Category Archives: Future Plans

Cynical or Critical

I came upon an article from Men’s Health called ‘The Hazards of Cynicism: Why men fail” last week and I keep finding thoughts from the article resurfacing in my mind. Two thoughts in particular won’t seem to leave me alone. What is the real difference between cynical and critical thinking and have I allowed myself to become cynical in areas of my life.

The difference between critical and cynical was laid out well i thought by  MacGetIT (I googled it).

Critical thinking is where you analyze a problem and determine a solution using cause and effect of various processes. You take “no sides” of an issue and movie forward with what’s best towrard a vision of what’s possible.

Cynical thinking is where you lack or do not take into consideration various aspects of a problem and consider all of  alternatives to come to a logical and appropriate answer to a problem. A contemptuous or mocking attitude of various ideas or solution.

I consider myself a critical thinker and so I started to worry that maybe I’m cynical as well. I feel a bit better knowing that having a contemptuous or mocking characteristic is something I am usually able to avoid. That did lead me to wonder though were does that characteristic come from? Why are some people able to be critical without being cynical when others aren’t.

The men’s health article talked about cynicism coming from a broken heart. This is probably way too often true. That when we believe in something so great and then it lets us down, it can cause such heart break that hope is a hard thing to have again. To me, a life without hope is destined for cynicism.

So now I’m looking into my own life, as I hope you will into yours, and looking for areas that I lack hope and have let a thinking, critical mind become cynical. Keep hope alive and remember our best days are always ahead of us.

This is true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a might one, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw

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Blue Moon Rising

New Years Eve 2009 was the first Blue Moon in 20 years and this is the story of how I was able to make it an especially memorable night for me and Amber, the woman I love. I proposed to her and it was a pretty special adventure for us. It was a very exciting time and of course half of the adventure was in the preparations.

Amber and I had talked about getting married, even in some detail,  for the past couple of months. We both liked the idea of going to Las Vegas for a destination wedding because it seemed to make the most sense financially and because we and our friends have had such great memories traveling there together. Stage one of making this a total surprise was to make sure Amber wouldn’t think I had a ring for her. As we talked about the possibility of getting married I mentioned that I’d been thinking of asking my mother for my grandmother’s engagement ring.  I told Amber that my mother was very sentimental about the ring and might not like the idea of letting me have it for our engagement, but that we should wait to see if my mother would “approve” of her when we went to visit my family this February. Amber seemed fine with it and never gave it much more thought. Secretly I had already asked my mother, gotten her approval, and taken the ring to the jeweler to have it freshened up in a new setting so that it would be more sturdy and durable for Amber, yet keep the mythos of the ring. (She’s a stylist and is rough on her hands due to the nature of the job.)

Next on my agenda was trying to make sure that we would have a fun, light hearted, yet memorable night. I was a little nervous as to how I would plan a fun packed evening without giving away the fact that it was going to turn into the night of my proposal. A few months ahead I started talking about how I really wanted to make a real date night for Amber and I the  next time I visited. (Amber and I live 9 hours away currently) Although we had gone out many times together, we had never in my opinion, had a real “great date night”.  I intended to fix this, I told her.  She agreed to let me plan a “great date” for us and I told her our plans were for New Years Eve.

I talked with several close friends before the date and asked their advice and one piece of advice stuck with me the most. ‘Plan the night, but not the proposal, just let it happen at a moment that is really fun and reflective of your relationship’. This really made sense to me and I kept it in mind as I planned the evening and planned on looking for the most opportune time to “pop the question”.

The evening started out with us going to Headwaters Park to go ice skating. Walking in and finding that it was ‘cash only’ and that I had none seemed to be just the perfect start I was hoping for. We headed back to the car and were off to an ATM to get some green. Having paid, we headed out to get our skates and our bruises. Surprisingly neither of us ever fell as we talked about some of our favorite and most memorable times over the past year. Not wanting to press our luck and end up on our keesters, we headed out to our second stop of three for the evening.

Fort Wayne’s Botanical Gardens was our next stop. Inside there were Christmas displays, a tropical display, and a southwestern display. As we walked through we talked about dreams for the future and what kinds of stories we’d like to be able to tell in the future. Outside there were some metal artwork displays along with a courtyard full of Christmas decorations. Music was playing and the the lights danced along to the music. I noticed that it was snowing and the the courtyard was covered with snow and that  it was beautiful. I thought that maybe this would be the time. What happened next only confirmed my suspicions. Amber busted out doing some goofy dances that were references to some of our favorite TV shows. (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia & Arrested Development) This had to be the moment. It was silly and funny and yet beautiful. Those are definitely words most would use to describe our relationship.

Pulling each other close and laughing hysterically I told Amber that unlike my past, this relationship seemed to make more sense than any other.  She had no idea what I was really saying. I told her that I wanted us to share lots of amazing, beautiful and meaningful stories together. She still had no idea what I was getting at. Hands shaking I took the ring from my pocket and said “There is only one way to make sure that this night is one of those stories…”  Dropping to one knee I held the ring and her hand and continued, “and that’s if I ask you to marry me.”

At this point Amber was in a state of disbelief, excitement, shock, and confusion. She looked at me and said, “Are you serious? Is this real?” Eventually she gave me the answer I was looking for and with enthusiasm said “Yes! Please get up!” After several minutes of explaining how I had pulled all this off without her knowing we headed out to dinner at Eddie Merlot’s and then to our close friend’s house for a cozy New Year’s Eve party.

So that’s how it happened, as best as I can remember at least. Amber says she never heard me ask her to marry her and didn’t see the ring until I stood up, but this is my side of the story and I’m sticking to it. Sorry that this entry is a little sappy compared to most, but I figured it was a special occasion and that it would prove to be helpful to keep the memory alive if written down to share with others. May we all enjoy moments that only come “once in a blue moon” a little more often.

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Training has begun…

RaceFest

Charlotte RaceFest April 18th Charlotte, NC. Finally found my next half marathon and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s exactly what I need to get myself up and running, so to speak. I have such a hard time running when I don’t’ have some sort of goal to press for. I’m also happy that I’ve found out about a few different places to run when I get to my longer runs on Saturday’s when the time gets closer. This new app for iPhone I found to help track my runs is really amazing too. It’s called Run Keeper. It tracks my distance, time, speed and pace. Even better when you upload your run to the internet, it shows the altitude you ran against the speed you were running. Also it shows when you slowed down and when you ran fastest. These are all absolutely interesting to me as I try to improve my stamina and pace. So between Run Keeper and my heart rate monitor I’m totally tracking everything possible as I train this time.

Tonight I’ve been researching dreads again. I get excited when I check out dread sights and read about the process that will work best for me and the kind of stuff that I’ll use to wash and maintain my dreads. I get a little nervous though when I look at the photo galleries. There are so many people who have dreads that I think totally look disgusting. I really hope they work for me. I know they can really look great on people as well, but tonight, so many of the pics I saw were not really good looking to me.

Looking at my calendar today I realized that I’ve got an awful lot coming up! In March I’ll get my dreads and have two retreats with my students. One of the retreats I’ll have my friend Tim as a guest speaker and musician. He’s a student at Emory and I think my students will totally enjoy having him around. Then after the retreats I’ll have my amazing friend and mentor Scott coming to visit me from Indiana. It will be great to have him around just when March Madness starts. I’ll be sure to have some time off to hangout and take him hiking out here in the beautiful mountains of western NC. Then in April I’ll have the half marathon and then later that day Bruce and Lesley will be getting married! In May I’ll be headed to the Dominican Republic with a group of people to work with orphans, school children and just try to make a difference in general. There are also two to three other friends that might try to come visit soon, could be an amazing next few months!

I’ve been checking out some cool music lately. I’ll just give you a few that have been in heavy rotation for me for the past few days/weeks. Outsider by The Daylights, Consoler of the Lonely by The Raconteurs, and Getting’ Up by Q-Tip. Thanks to Trent, Justin, and Don for sending new music my way.

 

album covers

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The Dreaded Future

DreadsI’ve been growing my hair out for about 3 months in the hopes of getting dreadlocks. People keep noticing that my hair is longer and ask if I have a plan of what I’m doing. Up to this point in my life I didn’t realize that one needed to have a plan when growing your hair out, but anyways. So each time I tell someone that I’m planning on getting dreads I cringe wondering which of the three responses I’ll get:
1) cool…that sounds awesome.
2) Really?
3) Awh gross those are nasty.
And then for responses 2 and 3 I end up explaining the fact that dreads are not dirty and that they can be very clean and neat and that they even have a Biblical history. As of right now, I’ve got about another month of growing ahead but have already found the place that I believe I’ll go to get my hair dreaded. For me the process of getting dreads is a journey to being okay with doing something that I want to do and understanding that it will not be accepted or condoned by everyone, even those that I care about. I’m hoping it will be freeing to know I can do it and be fine with who I am. I don’t think I’ve ever been obsessed with what people think about me, but I think this will just be another step in being able to live my life and not be controlled by other people. I’ve always believed that if someone can’t get past something about my appearance that they might not like, than they don’t really care about my insides. Now I’m not saying I don’t care about my appearance, anyone could tell you that I take pride in my appearance, but I hate to be judged by my appearance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. It’s not been by choice, some people close to me have been really encouraging me to strive to live beyond the moment and learn to also think a little more about the future. Living in the moment and being where I am and really trying to enjoy it is something that I feel I’m actually kind of good at. The future isn’t something I fear or not ever think of, it’s just more of something that I feel like can be a distraction to doing what needs to be done here and now. So my thoughts for the future have started to include seminary. I know that could be surprising because I’ve always teased and called it cemetery because I’ve believed it was where people went to become mindless robots without passion for life. But at this point in life, I actually feel comfortable enough in my own skin to think that going there would be a challenge and offer some of the conversations that I’d really like to have. Now the challenge of figuring out how to get there, I don’t even have my bachelor’s degree. So I’m looking into getting my college transcripts and finding out what I need to do to make that happen and then to where I would like to go for this next step. I really enjoy education and look forward to it, but I’m not sure how I’ll do something like this with my current schedule. This should be interesting.

I have to be honest that I’ve only run twice in the new year. Today I’m blocking out time in my weekly schedule to run 3 times a week and work out 2-3. My great friend Randy was here for the past few days and we had a great time as usual. We took some pictures while we were hanging out and looking at them I totally realized that my lack of running is taking it toll on me. I really enjoy being in shape and I’m determined to get back to it. Found a great website called Run Keeper that works with my iPhone to track my progress as well.

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Filed under Future Plans, Style/Fashion