Savor the Gift

9 05 2013

I am either in the midst of my most recent diet attempt; best guess is about 6,500 or I am in a lifestyle change. It should be clear to all who can count that this is not easy for me. I am especially good at eating, I am good at it and I like it.. Just check out my Krispy Kreme blog post.

So like any other woefully incompetent person who admits their need for assistance, I implore you… enough of those desserts on Facebook. What Twiggy like pastry chef thought, ” I know, I’ll entice my girthly-challenged friends with photos of succulent dishes and desserts with chocolate oozing down the side of the forbidden fruit of dieters, err… those on life style changes?”

I’ve tried to take a sensible approach to eating before. I’ve told myself that food is fuel for the body. Such a logical approach gave me distance from the pleasures of eating. We need gas to get around in our cars and food to move our bodies. Period.

When filling up my car with gas, if I put in more than the tank will hold, it spills out on my shoes. Not to mention the waste of a limited resource..

If I over eat it spills out so I can’t see my shoes. See the correlation? Solution,  get a bigger tank. Get saddlebag tanks, tanks in the front and the rear  and a caboose to tag along. Like a tick getting its fill I just expand. Not a pretty picture.. A big one, though.

So, now I am told to eat slowly. Really! That breaks down my filling up the tank logic, which isn’t working anyway. Who fills up their car at a snail’s pace?

I want to be like a NASCAR pit crew checking the oil, tossing the trash, washing the windshield and with spinning tires merge on the speedway of life before someone gets to the finish line before me.

Forget the obvious fact that when it is all said and done, the next finish line will be followed by another and another and…then that final one none wants to cross too soon. What couple says, ” Let’s invite the Smiths over to the Texaco station for the evening?” My logic was flawed.

I am told to slow down, taste the food, savor the moment, give my internal gages time to register that I’m  filling my tank. I am told to acknowledge that I need less that I have been consuming and overfilling my tank is not good for the vehicle, my body.

Those tires, my feet need to have less pressure on them. My knees and hips, the shock absorbers will last longer if not overloaded. Then the internal engine does better when it can breathe easier, doesn’t smoke and is not revved up too high for too long in order to move at  insane speeds.. Not to mention the additives- aka meds- I am putting in my tank to compensate for the neglect of the ‘vehicle.’

Here is my dilemma, our dilemma. The culture shouts, ” faster is better than slower, more is better than less and bigger is better than smaller.” Check out recent mobile phone ads, car ads… any ads.

I have come to conclude it is a lie. The right speed is best, better is better than bigger or smaller, and enough is… well enough. Food is just one of the ways wallow in the excesses of life. I’ll bet we all might be able to identify one or two in our lives.

What if we encouraged one another to savor and taste not only meals but life itself; paused just a bit longer to let sunrise and sunsets register in our souls?

 How wonderful would it be to consider the lilies of the field and stars in the sky to find beauty and treasures. Sacred moments.

What if we slowed down to an appropriate speed on the highways and the way we live life?  What if we carried less burdens in mind, body, spirit, soul?  What if the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was right in architecture and life , “less is more”?

How would this fleeting time together be enriched if when we were together we listened to one another like one relishing the last morsel of epicurean delight, savoring the joy of  hearing with ears, eyes and heart?

And what a better time than at the next moment, meal, sunrise, sunset, star filled night, journey, relationship…? What if we might try to live this gift of life in more of a qualitative state than quantitative one; quality over quantity. Savor it.

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Moving ?!

5 03 2013

Eight months ago I moved to Murphy, North Carolina to become the pastor of Murphy First UMC . Before I arrived I heard rumors that I was to be a one year leader before moving onto greener pastures. Now that will take some of the joy out of packing and unpacking! Not to mention it usually it takes at least one meeting before someone wants get rid of me:-)!

So, why mention this? Two reasons: In this past one week I have had no less than 4 church members ask, “Is what I have heard true? Are you moving?” The other is that it is a teachable moment.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this misinformation is being circulated. I guess somewhere between wishful thinking, hopeful delusion, a vivid imagination.

In spite of my denial of such a plan or intention, it seems that the rumor lives on. You see, a rumor can live on less than a calorie today. Not constrained by fact or reason, gossip is like a cockroach. I’ve heard it said cockroaches will survive a nuclear attack.

My father speaking of gossip, rumor, innuendo, said, “It doesn’t have to be so in order for some folks to say so.” My mother called that, “Reckless with the truth”. So how can we dispel the darkness of rumor and gossip. It is not too complicated; ask, talk, listen, learn.

I have a rule that I wish I followed more often than I do. Relationships grow stronger when people talk with each other, weaker when we choose talking to each other, on life support when we talk at  another and are all but dead when folks talk about each other.

I would guess we have all had times when we felt talked at or to. Who among us has not been talked about?  But in those exchanges during which we talked with another we have known a glimmer of hope.

In my own experience I get why we don’t.  It is difficult. We become vulnerable. We might lose,  be wrong and the list is as endless as human frailty. But for the most part, we don’t know how. But the only way to learn is to try.

Talking with someone means we are willing to listen more than we are to speak. We try to hear to understand instead of talking to be understood.

And as for moving. I am open to talking with any and all about why I have no boxes in the attic and no plans for packing! Sorry, but barring some totally unexpected news from the Bishop, Murphy First UMC ,  you’re stuck with me ! 🙂

Murphy First





When to Look the Other Way

28 02 2013

There the temptress was. Dressed in the neon colors of red against the darkness of the evening, She caught my eye.   She looked good enough to stop traffic.  I saw this siren beckoning me closer to a destruction of sugar and deep-fried delight.   My gaze was captured by her glaze.

Some alien or demon must have entered my body because across 3 lanes of traffic without using a turn signal, my automobile lurched. The rest is just a blur, almost a stupor. I recall being in front of a talking box that said, ” May I help you?”  For a brief moment I contemplated just driving off but a car pulled behind me and I was trapped by 2,000 pounds of steel from behind and a hunger from within.

“I would like a half-dozen hot donuts and a bottle of water”, I heard me say.  Both choices were out a sense of responsibility. I wanted milk or coffee but water is good for us. Everyone knows that.  And a half-dozen donuts has fewer calories than a dozen, right!?

Then she spoke, ” For only one dollar more you can get a dozen.” I am  quite sure that was not the voice of reason talking to me.  I did the math in my head and concluded that a good steward would opt for the greater value per donut. So, I did. I could have some for breakfast.

With a rectangular box of a dozen little beauties in the seat beside me and a bottle of water in the cup holder, I set off into the darkness of the night with my seductress. Under the stealth of the stars and a county many removed from my home, I  sated my primal desires with what seemed like warm, doughy, cotton candy. Sweet, melt in your mouth air. I breathed in the aroma and tasted her sugar. First one then another until that other angel on the  other shoulder asked,  ” How many is that?”

Like an addict talking to his sponsor, I said, ” I’m  not sure, too many?” So I closed the box …until…. well, I waited until breakfast!  Coffee and a microwave mean hot donuts again! Hair of the dog that bit you, so to speak.

I might  remember singing a variation of John Denver’s song, ” Rocky Mountain High.” My sugar spike was a North Carolina High and I was transported to the pinnacle by a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

In this season of Lent, I admit to some guilt, so “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” But in my defense it was Sunday, the feast day. But somehow my rendezvous must have been among the 7 deadly sins in the measure of my delight or the quantity of the hot now delights I enjoyed.

I recall a quote from John Dryden, “Better to shun the bait than struggle in the snare.” Or as we say around here, ” Just look the other way and keep on moving.”

I will keep reminding myself of that when I am struggling on the treadmill or ordering a salad instead of a burger. My chickens have come home to roost and the donuts have gone from in my stomach to around it.

Next time, I will try to just look away and keep on moving. Krispy Kreme will not help. Did you know I can get a Hot Now app for my phone? It will tell me when and where to get those little beauties. Such as it is with a temptresses and her snare. Not fair!!

I did not get the app, yet. I’m looking the other way!