Sunday, March 29, 2020


Starting the next year of posts, I wanted to post a reminder of the blog rules and regulations, and to provide advance warning.  There will be blogs that will either make you mad or will upset you or challenge your position on a particular topic.  The blog is my personal writing exercise and soap box, so it will reflect my biases and my contrarian streak, but I am open to civil discourse on almost any topic.

Finally, I wanted to pass along a reminder that I have an email subscription option on the page.  With that, you'll receive an email link each time a new post is added.  There is also an RSS feed option, in case anyone prefers that method.

With that, an update of the reminders previously posted:
  1. This blog represents largely a writing exercise and an outlet for me to get thoughts out of my head.  It contains my opinion on variety of issues from serious to silly and is filtered through my experiences, biases, etc.
  2. I promise, I will post on topics that are so niche-focused, so utterly nerdy that anyone but me is going to be bored to tears.  I try to keep those to only once or twice a week and to rotate through a variety of topics throughout the week to keep it interesting.  I use the labels so that you can screen out certain topics if you want to.
  3. I will post things that you will disagree with and that will potentially make you upset.  I know I am more liberal than the majority of my audience.  Probably regarding doctrine and politics both.  These are both topics I'm going to write on from time to time.  I personally favor moderation and lean center-left, but will post on a variety of viewpoints from center-right to hard left (maybe even hard right in a few instances).
  4. I am going to be harder on Republicans than I am on Democrats.  While I am not a fan of many politicians of many different political parties, I am growing to despise what the Republican party is becoming.  And I reserve the sharpest criticism for them due to one fact above all: the perverse mixture of politics and religion that Republicans promote. Because they purport to hold themselves out as the Christian party, I'm going to hold them to that impossible standard.  I also hold them more accountable partly because they are in power, and I'm going to criticize whoever has power more than those in the minority.
  5. I am likewise harder on churches and Christians than I am on non-believers.  Those who profess to believe have identified themselves as recognizing a higher standard.  To put it simply, "we should know and act better."  And do so based on a reading of the entire Bible.  Sadly, we all to often fall far short of this.  While I do want to extend grace to those that slip, when errors occur as abuses of power in the church  or in ways that belittle the faith they claim to hold, I will be discussing it. 
  6. I am completely open to disagreement and debate. Honest and open dialogue is the only way we can move forward in any civilized society.  However, I have a few ground rules for debate:
  • I will not tolerate name calling or muckraking.  When the thread resorts to calling each other racists, "liberal snowflakes," "libtards," or four-letter words, I will shut it down.  Likewise, I'm not going to let stereotypes and sweeping generalities go unchallenged.  All liberals do not want the destruction of our country, all conservatives are not bigots, etc.
  • I hope for discussion that will foster conversation, not end it.  So I expect more than "guns don't kill people, people kill people" in a discussion on gun control, for example.  I will not let those conversation-enders stand unchallenged.
  • Compromise is not a dirty word.  And likewise, I do hope people change their mind from time to time based on what they learn. Including me.
  • I follow this hierarchy for the value of information: facts then informed opinions then general opinions.  Saying "that's just my opinion" is going to get nowhere with me if it is not supported by the facts.
Again, thank you for reading.  Please let me know if there are topics that you particularly enjoy or there is changes you could envision.  Here's to the many more posts to come.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Two Years

Two years.

603 posts.

It's almost hard to believe.

So much has changed over the two years of posting.  New home, new state, new job.  It's been an amazing journey.

I want to thank everyone who has continued to read these entries.  It has been many things over these two years.  A sanity check.  A sounding board.  Therapy.  All well beyond the original writing exercise.

Your readership has been encouragement.  It has been humbling.  For all that have expressed their readership and for those that have remained anonymous, thank you.  It means more than you can imagine.

Our lives are getting more together, as we should be finally moving into our new place next weekend.  I expect the posts to become more regular over the coming weeks.

To the next few years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Agents of Mercy

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12: 1-2

Like most believers across the nation, we participated in virtual church on Sunday.  This allowed us to listen to a message from a church we would like to visit here in Indianapolis, as well as listen to the message from what we still consider as our home church, Stonepoint.  Brandon's message for Stonepoint was from Romans on The Art of Being Different in an Age of Indifference.  Particularly important now.

What struck me was one of the first questions that Brandon posed.  Paul starts Romans 12 with an appeal that has resulted from his discussion in the prior eleven chapters.  An appeal by the mercies of God, in which he is appealing to us to be agents of the mercies of God.  Which raises the question, are we agents of the mercies of God?

Are we acting as agents of the mercies of God?

Are we demonstrating his mercy?  His long-suffering patience?  His generosity?  His kindness?  His love?

Realizing of course, all of this was shown to those who were enemies of God.  Who were far from Him.  Who despised Him.  Who spat on Him and injured Him. "Love your enemies," indeed.

I guess I worry that, all too often, we desire to be agents of His judgment or His wrath, as opposed to mercy.  We want to be the one convicting or condemning, which was never our job.  Those fall to the Spirit, and the Father, respectively.  Our's was always love, under which mercy should fall naturally.

And in times like this, our mercy should be flowing abundantly.

We, the church, should be the ones caring for those that are scared, that are hurting, that are suffering during this time.  Doing our part to prevent the spread of this disease, following the guidelines and regulations as they come, but still being the hands and feet of Jesus.  

Instead of hoarding, we as Christians should be the first giving our supplies away.  We should be the first to share non-perishable food items, to share cleaning supplies, to share paper goods.  To share toilet paper.

One suggestion the church in Brownsburg had was creating an emergency supply kit in a shoebox.  Not for yourself, but for your neighbors.  To share supplies and an encouraging word.  A shoebox with a roll of toilet paper, with a card letting them know you are thinking of them and want to help in anyway you can, and any other supplies you can fit.  To work in social distancing times, these could be just left on a porch or by the door.  

For churches with kitchens, is there a way you can help get meals to those who need them?  Could you set up a curbside pickup for meals to go, particularly for the most at-risk among us?

If not food, is there monetary assistance we could be providing?  Are there expenses that we could meet for those that have been furloughed or lost their job in this time?  

At a most basic level, can we be merciful with our words?  Can we be careful not to minimize or belittle the anxiety that people are feeling about this disease?  "It's just the flu" isn't really factually accurate or helpful right now.  Likewise, quoting statistics on mortality to someone who has a family member suffering or infected, or even to someone who is worried about their immuno-compromised friend or family might not be the most merciful thing to do.  We can discuss and validate their concerns, with the best thing we can do often being just listening and being there.

So, how are we doing?

What kind of agent are you?  I know I'm having to check myself regularly.  Am I being an agent of the mercies of God?  Am I trying to be an agent of some other aspect of Him, where I should not be?  or am I not an agent at all, rather only serving myself?

Thankfully, God's mercy is vast and displayed to us in spite of our shortcomings.

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sinds, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103: 8-12

Monday, March 23, 2020

Mitchuation Update - Adjusting

It's amazing how much can change in two weeks...

It has been a while since the last entry and so much has happened, in so many different ways.  What a time to change jobs and states in a global pandemic.

The first week of work went very well.  Lots of introductions, lots of information that I have tried to absorb.  New systems, new conventions, new connections.  In many ways, it was pretty normal. I got to go into the Indianapolis office and see my cube.  Got to see a few of the Columbus, IN offices.  I am replacing someone who is retiring, so I got to spend the week shadowing her and absorbing information.

I even started to feel like an official Hoosier.  Had my first breaded pork tenderloin sandwich at the Mug N Bun, evidence below.  Walked around downtown a lot, including passing Monument Circle everyday.  Stayed at a really cool Stay Alfred apartment downtown in a classic Art Deco building, with an elevated walkway connection to the Circle Center Mall.  Very exciting.  The only downside was being apart from the family.

Deliciousness at the Mug N Bun
Flying back to Texas Friday night was certainly different.  Less crowded at the airport.  A lot of worried travelers.  Regardless, I made it back to Dallas, made it back to the family in Winnsboro, and was ready to start the journey again.

Driving with the family, we made the journey a little more fun.  It's definitely more fun to sing along with a group to good music.  We made great little side trips, like to Casey, IL.  A town that has staked its claim on having a collection of the World's Largest items.  The World's Largest Rocking Chair, Mailbox, Birdcage, See-Saw, etc.

The AirBnb we are staying at is really great.  It's in a great location in Old Northside, among a collection of great Craftsman homes.    The owners/managers are right across the hall, so their family has been our one real connection so far.

In all, the start has been much what we expected - a great place to stay, cold weather, a lot of activity focused on trying to find a place to rent for a year or so.  Thankfully that activity has paid off and we have a place starting April 10.

What we could not imagine, what none of us could have imagined, was starting this new adventure under a stay in place order.  Going straight to work from home my second week on the job.  Working from home in the living room of an apartment only a little larger than our place in Wills Point.

It has been an adjustment, as it has been for everyone.  Lots of Skype and Zoom meetings, particularly so I can continue to talk with the current manager, getting as much information as I can from her over this next week and a half before she retires.  Trying to find convenient ways to allow me to work, and the kids to learn and play, in largely the exact same space.

The plus side is that we're all together.  That I'm kind of used to this with my previous remote work experience.  That everyone is adjusting to this,so there is an understanding, a bit of leniency.  The litigation group has a WhatsApp group together just so we can check in on each other and compare notes on how the adjustment is going.

In many ways, this may have been a boon for my ability to learn from my predecessor.  Global onboarding was largely removed, giving me back several days of time to ask questions and shadow.  With cases slowed to a crawl, the focus can be on the transfer of knowledge and questions, instead of responding to active matters.  Have to find the silver lining somewhere.

All in all, we are here, we are adjusting, and we are ready to be in our place, with our stuff.  Thankfully soon, fingers crossed.

Now that there is a rhythm, posts should increase.  And we plan to be updating y'all as much as possible.  And we have enjoyed seeing how everyone is adjusting on Facebook is adjusting to the new situation.

Until next time.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Mitchuation Update - The Journey Begins

Just a short entry today.  I write sitting in a Popeye’s in Forrest City, Arkansas, trying the spicy chicken sandwich for the first time for a very late lunch.  (Note for posterity - if you go around the loop in Little Rock, there are very few options to eat until West Memphis).

I’ve started the first, of what I’m sure will be many, drive to Indianapolis.  Start work on Monday.  Do not yet know where we will be living, though we do have a series of temporary options lined out through the end of the month.  

I’m alone this trip.  Jamie is watching Hudson and Harry one more week, and I will fly back down Friday evening to come meet up with her and help drive the whole family.  I get to make the pilot trip, if you will. 

It’s an exciting time right now.  After being in the waiting for what seemed so long, everything is finally kicking off.  A bit of trepidation, sure, but otherwise really excited. 

I’ll keep you posted on this week and beyond as work starts and I get to go view a property we’d like to rent.  The next few weeks should hold a lot of interesting developments.

For those so inclined, pray for safe travel.  Pray for an easing of the absence this week and the distance between me and Jamie, Avalyn, and Jude.  Pray for a good start Monday. 

Please know you are in my thoughts this week. Thank you all for keeping up with us and for the support you’ve shown over these last several months. 

Time to get back on the road now. 

3.5 hours to go today.