Two Interesting Stories...

Let me tell you about them. I'll start with the shorter one.

I just had a lady come in to my office. She had a thick accent that sounded Russian. We chit chatting and I asked where she was from. She said Michigan. That's not what I meant, but being that I have family there I asked where. She said Plymoth.

"Never heard of it." I said.

"Really?" She replied, "Everyone in the world has heard of Plymoth."

"Michigan?" I asked.

"Yeah, you learn about it in school. You know, the pilgrims."


"You mean Massachusetts," I said.

"No, Plymoth, Michigan. By Detroit. It's very famous." She said.

"The pilgrims landed in Plymoth, but it was in Massachusetts, not Michigan." I explained. "Think about it. How would they have reached Detoit by ship?"

"I learned about it in school. I know what I mean." She told me.

I let her have her way. Plymoth, Michigan. Site of the pilgrim landing.

Second story.

Yesterday, I had a temp help me out with all the traffic at our models. She told me a story that has movie written all over it.

She was the cheerleader/homecoming queen sweetheart. He was the rulebreaking badboy. He was a senior, she was a junior. Night of prom he knocks her up but she doesn't tell him. After graduation, he takes off for the neon lights of Vegas and gets into showbiz. She raises his kid for two and a half years on her own till she marries Steve, a big italian guy from an even bigger family. Steve raises the boy as his own till four years ago, when Steve passed away. 35 years of marriage. One day she's on the internet and decides to join Classmates.com. Posted on her school's site is a poem with her name on it. Badboy, now businessman in Las Vegas, posted it two weeks earlier. He's still in love with her. She flies out to see him and shows him a picture of her now 40 year old son. She tells him the truth. They get married and live happily ever after.

Bada bing. Ain't love grand?


You Sir, Are The Candidate Of Change...

Cort For President...

I posted about a week ago that I have a new favorite candidate. I just realized the link I posted didn't work. I've fixed the link but will put it here as well. This is his campaign add which convinced me.


God's Will...

In the movie "Charlie Wilson's War", Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a CIA agent paired with Tom Hanks character (Wilson) to bring down the evil soviets in Afghanistan. At the end of the movie Aaron Sorkin writes in this story:

Hoffman: "A boy is given a horse on his 14th birthday. Everyone in the village says, 'Oh how wonderful.' But a Zen master who lives in the village says, 'We shall see.' The boy falls off the horse and breaks his foot. Everyone in the village says, 'Oh how awful.' The Zen master says, 'We shall see.' The village is thrown into war and all the young men have to go to war. But, because of the broken foot, the boy stays behind. Everyone says, 'Oh, how wonderful.' The Zen master says, 'We shall see.'"

At the end of "No Country For Old Men" Tommy Lee Jones' character is talking with one of his former deputies. He is relating how he's glad to be leaving the force because he didn't necessarily want to die in the line of duty like his father and his grandfather did. At the end of his little speech, the deputy says this:

"Whatcha got ain't nothin new. This country's hard on people, you can't stop what's coming, it ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

I say all this to say I've been thinking about the God's will for my life more and more. About what that means. I read "Quiet Strength" by Tony Dungy a couple of weeks ago. In it, he is constantly saying something to the effect of, "I guess it wasn't God's timing" or "I patiently waited for God to open the door".

I used to be on that train. The train that says my every move has been pre-destined so to speak. That God had a perfect will for my life and I was to discern it by any means necessary and charged with the task of not screwing it up.

Lately, I think I've fallen off that train (and no, not because I am currently registered Democrat). I'm not so sure God has this perfect will for me that I am to follow. I hear people say, "I heard God calling me to...(fill in the blank)" Maybe it was a certain job, a location, a ministry. I don't know.

I don't know because I've never heard him that way. He didn't tell me to move to Las Vegas or Denver or back to Vegas. He didn't tell me to marry Candice. He didn't tell me to go into vocational ministry or leave vocational ministry. I would have to say that what I've done in my life I've done because I wanted to.

So as not to sound too selfish there, let me explain. I believe ultimately people do what they want to do. We can say it was for God (and it may very well be), we can say it's for financial security, we can say it's for a lot of things, but ultimately, it's what we want to do. Do we want to do it because we think it's God's will? Sure, sometimes. But I married Candice because I wanted to. I worked at a church because I wanted to. I don't now because I don't want to.

The quote from "No Country" is really what has me thinking. To think that God has this perfect will for everyone on the planet I think is a little vain. I think more God has a perfect will, and it's up to us to fit ourselves into it. But I don't think it has anything to do with where we live or what we do for a living. I think it has to do with being obedient in our hearts and with our lives.

I have a saying that I passed along to my co-workers. "It is what it is". I know it didn't originate with me, but I came about it through my own accord none-the-less. Life is life and what will happen will happen. The thing we think is great one day is not so great the next.

When Dan Gable lost his unbeaten record the final match of his college wrestling career, it changed him. He became even more focused and ended with that one loss as the only blemish on his record. He became the most successful coach in NCAA history. Since then, he has said this:

"If I could figure out how I could have gone back and saved Diane, and how I could have gone back and not had that loss in that tournament, and still gone on to be the same person I am today, that would be perfect." (His sister Diane had been murdered when he was in high school)

But the truth is, he can't. And if he could, there's a great chance he wouldn't be the person he is today.

The more I think about it, the more I like "No Country For Old Men." I like the thought of fate. It's more freeing than restricting. Like I can't screw it up.

Proverbs says:

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."


"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

God has a will that's bigger than my life. It stretches from the beginning of time to the end of it. My story will someday have an end. I will die and be buried. But if I make myself a part of the larger story of God, my story will never end. Not because of God's will for me, but because of God's will, and my willingness to get lost in it.

Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait...................What?


You Wanna Know Why I Hate The Patriots?...

It has nothing to do with being a Colts fan. It has everything to do with being a football fan.

First and foremost, they cheated. They were caught this year using a camera to record signals so they could call into Brady what plays they were using. So this isn't just on Belichick. Everyone knew what was going on. They are cheaters, plain and simple.

I don't need any other reasons, but here is another great one.

They whine about EVERYTHING. All we heard this year was that they didn't get any respect. This is coming from a team that graced the SI cover 3 times during the 17 week season. This is coming from a team that Bill Simmons has so far up his butt, I think they are all a little brown by now. And this comes from a team that six years ago said this:

FOXBORO -- Several of the Patriots were not happy with Pittsburgh clawing and scratching to get into the end zone in the game's final minute.

Tedy Bruschi was restrained on the field after one goal-line play, and didn't hold back his disdain for the Steelers after the game.

Bruschi, who has seen players hurt late in games when the outcome already has been decided, said he "lost respect" for Pittsburgh because it chose to play hard until the final gun and not accept a 30-7 defeat. Bruschi said he worried about injuries because some players might not be running at full speed.

"I did have some respect for that team, but after what they pulled on that last drive, it's totally lost now," Bruschi said. "You're getting beat . . . just accept it with class. I know we would have if the tables were turned. But they're out there calling timeouts, trying to get extra yards, padding their stats. I don't know. Let's just end the game and get out of there healthy. They're putting both teams at risk."

That's right, don't you dare play your starters the WHOLE game. Unless of course you are already up by 38 points and Brady needs 16 games to do what Peyton did in 15. Then it's different.


Because they are the New England Patriots that's why. Who are you to question that?


Let This Be A Lesson To You...

Stop Me If You've Heard It...

Three coaches, Tony Dungy, Norv Turner, and Bill Belichik, charter a private plane to watch the Pro Bowl together. En route, the plane goes down and all three go to heaven to visit God and watch the Celtics play a game.

God decides who will sit next to him by asking the men a question...

God asks Tony Dungy first: "What do you believe?" Tony thinks long and hard, looks God in the eye, and says, "I believe in hard work, and in staying true to family and friends. I believe in giving. I was lucky, but I always tried to do right by my fans."

God can't help but see the essential goodness of Dungy, and offers him a seat to his left.

Then God turns to Norv Turner and says, "What do you believe?"

Turner says, "I believe passion, discipline, courage and honor are the fundamentals of life. I, too, have been lucky, but win or lose, I've always tried to be a true sportsman, both on and off the playing fields."

God is greatly moved by Turner's sincere eloquence, and he offers him a seat to his right.

Finally, God turns to Bill Belichik: "And you, William, what do you believe?"

Belichik replies, "I believe you're in my seat."


Packers Fans Are Entertaining...

Before this, if you asked me "What do you get when you take a shirtless california redneck and mix it with a packer fan?" I wouldn't have answered "Awesomness."

Now I do.


No Politics At The Table...

So, I figured mentioning politics in my last blog would bring some attention. So I figured I would clarify why I like Barack Obama.

First of all, he is for ending the war in Iraq as quickly as possible. I think the war in Iraq has distracted us in our pursuit of fighting al qaida who has now gone into Pakistan and made things very uncomfortable for us all (in case your unaware, they just shot someone for running against the current president who has already run his limit on terms according to their constitution, but decided he'd run again anyway.)

On that note let me just say, I don't think there are any good solutions to Iraq. There's only worse and awful. If we deployed the entire army to Iraq (which wouldn't actually be possible) maybe we could squelch the sectarian violence. Maybe. But for how long? I think the inevitable civil war is going to happen. And I think it best if we weren't there to shape it. I love the end story that Phillip Seymour Hoffman tells Tom Hanks character in Charlie Wilson's War. (I won't ruin it for you if you haven't seen it) I think the best we can say is, "We'll see."

Second, he's for affordable health care. He's not for universal health care like his other democratic opponents. He's for making sure that health care is there if you want it, but not forcing you to take it. Coming from a family that never had health insurance, my parents have paid the burden to make sure our teeth didn't fall out from rotting and that the doctors would put my leg back together when I was hit by a car. As such, they haven't been able to enjoy the kind of lifestyle they would've been able to making the kind of money they made. About a sixth of Americans are in this boat. And of that, 9 million of them are children. Children who can't afford to go to the dentist and have their teeth cleaned or treat cavities. Don't at least they deserve that? Lest you say he'll do all that by raising taxes, he actually has an aggressive plan to go after the insurance providers and drug makers to end the gouging that has occurred here because they can get away with it to help lower costs. Yesterday he said that maybe he'll just have a giant round table discussion with patients, nurses, doctors, insurance providers, drug makers and advisers and get to the bottom of it. Oh, and broadcast it on CSPAN so that everyone can see what is causing the increasing costs of health care coverage.

Along those lines, he's also for preventative health care. He said yesterday, one idea is to make joining a gym tax deductible. Or going to a dietitian. So that the gov't won't penalize you for doing your part in keeping America healthy. I like that.

He's is one of two candidates (with Huck being the other) that when dealing with immigration has had the thought to work with Mexico to strengthen their economy. Where have I heard that idea before? Oh, I know, ME! (see bottom of post for what I'm referring to)

Two years ago, before he was running for president, I heard him talk about alternative energy. We are too dependant on foreign oil. Everyone knows that. But truthfully, the republicans are too far embedded with big business to be able to do anything about it. But Obama wasn't afraid to get up in a speech in DETROIT, MI and say that emission standards and fuel efficiency standards must change. That takes courage. His plan is to have all cars to 40 mpg by 2020. That's change my kids will see. Also, his plan calls for 25% of all power consumed in the US by 2025 to be renewable (solar, wind, geothermal).

There are more issues I agree with him on. There are several I disagree with him on (abortion and raising the minimum wage come to mind). But I agree with him the most. Yes, he'll probably raise taxes (He is a democrat after all...), but with the polarization that has begun in American politics, he's wanting the most to be in the center. He isn't perfect, but I think he's the best choice.

And lest anyone think I'm going to hell, I'm still a republican technically. I only have to switch over Saturday so I can caucus for him. I'll switch back.



A Great Day

Today was a great day. Let me tell you why.

I was up early enough to see the sunrise. I haven't been up that early since spring of last year. I forgot how beautiful they can be.

Then I picked up my good friend Tyler. He's in his second year of law school. I enjoy spending time with him because he is smarter than me and usually our topics go very deep. He challenges me and gives me different perspectives on things. Plus, he just finished a 3 month internship with Sen. Harry Reid in Washington D.C., so if nothing else, I enjoy hearing stories about that.

We had breakfast at the Rainbow Club in downtown Henderson. I know what you're thinking, and yes, they do serve breakfast in Las Vegas. Just kidding. No, it isn't a gay bar or anything, just an old, smokey, classic Vegas joint. Remember when Clark lost all his money and Eddie took him out to eat? Yeah.

We ordered the Casino special. Two eggs, two pieces of bacon, hashbrowns (which I didn't eat, thank you diet), and biscuits and gravy (which I ate, thank you diet). $1.89. Love it.

Then we headed over to hear Sen. Obama at a town hall meeting (interesting enough, in the same hall Candice and I had our wedding reception). I've never been to a political rally before. It was a lot of fun. I know that most of the people who read this blog are my family and that all of them are Republican and probably think I'm going to hell for registering Democrat, but what can I say, I like what he has to say the most.

After that, I dropped Tyler off and went to a creative team meeting at my church (yes, democrats go to church). This was the first time I was invited to such a meeting here and the first time I'd done something like this since I was in Colorado. I was a little rusty, but I was able to give them a great video idea that I think will turn out quite good.

After the meeting, I continued working on a video series for our small groups ministries. Once again, I was a bit rusty, but it came back quick. I forgot how much I enjoy being creative.

Then I came home and was quickly picked up to go to dinner with the family. At first I was told we were going to a fancy italian place (Spago) but then I found out they meant "Sapporo" which is a swanky Japanese place. I had sushi and edamambe. My favorite.

My small groups pastor says, "If you want to get a hold of Jake, call him when he's working. On his days off, he's too busy to talk."

I think he's got a point. But what a good day.

And all this while wearing a shirt that goes to 11.


I Don't Want To Write...

This isn't therapy. It's something more. Maybe it's a cry for help.

I live and die with them. I bleed Colt blue.

I'm not sure anyone can stop the patriots. They are just too good.

Though, (sorry Bob) I would love to see them go down to Farve's Packers. That would be a sight.

I know this is random.

Harrison's fumble did us in. Who wouldn've thought that would be the case? A fumble by a gazillion time pro-bowler. Wayne got hurt. Sanders got hurt. They beat us up.

Billy Freakin Volek?

They beat us without LT, Rivers, Neal, and with a hurt Gates. They beat us bad.

We didn't score when we needed to.

I'm almost done.

I hope we make some good moves in the off-season, shore up that defense that looked small and slow.

Did we take them for granted?


Go Packers I guess.


Saturday Morning Confession

Played Guitar Hero at a party last night.

I think I'm addicted.


So Far, So Bad...

Well, not too bad actually. I've actually lost a little bit, but of course, that was before I had two chocolate chip cookies today (how do you say no to fresh chocolate chip cookies? I have yet to find out). Work has been really, really slow lately. I wish that I could find something more productive to do when I don't have customers. By this time I should be a guitar aficionado, read 50 books, or at least be a master at Sodoku. But instead, I've watched every Office episode known to mankind and figured out tasty treats to add to mac and cheese to make it even better (m&ms. Don't knock it till you try it). Anywho, I was just feeling unproductive and whenever I write a blog, I seem to feel better about myself. So here's to my therapy.



And In This Corner...

The official weigh-in came in this morning. Not as bad as I would've thought given the weekend. 208. Two hundred eight pounds. That's what it's come to. To lose the first ten of my 30 lbs goal, I decided to cut my left arm off. I figured, who needs two? Typing is getting a little messy, what with the blood and everything...

Okay, here we go. I can do this. All I have to do is not eat like crap. That should be easy, right?


Insert Led Zepplin Lyric...

Since it's been awhile since I've actually written anything on this here blog of mine, I thought I'd take some time this rainy Saturday morning just to catch my faithful readers up on my life. Being that I've already spoken Mom this morning, this is for the other two of you.

I've seen a lot of movies lately. Being that before December I would've said that this was a real crappy year for movies, December made up for it. The last four movies I have seen were EXCELLENT and the fifth was pretty good for what it was. A couple days ago I saw "Juno". Very, very good. Funny, emotional, with a hint of morality. Very, very good. "Charlie Wilson's War." Aaron Sorkin at his best, writing political drama. Studio 60 on the something or other was alright, but I know West Wing, and you sir are no West Wing. But "War" was so good. Philip Seymour Hoffman is such a good actor. "Atonement" has had mixed reviews. I'm a big Keira Knightley fan, but mostly because I'm secretly attracted to her (wait, did I just type that outloud?). But the cinematography was very good and the pain and emotion was very raw. I give it two whatevers up. Watched "Once" on my computron. Wow. Sad I missed it in theaters. What a great movie about a story where nothing ever happens. Man was it good. Purchased the soundtrack right away. Fifth, and finally, "National Treasure 2." I know, I know, laugh all you want, but I like Nic and his dry repartee. So what if it's rediculasly unrealistic? I love me some fictional historical controversy.

Well, the new year is here. I said all through the holidays that I was gonna do something about the waistline. So far, I have extended my holiday eating schedule by two days (I was told by a reliable source that diets that start on Mondays last longer). So, Monday it is. I have a goal of losing 30 lbs. I'll keep you updated on my lack of discipline...