Posted in Uncategorized

The Best Party Ever

Last Sunday was the Sunday School Pageant at Avondale United Methodist Church. It is a very cute production.  Today’s post is the filmed copy of the pageant, with the warm-up number by the Avondale Men’s Trio doing Do You Hear What I Hear?





Posted in Social Issues

Choose to be angry

( Note: All the date references in the below post are done present tense; i.e. from the frame of when they were originally written, and not when I finally published them. This article was drafted in bits and spurts, so no date reference can be deemed to help one figure out the exact day or time of any event being referred to.)

One day this past fall I chose to be angry. I tried to concentrate my thoughts on an unfairness that had been done to me, for the whole day. I tried to demonstrate that one chooses one’s attitude. And I kept it up until about 3 p.m., one hour before the end of the work day.

Someone needed assistance, and in doing so I couldn’t help get infected by her attitude. I never realized how hard it would be for me to choose to be angry.

I spent about 10 minutes writing the above two paragraphs, and 10  minutes before deciding that I was going to write on this subject. And it took me all of that 20 minutes to even remember what item I had been so royally screwed over by certain powers that be in my life that I decided it was worth devoting an entire day of my life being angry about it.

And that was after yesterday someone brought it back up to me and rubbed my face into it along with another equally ridiculous slap down I was given over a perceived slight that was entirely incongruous to the actual intent and tone of event that occurred.

I discovered that I can be intensely angry, but holding onto it is a hard thing to do. I don’t like living there, although in certain ways it felt really good to be able to hold onto my sense of injustice and being mistreated. It also has warned me how easy it is to let someone do something to  me over and over again, my ability to forget and thus forgive by forgetfulness, along with my rare ability to actually hold a grudge.


Posted in Gonzaga University, Social Issues

Communication: Understanding or Power

(Note: Those reading this post will hopefully note that it reflects an attitude generally in opposition to my normal one. Not that I think it untrue, or not worth saying, but that it is difficult and painful to paint in these colors for very long. Nor do I think it constructive to do it for long, though often essential to remember now and again.)

One of the things the students in my Master’s in Communication class dislike the most is the comparison of Communication as an exercise in power. We like to think of it as a practice in understanding. Yet recently I have been rubbed in the face with the power aspects of communication.  Those with the power get to decide what your communication means. They even have the power of Humpty Dumpty to pay YOUR words to make  them mean what they want them to mean in their favor.

One of the problems in trying to communicate a subject like this, is you cannot directly refer to any of your examples.  Either a direct reference risks your exposure to those in power and their reinterpretation of your words, since they will doubtless find them reflecting unfavorably upon them, or it is someone or a relationship you care something about and the person will misunderstand the use of your communication with them as trying to be mean instead of being a didactic and teachable moment that increases understanding. In either case, the potential for your words to be effective in communicating empathy and understanding are severely weakened. And it doesn’t matter how close or how far you actually are to those organizations and circles of power, they will mark your words and see what they can do to make you suffer for your attempt at truth and understanding.

This again removes the POWER of the teachable moment, and reduces the situation to the lessons learned by the less powerful about how power uses communication for power instead of understanding.

One of the chief weapons against understanding and in favor of power by those in power is the deconstruction of language, and the obliteration of linguistic and literary tools. I observed a recent example where the use of hyperbole by someone near me — a tool reflecting one’s positive expectations on the intellectual capabilities of the recipient — was painted as the use of extreme and demeaning sarcasm. Never mind how difficult it is to use hyperbole as sarcasm, I saw the inversion of literary definitions achieved and the reprimand painted.

It is dangerous to use hyperbole, irony, simile, metaphors, allusions,  because they connect people’s thoughts to larger themes, and make them explore and question the items around them. None of these are good for those who see communication as power.

An expansive vocabulary is not safe either. I interact inter-culturally every day, and never dumb down my vocabulary to the people I am talking to. A lot of them like the way it expands their own comprehension of English, as well as stimulates them into a greater understanding of both American language and culture. But within organizations it looks like this might be dangerous too — as the use of big words could be considered condescending, no doubt.

I was commenting to a leader in one organization that they had created one team and given them a great project to work on — one really to be proud of — but had misled them on their final intent for the group and the project. The leader tried explaining to me how it was in the best interest of the organization that the team be mislead. If people knew the truth too soon they might choose to bail instead of be committed to the project. My response was that this point of view robbed those team members of the pride they should have had in the work accomplished, and left them with fear in its place. It also telegraphed to them that their leadership did not trust them. Past experience, the leader said, showed the leadership that this lack of trust on the leader’s part was justified. I don’t think either of us was convincing the other one of which lack of trust started this downward spiral of distrust. Yet, my assertion still, is that, no matter where it starts, the important communication fact is that it is a downward spiral, and that stopping it should be more important than finding which point on the circle started it. Yet that would require a relinquishment of power in communication that those in power are not willing to give up.

The interactions are complex, and it is easy to justify keeping people in the dark. Yet I still contend that using the communication to inform and create understanding, and allowing people to make informed decisions, is eminently preferrable, on the whole, to controlling communication to the point that its primary use is that of power.


Posted in Uncategorized

#255: Blessed Assurance

 (Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.


This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;

This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.


Perfect submission, perfect delight! Vision of rapture now burst on my sight;

Angels descending bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.



Perfect submission – all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest;

Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.



Posted in Family, Social Issues

You don’t want me to focus

I’ve come to the conclusion that, exterior veneer aside, I am not an easy-going sort of person. I can be very focused and intense. I can also obsess. Fortunately I can usually snap out of it.  But my melancholy temperament, welded to an overwhelming positive outlook, leads to something far from Pollyanna-ish, occasionally very overwhelming and undeterrable.

And while I have an innate sense of the fallen nature and potential for evil in each of us, when my overwhelming trust in the general good intent of the people and organizations around me is shattered by some overwhelming act of stupidity and selfishness, the whiplash within my intensity can be a very dangerous and scary place for me (and oft-times the people around me). Fortunately, while staying intense, the dark moments of  my intensity are overwhelmed, in a perhaps sadder-but-wiser rebloom of my positive outlook.

I can be very intense in very positive situations, or negative. Relaxing isn’t an easy exercise for me. Relaxed for me isn’t always relaxed for those around me.

If you classify people like horses, I am a thoroughbred, high strung, not a draft horse, calm and plodding with deep strength. Which isn’t to say I don’t have deep strength. And usually draft horses, with their relaxed strength, live longer.



Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: Mile sprints

My first race of 2018 is coming up in a very short time: the PR Mile on Jan. 13. So this past week I got out and did a couple of faster mile runs.  If I want to beat my last year’s speed of 6:51 I will have to keep pushing, as I was running an 8:00 and a 7:50.  But it still appears doable.

I also worked on my bicycle miles.  My annual goal is 3000 miles, and I was right on tempo Dec. 1.  Today I still have 168 miles to go. So the next two weeks I have to do a bit more than 10 miles a day.  Still doable again, but tighter to the goal than I wanted at this stage.