Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Competing Stories

At a recent men's retreat, BJ McMichael shared with us some material about how we are all a part of multiple competing stories. For example, at the same time, I am a man, a husband, a father, a psychologist, a fisherman, a Christian, and some times these various stories compete with one another for my time and attention.

Every man has had days when work has been the dominant story, taking up all of your time, and by default, becoming the most important story that trumps the others. I am in a position now like none I've ever been in before: my job is nailed down to a specific time slot. Ministry has no boundaries or schedule. Retail has a schedule, but it's random. My state job is 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, with very few exceptions. My job no longer has the power to automatically trump my faith, my family, or my own use of free time. It's truly a beautiful place to be.

The next step in the process was to look at what story causes the most tension with the others. If my job doesn't compete, what is it that brings me the most challenges as a father, a Christian, a man?

Those who know me a little might assume it's the fishing. Those who know me a little better might think I actually have it all together, as I put up a pretty good front.

Church is kicking my tail.
Not Jesus, Church, with a capital C.

I've been so conditioned by my ministry jobs to "use my talents" and to always want to help when I have the ability to. So has my wife. Frankly, we're pretty useful people when it comes to Church. No one is indispensable, but we've got a part in at least six different ministries. It's two cars on Sunday, because we both have responsibilities that start at different times. Both class and worship take a turn pulling. Then it's Sunday evenings, and a small group, Wednesday night rehearsals and another small group, this time with teens. And the women's ministry events, and KPT.

None of these things are bad. In fact, they're all good.But at the end of the day, I sit in Church trying to worship and find myself distracted (disgusted?) by all of the stuff going on. The forms have taken over at our expense, and the functions are lost.

I don't think changing to a Church with a different name/sign/location would deal with the problem. I don't want to give up the (few?) relationships we've built. I've been mistreated by Church folks before, and this isn't it. Everyone's been just swell.

I'm just getting tired of my family getting dragged 10 different directions so Church can be better, while Jesus and I become further and further apart.

Phil Ware preached yesterday about how church people have gotten in the way of the simplicity of the Christian call. I don't know if you can just blame the people. The whole system that created this problem is partly (mostly?) to blame. You can't blame the fish for the water he lives in.

I don't know if there's an answer, honestly.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here's a pic of some knives I have for sale. Top one's a trap spring with mesquite handles, $40.

Middle one's a trap spring with maple handles, brass pins, and brass bolster, $60.

Bottom one's a nicholson file with antler handle, antler spacer, and brass guard, $75. Can put filework on the spine for an additinal $25.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh Deer!

I've been bowhunting a bit lately at my friend Trey's place south of Lawn. The first three times I went, I saw a couple of does, but nothing in range. Wednesday it all came together.

I got to my stand about 15 minutes before shooting light. As soon as I got there, a large deer came by at less than ten yards, but it was so dark, I couldn't tell if it had horns or not. About twenty minutes later, a doe started working its way up the trail. Problem is, the entire trail approach is downwind! She was suspicious and came in real slow, working the sixty yards from when I first saw her in about twenty minutes. About half way through her little game, a buck came out at the far end of the trail. Because the doe wasn't coming in, he didn't either. The deer was a seven point with about a 15" spread, a mature deer, plenty good for bow hunting. It worked its way toward me, also very slowly, and bedded down in the grass about 50 yards away. In the mean time, the doe had come in to about twenty yards, still down wind. After five or ten minutes of close doe and bedded buck, another buck started coming down the same trail. The first buck jumped up at the other's approach, and they both started moving toward me, heading behind a tree. I made up my mind to shoot whichever one came in range first.

Thirty yards away (ok, maybe 29), out steps buck #2. I drew, fired, and....

Sweet success...

This is my fourth deer, third buck with a bow. It's a typical 8 point, with about a 13" inside spread. Jonathan helped me cut it up in the back yard. Here are a couple of pics of that process...

Hope y'all enjoyed!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm not dead

My blog might argue otherwise.

I have been busy sometimes, not too busy others. I am working, fishing, raising kids, and being married just like I was before.

But somewhere along the way, I lost the urge to put it all in words online.

I used blogging to process things, to write things down in order that they might make more sense to me, and to bounce things off of other people. My life has been mundane enough that I haven't had anything to process.

Until now. Am I back?

Here's a thread on a message board (I'm jkf96a) that explains a little bit about what's going on. texas fishing forum

Maybe I'll see you around.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Car update

Here's an update on the status of the stolen car mess.

The police caught two more kids who were involved, one 14 and one 15, to go along with the 16 year old they caught on Saturday. Apparently the 16 year old was the ringleader, and the other two left because he was getting too crazy. The 16 year old has no insurance, and our insurance is taking the position that they won't cover it.

I don't know much about the legal system, never having spent much time on either side of the process. Apparently "suing for damages" is part of how the system works, in terms of the state requiring them to pay damages in cases like this. I didn't know that, figuring I'd have to get a lawyer and go after them on my own. The state can apparently garnish their wages and so on to enforce payment. On the other hand, what are the odds a bunch of teenage meth heads have wages? I still don't know how the whole thing is going to work, but I am thankful that Barry is taking care of it for us.

And so we're car shopping. We had planned on buying a truck this month and trading in the blue truck. Now we're keeping the blue truck and buying a lesser vehicle to replace the car. We're thinking small SUV, but we haven't shopped hard yet. Some have expressed concern that we might need "help" of some kind. I'd like to thank you for your concern, but we've got it handled this time.

I'll let you know as the situation develops.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ups and downs, mostly downs.

Just a warning for the reader as they begin... I'm grumpy. Read on and find out why.

The most challenging of the PITAs that I am facing this week is that a 16 year old on meth stole my wife's car on Friday night. It was at my in-laws, and he took it right out of their driveway. There were apparently a herd of them, and they thrashed the heck out of my car to the point that it's now undrivable. The police found the car within three hours of my in-laws reporting it stolen (perhaps my first good experience with police). We still don't know the extent to which he or they will be held responsible, the extent to which our insurance will work for us (doesn't the very term "agent" imply that they work on our behalf? I think reality demands that we quit calling them "agents.") In the mean time, my in-laws are without a car that they were expecting for the short term, and we are without a car that we were expecting to use for the long term. We have no idea right now what the next few days or weeks will hold with regard to transportation acquisition, but it's going to be a PITA either way.

The second major challenge is that I am in the final class for my degree, a one week short course on systematic theology. It's like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. I haven't read enough, and the professor is one of the most difficult that the university has to offer.

The third major PITA this week is that I'm a hockey player playing golf today. I am good at my job, and I am 100% not interested in team sports. It's a challenge to be good at something, or even remotely invested in something, for which you have no passion. So far I've functioned well, but I'm beginning to feel the burden of a job I don't like. If I can pull this off, both personally and professionally, if I can succeed at something that I hate, there is nothing in the corporate world that I can't legitimately aspire to. If I care.

In the midst of all of this, I have taken a very scary step back toward church work. I have expressed interest in two major league church jobs. In comes the anxiety of whether or not I am competent, whether or not I want to go back to church work ,whether I'm competent or not, and whether I would or should even take that kind of job if it were offered.

The sole bright point, being consistently challenged by the aforementioned PITAs, is that last Wednesday was mine and Shana's ninth anniversary. We dropped the kids off at the in-laws, spent some time alone together, and in general had a very good time. We came back from the experience with a stronger connection that we have had in a while. Just in time for the @#$% to hit the fan, I guess.

*Exit Grumpy Rant Mode*

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Proudly teaching the next generation of underwater dump truck drivers

I took the boys to the lake tonight while Shana was out playing bunko. Phantom has come up about 3 feet, maybe even four, and I thought the catfish might be biting. They weren't, but I took these cute pictures of the boys. We caught one tiny catfish and that was it, but they had a good time.
We're headed to Ivie on Saturday for the next Stillwaters tournament. I'm not looking forward to it, as I haven't had the chance to prefish at all. On the other hand, when I asked the magic 8 ball at Academy if I was going to win, it said, "Yes, definitely."
Our company has recently changed the standards on a whole bunch of merchandising issues. The result is that we have had to entirely re-work almost the whole department in about a week. The district manager is coming in tomorrow to check our compliance with the standards. It will be my first big test as a "real" manager.
I guess that's about it. I had a person email me about this blog, so I guess I had better update more than once a month... We'll see.