Saturday, May 26, 2012

I don't know how He will do it ... but He will!

This afternoon I attended a high school graduation at Lake Center Christian School.  Usually graduations do not exactly enthrall me but today was, well, quite enthralling.  Twenty-two young, fresh, bright energized, hopeful young men and women, all going to colleges, many with scholarships; just a great crop.  I can assume and hope to one day have some in a class or two of mine at the university level.  I say that for assuming that will happen in say the next two or three years, this Crop of 22 will have grown much more than the three calendar years for some will have tasted the bitter taste of loss, defeat, disappointment, frustration, etc.  All of those, by the way, carry a very potentially positive charge for with each of the negatives that life can bestow, there is always the potential for wisdom to be gained from the experience of self induced bad choices.

What enthralled me this afternoon was less about the procession and pomp but the message or sermon delivered by Jeff Knori, the school's Campus Pastor.  It would be impossible to summarize the great message he delivered but it is possible to position the genesis of his comments that really grabbed my attention as I think about the lives I get to touch as they get a little older than the Crop of 22. 

Having lived in Europe, I was always mesmerized by the beauty of the grape vineyards throughout the landscape of Europe nestled and clustered around beautiful river valleys.  Many times I have stopped the car to exit and look at the masterful work done to bring a crop of grapes to harvest.  Time, timing, water, sunshine, rain, soil temperature and grafting are all integral components of the vineyard process.  But it is grafting that Jeff eloquently built his message upon and thus ignited in me a refreshed desire to be the best I can be as a teacher of young minds.

A common theme Jeff used was about God's phenomenal power to make things beautiful.  His thematic term used in many ways during his comments is the subject of today's blog: "I don't know how He will do it ... but He Will!"  For grapes, and people, to be better than they would be naturally, requires precision grafting of a limb, a life, to a master branch.  The grafting is not without pain, certainly not without worry or concern but still, part of a master process.  

For grapes to grow for the harvester rich, full, flavorful, delectable fruits requires a time of cutting, taping into another, a master vine, that, when the healing is completed, the new biological entity is much better than it would be had it been left to its own natural growth steps.  I believe you can see, now, where I was touched today and in my heart this moment. 

It may be a parent, a boss, a teacher, a professor, a physician, a whatever master vine maybe but a master whose values are high, whose intentions wholesome and whose motivation to see the new branch be the best they can be is what is mandated for a richer, better harvest.  The real challenge I believe for those in positions of influence is to constantly mirror people and ideologies that are bigger and better than you the person of influence might be for you see, the grafting process is seamless and without end. So yes, pain is part of the process but the richness of the harvest is worth any and all the pain of the grafting

Today has re-fired my engines to be the best master vine I can be for my wife, my children, my grand children and those Crop of Hundreds I get to be part of but for a little while each semester.  It is my greatest honor in this life to be given this opportunity to teach, to coach, to enforce, to establish, to stretch, to challenge, to push, to drive, to hold accountable for all of those factors, while possibly painful at the point of the graft, will yield rich fruit. Further, and I believe as importantly, that each of those that are grafted to me and to others of influence will see the powerful result of the grafting process and seek to be a master vine as their years of influence unfold.

I am going to send this to Jeff Knori as my way of thanking him for allowing God to be where I needed to be for his grafting into me this day. I felt revived, humbled and empowered and wish the Fall semester was ready to begin Monday.

So when we look at new growth, new life, new horizons in the people we touch on this journey and we see beauty, productivity, innovation, drive, ambition, results, we may not know how God made that happen but we know He did. Further, and more importantly, those of us given this blessing of influence in the many positions that touch the lives of our future, cannot know how our touch will graft new life and new horizons for the young shoots but He, our Sovereign God, will and He does. That makes us instruments to a great work but requires patience and hope and also injection of pain of newness but it is worth it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moneyball and Paradigms

There is a current movie starring Brad Pitt entitled, MONEYBALL. I saw it several weeks ago at the movie and was pretty much bored from beginning to end. I thought the part Pitt played was weak and a bit silly and the movie was slow and seemingly disjointed.  It is a true story!  I was able to force myself to watch it again a few weeks later on a movie channel and found myself mesmerized with the meaning that resides in the heart of the movie ... a paradigm!

An academic definition of a paradigm is: Intellectual perception or view, accepted by an individual or a society as a clear example, model, or pattern of how things work in the world.  a paradigm is a mindset that blinds from seeing other opportunities and once a paradigm is borne, it is almost impossible to see things in any other way.  Farmers put blinders on plow horses just for that reason meaning that the blinder preclude the horse from seeing anything except that which is straight in front of him.  If you want a straight furrow, you block out any diversion from that straight line; a paradigm.

Shifting a paradigm begins with destroying a mindset.  The movie is the best cinematic rending of a paradigm destruction process in Major League Baseball I have seen.  The context of the movie is that the General Manager, a great baseball player himself in his time, is now the General Manager of the Oakland A's.  He becomes invested with a graduate economist that looks at baseball not in the view of superstars but as a statistical application of wins and hits and on base statistics.  That approach ran completely counter to tradition, the paradigm, of the world of baseball.  But the Pitt character stayed the course against all paradigmatic push-back and proved to the baseball world that that is a right way to configure a baseball team; using the production numbers at the aggregate and not big names and big salaries.

I am not advertising for the movie but I am extremely impressed with how the power of paradigm destruction will normally always have synergistic results.  Today, think about something in your life that is a paradigm, a mind set, a set of blinders.  Do not rationalize that it, whatever the it is, has to be that way but think about the mindset to how and why destroying it can take you to a different place in your own life and your heart.  Go ahead; it will not hurt too badly nor be too scary but you will look back and be very proud of having destroyed that paradigm which, of course, is an impediment to a better you!

Make me proud!  Write me and share with me your challenge and especially the thrill of the victory when the destruction is done!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Busing deja vu!

In today's NY Times is a debate on the matter of forced integration via busing. I decided initially not to read but then decided I would.  As I read the various essays, most were written by very elite types that had grown up in Southern towns but educated at elite universities like Wellesley, Harvard, etc. I say that to say that I felt their credibility to address this matter in 2012 might be a bit biased.  I have put together my thoughts on this volatile issue but felt creating my qualification for commenting important as an entry point to my heartfelt thoughts on this matter.

I think the thing that jumps off the pages of reading these opinions is that if you live long enough .... fill in the blank. I was a child of the South. I saw forced integration first hand. I heard George Wallace screaming venom about Alabama remaining segregated forever. I had the first black ever bused into my high school in our senior year and it was a terrible experience for him. My wife's first teaching assignment as a new college graduate was teaching in an all black elementary school where all the faculty had been recreated into a all white step toward integration. I saw MLK marching my streets in Gadsden, AL in 1960. I remember well the Selma Marches my junior in high school. All too well do I recall the White and Colored water fountains and rest rooms at our Sears in Gadsden and the quick closing of lunch counters in downtown Gadsden. Never will I forget seeing the blacks, people I knew, having to walk to the back door of our doctor's office because they could not sit in the white waiting room.  In other words, it was all true, all too real and still sickens me.

I qualify my comments on the debate with the facts of my life.  At sixty-four living in Ohio and all over the world due to my professional career, I have seen racism in many forms and especially in South Africa.  Many times while in SA, I felt like I was back in Alabama in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  But as I read this debate on busing and segregation this morning, I felt my belly churning in 2012 that screamed, "oh my, here we go again!"  However, there are so many demographic differences today versus that dark period of Southern racism that I believe impact the relevancy of this today.

First, there were far more children for we, the Baby Boomers, were occupying the classrooms exponentially as our fathers returned from WWII. That same 76 million of us are now flowing to the end of our wealth-generating careers and into retirement.  There are far more schools now setting empty or facing closure due to low birth rates by the post Baby Boomer generation. Busing did not "work" whatever that means then I am a doubting it will work now.  I find more and more that the government is not made nor intended to fix societal issues but seem intent on trying to do so.

Living in an economically challenged area in a Northern state for many years to this day and now serving as an educator of college age young folks, I realize maturity and experience have changed my heart I believe for the better. I detest vehemently discrimination in any form.  Perhaps having a black African grand daughter has has deep impact on my heart and sensitivities of the ugliness people and exact on other people knowingly or not.  But race is a matter of reality in Man for it has always been an issues and apparently always will be.  Seeing first hand over 200,000 jail and prison inmates with the overwhelming majority being black has also actually softened my heart to the societal cauldron that has been created within which these young men and women have to work so much harder than their white counterparts just to almost try and get and remain even.  It is simply unfair societal mathmatics that is a juggernaut that continues to slash and burn through yet another generation.   

I believe that busing to force a numerical or statistical equilibrium of races is simply outdated and ill fitting.  Today the "races" are no long just black and white for the racial mix has escalated and diversified many fold with Latino, Asians, European more a reality than a thought. I heard last week that now over fifty percent of one year old babies are now minorities in America. Let that sink in demographically and then project that by say twenty years! So the matter of busing to mix black and white for some ideological reason is simply demographically seeming unfeasible in our new century.  In other words, taking a 1960s approach to a 2012 world seems rather stupid and inappropriate.  I am not sure the answer nor will I postulate a set of possibilities for, frankly, I feel incapable of such ability.

It is my greatest hope that the incindiary nature of the racial divide does to explode as it did so poisonously during my teenage years for this is a very different world, global culture and the interdependancy of our global village would have been inconceivable to imagine fifty years ago looking to where we are now. There is a way for the races to coexist and I believe the common denominator resides in a belief in a God that created us all in His image for good! I believe that is the message God put on my heart in this matter this day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

If not you, then who?

I heard that term several years ago for it also includes, "if not now, then when?" as part of a concept of accountability, purpose and energy.  There are people in our world that, by their very nature, embrace an issue and immediately begin to size up the situation, marshal a concept, mobilize resources  and energize a fix.  There are many other people that are completely comfortable watching all of that energy expenditure with great joy unfold and then be in amazement when the job is done or even worse, the first to criticize those are that embracing the issue, taking the headwinds, fighting the fights pushing to the victory circle and nursing the wounds of the battle.  Know anybody that fits into those two camps? 

Sure you do for everybody is going to fit into one or the other and I pretty much believe Pareto rightly has told us that the drivers for correction, the leaders, fill that 20% and the 80% are looking for the next best buy on a lawn chair to facilitate watching the process or cannot wait to get to be critical of those that do the work.

In the last ten day,s beginning with a brief conversation over a glass of iced tea, I have realized all over again just how true my first paragraph really is.  All of the last ten days became a crucible for me that led to an event last evening with close to two hundred great folks coming together to be part of a phenomenal ministry here in Canton, OH called the Refuge of Hope.  Eleven days ago I would never have dreamed I would have been the keynote speaker and singer at the event that was a blessing in so many ways.  The Refuge of Hope,, is an organization of volunteers and provides free meals and overnight shelter to men that simply have not over options.

For me, however, the most amazing thing that happened was after many hours of crafting and tweaking my speech text for last night, my mind took a very different shift change of what and how God wanted me to address the audience last evening. While my actual comments were rooted in the crafted text, the illustrations that I chose to use came to me in trying to take a nap about 3 pm to rest up before the event. As I lay there my mind was awhirl about the simple yet potent reality that THE ENEMY IS HERE!  The illustration came to me like a firestorm with the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863.

Lee was leading his Southerner force north into Pennsylvania to strategically attack  the capital at Harrisburg.  His army was using the South Mountain to screen and hide his nearly 200,000 troops from the Northern Army that was seeking to make contact with Lee's force to run them out of Pennsylvania and from the vicinity of Washington, DC.  The Union Army sent cavalry west to find Lee's marching army and the skirmish took place at Gettysburg.

Lee, without his eyes and ears, his cavalry, turned his marching army south toward Gettysburg as did the Union Army turned North toward Gettysburg.  Nobody ever thought or planned to thrash each other in the rolling terrain of a sleepy town like Gettysburg. But "the enemy is there and I will fight him and defeat them there" Lee spoke as the skirmish turned into a battle that roiled into the most studied military battle in the history of mankind.  History records clearly there were some really good and some really not so good tactical decisions made those three days in 1863 with profound national and global and societal implication as we now realize all too well today. It was the spear tip to the second American Revolution that showed the world that the US Constitution was real, valid and a force on the world scene; that was the currency of the Civil War focused on the hills of Gettysburg.

But my mind was spinning in the lead up to my comments last night that the enemy of Refuge of Hope is the societal maelstrom of starving and homelessness in our very neighborhood of Canton. So, like Robert E. Lee decided to turn his entire army around and engage the foe, thus is the challenge for the resources, the mission and organization of the ROH, the enemy of starvation and homelessness is here, it is here now so if not you, then you will be part of the engagement was the crux of my actual comments last evening. I do believe in hindsight God moved me into that direction in challenging the donor base last evening to join the 20% group of people that choose to fight this battle day after day and to throw away all the lawn chairs of complacency that watch and criticize those that are carrying the fight to the enemy.

Folks, this is all so very true of life.  For those of you just beginning your walk as an adult, a new parent or are winding up the journey of life post retirement with grand kids, where ever you are on the spectrum, "to whom much is given, much is required."  Each of you reading this has been given so much but with that gifting comes the requirement to be part of something greater and bigger than you the individual is; that I believe has been branded into me more deeply than ever before in the last ten days.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Society at 50,000 Feet

What a beautiful day God has given us this day!  I have about decided to just shut off all news inputs into my home and computer, destroy all the radios, declare jihad on media in general and just live the rest of my days in absolute ignorance of the world in which we live. Whew, now I feel better!  Not really for I was born with this strong desire to want to understand why things happen as they do in realizing that things just do not happen but rather are culminations of build ups of other things. So the challenge to understanding is to seek to understand the dots and then hopefully try to connect them for a clearer portrait of the Why of our world!

This week I had this withdrawal sense like I was mule kicked in the belly with the proclamation of our President that he supports same sex marriage. That actually, for me at least, was not nearly as painful as in reading the nearly 120 rants and raves to a FB post I put up declaring my thoughts on the Biblical wrongness of this whole matter. I knew when I put it up that ire would be coming quickly so to see the mass of comments after a three hour break to be at church was certainly not surprising.

What was surprising and at the same time disappointing and depressing was to read the rants that were long and vengeful from elevating to the 50,000 foot perch and read the blasts.  I would say the normal 80% for and the 20% against my sentiments pretty much held in place. But the disheartening thing for me was in realizing I was reading an autopsy report of a society that I had lived in, grown up in, careered in that has apparently eased into death.  For if the 20%ers comments reflect the status of the society we have moved into, I must but nod my head in absolute disbelief.  To see total strangers throwing scriptural passage grenades at each other in defending a blatant ungodly state, gay marriage, was astounding to me. 

Now that I have had a couple of days to reflect on it all, my concern for our nation going forward is at heightened concern.  I realize I will view my students differently in assuming the "fairness and equality" overrides the doctrines of God's Holy Word as a modern day mentality for I must realize they are not of my generation and stringency of beliefs and values. I will look at my grand kids differently in realizing the depravity of the world into which they will live and reproduce and career.  I think the even greater reality for me resides in the fact that this one thing, same sex marriage, is only yet another plank in the road of many planks that have steadied and supported the pathway of our Founding Fathers under the guidance of our Heavenly Father.  So I should not be surprised about anything anymore apparently! That is truly sad!

Our pastor in his wonderful sermon last Sunday quoted Billy Graham when he said that "if God does not punish America then God owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology."  Let that melt into your brain at the potency of that statement for I must now admit after this week that Graham was right.  Values create boundaries so if there are no values then there are no boundaries. No boundaries take you down a pathway of gang-run decision making all focused on instant gratification of one's self all shrouded in the garments of fairness and equality. 

Here is all I know ... God created Man and thus man. God then created Woman for two purposes, as a helpmate to the man and for purposes of reproduction. It takes both to reproduce so any other configuration, such as same sex marriage, destroys that function that is sanctioned by the Creator and launches depravity immeasurable.  That is what I read in the unfolding caustic FB comments on the Obama support announcement.  If all of this does not rattle you to the core, you really need to assess your rattler for it is broken.

So at the 50,000 foot perch, not looking too good!  But I never forget one unforgettable reality ... God created it, He knows what is going on, He will sort it out so why should I worry, right?  So can I get a witness .... yup, believe I can!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Power of Fear

Have been watching a Military Channel program, The Long Gray Line, about the US Military Academy that trains new Army officers. I have known quite a number of West Point graduates and always found them interesting, unique and somewhat ill at ease with the masses around them.  I always found that very interesting.  In the program, a former Superintendent of the Academy made an interesting comment that fear is the greatest challenge to leadership. Wow, I live this stuff, teach this stuff, study this stuff of leadership and in those few words, felt a deep pinprick to my brain and heart of just how true that is about this thing called leadership.

Those that know me know I believe that there is no respect unless there is a solid foundation of fear. In other words, you will only respect that which you perceive fear from or about. I absolutely believe this just I have not problem generating a dose of gut level fear into new students about to embark on a journey to learn to lead.  How can you learn to lead if you do not experience the same emotions of those you will lead, right?

But in process that comment, I turned the mirror on myself to analyze what that means and how that feels.  Fear is a cliff on which a leader must stand on and decide to jump or not.  I believe in my heart that leadership is a gift and that gift is a small box each person you are hoping to lead carries with them all the time. Inside that box is a very personal slice of respect and the transfer of that person's gift box of respect into the possession of the leader is a gift of all gifts to that person now charged and challenged to lead. We learn from the Bible that you will never learn to lead until you learn to serve for leadership is all about serving.  Jesus was an excellent template for that concept.

Overcoming fear of others, of events, of issues is secondary to overcoming self induced fear from deep within yourself. I will admit that I grew up with many self induced fears and therefore anxieties for that is the currency of fear, anxiety.  I believe the first step in casting out the demons of fear is assessing who you really are which is usually quite different that who those around you tell you you are or should be or can be.  Knowing the real YOU is vital to casting out the demons of fear and thus respect.  We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses.  Acknowledging that is a right first step.  Being someone you are not is trampling on emotionally dangerous ground.

My wife likes to tell people that I am "fearless."  I always find a smile creep over me when I hear her utter that but she is certainly not the only one to ever say that.  While there might be deeply rooted fears, think of a leader you respected that you felt was afraid of anything? The answer is probably that is exactly what you admired most about that leader is the air of fearlessness they exuded.  Try standing in front of a few thousand people and singing a song or giving a speech or dealing with a class of a hundred students you have never seen before, go ahead try it. Or even worse, try being in a jail or a prison and mentally preparing to deliver several songs and testimony to people that are scared, hurting, destitute, have killed other people, etc!  But here is the crucible of a leader ... you just have to get it done!

A young man I used to sing with told me once very clearly, "there comes that moment when you have to decide you are going to sing that song  and then sing it!" So very true for if you are nervous, those watching you will sense that very quickly and there is an unspoken tension that hangs in the air very heavily.  Leaders must decide TO LEAD and lead through the good times and the bad times.  Leaders must never fear to take a new and very different path and then stand to and lead the way!

So the power of fear is, well, powerful.  We all have fears but fears that cripple or impugn your leadership capability is unfair to you but more, much more, is it unfair to those that are looking to YOU for the command to move out and not look back. I believe fear a positive motivator is summoned for a proper, well intended fear. I love my God but why; because I am scared to death of Him!   But knowing He loves me draws me even closer to Him.  I think that a pretty good role model, don't you?

Leadership is not for everyone. It is certainly not for the weak of spirit nor those that only want to use that gift to manipulate for manipulation's standpoint; that sickens and angers me greatly.  So the question, really, what are you afraid of for in knowing that, you can then know what you have to face squarely up to and fight that demon and move forward. You cannot dodge a fear; you have to confront it and from the confrontation you gain wisdom.  Seek the wisdom!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Supersize me!

Last evening I watched for the first time the 2004 produced documentary of a man that decided to eat every meal, three per day, for thirty days from the McDonald's menu to see the impact on his weight and vital signs.  If you have not seen it I highly recommend watching but it is, WARNING, not easy to watch. It is laced with humor and sarcasm but it is blatant in its message of fat ingestion on a grand scale and the market manipulation Americans have become accustomed to.  I will paste in the link of Part 1 of the documentary:

Perhaps it is because I am working to reduce my own intake of fat and increase of exercise I am more attuned to the message of the documentary but last night I was stopped in my tracks about the whole spectrum of the fast food industry, the eating habits of an obese America, amazed at the rationalization of ingesting the chemicals that are now the norm in most processed foods and angry at myself for realizing that this has become the American way. 

Nobody loves a Burger King Whopper better than me.  When I would get off the plane returning to the US from an international trip,  I could not wait to sink my choppers into this sandwich I had longed for over the Atlantic.  And frankly, never even registered the caloric and fat intake for I had rationalized, "hey, I deserve this, Man."  How sick is that!

I am convinced America is on a death march with our eating habits and I plead guilty at a very personal level.  But this has to stop and stop on a grand scale I realize. At sixty-four years old I should be out in an OccupyHogdom marches that documentary affected me so strongly.  Having lived in Europe and worked in many parts of the world, every time I would return from an overseas trip I realize in retrospect I would be amazed to see the size differences at all ages of Americans versus other parts of the world; and that is a state of normal which is really frightening.

I hate to hear people talk about diets, fad, etc, for I detest the ego hit in realizing I am no different in the need to find a pathway to reduce weight and improve blood numbers.  I am blessed to have good blood numbers and I know it.  I guess this was a real, added wake up for me in watching that now older Supersize slam at the fast food industry but it is a well deserved slam as it should for smoking and alcohol. 

So my message to my friends today ..... let's stop killing ourselves! Life is too good to systematically keep pulling the trigger!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

True North!

In topography, there are three or four "norths" but in life, I find, there is but one True North. It is my belief at this stage of my life that the earlier a person can find clearly their True North, the sooner the joy of life and living begin to yield the real fruits of the vineyard of life.  I realize quite clearly that life is not always good nor fun nor without pain and anguish but finding and focusing on your True North better prepares you for the journey through those tough times and therefore provides even additional joy and pleasure when you arrive at your mountaintop with your azimuth on that True North.

Finding one's True North is one of the more difficult and illusive journeys of this thing called life. For some it seems so easy yet for others, and I believe the majority, that journey is fraught with misconception, missteps, misunderstandings, discouragement and dips in hope and even faith.  As you that read this know, life is, well, not easy nor do I believe it was designed for a journey of ease and comfort.  As I put these thoughts to words in hopes that something will fall out of the writing that will be an encouragement for the reader. There are so many examples in my own life that wash through my brain and my heart as I sought to find my True North.  Now as a professor and working closely with my students, I see the struggle in so many of them, most I would say, to find their unique True North and many do not even realize that is what is happening in their lives.

True North for me is that direct, unequivocal, unveering, line of march toward the destination determined by your heart, your talents and the gifts God has provided you with the expectations that you will not only use those gifts but you will grow and amplify those gifts from Him.  Each of us are gifted in a most unique way. The list of gifts is quite expansive  I have come to a distinct realization in my own life and teach this strongly to my students in hopes that the essence will osmotically ingest itself into the hearts and souls of the students.  It is my distinct belief that a person can be many things or attempt to be many things determined by external forces such as a spouse, a parent, a coach, a boy  / girl friend or events of life and we can all attest to that sense of pressure from outside who we really are or should be as individuals.

But it is my absolute belief that there is a quiet voice that resides deep inside each of us somewhere around the heart that, if we quietly listen, we can hear that voice telling us who we really are. It is that person that must be cultivated, allowed into the light of day, the voice of your individual reason that will point you to your True North.  There are so many voices and noises in our lives that for some it is easier just to choose to join their band and march down their street never disconnecting, rising above the issues of your life and never listening to nor for that voice inside you that beckons you to shoot your own azimuth toward your True North but choose instead to stumble through life on others' North with all the bumps and scrapes that will entail. I plead guilty for far too many years of my life and for far too many years of my life I realize, now, I was trying hard to be something but not someone with that someone being the person God had created in me for His world and His ministry. Guilty as charged!

It took a good career at Goodyear, many years in the military and a few years of retirement and many hurts and disappointments all self inflicted, to put me into a role in my life where I finally found my True North.  That path was cut through endless hours of smelly, discouraging interface with thousands upon thousands of prison inmates in a jail ministry.  Further path cutting came when getting to teach dozens of young minds each semester, I began to see through their journeys clarity around my True North.  Music has been a major pathway clearer in seeing hearts touched and lives changed through that component of my life. All of those paths in coming to confluence has finally pointed me toward my True North for at the arrival at that True North is a God that watched the whole process of my life and all the while preparing my home in the true True North for Jim Williams; my home in Heaven.  Wow, what a journey this is and it only gets better. 

But it all begins with two things. First is finding the true you; that you when nobody else is around and you are all alone and second, what that true you locks in to God's unique, masterful vector to Him.  Does not get any better than that for the reward upon arrival at the terminal of your True North is a real life eternal with friends and family and men and women of God that have found their True North. Oh how I long to see so many when I get to my true True North. My mother, my grandfather, Abraham Lincoln. I want to sing with Vestal Goodman and Jake Hess and my old friend Jack Toney.  I want to spend days just listening to the people that touched my life on my pathway like Glen Avery, Mrs. Morton, pastors and teachers that shaped my heart and my life.  

This day, please, think about your True North!  Make this a most special day in your own life.