal (Susan and given me a copy of this page earlier this year).

The conundrum:  "The more we love and identify deeply with our family, our class, our race, or our religion, the harder it is to not feel superior or even hostile to other religions, races, etc.  So racism, classism, and sexism are not matters of ignorance or a lack of education.   THE REAL CULTURE WAR - is taking place inside our own disordered hearts ....."

If the highest goal is:
(1) The good of our family ....  we will care less about other families
(2) The good of our nation, tribe or race .....  we will tend to be racist, tribal, or nationalistic
(3) Our own happiness ..... we will focus on self economic and power interests

If we get our very identity, our sense of worth from our political position, then politics is not really about politics, it is about us. Through our cause we are getting a self, our worth - the very definition of selfish.

My observation is that both sides are selfish (and dangerously approaching racists)  -  The Reds for public ethnic slurs and degrading the PC (Politically Correct) elites;  and the Blues for their pride in PC and indignant comments about deplorable stereotypes.

Only GOD can be our Summum Bonum -  the highest goal.  As Greg Stover peached one Sunday - we are citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom.  Maintaining an identity to that political position would go a long way to healing the wounds of the red and blue tongues

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Oneness of Marriage

Exactly one month ago, Susan and I acted as coaches at Outback Cincinnati with Marriage facilitators Dr. David and Terri Sumlin of Marriage Life Ministries

This was a follow-up experience to intentional marriage encounter we had at Scott River Lodge (see July 18, 2016  - Heaven Board #11). 

Today, I sent out my fifth follow-up email to the couples we shared the October weekend with - "Don't give up" - reminding them of the six week commitment after the Outback encounter.

"What if GOD designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"    Gary Thomas

Monday, November 7, 2016

T'was the Night before Election

As I was thinking of composing this - I googled to see if someone had already parodied the poem.  Eureka - someone had already penned it -  T'was the Night before Election.

A great ending....  And we’ll hear him exclaim, above globalist neighing:

It will be pleasant to move on from the torture of minute by minute polls and reality TV politics.  My prediction has and always was a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton. The market today seems to predict that also - today up over 300 pts after the FBI indicates nothing found in the additional emails.

So I have decided how I will vote tomorrow:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Political Cheer!

At exactly 5pm November 2 Sirius/XM turned channel 17 into the "Holly" Christmas music channel.  And I was in the car to hear the rollover.  I listened last year to the "Holiday Traditions" channel so much that just singing the marketing jingle would create sighs from both Ellen and Susan.

When Sirius/XM offered the 4 month introductory special back in October for $25, I couldn't resist knowing the Holiday music --  "Soon would be there".  So now the family will be listening to Holly until Holiday Traditions debuts on December 5th.

I love the music of Christmas - both the secular and the religious.  I'm lucky enough to have great memories during the holidays with family and friends.  Yes, there is always a small slice of stress that goes with the hustle and bustle of the season.  But what better thing to take my mind off this November political election.

What would you rather listen to -  Fox News, MSNBC, etc.  ........  or HOLLY.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fish in a Box

Lunch with A.M. resulted in many learnings but most interesting involved the Ichthus symbol.  Modernized to include the word Jesus inside the fish, it has also created an satire for those willing to risk lightening - namely the Darwin fish.

I liked the thought behind not infringing on the branding (fish facing left), the addition of the feet (showing real evolution), the dark solid background (and there was no light) and there is probably a hidden message in the font (maybe Times Roman).

But my research trail lead naturally to Wikipedia Ichthys and the Greek word -I CH TH U S.

Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior     ΙΧΘΥΣ 

Or even more intellectually pleasing the 4th century visual of the five letters superimposed into an eight-spoked wheel.  But wait..... not to be undone -  there is the Darwin Gunmetal 12 Spoked Wheel.

Now I could launch into the mathematics of two intersecting arc's with the cusp and the fact that the arcs imply two circles joining twice.   But I will leave that to the quants out there.  Maybe the proper Darwinian variation for this illustration is intersecting squares.

That would "box us" into the Creation argument.  Hmmmmm -  I'll leave that to a different blogger.