Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Virtual Older Brothers

As I was praying with Karl Stoneking this morning, I realized that one of the things I most appreciative is the virtual big brothers in my life. These are men that are just a bit ahead of me; guys I look to, to see how they're navigating things that I will have to deal with in the near future.

They are men I can go to. Look to. Count on. I appreciate them probably more than they know. So I just wanted to get this out there. It's always great to praise people--catch them doing things right, in public.

So here's to my older brothers (in no particular order). Thank you for who you are to me!

Ron "Yoda" Maloney 
(Ron may be more like an uncle ;-)
Mike Bolinger
Ken Wuerfel
Mike Garro

Who are your older brothers (or sisters)?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Secret to Happiness...

May be simply in loving what we love and appreciating what others love.

Love what you love and appreciate that others love things you disdain.

Love your faith and appreciate those who don't share it.

Love your political party (if you must) and appreciate there are other parties.

Love your spouse and appreciate that you don't love 100% of him or her.

Love your kids and appreciate that by design, there are parts or all of them that are nothing like you.

Love your music, movie, book, play, art and appreciate that others don't have your great taste ;-)

Love yourself and appreciate that God's not done with your total body, soul, mind makeover yet.

Love what you love, dance your life and appreciate that God gave others completely different things to love and different rhythms to dance to.

It's a happier life, mate.


Monday, April 9, 2012

I Have Issues: Homogenous

Ho-MOG-e-nous: of the same or similar kind of nature.

As much as I love how our country has grown and excelled in my lifetime, I have a parallel hatred with the homogenization of America.

Growing up in the '70s, I used to enjoy going to Cincinnati for vacations in the summer. They had different stores and different restaurants.

Now everyone has an Applebees, Starbucks, 3 of every fast food restaurant, and a large department store (the name doesn't matter: Macy's, Elder Beerman, Nordstrom--all the same).

We have franchised our world.

There are some upsides to this, like Starbucks will always have solid legit coffee. I can always find a decent product in town.

But there is a problem: one cannot franchise personality.
As much as Starbucks can control the freshness and automate the consistency of their coffees, the personality of the south Kokomo Starbucks is still pedestrian. You can't franchise everything.

Ever made a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy? The final image is not so sharp. And in coffee terms, Kokomo's Starbucks persona is a long way from Pike Place in Seattle.

In tech terms this annoys me. Why do I hate Instagram? It's not because it puts a cool effect on your picture and makes it easy to share. It is because now everyone's pictures look exactly the same.

Which is to say, everyone's Instagram'd pictures now have personality: one personality, Instagram's personality--not your unique personality. Your pictures now look like everyone else's pictures. How incredibly boring.

This is one of the reasons I don't use a Mac computer: they are all the same. Go to any franchised Starbucks and look at all the people on the same computer. How unique.

(Reminds me of the old joke: A biker rally is defined as 100,000 rugged individualists all dressed alike.)

I use a PC because #1 a machine doesn't make or break my creativity and #2 I get to pick which one I like: how it looks, the color, chunky, slim etc. I choose.

Some days I wish I didn't have this curse. Life would be easier. I'd fit in better. I'd be less annoyed. I'd go with the flow easier. But I just hate homogeneous.

I love seeing the little shop that makes gyros you can't get anywhere else. I love to hear an old song in a new way. I love it when I can say about an artist, "She's not like anyone else!" It's refreshing to hear worship music that doesn't sound like Passion or Hillsong United. And I love turning on Austin City Limits to see who's not mainstream.

And yet, at the same time...I want to fit in just be be heard. So I guess I have me threshold. I want to be homogeneous enough to be included in the fan the flames of diversity and non-compliance. I want to be homogeneous enough to be taken seriously, but not so much that I get assimilated.

I have issues...


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I Love About...

Niko Gruber

Shear audio volume? No.
Outgoing gregarious nature? No.
Sense of humor? No.
Ability to wrap an office? No.
(Although I am impressed to some degree with all of the above.)

What then? His insatiable quest for feedback.

Last year I got closer to Niko as he sat in as I led the Protege Program. He and I would then spend some one-on-one time together. I struggle for the right word. Iit could be called
Whatever you call it, he just keeps coming back for it.

Recently he was up to teach in our high school ministry. He asked if I would come and listen to his talk and give him feedback.

After the talk, I wasn't looking forward to the feedback session. It wasn't that I hadn't caught him doing some things right, it's just that I also had some harsh feedback to give. Feedback that I knew was going to be contrary to all the "Great job!" comments he'd heard.

I was somewhat surprised when two weeks later he asked me for the same thing: please come listen and provide feedback.

I love this about Niko. After my first feedback session, a lot of people would have decided to seek some reviews from someone who might be less honest and more applauding.

But he said that he appreciates all the kind things people tell him after he gives a talk, but he wants to hear the critical constructive criticism that most people will not provide.

Get this: Niko does not report to me under our organizational structure--yet, he invites me, with all my honesty, to constructively speak into him.

On some accounts I've actually apologized for my potentially ruffling truth-telling. To which he's responded, "No, I appreciate it--I want to hear it!"

I love this about Niko. He's so earnest about what he's doing for the Kingdom that he's laying aside the comfort of polite accolade and insisting that someone like me, speak truthfully into him. He's saying no to the comfort of ego and yes to the potential pain of unbridled coaching.

Let me clearly say, I am honored, humbled and excited to be in his corner--to have access to his life and influence. I love that (and many other things) about Niko. And I am in his corner. I am a fan, a friend, a brother--someone who loves him enough to "stab him in the front" as someone said.

(For the record, I do catch him doing things right as often as I can--and he does numerous things exceedingly well!)

I recently heard Len Sweet say, "I hate accountability partners! What we all need is an editor; someone to poke, push and help us be better. And we all need a best friend."

And all this is very true and very biblical. I love how (unlike so much of our culture) the Bible is multi-generational. I love how Niko and I are multi-generational, yet friends, fellow workers, and a duo that the Holy Spirit is using in both of our lives, to bring His best out of us, for the greater good. I love Niko.

Do you have an editor?
Can you be an editor?

I think all of us can be both.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Word to all the Bloggers I Know

Be brief. Concise.

Use space (like the picture above, & the spaces between the lines of this post).

Think about the point before you blog. Don't take us on an exhausting journey of how you got there.

Think twitter thoughts and write accordingly.


Re-read paragraphs, eliminate the excess.

Keep your paragraphs to a few lines.

Use the spell check button.

Be clear. If we don't know what this about in the first sentence or two, maybe you don't either.

Use at least one image. It's worth approx. 1,000 words and is more appealing to the eye than the best combination of words. If you choose wisely, it will even help drive your point home.

Do you want us to do something? Don't pussy-foot around; tell us what you expect.

Make sure your blog naturally formats for SmartPhones.

Creativity isn't what flows naturally (that's stream of consciousness). Creativity is what flows naturally, and is then massaged, worked, refined.

So create your blog. Don't stream-of-consciousness it ;-)

Intentionality. Creativity. Clarity. Space. Blog on!
(that's restating or recapping; also a good idea)


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Occupy the Y: wk 12 - The Finish Line!

WE DID IT! We worked out 5 days a week for twelve weeks and lived to blog the tale!

Thursday was our last day with our trainer, Nicole Peel. We assembled in the lobby and she said, "Let's end by doing a 5k walk-jog."

So here's the crazy part: after 12 weeks I was like, "Ok." Seriously, if she hadn't killed us yet, what were the odds this would do us in? So off we hoofed from the Y heading west towards Forest Park. We walked, jogged, (more walking than jogging) laughed, and did just fine.

On our way home I said, "There is one activity we could beat Nicole in." All quietly looked at me with anticipation amidst labored breathing. "Teeter totter..."
I think Nicole will actually miss us, if for no other reason: comic relief.

According to our collective MyFitnessPal app the weight loss results since Jan. 9th are:
Dave -30 lbs!
Chad -11 lbs
Morgan -13 lbs
(I've lost 30 altogether since the fall)

What did I learn in 12 weeks?
  • You can teach an old out-of-shape dog new tricks.
  • You need someone who knows what you don't (Nicole Peel)
  • You need some Hombres; people to do it with you (Dave Dubois, Chad McCarter)
  • Humility is key. Humble yourself to a trainer, to each other, and to the reality that you and your body are where you are. Every day in the gym is humbling.
  • If I can learn to workout, ANYONE can!
  • I like it. I like working out more than sloth. It's good for my soul and my self worth and for those who love me.
  • It's holistic; it's nutritional and physical. Dr. Haendigas + a workout program (+ God) = health
  • The costs for nutrition & working out outweigh the future costs of debilitating health
  • There is no cultural divide in the gym. We are all just humans in shorts & Ts sweating, trying to get better
 What now?

CONTINUE! Dave and I worked out Friday. And without Nicole, we put ourselves through a weight workout and even did 2 self-imposed sets of stairs (Oh Lord--I hate stairs...).

My goal for the twelve weeks wasn't a weight. It was a lifestyle. My goal is to continue 5 days a week. I'm also planning on buying a couple nice bicycles for Sandra & I to add to a more active lifestyle.

  • To the Y for this opportunity; for their staff that is kind and encouraging.
  • Nicole: she will never fully know what she's done to--er um, for me ;-)
  • Dave & Chad: I could NOT have done this without Hombres!
  • Sandra: constant encourager and the co-conspirator of this experience. 
  • Sandy, Lisa, Trish and the host of encouragers in the gym.
  • You: for reading, caring, praying etc. We are all in this together.
  • God: He is the Giver & Orchestrator of all good things & this has been exceedingly good indeed!
As much as I am into words--words fail to capture what this experience means to me. It's definitely one of the most profound 12 week stretches of my life. Blessed...

Posts in this series:
    Morgan (lifetime member of the Tres Hombres)