Pet Zebra?

Seemed an innocent enough question: “Why have zebras never been domesticated? Aren’t they basically horses?”

I knew I was about to trade an hour of my life chasing some understanding…and would have to somehow marry Zebras with a God truth for my life.  Buckle in.

“They’re all equids,” said Christina Simmons, San Diego Zoo spokeswoman. “They’re all in the horse family, but they’re not super close. I guess you could say, loosely, they’re cousins.”

Why this continued to be interesting to me, only God knows…but stay with me.

For thousands of years zebras have run wild, and their only way to survive was to run or bite or kick.  Those that didn’t were the ones that were eaten, and eventually weeded out – even the gentle cuddly ones.

So it seems logical that if you wanted to live, you learned survival skills…even as a striped horse.

Simmons adds that the domestication process of a species “takes hundreds or thousands of generations.  What happens is you actually change the species.  If we were to domesticate a zebra, it would no longer be a zebra.”

Struggling with a friend of loved one? Trying so hard to change him or her?

Domestication could take how long? Thousands of generations?  Hmmmmm.  And then, even if we were successful in our change effort – we would end up with something completely different that what we started with?

Maybe we should learn to appreciate God’s creation….funny stripes and all.

Virtue Du Jour

(Thank you once again Fred.  You continue to speak life and truth into my thirsty soul.)

Welcome to our cafe…

Pull up a chair.

May I share today’s special with you? I think you may love it.  Perhaps you are familiar with it.  I wasn’t before this morning, but after just a taste, mmmm, wow.  I want more….lots more!

Our chef calls it – Candor.

I’ll try to explain, remember, it’s new to me too.  Candor is a virtue, a Latin word meaning whiteness, pure, unreserved, honest, or sincere expression without any fear of pressure.

Sound refreshing?….yeah, me too…I thought the same thing.

Someone who speaks with candor doesn’t mince her words. If you are characterized as a person of candor, I admire you.  I want to be more like you.  It is so tedious going through the mental exercise of dissecting every spoken or written word.  I yearn to communicate with candor.

But candor is not the entrée, it’s an accoutrement (fancy French word meaning accessory). Candor only comes alive when it serves LOVE.

As with all virtues, becoming a student of candor is an art…a talent…risky?  Sure, but if we truly want to speak the truth in love, we must learn to speak with candor.

I snuck a peek at The Chef’s Candor recipe.  Here’s what I saw:

  • a dash of Timing
  • a pinch of Discernment
  • a handful of Compassion
  • and 7 cups of LOVE

Would you like a taste?  Soooo sweet…..

Attention Budget

Attention is finite.

The confessions of a multi-tasker….

Over my piping hot cup of Hazelnut served to the brim of my favorite french white mug, while reading the morning newspaper about the Rays possibly moving over to Tampa, while watching my phone for any incoming emails/texts/tweets, and listening thru my headphones some of Toby’s new:

None of that mumbo jumbo
Give me that hip hop funk soul
Give me that funky Jesus music
Give me that soulful gumbo

I Tweeted – “I WILL stop multi-tasking and start doing 1 thing really well.”

Noise – static – distractions – ugh….

I succumb so easy to them all. And the result is often a diluted effort of my best…

Gina Trapini wrote in a recent Fast Company article: “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can multi-task jobs that need your full attention. You’re not really having a conversation while you write; you’re shifting your attention back and forth between the two activities quickly. You’re juggling. When you juggle tasks, your work suffers AND takes longer–because switching tasks costs.”

Because attention is finite, I had to prune – gone were 4 activities I loved, not the least of which was Facebook, but they all competed for some of my finite attention, and I was waaaaay over budget.

Budget – yuck.  But not really…

Our time expenditure really becomes a matter of budgeting and management. How much one-on-one can I invest, because that’s where the real value sharing the love of Christ kicks in.

Chris Brogan posed this in one of his powerful posts “Ask yourself this question CONSTANTLY: where can I add the most value to what matters most to me and the people who care about me?

Budget. Set an attention budget, and then spend it!

I spend my online attention on:

  • My blog (1 hour per day). Why? Because I believe that we all have a story that God is playing out in our lives daily.  And that story is meant to be shared.
  • Twitter (20 combined minutes each day). Why? I only follow those who inspire.  God speaks thru them to me all day long.
  • Writing my book (1 hour per day).  Why? Because it’s something that God has placed within me and I must be obedient.

See where I’m going?

Chris gives us this challenge – “What if you did something as simple as take a spreadsheet and put in the top 3-5 things you wanted to spend time on in a day? Just list them out. Put the first thing first (Thank you, Dr. Stephen R. Covey). And so on. Now, what if you made that a sticky note? What if you made that your desktop background? What if you followed your own attention budget?”

What would you be able to accomplish then?

Origins of Who Dat…

While celebrating the Saints huge win tonight with a house full of friends, I found myself explaining lots of my hometown New Orleans lore and tradition, like:

Mardi Gras – A week long party like none other. A celebration with food, beads and parade to signify the approaching leaner times. “Throw me something Mister” are the most used words.

Bourbon Street – A street where anything goes, and usually does (and anything is nothing good).

Etouffee – A Cajun dish typically served with shellfish or chicken over rice and is similar to gumbo, and the featured dish tonight!

Who Dat?

Instead of me trying to explain it, take a look for yourself – vintage 1983 (back when everyone was beatin’ those Saints)…

End of An Era…

My oldest princess, Mackenzie, played her final high school basketball game last night – ever.

Ouch…ever?

I love basketball.  I love the team aspect of the game.  I love the fundamental focus of the girls game.

I love my girls. And the fact that 50% of my 4 girls love basketball too….thank you Jesus.

Mackenzie was 5 years old when the YMCA was desperate for a dad to “coach” her little team and the whistle just happened to fit around my neck. And for 8 of the next 13 seasons I had the blessing of being her coach.  She is a senior this year, and last night she shot her last free throw, swatted her last shot, bounced passed her last assist, and cleared the block for her last rebound.

You played the game with joy Mackenzie.  You played the game as a team member.  You gave maximum effort every time you laced up your high tops. From wherever I sat to watch you – from the bench as your coach, to the top row of the stands with the other dads, you made me proud.

Thank you.

You gave me joy. Your teams were better because you wore their jersey. You made the refs smile…you knocked down your opponent in the true grit of competition, but you always extended a hand to help them up.

So an era has come to an end.  But my prayer for you my princess is that the lessons you have learned from the hardwood have prepared you for the next season in your life.  Mackenzie, thank you for bringing your ol dad so much joy through the sport of basketball.  I love you.  I am proud of you. I believe in you.  The game is not over – in fact, it’s just tipping off.

And I will forever be your biggest fan.

My Mom

It’s her birthday today.  God, I love her…

She is a princess of the King of Kings and worthy of many TRIBUTES.

So I devoted my time with God this morning to searching His word- finding out what He says about moms who chase after His heart like my mom does.  Here is what I found:

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 6:20-22 ESV My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. (21) Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. (22) When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
Proverbs 10:1 ESV The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Proverbs 15:20 ESV A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
Proverbs 19:26-27 ESV He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach. (27) Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Proverbs 20:20 ESV If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
Proverbs 23:22-25 ESV Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (23) Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (24) The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (25) Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
Proverbs 28:24 ESV Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.
Proverbs 29:15 ESV The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 30:11 ESV There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.
Proverbs 30:17 ESV The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.
Vultures?  Yea…that’s how much GOD loves moms too.
Happy birthday mom.  Thank you for your Godly example of love.  I love you.
– your little boy….

The Soul of New Orleans

The soul of New Orleans is in a trumpet in a low ceiling bar…

I lost more than my home town in Hurricane Katrina.  I lost one of my heros – my uncle Jim, who died preparing his home just north of the city for the arrival of the hurricane.

Things have never been the same for me or my family.  But one thing remains – a love for a city and a memory of a hero.  Maybe this little clip will explain why:

The soul of New Orleans is in me…