Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge : DAY 36 - Seek


We are all seeking something. Some of us are seeking knowledge, riches, love, friendship, peace or maybe even justice.

Some of us are seeking something far less grand. Something more simple.

For me, I seek on a regular basis for that fun and companionship that comes with the gathering of family and friends around a board game. The simple act of challenging, competing, and congratulating each other over a board game (or role-playing game) creates a stronger bond of friendship between the players. (Unless it is the game of Diplomacy.)

So just like the saying of don't forget to stop and smell the roses, while you are on your journey seeking the bigger things in your life, take time out to seek and find the small things you need to keep you moving along.

Game on!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 35 - Truth



What is the truth anymore? Is there any truth anymore? Can we trust anyone? So many have their own truths but those truths are set for their own agenda and any other truth that goes against that agenda is not the truth.

We as a society seem to have become divided over what we believe to be the truth. We say, they say and no middle ground. Too many people, and I will state that I am guilty of this at times, do not want to hear a truth that differs from the truth that they believe. Which truth is more true? How do we decide on what we hold to be true in our lives?

We can only investigate, research, learn and understand about issues and such and then decide what we believe to be true. But you must have conviction to believe a truth and do not let anyone belittle you for what you hold to be true. Their truths can be held up to same scrutiny and criticism and could be found to be lacking. Just because they believe something to be true does not mean you are wrong. Or that they are right.



I believe in these truths.

God exists. Prove to me he does not.

People are good and truly do want to make the world a better place. Prove to me they are not.

The internet (and especially Facebook and social media) is not always right. Prove to me that it is.

The United States is the best country in the world. Prove to me it is not.

War is sometimes necessary. Prove to me it is not.

Republicans are not evil people. Prove to me that they are.

Democrats do not always have the best ideas. Prove to me that they do.

Dogs are better than cats. Prove to me they are not.





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge - Day 34 - Mercy


mer·cy

noun
1.
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.



I can't say that I have ever been in a position to offer mercy to anyone. At least I don't think so. And I should ever find myself in a position to offer mercy, I hope I can find that compassion to give it.

<<< I actually had to think about this for a bit.... and then....>>>


...Actually I can think of one time where I was the one directly capable of giving mercy to someone who I could easily allowed to be punished by the rule of the law.

I will not go into any details about it, but harm and damage was done by a person to another (or group of others) and the offending person was allowed to try to make amends as a punishment. However, if these amends were not followed through on, far worse punishment was likely to come to this person. Time was given and efforts made to help the offender to make right. It did not happen.

Time had ran out and a very strict punishment was going to be meted out on this person and it was the opinion that it should be allowed to happen. I was also of this opinion. I wanted the punishment to happen.

But sitting in the room when the punishment would be read, one last chance was made to all involved to determine if another chance could be given. It was not likely to fall on receptive ears. Especially when the request for "mercy" was given. The offender did not even make the request. It was simply a determination that if agreed upon, the new and harsher punishment would be given and the consequences would follow.

I could not stand the fact that the offender would not ask. There was seemingly no concern for what would happen when this new punishment came down. What it would do to the offending person's own self and members of their family. Nothing. Simply sitting back and allowing it to happen.

I could not. I could not let it happen. Despite what I wanted to happen, (and believe me, I wanted punishment) I spoke up and told this offender exactly what was going to happen and what they were going to do to make it right and asked everyone else involved that one more chance be given.

And one more chance was given.

And I know that in the end, it was the right thing to do. It did not feel like the right thing to do at the time, but now, with years to look back on it, it was definitely the right thing to do.

I suppose that I would still be able to live with myself had mercy not been given. I am sure of it. But I like that mercy, on the part of everyone involved, was given. It worked out for the better.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 33 - Forgive


To FORGIVE someone is actually easier than people think it is.

And I think (or at least I hope)that I forgive wrongs easier than most.

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However, I do not FORGET.

That part is not easy.

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 32 - Celebrate part 5


I missed posting this yesterday, so I apologize for that but here it is!

Today (and actually I should every day) I celebrate the number one girl in my life, Cordelia.

I have a ton of fun with this girl. Life has pretty much been a party since I met her.

When we met (Ask her how we met... she seems to get a kick out of it and tells it better (or embellishes) than I do) we probably could not have been more different.

"City" girl meets small town boy.

"World traveller" meets summer vacationer.

Child of professors meets child of grade school and high school graduates.

Agnostic, religious "wonderer" meets German Lutheran.

"Liberal" thinker meets conservative.

"Wild" girl meets arrow straight boy.

Child of divorce meets kid who lived in one house his entire life.

Those things in quotes means that to me at the time when we met and dated, that is what I thought she was like and all of those things that you might go along with that kind of "description".

But as we dated, and I don't really think we "dated' for that long, we got to know each other pretty well and I found out that she was not what I thought she was. Even after we got married, started our lives together and even had kids, I still learned more and more about her.

She really was not a city girl. I think all the time she wanted to be from someplace small. Maybe not Claytonville IL small, but certainly someplace like Paxton IL small.

Yeah, she lived in France and travelled Europe a bit, but her travels were more from necessity than pleasure or vacation. I think that maybe I actually traveled more than her in my youth but, still it made her seem very worldly to me!

I was intimidated by her parents but she did and will still say that my parents are just as smart as anyone that has a degree. Even smarter in other ways a degree will never make you.

For a very long time, religion, faith and belief were kind of a mystery to her. For most of her younger years, she was given the impression that organized religion, and maybe even faith, was something to be laughed at. Not that she did however. She is too kind and considerate to think that, because I think she was searching for her own belief and faith, and as it turns out, it was there, she just needed the confidence to accept it. And believe in it.

I don't know if she truly ever was a "liberal" but maybe just socialized was in circles of liberal thinkers and so went the way of the crowd. (Even though she has never really been a follower.) In reality, she is a conservative. (on the moderate side) And the kind of conservative that scares liberals... a conservative that thinks.

She was probably a wild child compared to me... Hell, a koala bear could be considered a wild child compared to me in my youth.... not really but you get what I mean. I probably would not have hung out with her in high school if I knew her then, but in the end, her "mis-spent youth" has served her well as a parent. She makes a hell of a great mom to my kids and to a whole bunch more young kids in our town.

Yes, her parents divorced when she was about 9 or 10 years old and she was, as most kids are, at the mercy of two sets of parents that, while concerned about her well being, maybe were more concerned about how conveniently she fit into their lives instead of the other way round. Having experienced this, I think it set her up to be a mother that is aggressively passionate about making sure that her kids are not inconvenienced by any issues or faults that she might have, which I am here to tell you, are few and far between. And I am pretty sure that I will never have to worry about ever packing out house up and moving anywhere.... ever.

So there you have it... just a few reasons I celebrate my wife during this Lenten Photo Challenge.

She deserves from me than just one day. But I celebrate her now with this blog post.

Here's to her! I am glad she is mine!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 31 - Still


Right now I am sitting I a car that is very still. Very quiet.

I just spent 14 hours with Jr and Sr. High school students at a show choir competition where the whole day was filled with singing, music and dancing and a whole bunch of the noise of life.

It was amazing to see all of that talent. All of the life.

Life is not about being still.

It is about being loud. About dancing, singing, playing music, being with friends. Life is meant to be spent, not saved.

But as for right now, I am going to enjoy a still night of sleep in my cozy bed to be ready for tomorrow... not being still.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 30 - Place


Have you found your place in the world?
I hope that you have.

I am not sure if I have found my place but I think I am close. But I am not sure that if finding that "place" is really what everyone talks about. Of course you need to find your "raison d'etre". I think that is what everyone is looking for. Their reason for existing. The meaning behind their life. The answer to "why" they are here.

I am not sure if I have found my place, but I am sure of something about it.

I am happy in the place I find myself.

Maybe that is the key to finding your place. Being happy in the place you find yourself.

I hope you are happy in your place.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 29 Light


I have a pretty bright life. There are a lot of lights in my life who have helped guide me, helped me and stand by me and make me into the person I am today.

Obviously, my parents and my wife are the brightest lights in my life. They are the people who have and had the most influence on me and they truly are my guiding lights.

But I want to shine a light on some of the other people that need recognition for being a bright shining light in my life.

First there is the school librarian that worked at my grade school and high school. His name is Rick Dulaney and I have to say he was a very bright light for me. He was like a gatekeeper to a myriad of stories, subjects, information and entertainment that I might not have discovered if not for him. He is probably responsible for turning me onto new genres of Sci Fi and Fantasy and for piquing my interest in reading the Lord of the Rings in grade school. Once I read that, there was no going back. My path down the road to geekiness was set. Thank you Rick!

Another light was a history teacher I had in High School. Steve Selle was the teacher I had for a number of classes and he showed me the history was not just reading about books and dates and names. He encouraged me to think about history instead of read about it and from there the rest is history... no pun intended! Thank you Steve!

Another very bright light in my life is my buddy Rick Feller. What can I say about him. He and I are very similar in so many ways that often I think we share the same brain... I got the smarter half though. I cannot ever say that I have ever had a bad time spent with Rick. We can talk for hours about all kinds of things. We may not know all of the answers in life but we can sure talk about them and try to make reasonable answers for those questions that need answers. Rick is one of the best. Thank you Rick!

Right along there with Rick is my friend Dave Buhr. Simply said, there is nothing that Dave and I can't do if we put our minds to it. Dave is a solid rock friend. Absolutely loyal to the end and someone that I can always depend to have my back. He has proven it time and time again. Everyone needs a friend like him and I am fortunate to have one. Thank you Dave!

And finally, but certainly not the least light, is my sister Donna Kopmann. I am close with all of my siblings and thing the world of them, but it is Donna that thinks the most like me and someone that I really look up to. She is someone that I can turn to for anything. She is always full of energy, always in a good mood and ready for fun. In bad, crazy situations, she is the calm. When a plan is needed, she is the one heading it up. Things happen when she is involved and I am glad to have her as my sister. Thank you Donna!

I am fortunate to have so many lights in my life. I can only hope that I can be a light to others as these people have been a light to me.