The Thanksgiving I Spent With Jason Alexander

This morning when I woke up I did my usual thing of reaching for my phone and checking in on social media. Lately I’ve been working to increase my presence there and part of this has been learning how to navigate the Twitter landscape. 

While surfing Twitter I came across this tweet from Jason Alexander (George Costanza from the hit show Seinfeld).

I’m a huge Seinfeld fan, made even larger because it’s Thanksgiving and I’ve eaten more than my share of tasty morsels today. This post rubbed me the wrong way, so I did what I usually do which gets me in trouble and posted about how I felt about it.


Now while I didn’t mean this to be a personal attack on Jason even though it was directed at him, it was more of a thought I feel is true and wanted to use my thought to be a part of the discussion. I was really surprised when I checked Twitter a few hours later and found many people were very agitated by what I had said; Jason Alexander being one of them.

Throughout the course of the day I checked Twitter to find many colorful ways of being described by a good number of angry people. And while a great number of the people vilified me, I will say Jason was gracious and articulate about his position throughout the entire experience.

In the spirit of goodwill, I did apologize and was answered back with the following tweet.


While we still don’t agree on the subject, I do feel the man is a class act and I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend part of my Thanksgiving day with one of my Seinfeld heroes.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Make Yourself Great Again

All every man really wants is to have a good life; full of family, friends and happiness, right? he Declaration of Independence states it as our unalienable rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream, it’s really what we all want, it’s just in how we achieve it where differences come in to play.

Some men believe in hard work, making their own way, while others look to the government to supply what they need. And I’m not talking about welfare here, that’s another blog. What I’m talking about is looking to Washington to provide the essential things everyone needs to have a good life; food, a place to live, affordable health care, etc.

What I have come to understand in my fifty-three years of living on Planet Earth is this; if I want something out of life, then I had better get up off of my butt and go earn it. For all the government can do, it is bogged down with red tape and the inability to act quickly and decisively. It’s up to us as men to earn our own way.

With the history of mismanagement, waste and robbing Peter to pay Paul mentality in our government, I am baffled as to why people continue to hold out their hands looking for Uncle Sam to provide for them. Nothing against my Native American brothers, but I think they can attest to the fact of how our government has not helped them out in the least.

Watching the movie Robin Hood, with Russell Crowe a few weeks ago, there was a moment in the film where King John was in a dispute with his noblemen and he sarcastically asks the question, “What, do you want a castle for every man?” to which Robin replies, “Majesty, every man’s home is his castle.” to which every man there gave a loud cheer.

This is where I live; give me the freedom to make my own way in the world. Free me from the shackles of government and let me live as I see fit. I’m not saying I don’t want to abide by the laws of the land; on the contrary, they are there to help us for the most part. All I’m saying is I don’t need politicians to help me have a great life. What I need for them to do is to protect the interests here and abroad.

If people don’t have what they want, and refuse to go out and work for it, then let them do without. Having a government which hands stuff to the people causing them to work less, is like giving your children everything they ask for when they ask for it instead of making them work for some things, or just do without.

This is where American can become great again, giving the rights back to the people to make their own way and get everything this great country is willing to give to them. Only if you want it, stop holding your hand out waiting for it and do what Rocky said to his son, “If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get it.”

There is so much potential for every man and woman to become whatever they want to be and get their part of the American dream. The first thing we all have to do is stop looking for a handout from Washington and look to ourselves. In doing this we truly can make ourselves great again!

A Cup Of Joe And Memories

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in my hometown; it’s the first time I’ve been in one since my friend Terry died. It’s not that I’ve been trying to avoid the coffee shop or anything, it’s just a point of reference for my writing today. You see my friend Terry and I loved to go to the coffee shop, drink coffee (obviously) and spend time in each other’s presence. Many times we didn’t even do very much talking, we just sat together as friends and enjoyed the camaraderie.

A lot of men like to play or watch sports, hunt or go fishing or work on cars, but what I enjoy more than anything is time spent in the company of men who make me a better man. Terry did just that. Yes it is true he loved watching football and had a mean pitch when playing softball, but we could spend hours talking about the mundane or very important things and both walk away feeling much better as men.  We quite often solved the world’s problems in those coffee times, only there was no one who would listen to our opinions.

As I’ve sat here today, drinking my mocha, endeavoring to put into words these feelings I have in my heart, I can’t help but think how going to have a cup of joe just will never be the same. Oh I know there’ll be more times in coffee shops, but they will never be the same as they were with Terry. After all, he was the guy who got me drinking the stuff in the first place; not to mention my son and daughter both give him the credit for their coffee addiction as well.

Everyone should be so fortunate to have a friend like Terry in their lives and I miss him each and every day; especially when I try to call and tell him something funny or poignant which has happened to me. But even though he is gone, I cherish the times spent together drinking coffee and as I reflect on those good times I smile and my heart feels just a little less sad.

Yes, I will continue stopping into coffee shops for the remainder of my days and I know each time I will think fondly on my friend and the joy he brought to my life as we sipped our coffee; mine black and hot and his with one cream, in it.

 

Why Is Everyone So Angry?

“There is a way which seems right unto a man, but in the end lies death.” ~ Proverbs 16:25

I’m sure every man has taken a path he thought was the right one, only to end up somewhere he never anticipated. I know I have more than once. It always seems to be during times when my emotional level is extreme I will inevitably make the wrong decision. At almost fifty-three years old, you would think I would have figured this out by now and made some corrections to disregard the choices which lead me towards the wrong pathway.  But I’m nothing if not consistent I guess and am still learning.

Have you ever done this though? Been faced with a situation which emotionally threw you off of your game and instead of taking time to step back from the situation and evaluate it from every angle, you just leapt in where angels fear to tread?

Why is this do you think? Could it be because emotional upheavals in our lives feel as if they are personal attacks on us and therefore we respond without thinking? Or perhaps they are just something which is interfering with what we perceive as our normal routine and we don’t want it upset? Whatever the case, I think it would be good for us (well me actually) to look into this a little closer.

The world we live in is crazy. Have you noticed how quickly people seem to fly off the handle and confront anyone they think is hindering their life in some way? Think about road rage, or accidently cutting in front of someone at the grocery store. It seems to me people are itching for a fight nowadays more than ever.

I remember a time back after the terrorist attacks of 9/11; I had gone home to eat lunch and on the way back to work had decided to drive my wife’s minivan and fill it up with gas. I noticed the line of cars waiting as I pulled up to the gas station; everyone was panicky and the word on the street was all the gas stations would run out of gas soon. As I circled the lot looking for the best line to get in, I noticed a pump had just opened up and maneuvered my vehicle into position to fill up.

As I placed the nozzle into the tank opening, a lady walked up to me and began yelling at me about how I had cut her off and stolen her pump. She screamed about how I had almost killed her kids and should be ashamed of myself. Shocked, because I had actually not seen her at all, I removed the nozzle, apologizing and told her by all means take the pump. She insisted I stay put, but I wouldn’t have it and said, “Mam, I’m very sorry about taking your pump, I didn’t even see you. Have a nice day.” Getting back into my car, I began circling the lot once more.

Telling my wife the story later, it was almost comical to me. It must have made her feel better yelling at me and maybe she was just scared, but all I could think about was how it wasn’t a big deal for me to move to back of the line and let her get her gas. It sure wasn’t as big a deal as she was making it out to be. I think many people feel like they are going to be taken advantage of and instead of letting this happen they attack first before realizing what is actually going on.

What we (I) need to do is to really take a look at these situations from the other person’s perspective first and then make our next decision based on that information. I think it would really save all of us a lot of grief in the long run. I mean after all, are the things we fight about really as important as we think they are at that immediate moment? Probably not. And isn’t it better not to have to apologize for being an idiot?

It Takes Ordinary Men To Make Heroes

“When you talk about combat leadership under fire on the beach at Normandy, I don’t see how the credit can go to anyone other than the company-grade officers and senior NCOs who led the way.  It is good to be reminded that there are such men, that there always have been, and always will be.  We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.”

Sgt. John Ellery, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

Valor.  Heroes.  Men.  Three words which described perfectly those who took the battle directly to Adolf Hitler and his troops on June 6, 1944.  These men from my grandfather’s generation are some of my greatest heroes; because when they were called upon, they laid everything aside to defend our nation and its allies from the tyranny and oppression which was trying to take over the world.

Most of these men however did not consider themselves heroes but just ordinary men doing what men do; protecting their loved ones at whatever the cost.  Many gave their lives in order to win this war and we are forever in their debt because of the sacrifices they made.

It has been seventy some years since the end of World War II and a lot of these men have now gone on to their graves.  We are three generations away from this conflict which involved the entire world and look at the men of today.  Now I know a lot of younger men may call me an old coot (I am 52 now) but what passes for men these days doesn’t even compare to men of my grandfather’s generation.

And before you vilify me or say I’m out of touch; I was considered a rebel at one time with my long hair, thoughts and ideas.  My grandfather and I butted heads on more than one occasion about my ideas and hairstyle.  But I’m not really talking about those things even though I think skinny jeans and man buns are ridiculous.  What concerns me the most is what men used to be has slowly drifted away to be replaced with selfishness and men more concerned with getting their own needs satisfied.

I read somewhere that during World War II, many of the soldiers facing death were barely  old enough to buy beer. Yet they joined the military because it was the right thing to do.  Today’s males of the same age cry to social media when their feelings get hurt, and run looking for a safe place to hide.  What has happened to men today?

Okay I realize I just made a general statement about the men of today, I do know some young men who are what men should be.  Yet, if you were to take a casual glance at what passes for men these days, you would agree there are many more guys concerned with their social status, looks and getting what they want out of life than there are men willing to lay down their lives for their families and society at large.

My definition of a real man is one who is willing to lay down his life and who will put other’s needs before his own. It’s not glamorous and most of the time you won’t be in the spotlight but it’s what we as men were created to do. If we will rise to the occasion and put other’s needs before our own, we can make the world a better place, just like the men who fought in WWII did. We still need ordinary men taking their place and making a difference in lives, these are the guys who are the real heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

 Yes, There Are Giants Among Us

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Don’t let tomorrow arrive without saying the things which need to be said today.”    ~ David W. Felts

Life truly is a fleeting vapor and passes way more quickly than we ever want to admit. Add to this passage of time the death of a close friend and your world will begin to spin even faster than you can imagine. I got a call from my bride while I was at work, which is not unusual so I answered my phone figuring it was to ask me if I’d be working late, or to tell me she was going to visit a friend or something. I had no idea her call would alter the course of my day in such a drastic way. Saying hello, in a shaky voice she informed me of the death of my best friend, Terry Scott.

Where do I even begin? Terry and I have been friends for many years now, more than friends actually, we are brothers. We share a love of coffee, online comics, TV shows and movies. He was my go to guy when life was stressing me out or when I just needed to hear a friendly voice. He was the kind of guy who always knew what to say when you needed to hear it the most. I’ve said it often, but it bears repeating; when I needed to vent frustrations, he would sit there patiently sipping his coffee letting me say the most ridiculous things, hoping I would come to the conclusion of how to handle my situation. But if I didn’t, he would say, “What are you going to do about it?” With a dumb look on my face I’m sure, he would then counsel me on the best course of action. And I would do the same for him, those times having coffee were some of the best times for both of us.

As I’ve spent the past days contemplating the loss of my friend and the impact he had on this planet, what I have lost is just now dawning on me. The title of my post is “Yes, There Are Giants Among Us” and this man was truly a giant among men. His heart for people inspires me to be more like him. To love like Terry is now something I want to strive to emulate even more, not because I want to be great, but because there will be a void in my life and that of countless others which needs to be filled, and if not me, then who? 

The things Terry accomplished in his short time on the planet are amazing. I read a post from his wife this morning which said “Terry Scott” was trending on the internet and this is awesome, not just because he would’ve loved it, but because more people are now seeing the impact his life made and perhaps they will work to be more like him too. He was always about getting more people in God’s kingdom and doing what they were called by God to do.

I miss my friend deeply, he can never be replaced and the void in my life will be felt immensely for the remaining years I’m alive. But my hope rests in Christ and the knowledge I will see him again one day. There is a scene at the end of the movie Gladiator which sums up what I’m saying. Gladiator clip. I will see Terry again and we will sit drinking coffee having many long conversations for all eternity. Mabookies for eternity.

 

Regret vs Godly Sorrow

With the death of my best friend this week, I was reminded of this blog I wrote  several years ago. I hope this helps my friends and family in the coming days…

2 Corinthians 7:10 (The Message) says; “Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those whoet distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.”
I was driving to church yesterday and stopped at our local donut shop to grab some breakfast. As I ate my sausage roll, my mind went back to the times when my kids were younger and I would stop at the donut shop on the way to church. There was always an excitement in their eyes as they grabbed their bottle of chocolate milk and surveyed all the choices of sugary wonderfulness, trying to pick that one perfect donut. 

All of a sudden I was filled with regret. Regret about never being able to take my youngest son Noah to the donut shop again. Regret that maybe I hadn’t spent enough time with him in these little things like trips to the donut shop. I must say, even now as I type this, there is some regret welling up inside of me.

As I thought about those regrets, the Holy Spirit prompted me to think about the difference between regret and Godly sorrow. It was as if the Father was telling me there is a difference and how I need Godly sorrow and not regrets. 

The word regret means: a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc. “Remorse for a fault.” The regret I was feeling brought condemnation to my heart, not Godly sorrow for the loss of my son, but guilt like I hadn’t done enough, or loved him enough.

It was then I saw it; this regret wasn’t doing anything for me but bringing me down, making me feel guilty…and I know where those thoughts come from. I am sorry for the loss of my son, and I do wish I could have him here with me, but feeling regret for the past is not heart healthy for me, or anyone else for that matter. I have to have Godly sorrow because this will lead me back to God. Because it’s when I run to God in my distress I find the grace I need to continue walking forward, one step at a time.

With the holiday season upon us, and everyone gearing up with the thoughts of spending time with family, it is not by chance the Lord wanted me to understand the difference between regret and Godly sorrow. He is reminding me when the regrets come, I need to run to Him with those to find the peace He has for me in the midst of any emotional storms.

I will miss Noah’s laugh, and presence during this holiday season, but I know this…God is for me, and He has my family’s best interests at heart. And even more as the holiday season comes and goes, I’ll be thankful my Heavenly Father is here leading, guiding and directing my family’s steps each and every day. And we will let any distress or regret drive us back into the arms of our loving Father God, of that you can rest assured.