Saturday, April 29, 2006

Chicken Poop on My Windshield or The Eternal Struggle Between the Flesh and the Spirit

I was driving to work this morning (or as it's technically 3 hours into Saturday, yesterday morning), and I got behind a chicken truck. You know, those trucks with 1,000 cages filled with 10,000 chickens, all crammed together on top of each other. I honestly started to feel sad for the chickens. That just seems like a crappy existence. But, as I was trying to get around the truck (which seemed to speed up every time I tried to pass), I received a white splatter across my windshield. I was taken aback. I was feeling sympathy for you, and you pooped on my windshield. I couldn't believe it. But then I realized that if they knew I was feeling bad for them, then they also knew that it wouldn't last. Feeling bad for somebody's situation does absolutely no good if you're part of what's causing the situation itself. And the fact that I'd probably be eating chicken hours later pretty much indicated that I didn't really feel bad for them.

I'm currently out of windshield wiper fluid (though it's been on my wife's shopping list for a couple weeks), so I got to drive with it for awhile. And it got me to thinking.

That's my whole existence. Thinking something one minute, then acting the opposite the next. Feeling bad for crowded chickens now, enjoying the fruits of the crowding while eating my next batch of wings. Thinking, what an awesome creation God has given us, while riding home the night before, then cursing the poor drivers who drive too slow on alternate 72 toward Tuscumbia. Machiavelli said:
...people are fickle by nature; and it is simple to convince them of something but difficult to hold them in that conviction...

It's so true. Paul said,
I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

Look at Peter. One minute he was attacking an entire crowd of armed men to protect Jesus, the next he was, with curses, denying he ever knew Him.

Jesus told us,
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

I guess this is when we need to rely on His strength to overcome our weakness.

I think I may just leave it on my windshield for some time as a reminder.

Quote of the Day
My power is strongest when you are weak.
  -What God told the Apostle Paul when Paul prayed for God to take his limitations away

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Batman, Soaps, and Hair

I thought it was pretty cool that The Batman won a couple of Daytime Emmys last Saturday (April 22) - Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing and Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.

But then I saw that they actually have an award for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling, and I was a bit less impressed...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Back to the blog.

I've learned some important lessons recently about generosity. The first is that it comes back to you. The second is that, as a community of believers, it's how we are supposed to live.

I've had some interesting experiences lately. I recently lent my car to someone to drive to New Orleans. Since then, we've become friends, but at the time I didn't know him real well (Krista new him better than me). It was an important trip, and his car wouldn't have made it, so he would have had to figure out where to come up with the money to rent a car. So I let him borrow mine.

When he got back, he told me all the things that were wrong with it. It needs new brakes. The heater is broke. The back vibrates because one of the tires is messed up. The most interesting part of the story, though, is that he's a mechanic - a good one - and he offered to fix everything for the cost of the parts. So I gave him some cash, and he replaced the brakes (along with the drums and rotors), fixed my heater, and gave me an oil change, all for what the parts cost. (He couldn't find a tire the day he worked on it, but that was the most minor item that needed fixed.)

He saved me a lot more money than what it cost me to be without my car for a day. And isn't this how we're supposed to be living? I help help me. It all comes around. Maybe that's what Jesus was getting at when he said,
Do to others what you would have them do to you...
Krista and I have been trying to practice this more and more. It doesn't come easy in this hoarding, keep-everything-you've-got, put-as-much-of-it-to-retirement-as-you can culture. We haven't been doing it to get a return, but a return is what we've been getting.

A small but significant example happened last weekend. I went and saw my first NASCAR (Busch) race. For the uninitiated a Busch race is like the minor leagues (hey - kinda what the Bush leagues used to be in baseball). Anyway, it was quite an experience. The cars, the food, the amazing 20,000+ crowd. There was a couple sitting next to us who had just bought season tickets. My brother and I were talking about getting my Dad a little something as a souvenir, and this couple had what looked to like a pretty cool Nashville Superspeedway cap (that's where we were, obviously). When I asked them how much the hat was, they told me it was free to anyone buying season tickets. Then they offered me the hat. The race was fun, but the trip was worth it just for that experience. People never cease to amaze me. Just when my level of cynicism has gotten full someone pulls a fast one and reminds me most people really are good.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Only My Daughter

Today Julianna turned 4 years old. When we got home she had a message from Geoffrey the Giraffe wishing her a happy birthday.

In response to the message she said,

I didn't know giraffes could talk. Is he from the zoo?

She's four, and she watches all sorts of cartoons with talking animals, but she's surprised that a giraffe left her a message on the answering machine...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

No Time! No Time!

Ah, the stories I have to tell...of cars and generosity (and even NASCAR). But alas, they will have to wait...

Quote of the Day
Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!
-The White Rabbit

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Murder of Customer Service

Some days I feel like Customer Service is dying a slow and painful death. Other days (like today), I think there are a lot of folks trying to help it along.

I was at the Post Office today (the one on Wynn Drive in Huntsville). After exchanging e-mails with Yvonne Navarro (writer of the Ultraviolet novelization) while trying to find out whether or not the movie was based on a comic book, I decided to get a copy and ask her to autograph it. She'll autograph books if you send them to her with a postage-paid envelope to send them back to you.

Anyway, I was at the Post Office today trying to send the package. First I had to weigh the book in the envelope I wanted her to send it back to me in, so that I could put postage on it. Then I had to slide the whole thing in the package I prepared to send to her. Well, everything was complete - I had postage on the envelope to be returned to me, and I had it slid inside the package I was sending out. All I needed was to put the postage on that package, tape it up, and I'd be done. Well, when I asked for some tape (to tape the end of the package down), the guy behind the counter said he didn't have any tape except for Priority Mail tape, which I couldn't use unless I wanted to send it Priority Mail (which would cost twice as much). Well, the package was completely taped up with packing tape - I just need to tape one end (kind of like that last part of wrapping a gift, where you've just got that open end left to tape up). I saw the big roll of scotch tape behind him and asked if I could use that. Apparently it's against the law or something to put scotch tape on a package you're going to mail, so he wouldn't let me use it. I was just going to tape the end down - I didn't want to tape the whole thing with it; but I guess that doesn't matter

At this point I was looking forward to the fact that it was going to take 2 trips to the Post Office to send this thing (no wait, that would be 3, since I already went to the Florence Post Office this weekend and they were completely out of all sizes of envelopes, so I couldn't send it then). So I asked if I could just get the postage put on it and then maybe I could bring it back after I taped it. I don't know what I thought - it's not like it was going to fit into the mail slot, and I'd probably have stand in line again anyway. But at that point, he seemed to be confused by the fact that I wanted to get postage on it, and still take it with me. By now, I figured I didn't have any choice, considering the Post Office doesn't keep tape on hand for wrapping packages, so I put in my last-ditch effort, hoping against hope I wouldn't have to make another trip. Having seen that huge roll of brown tape at the Florence Post Office (you know, that 2-inch wide tape you have to wet first), I asked him if they still had that kind of tape (I know I had never seen it in Huntsville, but I was desperate). He stood there for a moment as if he was processing my request. Then (and I swore he let out a sigh), he reached underneath the counter in front of him, pulled out a roll of that brown tape, and said, "I guess we can use this."

I was a bit dumbfounded at that point. Was I taking his secret tape stash? Was there acid on the back of it that he was saving for later? Why, when I asked for tape in the first place, did he not immediately produce this massive roll? It was almost as if in training he was told, "Never, never, bring out the big brown roll of tape, except as a last resort." Maybe I'm just tenacious, and he figured it would get rid of me.

The world may never know.