Psalm 112

SDG - Solo Deo Gloria

Praise the Eternal!
How blessed are those who revere the Eternal,
who turn from evil and take great pleasure in His commandments.
2 Their children will be a powerful force upon the earth;
this generation that does what is right in God’s eyes will be blessed.
3 His house will be stocked with wealth and riches,
and His love for justice will endure for all time.
4 When life is dark, a light will shine for those who live rightly—
those who are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice.
5 Good comes to all who are gracious and share freely;
they conduct their affairs with sound judgment.
6 Nothing will ever rattle them;
the just will always be remembered.
7 They will not be afraid when the news is bad
because they have resolved to trust in the Eternal.
8 Their hearts are confident, and they are fearless,
for they expect to see their enemies defeated.
9 They give freely to the poor;
their righteousness endures for all time;[b]
their strength and power is established in honor.
10 The wicked will be infuriated when they see the good man honored!
They will clench their teeth and dissolve to nothing;
and when they go, their wicked desires will follow.

Psalm 112

I heard this psalm on the Daily Audio Bible today and knew I needed to come back and read it again, to let it sink in a little deeper. There’s nothing in it that really needs explanation or deep meditation, it’s so straightforward. And while it may be a little against the grain in terms of our expectations in today’s world, my life is not lived only in this world.

This is true. This is needed. And this is what I want and need. As I went back bolding things that connected with me, it was almost the entire passage… Great words, great timing, and great truth.

Their hearts are confident, and they are fearless,
for they expect to see their enemies defeated.

The Bookkeeper

I’m the bookkeeper for my son’s baseball team. It’s a job that suits me well… numbers guy, doesn’t really know a ton about baseball but can (try) to count balls and strikes. It’s also a job that gives me the privilege to hang out in the dugout the whole game with the boys and their coaches. You learn a lot about people by watching them come and go in the dugout, and it’s teaching me a lot about teamwork, leadership, coaching, fatherhood, sonship, and boyhood.

I get caught up in the games as much as any parent, I’m sure, but when you’re the guy holding the book that says “this is the kid that hits every time” and your entire infield suddenly has a case of the “my shoes are untied” right as the pitcher hurls a giant pitch, it gets a bit nerve-wracking… and that’s all before the play where it’s YOUR son who needs to make THE play to end THE inning to win THE game.

Pressure. It’s all over the place, and it’s amazing how differently different people handle it, from the kids, to the parents, to the coaches, to the parents, and to me, the guy with the book.

  • There’s the boy who’s there because he wants to play with his friends.
  • There’s the boy who’s there because his parents made him come out.
  • There’s the boy who’s there because he wants to make his dad proud.
  • There’s the boy who can never live up to his dad’s expectations but knows he has to try.
  • There’s the boy who just knows he’s “all that…” all-star material right there, baby.
  • There’s the boy who’s preparing to be a pro someday.
  • There’s the boy who has to be there because his dad’s the coach. Of course he wants to be there, but he also HAS to be there, and that makes it tough.
  • There’s the boy who’s constantly told “I know you’ve got more in you” even though he gives it his 110%, day in and day out.
  • There’s the boy who’s constantly told “I know you’ve got more in you” and still gives just 50%, because that’s the level he feels his team plays at.
  • There’s the boy who gets excited when he gets a foul tip.
  • There’s the boy who gets so excited about catching a fly ball that he forgets to throw it back to the infield.
  • There’s the boy who gets his first sliding steal and comes up beaming.
  • There’s the boy you strikes out… again, and drops his shoulders… again.
  • There’s the boy who strikes out… again, and throw his bat at the dugout fence in anger.
  • There’s the boy who strikes out… again, comes into the dugout, tells his coach what he did wrong, and says “I’ll get the next one.”
  • There’s the boy who dreams of pitching a no-hitter while he’s playing right field.
  • There’s the pitcher who dreams of video games while he’s throwing ball after ball.

These aren’t the boys on our team. Sure, I’m guessing any of those boys fall into these descriptions and more over and over and over again. These are more like some of the boys on any team, I imagine. When I watch the boys on our team lose, you can see the frustration, the hurt, the disappointment. When they win, or even when they just rally or have a good inning, you can see the excitement well back up in their eyes (even though I’ll hardly ever tell them the score).

As I sat on the bench next to a boy tonight, knowing he was frustrated with himself, not so much because of his performance itself but because of what his dad would think of his performance, I see some of where we get caught as dads. We want our sons to give it their all, to be all we know they can be, and even to excel in their sport. We really would be happy if they just gave it their best… we really would, but when game time shows up, what does that look like? Cheering one minute and stone cold looks the next? Yelling one minute followed by a “nice try” the next? It’s a hard thing, to raise a boy. To raise an athlete. To raise a son. To raise a man.

I have no nice easy answer. I feel I really don’t even know the question. I want my son to know I believe in him and will be there to both cheer him on and guide him as best I can, but I also want him to know that there are lines he shouldn’t cross – and others I won’t let him.

These are just some of my observations from behind the book, in the dugout, and on the bench next to a bunch of 9,10, and 11 year old boys doing far more than I was ever brave enough to do when I was their age. I’m proud to keep their book, glad to help them work on their grounders, and thrilled to be the first one to give them a high-five when they slide in the catcher and knock the ball out of his hand.

A new morning routine

Old morning routine… drag myself out of bed in time to get kids to school, suck down 2-3 big mugs of coffee and eat what I can, arrive to work just in time to “be on time” (whatever that means).

New morning routine… up at 5:05, scarf down a bowl of cereal and a couple slices of lunch meat (find the protein where you can), off in the car with DAB to the box to build strength and burn stress, show up to the office early to get shtuff done, and finally grab a tiny cup of coffee to go with the protein shake while I reset for the day.

I think I like this new routine. I’ve been looking for that “why” to get me up early in the morning again, and I think I’ve finally found a way to make it make worth the effort and sacrifice.

Two Hits and a Quit

My son’s first year of Minor League Baseball has just ended. Not the grownup minor leagues of course, the kid version, which is those two years of baseball in between years of coaches tossing you the best pitch they can and those “naturals” hurling 50mph balls down your throat once you reach “The Majors.” They wrapped up the season with a win before the tournament and a decent game in their first tournament game, but all is now done.

Watching my son and his friends play baseball is such an adventure. There’s the boys and their skills, some of which appear almost natural, others are trying their best and improving every day, and there’s always a couple who just don’t want to be there. Then there’s the parents, the coaches, and that guy who’s complaining because he got too much cheese with his pretzel.

This year has brought back memories for me. Deep seated memories that either changed something in me or that were part of a season of change in me as a child. I have few memories of of my days as a 8-10 year old, but playing one – and just one – year of Minor baseball is one of them.

This is that story. Or at least a bit of it.

Two Hits and a Quit

 

My family had just moved to Plainfield. I was in 4th grade, and had never really played organized sports before. But here I was, living in a nice neat neighborhood with a back yard and a neighbor with a big field to play in. Kids everywhere. Friends to play with from down the street or across town from church. And so I found myself signed up for baseball.

I don’t remember much about my team – other than we had purple jerseys, and that I think I was number 7. Why I have that memory, I don’t know, but I do. I remember not being good, being rather fearful of the ball, maybe, just maybe, making a catch in the outfield. Those memories are faded and mostly gone, though.

What I do remember, though, are two hits and a quit.

The first hit, the good one, was that triple I got one time. I have no idea if it was a triple courtesy of errors on the other team or if it was a legit triple where I knocked the ball out into the outfield and made some other poor kid chase it down. But I remember it.

The other hit, the not-so-good one, was the one that came flying at me from a monster of a pitcher (he had to be a pro), that smacked me upside the arm and left my teary eyed and wondering how I’d ever make it to first base. I remember (eventually) being somewhat proud of the fact that I could see the stitches of the baseball in the bruise.

Beyond those memories, though, I don’t remember much more. Other than that I never played baseball again. For some reason, I quit. Was it because I was too scared? Parents pushed me too hard? Coach didn’t push me enough? I hated the color purple? Who knows… but what I do know is that I never played again. I quit. Two hits and a quit. And that was it.

Fast forward 30 years, and here’s my son, taking his first hit on a pitch (from me in the back yard), hurt and angry at me, and these memories come flooding back. “Don’t push him too far,” I tell myself. “Push him harder,” myself tells I. “There’s no reason to cry.” “Come here, son, I love you.”

How these boys even have a chance to develop a love for the game is a wonder to me. Sometimes it seems like the most “natural” athletes are the ones walking to the dug-out, head hanging, after that rare strikeout, knowing they’ve let their parents down and that they’ll take a scolding for it later. And the most excited boy is that one standing in right field, playing in the grass, who just happened to stop a ball by tripping over a dirt clod and falling in front of it.

It’s amazing.

Colton Night Baseball MinorsWill my son play baseball for the rest of his childhood? I have no idea. Is he growing in it, getting better, and having fun? I believe so. But the thing is, it’s not up to me. This isn’t a childhood memory I’m going to erase or “get right this time.” This is my son’s life, and while I love being part of his making memories, that’s a daunting task as a father. Because I DO want to see him succeed, and I want to succeed as his dad, too… and often “my success” hinges on his, or so it seems. But that’s not how it should be.

What will my son’s memories of baseball be when he’s grown, married, and raising a kid of his own (if life goes that way)? Who knows. I hope they’re good. I hope they’re of doing his best, making friends, catching a fly ball and hearing the world erupt in cheers, and knowing that if he does his best, he’s already succeeded. Those moments may not live with him forever, but they’ll do their part in preparing him for real life.

What an adventure we’re on, parents. What an opportunity we have.

I love you son. I’m proud of you. I love watching you play the game, grow in confidence and strength, and when I hear that bat WHOOSH through the air as you swing it with all you’ve got, please know that You Have What It Takes.

Kingdom Man by Tony Evans Week 2

God gave Adam a house. He told him to both garden it and guard it… Even before he knew he had an enemy.

God created a lesser creature… Man… So that he could show what god can do with less that is committed to him than what he can do with a greater being in rebellion to him.

If you are a Christian, you have been chosen bit only to be saved in heaven but to be great in history.

Referees aren’t just ordinary men. They may be smaller, slower, and older, but they have authority. The players may have power but the refs have authority.

God doesn’t want me to become great the same way the world makes people great. God didn’t say we should despise greatness but rather we should follow his path to it.

Everything god calls men to is more than they think they can achieve.

“HOW SMALL ARE YOU THINKING?”

Moses was the meekest man that ever lived yet God made him like a god to pharaoh.

He process of breaking a horse is to ride it until it gets the point. When a horse gets broken, it doesn’t lose it’s power or strength… It’s just had its will adjusted.

God won’t allow something in his stable to be independent of him. He will make us week so that he can make us great.

The biggest Christian man is the one who has gone low before god. Like an offensive lineman.

Greatness is when you achieve the reason for living…

Story of Shamgar in Judges. A farmer listens to god and becomes great. Killed 600 men w a stick.

The devil is ok w us calling god god but he wants to remove the “lord.”

A great part of being a man is naming. We name what god gives us. We bring reality to things as to what they are to be.

Take the red pill. “Welcome to the real world.”

When Inspiration Strikes

Last night was one of those rare nights where inspiration struck and wouldn’t let me go. I’ve written before about how computer code is a bit of an art form for me, and last night, a canvas was dropped before me and a brush was stuck in my hand.

Sometimes it’s just a puzzle piece that falls into place that starts it all. That’s what happened last night. A key piece to the messaging system I’m re-working over at ProtegaText finally got looked into, and it was so simple (not easy – simple) to implement that it got me literally saying “wow, wow, wow” as I sat here in my recliner coding late into the evening. I couldn’t put it down, but eventually I did, and it was still a reasonable hour for bedtime.

Thing is, though, the brain was in gear, and the heart was following it right along. I laid in bed – no longer imagining how this might work – but seeing it, line by line, form by form, and piece by piece – all come together. Eventually I had to get up… not to code, but to find my notebook, pen, and a book light. I haven’t looked at the scribbles I created yet this morning, but I know they are awesome. Workflows that I’ve been struggling to see. Electronic conversations I couldn’t figure out. It’s all there.

Nights like this are rare, and that’s probably a good thing, given that I’m a father of two children who need tending early in the morning. I’m not at a stage of life where I can pull all nighters writing code, but when the moment strikes, sometimes you just can’t ignore it.

One thing I loved about last night is that my wife wanted to hear about it. Maybe that was just because I was keeping her up with my book light and scribbling – instead of wadding up ideas that don’t work I just scribble them out. But she kept asking, and instead of giving her the old “you don’t want to hear,” I went ahead and told her… who knows what she understood -she’s no techie – but she wanted to hear, nonetheless.

And then came that moment every man longs for… “I’m proud of you.” TWICE she said that last night. TWICE. Rocks my world.

So yeah… inspiration struck last night. And here I am, throwing the rock on the pile.

And for the record… a few other things happened yesterday:

  • Picked up a signed agreement for our first government project, which also happens to be one of the largest single projects we’ve ever done. This thing has the signature of an elected official on it! That may seem petty… but there’s over a year and a half worth of nurturing a relationship in this, and I love it.
  • Had my first meeting with a possible distributor for TruckStock, and wow, that meeting went great. I was originally meeting with just the regional store manager (or so I thought), but when I walked in I also found myself face to face with the sales manager, the e-commerce guy, and the COO, who had travelled up from Cincinnati. Following the meeting, the regional manager took me aside and talked about how the COO rarely shows his cards this early in the game, and that he thought this might be a win-win-win opportunity with real promise. I felt the same.
  • Picked up a new client… an old time friend… through a new networking group I’m part of.
  • Dropped by a ProtegaText friend and left him with some materials to pass out to his friends.
  • Watched my son play soccer.
  • Ran off some steam with my dog.
  • Heard back on an opportunity that really has me curious… that’s all I can say there for now.
  • A few other things, which I won’t mention here… it was just a great day. And the thing is, that wasn’t all just “out of the blue.” These moments have been coming – some steady, some fast and furious, and some even slow, hard, tricky, and with a good dose of frustration.

I love how Faithful and True my Father is. I love how when I hear those “I’m Proud Of You” comments sometime they seem to come straight from him.

Thank you so much, Father. SDG.

Building Community, One Project at a Time

I’ve come to be a big believer in community during my years of being part of the Daily Audio Bible family. It’s taken on a much deeper meaning to me – more than just friends, family, church, and  neighbors. I don’t really know how I would describe it, but I now know it when I see it. And I love it.

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to start working on some community-driven web projects with my business. One’s for a town, and another is for a small school. Both “clients” have potential to be a hub of the physical community, and want to build a website that acts as such… not just providing information, but sharing stories, connecting people, and truly serving. These are just FUN for me, and I appreciate the people-side of it so much more now that I feel I have a grasp of where community starts.

Today, yes today, the twenty-fifth of September, I got the voice mail that the agreement for a large-for-me community project was signed and ready to be executed. Such an exciting day! I knew it was coming, but the waiting game can still play tricks with you. But it’s done. And I’m so excited to be working with these leaders, the town, and it’s community.

S.D.G. Solo Deo Gloria.