Friday, March 29, 2013

Spin the dial on the radio

Occasionally I will hear of people who listen to only one radio station.  All their presets are on one frequency.  On one hand, I respect people for making their choice and sticking with it.  They like what they like and know who they are.  But on the other hand, it is sad and very limiting.

I was raised in a home where we listened to noncommercial stations.  It was either religious broadcasting or public radio.  My parents made their choice and it was how it was in our home.  But there is more out there.  Eventually I needed to find out what other programming was available.  Sometimes you need to do a little exploring to find out what you like.  Maybe there is some key information on the air waves that would make a huge difference in your life and all you have to do is change the station.

My preference is FM.  Yet, there is a whole other band out there, AM, that has many, many stations with their own flavor.  They broadcast talk, news, and sports in a way that is very reachable.  A couple of years ago I bought an AM antenna and made an effort to try out the AM band for a while.  I found I liked our local AM news station.  I also discovered Clark Howard and Glen Haggie.  I would tune into Brewer games and enjoyed the classic voice of Bob Uecker.  The interest in AM has now faded but it was important to explore and evaluate.

So spin the dial on your radio.  Hit "seek" and scan through the stations.  Listen to new speakers and new music.  It can broaden you and make your life fuller and richer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The state of California has only had limited attraction to me.  I like the terrain there, the mountains and the ocean.  It is a large state with a lot to do and see.  The weather seems to be comfortable.

It comes across as a state for extroverts.  That is, for people who are social and out-going and really into their appearance.  I am not one of those people.  So the appeal of Cali is limited.  I don't know if I've ever heard of California described as gentle and quiet or as a place to find a calm little nook in which to read.  I've never heard of introverts making it because they lived in California.

I have been out there a few times.  It seemed so far away from everything else.  I have gone through San Francisco on the way to other things.  The longest time I was in California was when I was at Lake Tahoe for a summer church mission.  It was a beautiful place and the population was not overwhelming.  The amount of gambling going on was a bit shocking.

The people of California seem to be privileged and influential.  Often times, I hear of some agenda or policy that comes from out there that doesn't seem to fit my view of the world.  So it is hard not to dismiss the all people way out west as those without scruples and in need of better judgement.

Someday I want to move to a better climate.  I would be really surprised, however, if I ever ended up in California.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why I work

I work because I want to provide for myself and my family.  I work because I want to fulfill my purposes for being on earth.  I work for the joy of it.  I work to get something worthwhile accomplished.  I work because the mortgage needs to be paid off.  I work because I like to change things for the better.  I work because I want to do something noble.  I work because it is God's will for my life.  I work because I want to give abundantly.  I work because I like to have somewhere to go for the day.  I work because I want to belong.  I work because I want to build my life.  I work because I want to get ahead.  I work because I want to be the best I can be.  I work because I want to win.  I work because I want to accomplish my goals.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I bought a new app for my iPod Touch.  It is called "Downcast".  The app basically plays podcasts.  Small audio shows.  This has been on my wish list for sometime as I've seen it recommended at Macworld.

In the past, I've attempted to use Apple's own "Podcast" app and for a long while I was using Sticher.  But I find Downcast to be cleaner, intuitive and simpler.  The audio quality seems better too, but that maybe wishful thinking.  I like how the volume control is easily available when listening to a show.  I like the ease of putting together several podcast playlists.

Downcast is an app that I would recommend.  It is only $1.99 and it is available in the App Store.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Build a hedgerow

As we move into spring, the idea of adding a few plants to your property maybe coming to your mind.  I always enjoy putting in a few new plants in Spring.  For interest, for variety, and to fill in places that just need something.

A good reason to plant some trees and bushes in your yard is to create a hedgerow.  A hedgerow can be a wind block, a noise reducer, a visual block, and habitat for animals.

First, find a good location.  Somewhere on your property that needs a few plants.  Perhaps you already have something started but additional plants would make it more complete and full.  Second, pick out the plants that you need.  Get a variety.  Some evergreen, some deciduous, some bushes.  Third, plant the new purchases in a row and spaced so they have room to thrive.  Water regularly throughout the first year.  Make it your goal this spring to build a hedgerow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

If I were to die tomorrow…

…my biggest regret would be that I never had really good work.  That I never built anything of value.  That I never had a growing career.  That I was never in control of where I was heading.

It can not be over emphasized how important work can be.  Men have a drive to leave the home and go out and accomplish something in the world.  We want to do something and be someone.  We want to get things done.

Our jobs are a large portion of our weeks and our lives.  Forty solid hours are spent working during the week.  From that work comes our identity.  Who we say we are.  Our titles and how we introduce ourselves.  Our lifestyle is also derived from our work.  The income we receive allows us to live at a certain level.  How we provide for our families is also a result of how well we are doing out in the world economically.

Some people abuse work.  It is all they do.  As a result they neglect their physical and spiritual lives.  Their families suffer because of their absence.  Some people see this and conclude that work can be all consuming and an addiction.  So they pull back any ambition in this area.  I think that is wrong.  Other peoples abuses does not make something completely wrong.  We need to have a more clear emphasis on work.  Where it comes into play in our lives.  How we can maintain balance.  But it is so important as so much plays off of work and our jobs.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Eastern people

My impression of the people in the eastern United States is not the most flattering.  They come across as pushy, impatient, arrogant, secular, and materialistic.  They are influential, no doubt, yet I find them divisive.  Often times, I wish they would take a generous, open look across America and consider what they are doing to our country.  As it is, they seem to be doing all they can to pull our land in a direction most of us don't want to go.

As a result of these impressions, I have yet to visit a city out east.  The appeal of New York, Boston, Baltimore, or Philadelphia has never been that great to me.  I am sure there is a lot to do there but I don't want to be around the noisy, busy, crush of people.  Being on the streets of mean is not where I want to be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Seeing a fisher

As I was driving to work this last week, I think I saw a fisher.

It was about 8:25 AM and I was driving west on highway 161 toward Iola.  I was traveling through a low-land section when the animal dashed across the road.  It was running from the south side to the north side.  I slowed down to view it.  The animal was mostly dark but dark brown around its neck and head.  The ears where small.  It must have been over two feet, maybe three feet, from head to tail.  I was impressed with its size.  After crossing the road, it bounded and scampered through the woods and snow.

I wish I would have completely stopped and looked at it longer.  But I am one of those people who has to be at work on time.  So I stubbornly kept driving, allowing the opportunity of a life-time to slip away.  At least I saw the animal.  I was glad too that it made it safely across the road and was on its way.

Hopefully this is an animal that is growing in population in Wisconsin.  As it grows and expands, I hope it checks the feral cat population.

Monday, March 11, 2013

So many clocks

When I look around my home, and my life, I see an amazing amount of clocks.

This computer has a clock.  I have two watches in the drawer behind me.  The radio has a clock.  There is a clock on the wall in the living room and another on the mantel.  We have a clock on the stove in the kitchen, another one is on the front of the radio out there.  We have clocks in our cars, a clock on the thermostat, and a clock in the bathroom.  Time is kept on our phones and iPods.

So many opportunities to view what time it is.  News and weather programming often have clocks showing at the bottom of the screen.  We certainly don't need another devise to let us know the time of day.  I have resisted updating our latest electronic devise with the time.  I just don't need to have it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

No more "Us vs. Them"

I no longer see things throughout this country, and even across this globe, as "Us vs. Them".  I much more prefer to see things as "We".  We are all descended from one family (Adam and Eve).  We all have hopes, dreams, and desires.  We all have problems, pains, and challenges.  We are all looking for significance, meaning, and purpose.  We all are living right now, together, on one planet.

We are all trying to get along, survive, and make it.  In many ways we really are not that different.  Let's have a little more understanding.  Let's have a little more curiosity   Let's put aside the things that drive us apart.  Let's instead see everyone on the same team.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Choose your counsel

This is one of the most empowering things I have heard recently:  choose your counsel.

We do not have to listen to everyone.  We can shut off voices that bring us down.  Like news.  The news media wants to instill fear and anxiety.  I don't want fear and anxiety in my life.  So I decide to keep them at a distance.  I do not want to hear from voices that divide and put down.  So I decide not to have a whole lot of politics in my life.

I do want to hear from people who bring encouragement, hope, and wisdom.  When I find those folks, I come back again and again to listen to what they have to offer.

If someone hasn't told you, hear me.  You can choose your counsel.  Ask yourself what results do you want.  Find those who will manifest those results.  Tune out those who cause unwanted emotions and reactions.

Personally, I love choosing my own counsel.  I want wish counselors.  It is so powerful to know that it is up to me.  I can choose.

Monday, March 4, 2013

College experience

Many people claim that the college years are the best years.  They weren't for me.

I went to a two-year community college right after high school.  After those two years, I had an Associate of Arts degree but still no direction.

After working two years out west, I was counseled to go back to school to finish my college education.  In all honesty, I don't think it was the best advice.  I went ahead with the plan because I respected my friend but I never felt that academics was the place for me.  If you want to compete in any scholastic discipline, I will probably back off and declare you the winner.  I have no desire to do battle where I know I do not have a gifting.

One more year at a community college and two years at a university left me with no more direction or help than when I started.  In some ways, I feel like it was lost time.  In other ways, I know it was just another step in the process of finding my true calling.

If I were to do it all over again, I would do something different.  I would not repeat my same choices.  Instead, I would pick something at the local technical college.  I think it is better to have something practical on one's resume and something that can be completed in far fewer years.  A technical college certification or associates degree can put you right to work and when working, a person can continue to find and seek direction.

Colleges and universities will always have their places.  But I think many people would be better served at a two-year technical college.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wine, oil, and bread

We read in Psalm 104:

"And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart."

Many Christians are opposed to any drink that contains alcohol, including wine, even though the Bible has many favorable mentions of wine.  Often we hear of people on their latest diet of "don'ts".  Don't use oil.  Don't eat breads.  Don't taste.  Don't touch.

In contrast I read in places like Psalms where there is wine that brings joy, oil that is good for the skin, and bread that makes the heart strong.

My conclusion has to be that God knows what He is talking about.  When God's food is taken in proportion and in a more natural state, I think we are better off.  Be careful about the latest fad of "don'ts".  My Bible is very clear.  Wine, oil, and bread are beneficial to the body and our health.  Enjoy them and don't get caught up in the latest fear.  Trust in Him, the Maker of all good things.