Fatherly Words

Thank you Nic. It is truly the best Fathers Day gift any father could receive. I love you son.

Far Flung Foolishness

Today is Fathers’ Day- that one day a year we set aside to remind our fathers that we care and how thankful we are to have them. This year I’m celebrating my third Fathers’ Day…on the road in Southeast Kansas. Thinking back I’m sure that my dad did it too- I can’t recall specifics but I have no doubt that my dad spent this day on the road in years past. He was on the road a lot when I was a kid- I didn’t really understand it then. I knew he was gone, somewhere across the state while mom and my brothers and I were at home doing our thing. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t a big deal or that it didn’t breed some resentment. It did- I wrote an angsty pop-rock anthem about it. I remember being angry a lot because I thought then that he…

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Time To Say

I am both sad and joyful about my saying good bye this blog site. I have learned much about blogging and even more about myself through the past several months of experiencing the world of sharing my views of life and walk with God. Thanks to all who walked along with me and shared my burdens and joys, my frustrations and my successes and of crazy walk with God and the Spirit. The good news is . . . it will continue!!!!!

For all you want to back out now from following me and my bloggingness, now is the time. I will no longer be posting things on this site. To stop following me means simply to do nothing. However, if you want to follow me just click on the link http://www.coffeeandreflection.com and at the bottom of the far right-hand column on the home page, or on any page for that matter, you will find a new link in a little blue box that says “follow coffee and reflection”. Just click on it and follow the sign up instructions. There will hopefully be options for following, from a WordPress.com account, to an email address, to hopefully even Facebook for those who do that.

Please be patient with me and give me time to update and reset all my previous posts over the coming months. I am creating categories for them so they will be easier to look at and search through. I am creating tags for you to use to search for specific content and topics too. It is all so new to me but I am learning (Hello!! There is that Star-word again) the ins and outs of being a ‘real’ blogger. I hope to get better about adding media such as pictures, videos and links to sites that pertain to my story each post. I can now change font sizes, add quotes, symbols and writing structure to my posts to make them, hopefully more artful and enjoyable to read. Sorry, but the actual content won’t be much different.

Just FYI, I have already posted three new posts on my new blog, so those that are just now checking it out, you are three behind.

Coming Soon! (Actually Next) www.coffeeandreflection.com

I saved my favorite format for the last post on my FREE blog site. Here are my Top Ten random thoughts to end things here and begin things “there”

1. New blog is ready. This will be the final post on this site and the next one will come from the new one. You should all be directed to it and should take time to make sure you don’t miss anything. I will post the what and how for it in the next few days. Question will be am I going to go back and edit any old blog posts? No worries though, they will all transfer over to the new blog site and actually be easier to find.
2. I truly love Sleep Number beds. I now love the store and the people who work there too. It was actually a great time buying the new bed and now all that is left is delivery. I am so excited. New bed, sheets, pillows and soon comfort and blessed sleep. Can’t wait.
3. A first for me last week. Is it one of those things on my reverse bucket list? I flew out of KCI to Chicago-Midway, met with a customer in Chicago, then flew back to KCI all in the same day. Yeah I know, people do it all the time but I have never done a round trip flight in one day. Not something I want to do on a regular basis. If I do I will take the mass transit. Sure beats traffic in Chicago.
4. Got my old passport back from the government. I wasn’t expecting that. It is cool though. I get the record of all the places I have traveled around the world. Europe, Asia, Mexico City. Thank you U.S. government.
5. Jimmy turned two on Sunday. How exciting is that. I don’t get to see him much with my new life, and living in Humboldt, but I am so impressed with him. His vocabulary is delightful. And his cognitive thinking is amazing. I gave him the rock that Father Bob had written on, when he was visiting me at my office the other day. I asked him what it was and he said “heavy”. An adjective! At two! Very cool
6. I brought a chunk of tree back from the NM desert. Turns out is is a Bristlecone Pine tree. A species that can live for thousands of years and can stay as I found it for thousands more. Who knows how old my piece of tree really is. Rich was able to take it to a place here in the city where they prepared it for me to make a lamp from it. In my new blog, coming soon, I will show you a picture of it. A most amazing piece. It will be a great piece to remind me of my time of change at the Abbey.
7. NCAA basketball is in full swing. Upsets are now a weekly occurrence. Being ranked is like having a wanted sign on your head. Every team is out to get their “signature win” from you. What a great sport it is.
8. Picked up a set of Cobra irons at Golfsmith. After tearing up my shoulder with the Nike blade irons, then switching to 1980’s model Bob Mann irons last season, I felt it would be good to get something I knew would go with my age, swing and feel at 56 years of age. Golf season is only a few months away. Now I just need to choose what ball I should use.
9. The crazy amount of “new” that has sprung up from my trip to the Art House Convergence continued again this week. By opening the door to what we “could” do versus what we now do has allowed a whole other set of opportunities to walk through it. I said it was like another dimension and it is continuing to feel lore and more like it every week.
10. I will continue to write my blog for you few hardy souls that endure it. I will be writing it four days per week to begin with with the option for only three when travel or weariness overrides it. Actually I will continue to write my blog for me, and my continued recovery, discovery and spiritual growth that I began writing it for in the beginning.

“See you on the other side Ray”

Quantifying Singleness

Adapting to life as a single person has it unique set of challenges. I am sure those who have passed through my situation, or are currently within their own, will chuckle and agree. Seeing things from a new perspective is first and foremost but it is more than that. It is also acceptance of the life we now face, determination to handle the pieces that we have previously watched another do and turning our face away from the past in enough ways to be able to see glimpses of a future. This last one is the hardest one for me, I think. Now don’t misunderstand, the other two are plenty difficult and yet it is the last one that can get you stuck. I will eventually find ways to accept this change for what it is and I trust God to know that it is going to be good and blessed for me. I believe it will be good for all those who are involved and we will all learn to accept, understand and come to know the joy that will grow out of this. Learning (there is that damn word again) is something I can handle and learning those things that I didn’t do much of or any of in the previous 30 years will be as much of a joy as a trial. I am sure I will stumble and fall and mess up in places, but I will grow in many ways and it will make be better and stronger as I make my ways down the road I am on. But the change that must come from letting go of the past and looking toward the future is one that many of us, I imagine, struggle with. It is not about forgetting or throwing away the past. There is so much of the past 30 years that is joyfully imbedded in my heart and my DNA. But there is also much that I can revision and take a new fresh look at, that can change. About me, about what I want, about what I need and about how I see the future. And I can do it in new ways, that for me would have seemed impossible or absurd a year ago. My examples to begin with are the beard and the contacts. I look backwards and say that’s just not me, but I look forward and say, “Why Not”. Yet there is so much more that I know is waiting for me. Traveling and experiencing the wonder of Creation, a new understanding of love and a new chance to both accept it freely and openly and abundantly while at the same time expressing it without reservation and in ways I have yet to learn, and of course serving the Lord and the people of God through mission and ministry that continues to awaken the Holy Spirit in me and others. In other words, my hopes and dreams. Yet for all these wonderful things that make up this possible future, I can’t seem to see and understand what it is I am to let go of. Am I me, or am I someone else? Am I the creature that spins the cocoon or the one that emerges from it? Am I stuck thinking that I dare not build the cocoon because I will have to leave so much behind, or will I be bold and spin my chamber of change so that I can become a new creation and fulfill what I was created to be. That is the challenge I face as I see the days ahead.

Go Fast and Live

I love reading. I read lots of different types of literature and writings. Heck I read labels on things. Maybe my Star Word is spot on when I picked “learning” out of the basket a few Sunday’s ago. I don’t always learn things when I read but most of the time I do. Even when I read for fun or just read something I have read previously I tend to find something within it that I can learn. After a trail of blog posts on spiritual disciplines it seems either ironic or funny that the book I pick up to read on my flight to Utah last week is one on learning spiritual disciplines. I received it for Christmas and has been patiently sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. So here I am reading about disciplines and one in particular that has always fascinated me but for some reason I have not really tried, and when I consider it, concerns by others over my well being have been registered. That discipline is fasting. How many of you have ever fasted? Fasted from food or eating. I have done some “sunrise to sunset” fasting and even a whole day of it. But what about multiple days? It scares most people I speak with. It appears to me a solitary thing at first, but then I read in the Bible stories of whole city’s doing iit, (Nineveh). Yet I know there are degrees of this discipline and things that are concerns too.
Why do we as a culture seem so obsessed with food and eating? Yes, I know that fasting is not about weight loss, but we as a nation, as a culture have a idolatry with our food. It has become so “assumed” with us that we have to eat each day, but there are countries around the world where this is not the case. I see fasting as a way to bring a new sense of joy to eating, by not eating. To bring a sense of honor and glory back to the one who supplies us with our sustenance.
Now I know this is not for everyone and there can be many ideas on how to fast and for how long to keep a fast. But a little like the meditation, if you are doing it, and doing it out of reverence and seeking understanding then you are doing it right. Jesus spoke about it on more than one occasion, even saying, “when you fast . . .” meaning that it wasn’t an option, but he saw it as a part of our way of life.
I respect people’s thoughts on this and hope others will respect mine. I know that fasting from food is only one way of fasting and we all could use a fast from the world of online connectivity and our smart phones. But I am going to spend some “new” time on developing this discipline of fasting for my life. As time rolls by here in 2015 I will report back in on this. If all is well, you won’t know or see my doing it, as Jesus told us.

BTW: I borrowed the title for today’s blog post for one of my favorite authors, Mark Buchanan in his book Your God is to Safe. Check it out. It will bless you indeed.

Random Thoughts for My Pondering Mind

It very good week, filled with lots of new and plenty of joy and hope. Add some learning and fun and I can call it good.
1. Although I have been to Utah on a few occasions I have not spent much time there. Well I did this week. The mountains are beautiful and we were up there right next to them. The weather was crisp and cool and the snow almost looked like it was meant to be there. The friendly folks at the Zermatt resort made the stay great. It didn’t suck that we were upgraded to a Villa, that was larger than my hermitage here in Humboldt.
2. I have been reading a book on spiritual disciplines. I spoke last week about some of the ones I practice. Little did I realize how many I really use and practice in my daily life. I hope over the next few week I can take some time to expound upon these newly realized disciplines and how they are working on me and my life, as well as those around me. Disciplines like Simplicity, Service, Confession and of course Prayer.
3. Life has changed in new ways for me. I have come through this life altering period, with a new debt-free life but also with an asset-free life too. Which isn’t so great. After speaking with my banker friend, I have been encouraged to get both some debt and some assets. So I applied for a credit card to use to continue to show action on my credit score and I am going to make the move to get my new Sleep Number bed, so I have something of value. I have never had a credit card but will use it in small ways to show some action and have it for my trip across the pond. Trust me when I say, I am ready for the new bed.
4. Made eleven loaves of Rye Bread today. I just want to say that they are perfect. I do like to make them and I like eating them even more. But the best part of making Rye bread is sharing it with others. So I shared. If you didn’t get any, guess you better let me know you aren’t happy about that and I will give you some the next time.
5. Just read in the Yates Center paper that a new soup kitchen has started up in their town. The Methodist youths who came and volunteered at Sunday Soups during the first few months of our operation, have made a commitment to the same issues we here in Iola have. How wonderful! Ignatius said that if caring for the poor and oppressed and the hungry does not mark our church, then we are guilty of heresy. Congrats to the youth group there in Yates Center for being a blessing to that your community.
7. Got things moving on my blog update. Maybe by this time next week you will see a new look. Stay tuned. I also added several new followers on my Twitter account. That always makes me feel like I need to send out more tweets. And what about Instagram? I hear much talk about it and many said I should be using that social media too. Maybe once I get my new blog page set. Part of the “getting new” in me I feel.
8. Too many things on my “want to do” list. My new Passport came in so I am ready for the trip abroad. I will get the new bed in process as the new week begins. My new blog page is in the works. Yet there is much more I am wanting. A new set of irons, a return trip to both Pinehurst and Erin Hills and a trip to see the Rose Bowl. But right now, I could use a sense of peace and acceptance of the new life I am beginning. By me and others who make up the world I live in.
9. I met a wonderful couple in Utah this week. They travel around the world in connection with the international independent film market. Somewhat celebrity status within that culture. Many, many people knew them and they spoke at round tables in the conference I attended. Sydney invited me to dine with them one night and she told me about the writing she does and the blog she writes. I timidly mentioned this little exercise in writing that I do. She asked me to send her the link. To me, in the world of the cinema industry, it is like Hemingway asking me to share a story I wrote. Intimidating. I will ponder a while longer before making such decisions.
10. College Basketball is king of the sports world right now for me. I love watching it and I can find enjoyment from most any contest. Big 10, Big 12 and Missouri Valley are my go to in that order but a good game is a good game. My Hawkeyes are once again mediocre but the Panthers and Cyclones are nationally ranked this year and are keeping my Iowa pride flourishing. I won’t mention the Bulldogs from Drake. Okay, I live in Kansas now and have for 30 years. Just can’t get me to embrace and root for KU or KSU though. Maybe WSU. The NCAA tourney is coming in March and the madness will invade. I will blog a lot about that I hope. Are you college BB fans? Let’s find a way to watch the games without Dick Vitale and Billy Packer this year. Then, and only then, it would be the perfect sport to watch.

Enjoy the week ahead

Strike Up a Listen

I think my sons would be proud of me and maybe in some small way a bit jealous they aren’t here sharing the week. It has been one of those weeks. Maybe what I would call a “Rich Week”. (named for my buddy Rich of course) I have found myself speaking with everyone I meet, whether it be the president of NATO or the guy pushing the garbage bin at the airport. I struck a conversation with people as we walked along in the same direction, at the resort and just sat down and spoke with random abandon at dinners, round tables and other convention events. I chatted with TSA folks, restaurant servers and the cleaning people at the hotel. We spoke little of life shattering or life changing stuff, just what was there or in common, as we sat or walked or waited together. Some conversations were light and lively, full of fun and clever wit. Others were serious about the business at hand, the State of the Union, or the places we have found ourselves in at this point in our lives. I am fairly sure I didn’t miss an opportunity, yet I wasn’t antagonistic or confrontational. Just open and honest and receptive to listening more than talking. In many ways I was learning. (There is that Star Word again).
It was good to get out and stretch the comfort zone a bit. And I really enjoy speaking with strangers, especially those in the service industry. They are often invisible to us as we move along the corridors of life. We see that things are done, cleaned, repaired, addressed but we don’t always notice the people who eek out a living doing those things. I love to speak to them and acknowledge their existence. Give them a voice to my world and allow me an opportunity to see things through their eyes. It is often so much different than my own. That is a gift from God to me and I hope in some small way it is to them too.
The next time you are out there and you notice the people who take care of your world when you are racing through it, stop and say hello. Ask if they are having a good day or a tough one. Then take the few minutes and listen. You may just be what they need.

Using my Star Word

My time of “new” continues this week as I am immersed in a new culture out here in this world of art houses, independent films and filmmakers and the the prodigious amount of film festival people and ideas that surround this place. Sundance film festival is right next door and begins when I leave here. It is almost counterculture to the world I live in and yet is fascinating to meet the people who do live and breathe in it. There is a strong force of people in community here who speak, hear and understand the concept of film and the film industry in a way I may never understand. And I have been in the “industry” for over 35 years. Out here, at this, I am a newbie. So as my Star Word again fits, I am learning. I came here with little expectation of gaining new business, but kept my mind open to listen and learn. I love movies, always have, but had no idea the vastness of them when looking at it from an independent film and filmmaker perspective. I have heard estimates of 14000 – 21000 independent films are made around the world each year. Yet only a fraction are ever presented in a theatre or community viewing venue. Yet this is why filmmakers make them. For others to see, learn, experience, enjoy and love. An explosion of festivals that bring more and more of these films to the big screen is happening. This is new to me and to our
company and to the industry and this niche of the industry too.
So I have opened a door to a new place, to me, for building relationships and community and am finding a fully alive and vibrant community that has been existing for many years, already here. I see some old friends here that have been a part of this community and yet I didn’t know them as this group does. I am making new friends here and beginning new relationships that I hope help me learn more of this counterculture to my life of cinema industry involvement. Having lived, grown and thrived within this world of movies for most of my adult life, it is like finding a whole new world living within it. Reminds me a little of the creatures that live in the locker in Men in Black. Yet, maybe, we are the ones in the locker to them, because they see the 20,000 movies each year in their world and we don’t in ours. Talk about a new perspective. Part of me wants to dive in head first and learn to see what they see and encounter the world vision of film in a way I can’t comprehend right now. Yet I will just start with a toe-dipping and maybe work on wading in to my ankles first.
There is a need for our business here in this part of the industry. But like when we began to reach out to the community owned theatres back in the 1990’s, we will need to work on building trust and relationship first. We must earn their trust and they must see us as a part of their world and not an outsider just seeking a sale. Baby Steps as Dr. Leo Marvin would say. Hey just think, as my baby steps turn into full strides I could have a whole new world of movies to learn to quote from and about.

Wondering About It

You may have heard the phrase ‘expect the unexpected’. Well today was one of those days and times. Yet what should follow that is a line about how one should deal or react to the ‘unexpected’. This really is the key here. Another phrase says ‘it’s not what happens, it is how you deal with it that really matters’. When what you expect just doesn’t materialize, having the ability to instantly adapt is important. Instead of being disappointed or just accepting that what you thought you would be doing or facing wasn’t going to happen, to listen to what is, and coming up with a way to embrace and create within that time and space, takes a special effort or unique perspective. Today I was given that. What a blessing.
I have been talking a lot lately about spiritual disciplines and I have many more to go. But what I have noticed is that as I put into practice and acceptance these disciplines into my new life, I open myself to a what I call, wonder. The prophet Isaiah spoke of having ears that hear and eyes that see and hearts and minds that understand. Trusting in the one true God versus following false gods or idols is what he spoke of. I think in terms of wonder. When this moment of clarity opens and I see that my thoughts and ideas about what is happening and why I think I am here suddenly change, I am filled with wonder. Where did that come from? Why did I start thinking in this way that I had never previously thought? I have been learning through my disciplines to be open to the Spirit working and to listen, watch for and feel Gods wonder in my everyday. (Like Isaiah spoke of) That is what happened today. God’s wonder filled me and I just “went with it”. It doesn’t last but comes for a moment and must be embraced within and then released back out until I was emptied of it. It is useless unless given away, shared. Call it what you like but it seems to me that when one is filled with wonder, I should call it wonder’full’. So I guess that means I had a wonderful day. Hope you did too

A “New”Experience

Out here in Utah for the annual Art House Convergence conference. It is a new thing for me and I am sure I will be a “new” thing for them too. The first person I meet that I know smiles and rubs their chin saying “got a little something going on, huh?” It is my first trip into the world of the cinema industry with my outward signs of my inward change. We will see what the week has in store.
My first flights of the year and they were the exact opposite of my last flights of last year. All went well, on schedule and no bad weather. Now there is something new.
I am tired, but the Opening Night Event is the first real meet and greet and I need to at least get the name and face out there so they know it when the trade show and conference begins.
The Apostle Paul talks about being a new creation and this is the theme of the year for me and for Sonic. As the business changes and adapts to the ebb and flow of our industry, we must be reinvented, created new. Similarly, as my life changes and adapts to the ebbs and flows of the life God is opening I must be reinvented and made new. As I said in the desert of NM I am not able to be young again but I damn well don’t want to be old. So I guess I will be new instead.
I will be here all week, but will likely continue my foray into my spiritual disciplines this week. Stay tuned to see how these two fit together.