May Love Become Light In The Darkness Of Your Grief

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My friend Silas Shotwell does a newsletter about his ministry work. His October newsletter was a reflection on the loss of his wife 15 years earlier and some other losses in his life and the resulting grief. Late in the writing, he says the following:

… and deep-seated grief is the result. I have love, with no place for it to go.

But now back to what I said earlier.

The best way to deal with grief is to give love some place to go! … So I would say to any of you that are suffering loss, and struggling with grief: Love with word, with deed, and with action.

Love others so fiercely that your love is spent, so your chests are no longer hollow, and the lump in your throat hurts a little less.

Love those around you that are hurting most, who have lost the most, and then love them even harder.

Because the truth about grief is that it never leaves!

It lasts as long as love lasts—forever.

Kathy Parker  says: “May love become light in the darkness of your grief.”

That means a lot to me.

So I say, along with her: “My love, thoughts, and prayers are with those at this time, who have suffered a loss beyond comprehension. I don’t understand, I will never understand. But I know our hearts unite in love for those who have lost so much. May you know that you are not alone!

Very well said and worth some reflection.

I hope you and yours are well.

New iPhone Camera

I bought the new iPhone. I generally skip versions so i jumped from the 7 to the Xs skipping the 8 and X generations. I will freely acknowledge that I didn’t NEED a new phone; I just wanted the new phone. I really wanted the new camera.

You can read several better reviews of the new cameras on other sites like this and this.

I’m not a photographer, but I take a lot of pictures, if that makes any sense at all. I took the following picture at a table in the 116 Farmstead Market & Table a few days ago.

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And here is a ‘Portrait’ model picture of the flower and vase.

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Wow. The detail, color and clarity are stunning and this is a camera phone.  Portrait mode blurs the background and the difference in the two pictures is obvious.

I’ve been amazed with the quality of the pictures and I’m just getting started with it.

I’ve read that we are going to be disappointed in our early camera phone pictures in a few years and I know exactly what that means. Those early flip phone pictures saved are nearly useless now. Even pictures from just a few years back are not very good. Here is one from 1996 when we used to live in Singapore.singapore

I wonder how these current pictures will age? If you are using your camera phone to capture moments with the kids or using it for business reasons, I can recommend this generation of Phones and their cameras and the iPhone Xs in particular.

Note that the camera system on the Xs and the Xs Max are identical which is a change from the X generation. Read Apple’s version of the new cameras here.

I don’t really want to write such an endorsement, but I’ve been stunned by the quality of the pictures on this camera.

Excellence

It is easy to watch the news and think that everything is broken. Sometimes, most times, it seems we should just not watch the news.

I’ve had three encounters with excellence in the last few days where an organization, an industry and a group are really seeming to drive towards excellence with enthusiasm and energy and passion.

Endeavor

The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) at Oklahoma State University just opened a new undergraduate laboratory building that has been written up here and here.

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The difference with this lab is their intense focus on cross-functional collaborations with different engineering disciplines working together to solve problems and do research at the undergraduate level. It is not just the EEs or the MEs doing their thing by themselves, but it is pulling them together as undergraduates to work together; which is just like the real world. The articles spell it out more, but here is one more at campustechnology.com. I’m anxious to see what OSU CEAT does with this new facility. Very exciting.

Relentless focus on getting better at educating engineers.

Winemaking

I passed through Napa Valley last week and had the opportunity to tour a couple of vineyards. I was simply stunned at the lever of precision and passion wine makers ( the head wine experts) and their wineries have towards their craft. I had no idea. Focus on sun, rain, temperatures, soil conditions, this hill vs. that hill, this side vs that side, this grape vs. that grape, etc. The vineyards are immaculate and well maintained.

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Didn’t meet any of the winemakers, but heard about passion and focus. Many of them walk through the vineyards daily. Amazing. Is this the highest form of Agricultural Engineering?

Fleetwood Mac

I get it. You are wondering how these all fit together. My wife and I had the chance to see Fleetwood Mac at the start of their tour at the BOK Center in TulsaIMG_4111

Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and several new players. While the group was older, they still played with passion and energy.

They did a cover of Free Falling to honor Tom Petty and it was amazing. Neil Finn is a great addition and a great compliment to the group.

They were still great. It was a wonderful evening with lots of memories.

Passion. Focus.

Excellence.

All of three are fun to see and experience. Other places like Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma led by Katie Fitzgerald and by many programs at Oklahoma Christian University led by John deSteiguer all point to people and groups trying to do the right things with excellence and passion.

There is hope.

Time

pablo (2)Found out last week that my Ph.D. advisor back when I was at OSU died in August and that his memorial service was today. I’d not seen him since graduation as my Ph,D. process was one of those troubled stories and when I finished, I drove out of town and didn’t look back for a decade. I had tried to contact him a couple of times via email, but he never replied and I was never sure if I had the correct email address. Learning of his passing was a bit sobering. I changed my plans today and went to his memorial service.

He was a delight to work with and from the service today, he was a wonderful person. I’m very sorry that I hadn’t connected with him.

This plus other things recently have magnified the shortness of life. Time flies by. Some get sick and face months or years of health battles while others age and in some cases, age poorly.

My high school is planning a big high school reunion next year and I’ve not seen any of these people in years. One of our number has a spreadsheet of class members who have died!

This is where my head is today:

  1. Love those you can.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Enjoy the days.
  4. Run! ( or swim, or lift, or play, or move)
  5. Be a good friend.
  6. Don’t worry about what others think.
  7. Find your anchor points and hold tight.
  8. Enjoy the dogs and cats.
  9. Give all you can to those around you.
  10. Let your friends and family know you love them.
  11. You can’t take any of it with you when you die.
  12. Always go to the wedding. Always go to the funeral.
  13. Do the best you can and then let it go at night and sleep well.
  14. Start over again tomorrow.

What else?

I hope you know you are loved. I hope you have a great day.

 

Challenge Your Thinking

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I read a disturbing article weeks ago about how Intolerant Liberals on Medium. As a Christian myself, this article has forced me to think hard about a lot of things. I had to set this aside for a while.

Every single president of this country has been a Christian. Every. Single. President. Barack Obama’s presidency now means that it’s about 20 times easier to become president if you’re white than black. But it’s still infinitely easier to be president of the United States if you’re a Christian. 92% of the House and Senate are Christians. Try throwing a rock in either building and not hitting a Christian.

When your religion is represented by every President in history, and 92% of the governing body that rules your land, I’d say you’re doing okay in the whole representation thing. When conservative politicians have control of the White House, Senate, House, of the country with the most economic and military power in the history of our planet, I think crying ‘persecution’ of conservatives might be suspect.

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Furthermore, conservative Christians have allied themselves with racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, mass incarceration, war crimes, death sentences, and gun culture. These Christians work actively to undermine scientific thinking. Anti-evolution, anti-global warming, anti-intellectual, and anti-factual. None of these line up with the values most universities share.

Yes, it’s important to intellectual growth to have variety. It’s important that unpopular ideas get a hearing. It’s important for there to be debate, and changes of heart, and to allow sincere disagreements to continue to wrestle with one another for clarification. I have no interest in our universities being populated by people who think like me. But I do have an interest in them being populated with people who think.

All world views are not inherently equal.

I encourage you to read this article and think about it.

And, today I read an article called, What Does It Profit …? The Faustian Bargain in Full Display at Trump’s Evangelical Dinner which is so true. Trump does not represent my values and although some of the policy things he does I agree with, he is not worthy of leadership or followership. I would impeach him today. He is not a person of character.

I did not vote for him or the other one because I thought both were terribly flawed. Our two party system is failing us.

Related, I’m reading the book, We Should All Be Feminists by Adichie which also challenged my thinking. Haven’t finished it yet, but this relates to my prior post on my old blog.

Challenge your thinking. Listen to those who think differently. Read widely. Think. And VOTE.

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Trust with my life…

pablo (15)I am watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tonight and there is a line in the movie that goes like:

You’ll need someone you can trust.

I would trust her with my life.

Here is the question. Who around you would you trust with your life?

In my case, there are more people around me that I would trust with my life than probably reasonable. Is that reasonable?

What about you?

Something to think about.

Several Updates, Books, Audible, Blogs and Sci-Fi

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I’ve read two interesting books lately which I wanted to highlight here.

First, The Power by Alderman which is an amazing fictional story about a shift happening in girls and spreading to adult women where they have a power or capability to physically overpower boys and men. Without going into the detail or revealing more, it is about what happens in society when ‘power’ shifts from men to women. It is a very thought-provoking story as it touches on many different ideas and thoughts.

The second is Death with Interruptions by Saramago which is a tale about ‘death’ deciding to stop at the beginning of the year and those who should die, don’t. Day after day, in this one country the dying do not die. It is a story about what happens in society when those who really should reach the end, no longer die. The aged and hurt simply don’t die and the hospitals and homes fill up with people who are still alive.  Aging still happens. There is much social upheaval and implications as a result and it is a fascinating story. Eventually, the person ‘death’ is introduced in the story and we start hearing ‘her’ story as she interacts with people in this country. Fascinating.

I listened to both on Audible. Recommended.

And here are some interesting things I’ve read in the past few weeks. These 1st two have really caused me to pause and think.

Why Everyone Should Lift Weights is the most thought-provoking post I’ve read in a while. Don’t let the weightlifting put you off, the post is about being stronger and revealing yourself to yourself and gaining self-confidence. The following gets to the heart of it:

Challenging your own body is the greatest method for discovering the strength of your mind. Nowhere is this more true than with strength training. There will be days when you don’t feel like coming into the gym. There will be sets that you don’t feel like finishing. There will be times when everyone else in the gym will see you fail.

And if you keep showing up anyway, then you’ll develop the mental fortitude to get past failure, work when you don’t feel like it, and discover what you’re really made of mentally and physically

Related, the article called The Equation That Will Make You Better At Everything I posted on Twitter a while back and it has been getting reposted afterward as people read it.

Stress + Rest = Growth. It’s as simple and as hard as that.

And let me throw in one more bonus article on relationships that struck me. In The Subtle Art of Connectin with Anyone we find the following:

If you dig deep enough into questions about what it means to live a good life and how to create happiness and fulfillment, you’ll likely find yourself between a few different schools of thought, each with their own approach.

That said, in pretty much all schools, the idea that a complete life tends to be one filled with a number of high-quality relationships is pretty consistent.

In a way, happiness is other people. It’s the connections we build and the relationships we foster. They create us, and they continue to shape us.

If you are into Science Fiction, then I highly recommend the Audible series The Expeditionary Force by Craig Alderson. You need to listen on Audible. Trust me. Hilarious and fantastic. Did I say ‘trust me’ on this?