Take Out Your Own Gall Bladder? How You Gonna Spleen That?

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Totally stupid pun in the title of this article, I know. What can I say… that’s how I operate.  {{{ Rimshot }}}

Starting over, again.  It’s been the topic here lately.  Maybe you’re one of those super disciplined and incredibly lucky people who have never had to walk down the road of “starting over, again.” If you are, then just know the rest of us hate you.  We don’t wish you ill (ok, some of us might wish you a little bit of ill), but it will be hard for you to understand the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual struggles the rest of us go through when we do have those events in our lives that cause us to have to, well, start over again.

So back to the really bad pun in the headline.  There are lots of things we can do for ourselves physically.  We can clip our toenails.  We can use a Flobee and cut our own hair. We can pop our zits, wash our face and brush our teeth.  Important stuff.  But what about when venture too far into the realm of doing something for ourselves that maybe we should have left to the professionals?  For instance, have you ever removed your own ingrown toenail?  I have… and it hurt big time!  What about removing a skin tag or a mole? No?  Minor elective surgery, like removing your wisdom teeth or a boob job… ever considered those as a self-help project?  Probably not… or at least I hope not.

My little brother just had a serious surgery with a chunk of his colon being removed.  I’m happy to report that he’s going to be OK (thank you Jesus and the staff of Baptist hospital).  But consider this.  My brother became aware of a tumor in his colon.  How much sense would it have made for him to keep that information to himself, and refuse to seek out any kind of help?  It would have been foolish!  Instead, they consulted a myriad of physicians and went through a battery of tests, culminating in a team of people working on his body to help move him towards health.

Painful? Yes.  A little humiliating?  If you don’t know the answer to that, then you’ve obviously never had to wear a hospital gown.  Scary.  Beyond belief.  But necessary, even vital to his survival?  Of course it was!

Starting over, again.  It can be the same way.  There are instances where taking that task on yourself might be OK.  Getting back into a routine of exercise, or changing your rest patterns.  Other more sensitive or dynamic issues might require some moderate input or accountability from others.  Losing weight could become a serious health issue need for you, and the assistance and encouragement of some people you trust might just be the ticket. But for some of you, your marriage may be on the verge of collapse, or you find your personal and/or business finances on the edge of financial bankruptcy.  It’s time to send out the alert, run the flag up the pole and request support from the best of resources you can find!  Stubbornness can isolate you to point of extinction; pride can push you completely over the edge.  Don’t be that guy or that girl.  Ask for help if you need.  Ask for help if you don’t need it.  Just ask for help.

And if that doesn’t work… then follow the wisdom of this old adage…  and we’ll talk a little more about it tomorrow…

Share a Slice of Pizza… It Helps the Medicine Go Down

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Starting Over, AGAIN. You know the feeling.  

You roll out of bed after a restless night of tossing and turning, and stumble into your bathroom.  As you stare at the person in the mirror, the only question you really have the courage to ask is, “Really? Again?”.  The more frightening questions like, “Can I really make this happen this time?”, or “Do I need to find some help?” are usually questions that cause our eyes to dart away from our own gaze, let alone ask them aloud from ourselves, or heaven forbid from someone else.

But we start over, again, anyway.

This type of new beginning can be terrifying. It holds an incredible amount of potential, but those who have been down this road know that this potential has both a bright & a dark side.  On the one hand, we have an opportunity to start fresh, and make something new, better and more amazing than we’ve ever known.  On the other hand, we see the potential for this to be one more attempt to “start over”, but wonder if it will really be a temporary exercise in futility, only to find ourselves in a time loop that brings us right back to this same place in the near future.  That kind of fear and uncertainty can be emotionally overwhelming at times.  In the face of so much anxiety, stress or fear, let me offer this bit of encouragement.

Go share a slice of pizza with someone.

Here’s the deal.  You can whine or bemoan you situation. You can wallow in it. You can give up. Or when you have a chance, and life seems to give you a chance to get up and take a breath, or eat a bite of pizza, then do it.  While your at it, look for someone else who could use a slice as well and offer it to them, or give it to them when they ask.

Everyone you meet, whether friend, coworker or stranger is facing their own pile of worries, fears and challenges in their private world each day. Please people, understand that, and begin to let that affect how you treat them. Yes, you are struggling.  Starting over, again, is hard. But so is their life. Maybe the day, or even your life would go a little better if you stopped to help someone else along the way.

Kindness is a Karma boomerang. The more you throw it, the more it comes back to you. Kind words are just as easy as mean words, so use them instead. Kind gestures are rare, so today, go be THAT guy or THAT girl. Here’s an experiment you need to try.  Look in the mirror, and look into your own eyes for 60 seconds.  Look hard enough so you can catch just a glimpse of your soul.  Now today, go do five kind things for people who don’t really have any way to immediately repay you for your kindness. When the evening comes, repeat the mirror exercise.  I think you’ll be surprised at what you see.

Compassion is a universal language, and everyone understands it. Your coworker who hates you understands it. Your kids who are angry with you will understand it (eventually). The stranger on the street corner will be surprised by it, but he will understand it, and he will be changed by it. You will be changed by it too.

Sometimes change is painful. It’s kinda like surgery. But not surgery on yourself. That’s stupid. Let’s talk about that tomorrow.

Clean Up the Life House

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Starting over… again.  It’s tricky business.

Why? Because you’ve done it before? Yes.  Because you’re sick of having to do it again and again? Yes.  Because you want this to be the last time? Yes again.

So what are the odds this will be the very last time you’ll ever have to start over?  Are you laying any money down to bet on yourself? Odds are that bad, are they? Maybe we can improve those numbers a little bit.  There are no guarantees that you’ll never come back to a place where you’ll need a fresh start or a new beginning, even over the same old issues.  However, you can do something that could whittle the chances of that happening down to a tiny little piece of what it is now.  How?  Clean house.

If you think I’m encouraging you to pull out the vacuum cleaner and break out the maid outfit (please no… there are some things that can’t be unseen), then you are so off base.  I’m not talking about cleaning the house you live in.  I’m talking about your Life House, the “House” that lives in you.

The reason you keep coming back to this place of needing to start over, again, is because of things that exist within you that keep causing you to self-destruct or undermine your success.  There’s a story of a family who came home to find their house flooded.  They began bailing water with everything they could find- buckets, trash cans, tea pots- but the water kept coming.  Finally, grandma slowly walked into the bathroom, and turned off the water to the stopped up bathtub… and the rising water stopped.  Some of you need to turn off the water before you start bailing water.  Before you grit your teeth and dig in to try harder at whatever it is you are working on, you need to deal with the core issue(s).

So how will you clean your Life House?  I don’t know.

What? I told you I don’t have all of the answers.  I can make a few suggestions if you’d like?  You might consider these options:

  • Talk to someone you trust to be honest; ask their opinion on what they think your challenges might be; beyond that, if they are a person of character and wisdom, seek their counsel on how you might clean those issues out of your Life House;
  • Brainstorm a list yourself; hey, you may have more of a handle on this than you know; the giant problem you’ve been dealing with may be staring you in the eye; then take one “giant” at a time, and compile a list of “weapons” you could use to drive the giant out of your Life House.  If one of the giants is “fear of rejection”, then maybe a “weapon” would be to compile a list you can go to of all of the people who don’t reject you, who love you and respect you; use that list of weapons to clean out your Life House;
  • Do an evaluation of several situations, problems or instances related to your “problem/issue”; see if you can chart a time line of step by step decisions that led to each negative circumstance, and when you see a pattern, discover what you might do to correct that next time. You’re the only person who is going to be able to break those patterns and clean those same bad habits out of your Life House.
  • Eliminate the negativity from your Life House, whether it is fighting to invade your work, relationships or your mind. Negativity will stay as long as you allow it, and it must go when you continue to tell it to leave. Negative thoughts and attitudes will undermine and damage your best efforts… but only if you allow it. Clean your Life House from top to bottom of critical self-thinking, destructive comparisons, condemnations from the past and other hurtful attacks on your present.

Starting over, again… I know.  It really does stink.  But you CAN do this. Beyond that, you can do this BETTER.  Life can and will be better.

You know what makes life better?  Pizza.  Let’s talk about that tomorrow.

Step Off Fool…

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Starting Over. Again.

Boss dismisses employee. Isolated

It can wear a person down, from the inside out. The frustration of failure, facing the same giants for the umpteenth time, from flat on your proverbial back.  The weight you lost has come back. The bank account is overdrawn, again. The week has ended with a poor job review, the weekend has finished with a marital blow up and you’re finally at your wit’s end.  You’re not willing to give up or give in, but starting over, again, can be so depressing. 

Listen closely.  The things I will share are not a fool proof, step by step approach to sure success.  If that’s what you’re looking for, stop reading now, and go find it somewhere else.  Just know that if that’s what anyone promises, they are either a fool, or they are dishonest.  There is no such thing as a guarantee or a ma
gical potion to fix everything once and for all. This life is a journey. It’s a journey that’s filled with challenges, obstacles and stresses.  But you can do this.  Seriously, you can.  When you fail, you can start over, again… and again, and again if you have to. 

Will it be hard? Yes. The person that will make it most difficult to start again is most likely the one who stares at you in the mirror. Can I offer a small piece of advice? Step off, fool. You heard me.  Stop being so hard on yourself. You aren’t the only person in the world to fail or fall short. You aren’t the first person to need to start over from scratch, and you won’t be the last. The last thing you need now is a “self-inflicted beat down” for the circumstance you find yourself in. So lighten up on yourself a little. This takes a mixture of grace and courage, but you can do this.  You’ve got this.

There is something to be said for not letting yourself off too easy. There may be legitimate fault to be laid at your feet for your current situation. Don’t make excuses or point the finger too quickly at others if there are things you genuinely need to change. Seriously, dude (or dudette), if you keep doing the same stupid stuff and it keeps causing your world to crash down around you, then stop doing stupid stuff. Do you regularly have to search for new employment because you blame others for your poor work? Then start taking responsibility for what’s yours at the office, and bust your butt to make it better.  Has your spouse blown a cog, complaining that you NEVER carry your share of the load around the house? Then sit down with your spouse, and work out a fair and purposeful way for you to share the duties that make your house a home… and then follow through faithfully on your part, no excuses allowed!

Listen, excuses are like backsides… everyone has one. Sometimes they stink, sometimes they don’t, but no one likes them rubbed in their face. Analogy understood?  Stop making excuses, and yet you can’t let yourself off without any culpability for being in the place where you need to start over again. It’s not worth beating yourself up over, but you insure that you’ll be right back in this place if you don’t take responsibility and make the necessary changes to get you out of this bad place.

So what’s your next step? Maybe it’s time to clean your “Life House”.  Let’s talk about it tomorrow.

Starting Over… Again

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decision-makingWe’ve all been there.  We find ourselves at the same frustrating crossroad in life we’ve visited so many times before. Do any of these sound familiar?

“It’s time to go back on that diet… again.”

“I’m going to get up earlier and start exercising every day… again.”

“It’s time for me to turn off the TV and catch up on some reading… again.”

“It’s been so long since I’ve had a regular time of prayer and/or meditation.  I’m going to start my day off from now on making that my priority… again.”

“My life is such a cluttered mess!  I’ve got to reorganize, de-clutter and re-order my life… again.”

It seems most of us want those things for our lives that truly should be most important.  We want to be healthy, we want a consistent sense of spirituality, we want our lives to purposeful and on track.  Then why is it that we seem to spend so much of our time with our lives looking more like leaves on the business end of a leaf blower?  Beyond that, how can we bring consistency and purpose back into those areas?

First, just let me be honest.  The real answer here is “I don’t know.”  What helps some people may not help you.  What works for you may be a joke when others try.  Even more discouraging, there may be nothing that helps you in certain areas of your life.  Discouraging, right?  People that want to fill you full of “Positive Power” baloney that promises 100% success if you just use their methods, buy their book or take their pill are simply trying to gain some kind of power for themselves and over you.  That power might be financial, it might be influential or egotistical, but don’t fall for it.  There is no “self-help” technique, system or plan that works every time.

So why read the rest of this article?  Why have this conversation?  It’s just you and me, one traveler to another, talking about doing the best we can to win as many of life’s challenges as we possibly can. Maybe we can trade a few tips back and forth and help each other out.  So here we go.  

Tomorrow we talk about Tip #1- “Step Off Fool”. Talk to you then.

 

These May Sound Unbelievable, But They Are All True!

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Check these out!  Strange But True

  1. Home Alone was released closer to the moon landing than it was to today.
  2. Strawberries aren’t berries but a banana is.
  3. So are avocados and watermelon.
  4. Cookie Monster’s real name is Sid.
  5. The man who voiced Fry on Futurama, Billy West, also voiced Doug on Doug.
  6. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
  7. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.
  8. New York City is further south than Rome, Italy.
  9. There is 10 times more bacteria in your body than actual body cells.
  10. And 90% of the cells that make us up of aren’t human but mostly fungi and bacteria.
  11. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
  12. Not once in the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme does it mention that he’s an egg.
  13. The last time the Cubs won the world series, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and New Mexico were not yet states.
  14. The toy Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  15. Turtles can breathe out of their butts.
  16. And while we’re at it, Mr. Clean’s full name is Veritably Clean.
  17. It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
  18. Vending machines are twice as likely to kill you than a shark is.
  19. A thousand seconds is about 16 minutes.
  20. An octopus has three hearts.
  21. One in every 5,000 babies is born with a condition known as “imperforate anus.” This means the baby is born without an anus and has to have one created manually in the hospital.
  22. Betty White is actually older than sliced bread.
  23. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
  24. And women did not have the right to vote in the United States.
  25. Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of The Fresh Prince.
  26. The name Jessica was created by Shakespeare in the play Merchant of Venice.
  27. Hippo milk is pink.
  28. Nintendo was founded as a trading card company back in 1889.
  29. The show the The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. Today, in 2014, if one were to make a similar show, it would cover the years 1994–1999.
  30. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.
  31. Peanuts are not nuts. They grow in the ground, so they are legumes.
  32. Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas.
  33. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most well documented events in history.
  34. The last time the Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series, the Ottoman Empire still existed.
  35. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
  36. France was still executing people with a guillotine when the first Star Wars film came out.
  37. Duck Hunt is a two-player game. Player two controls the ducks.
  38. If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds just like Pac-Man.
  39. North Korea and Finland are separated by one country.
  40. The difference in time between when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between Tyrannosaurus Rex and now.
  41. The pyramids were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.
  42. Maine is the closest U.S. state to Africa.
  43. Alaska is simultaneously the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern state in the U.S.
  44. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
  45. Pluto never made a full orbit around the sun from the time it was discovered to when it was declassified as a planet.
  46. The heart of a blue whale is so big a human can swim through the arteries.
  47. A million seconds is about 11 days.
  48. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
  49. And there’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of water.
  50. The probability of you drinking a glass of water that contains a molecule of water that also passed through a dinosaur is almost 100%.
  51. At the time the current oldest person on Earth was born, there was a completely different set of human beings on the planet.
  52. And at the time you were born, you were briefly the youngest person in the entire world.
  53. A billion seconds is about 32 years.
  54. And one trillion seconds is about 32,000 years. A trillion is a lot.
  55. Armadillos nearly always give birth to identical quadruplets.
  56. But the good news is: Honey never spoils. You can eat 32,000-year-old honey.
  57. Mammoths went extinct 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.
  58. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.
  59. Carrots were originally purple.
  60. For every human on Earth there are approximately 1.6 million ants. The total weight of all those ants is approximately the same as the total weight of all the humans on Earth.
  61. Mario hits blocks with his hand, not his head.
  62. John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, has a grandson who’s alive today.
  63. The CEO of Food For The Poor is named Robin Mahfood.
  64. You can’t hum while holding your nose.
  65. If a piece of paper were folded 42 times, it would reach to the moon.
  66. If you dug a hole to the center of the Earth and dropped a book down, it would take 42 minutes to reach the bottom.
  67. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of humanity in the 19th century.
  68. The dot over an “i” is called a “tittle.”
  69. Woody from Toy Story has a full name too — it’s Woody Pride.
  70. There are more atoms in a glass of water than glasses of water in all the oceans on Earth.
  71. If you shrunk the sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States.
  72. The average chocolate bar has 8 insects’ legs in it.
  73. The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
  74. A rhino horn is made of compacted hair.
  75. A polar bear’s skin is black. Its fur is not white, but actually clear.
  76. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  77. Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
  78. Cat’s urine glows under a black light.
  79. A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth up to 7 miles away.
  80. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo.
  81. A giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can.
  82. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
  83. In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
  84. The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
  85. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  86. In ancient Egypt, Priests plucked ever7 hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
  87. You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
  88. The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds, that makes the catfish rank No. 1 for animal having the most taste buds.
  89. A cockroach will live nine days without its head, before it starves to death.
  90. Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
  91. Butterflies taste with their feet.
  92. You consume 1/10 of a calorie every time you lick a stamp.
  93. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
  94. Babies are born without knee caps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 6 years of age.
  95. Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
  96. If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
  97. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
  98. A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.
  99. More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes.
  100. A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

On this entire list… why is it so many people have no problem accepting 99 of them as truth, but they struggle with the historical truth of #33?

Think about it.

By the way, it’s true.  Want more answers?  Check out Lee Stroebel’s book “The Case for Easter” on Amazon.com.  Click HERE to get a copy!  

An Open Letter from Your Ballot

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Hello… it’s me, your ballot. 

We don’t see each other that often I know, but I thought maybe we needed to talk before the presidential election rolls around.  This election that is coming up, well, it’s kind of important. I hope you’ll take just a few minutes to consider a few things before we meet up again in November.

I know I’ve already met up with a few of you this primary season.  If so, good.  It shows you care.  So many Americans just take for granted many of the things that are either scarce or non-existent in other parts of the world… clean water, food, freedom and yes, voting.  I know you’ve seen the “Freedom isn’t free” bumper stickers, and heard all of the quaint, nostalgic slogans that are supposed to warm your heart and entice you to vote. 

But can I just be blunt for a moment?  Straight up… people have had their limbs blown off fighting to protect your freedom.  Others have been shot in the face.  Many, many more soldiers never came home, and their families spent every birthday, holiday and graduation with a tear on their cheek, an empty chair at the table and a hole in their heart because their loved one took their final breath fighting for you… for you.

That’s pretty heavy.  It should be.  This way of life we live is unique across history, and it has done more than any other in history to alleviate the suffering of mankind, while at the same time elevating the quality of life around the globe.  This is America.  Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.  So why is it that when it comes to elections we become the Land of the Party and Home of the Lazy?  Have we really fallen so far that when it comes to Election Day, people only vote if it’s convenient or if they are really angry? It seems more and more that when you come to the polling place to visit me, you’re committed to the candidate of your party more than the conviction of your heart.  I watch as you check the box to elect people to office that you wouldn’t allow to babysit your children or balance your checkbook. 

Many who stop to see me in November have made their decision based on the views of their buddies at the bar or their pals at the office.  Many more have allowed the media to craft a tale and spin the facts to shape an alternate reality that fits the worldview of their news outlet. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of either of these approaches.  There’s a third crowd that is even more troubling than these two… I hope you aren’t one of them.  This group doesn’t engage with friends or foes about the candidates.  They don’t watch the news or follow the media information.  They simply just show up and vote their ignorance. 

Seriously people… so many fall into one of those four groups:

  1. “DON’T GIVE A CRAPPERS”- Stay at home and miss the vote.
  2. “SNOW GLOBERS”- Voting based on what their narrow little group of friends tells them.
  3. “TALKING HEAD/VOTING HEAD”- Voting exactly how your new media outlet suggests.
  4. “IGNORAMUS ELECTORS”- Just pulling a lever, checking a box or pushing a button based on party alone.

I want to ask a favor.  It’s not a big one.  OK, it’s a big one.  Be in Group #5, the “PONDERS” Group.  Being in this group means following this simple request, and it comes in two parts.  If you could do this before you come to see me in November, it would be incredible.  Really incredible.  First, would you just go be still and quiet on a daily basis, and during that time either pray or just spend time thoughtfully contemplating what makes this country great?  If you are a person of faith, ask your Creator to give you wisdom about how to exercise this amazing gift of liberty as you step into the polling booth this Fall.  Either way, spend time… enough time… a lot of time thinking about how you will vote. 

Second, make sure your vote matches your values.  That doesn’t mean your candidate believes everything exactly like you believe.  It doesn’t even mean he or she agrees with most everything you believe.  It may mean that you vote based on what you believe is the greater good for your family, your country and for the world. 

Something awesome happens when you and I get together.  It’s not magic, but it’s really, really close.  So come see me this November.  Come prepared.  Read.  Engage with others.  Pray.  Listen.  Watch.  Think about all of it.  Spend some time “PONDERING”… that’s what you do when you think about something that matters.  So “PONDER”… then come see me. 

It matters.  It matters because you matter.