You’re So Annoying

“You’re so annoying!”

That’s exactly what my wife said to me recently after a friendly discussion about the garbage disposal. I don’t know why she said it. I wasn’t trying to be cute or snide or sarcastic. I thought the disposal was just fine. It works. Sure, it’s old and smells bad. But it works.

Another reminder to us men that women truly are from VENUS!

Seriously, I think all of us, married or single, would admit that we annoy one another at times. And if no one has ever annoyed you before, you are either a true saint in whom there is no blemish, or you have always lived alone in a cave!

Sure, we conflict with those we love the most at times. That’s part of the relationship process – known as “iron sharpening iron”. Only problem is, this reality is often a grating and conflicting experience, resulting in frustration and sometimes, exasperation.

“Does this mean that relationship is bad for me and I need to get out of it?”

No. Relax. You’re relationship is just fine.

Now if there is abuse of any kind occurring then read no further because what I have to share today is for those healthy relationships in our lives that sometimes include conflict.

If you grew up in a large household with many siblings, at least more than yourself, you already know conflict just happens automatically when you include any other human being into the equation.

But guess what? This is a great opportunity for The Life to have a new growth spurt in your spiritual life. Those little pet peeves and creature comforts that we secretly cultivate and make room for suddenly get jostled and jilted when you live with others.

Eventually you have to let those go to an extent, or find ways to compromise so that all parties involved can each benefit. And when we are the ones being affected in some way by someone else, it requires management of our emotions, irritations and even anger.

If I can look to The Life inside me, I find there is grace and patience that I personally do not possess, and I find myself having the power to deal. And sometimes, accept, and occasionally, enjoy.

You know what? That person may be “so annoying”, but then again, without them, The Life will never get chances to grow and stretch and develop inside you.

And that may be annoying in an eternal sort of way.

Until next time!

Jeff

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A Few Feet Away

Just a couple of feet away.

That’s all that separated my grandfather from instant eternity as he fought in the trenches of France during World War I.

Starting in 1914 and lasting 4 years up to 1918, ” The Great War” was an unbelievably brutal conflict in which Germany fought Britain, The United States and other Allied nations along a long trench that split the geography of France. This “trench warfare” really had no complete victory as both sides pummeled the other with mortar shells, grenades, cannons, mustard gas and other chemical explosives, and various kinds of guns, ultimately amounting to a stalemate war of attrition.

War technology advanced 20 years ahead within that four-year span. By 1918 tanks, planes, armor, guns, and modern battle strategy had surpassed the old ways of direct combat, trenches, armies fighting row upon row et.

But sadly for my grandfather, he was drafted at age 18 and sent to live, fight and hopefully survive the gruesome reality of the trench.

A great amount of fatalities and casualties that occurred in the trenches involved exploding shells. Sometimes these shells would explode a few feet above the heads of soldiers, blowing their heads apart like watermelon. New steal helmets helped in some circumstances, but anyone who spent any amount of time fighting in those trenches saw plenty of awful and unsightly deaths.

As my grandfather was walking in the trench one day, some shells began to hit very close to where he was. And then suddenly, he heard a shell coming right for him! He tried to run away, but it was too close to him – it blew him sideways immediately and his fellow soldiers figured he was dead.

Thankfully, the shell did not hit him directly, but hit just a matter of feet on the floor of the trench. Instead of blowing his head off, it just blew hundreds of pieces of shrapnel into his lower leg.

He was taken out of the trench and to the medical area immediately. The doctors did everything they could to save his leg. But they were unsure – time would tell depending on healing and infection. Thankfully the leg was intact and he was able to hobble along.

Before long his leg had healed up and he was able to have full use of both legs throughout his life. The only minor nuisance he had to deal with the rest of his life was chronic pain.

I recall as a youngster, grandpa Ray used to bandage up his leg every morning. But when we were present, he would first let us have a look at his leg. It was constantly swollen, red with many tiny dark speckles of metal and lumpy from the permanent scarring. Hundreds of tiny pieces of shrapnel from the Great War in France were a permanent reminder of what grandpa Ray endured as a teenager for his nation.

I tell you this story not so much from a patriotic standpoint today, but maybe even more from the aspect of divine providence. You and I are not alive today by accident. We are intentionally here for a reason. My grandfather made some unfathomably selfless decisions for the good of humanity.

The fact that I am alive today because my grandfather was a few feet away from annihilation – well, that gives me pause for contemplating my purpose and my destiny.

Life is precious. We all have the ability to make a difference in positive ways. Those who live to bring death and destruction to this planet, well all I can say is it is a total waste of their good fortune of even being allowed to live on this third rock from the Sun.

I am very proud of my grandfather and his willingness to give even his own life for the cause of worldwide freedom.

And I realize today that I must follow in his steps, and live for the betterment of others.

For I am only here on this planet by the difference of few feet.

Until next time,

Jeff

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Are You Dressed Up?

I remember hearing that phrase over and over every Sunday morning when my mom and dad would get us three boys ready for church.

Like most good church-goers, my family strongly adhered to the popular adage – “look your Sunday best for God.” And we did. Every Sunday, we wore clothes that we would never otherwise wear outside of funerals and weddings.

Well, outside of Sundays we were your typical pre-adolescent boys – pretty much dirty and grimy after a long hard hour or two of kick-ball, swimming, tree climbing, crayfish hunting, sewage tunnel exploring, and of course motocross bicycle riding.

Another common phrase that is heard in many such households on any given Sunday is “you need to dress nicely out of respect for the temple of The Lord! When you are in a God’s house you behave respectfully and dress appropriately.”

So… My adolescent takeaway was this – God only wanted to be around us when we were in His “house”, clean and showered and “dressed appropriately.”

This is how I grew up in my perception of who God was. I saw Him as an out-of- touch, distant Father who only cared about me when I was in His temple looking a certain way on the outside.

Now let me just say, I have no problem with dressing nice in church or being respectful in a house of worship. But I think many people today have the same experience as I have had regarding God and church – Over time a message begins to become ingrained in our minds, even unconsciously, that would evolve into a total misconception of who God is and what He truly cares about.

Juxtaposed to this vision, I also found myself as an adolescent drawn to the lowly child who was born in a stable named Jesus. Jesus seemed to be comfortable associating with the dirty, filthy, lowly people of the world – like me. So much so that the religious leaders of his day condemned him. He showed compassion to those who were regarded as “unclean” and unfit to even walk into the local houses of worship.

This Jesus didn’t seem to dress as nicely as the Pharisees. They had impressive religious garb and looked down on him for not looking as good as they did. And he greeted lepers and other unclean pagans and even hung out with them.

To a God who I was brought up to believe was mostly impressed with people who dressed the best and acted respectfully when in his house, this Jesus wound have and should have deeply offended.

And then the kicker was this – Jesus finally made the most audacious claim hitherto as he boasted to his disciple Philip who asked him to “show us what God is really like” when he replied, “Philip when you have seen me, you have seen the Father. ”

What?

What about dressing up nicely for a God who cared about how nice I looked on the outside? What about the God who wanted me to be quiet and reverent when in His temple?

How can this non- conformist claim to be the very representation of God? He was born so poorly that his crib was filled with straw from a dirty stable! His earthly arrival was so inauspicious that he couldn’t even “get a room”!

This law breaking Rabbi who told everyone to allow their own hearts to be the temple of God – this was not at all the same message I had grown up hearing!

A tension is upon you and I that is quite literally a fork-in-the-road moment: will we continue to follow the ideas of this off-the-wall Jesus, or will we go the other way and keep in the old-school view of a distant God who might give you some attention if you dress up nicely and get into a beautiful house of worship first?

Which way will you go?

Next Sunday when you and I get “dressed up for church” and act reverently, keep in mind our namesake (Jesus Christ) dressed up nicely when it was appropriate to do so , but his lifestyle certainly carried this “respect for God and his house” over to every area of his daily walk – including showing compassion for the dirty and lowly people.

These same people might very well end up sitting in the same pew next to you.

What will you think? What will you do?

As Hamlet claimed, “that – is the question. ”

Until next time,

Jeff

The Secret is Caring

Good Day to you!

It’s kinda nice to have someone give us a nice warm greeting each day, isn’t it?

I once knocked on a door of someone’s home as I was inviting people to a special event at our church, and was quite shocked when the owner of the home opened the door and, before I could say a word, launched into a multi-syllable cuss fest about how much of a “hypocrite you are for walking across the street from your church to talk to me when you could care less about me! You just want to show everyone you are better than them and act like you are so holy!”

This tirade went on for about five minutes, but lasted for an eternity – it seemed to me anyway. The funny thing was, this was decades earlier when our society wasn’t quite as turned off to cold call invitations. But this house was maybe a few hundred feet from our church building. I was totally shocked to hear such negative words directed at my character.

I have since learned to not take this kind of thing personally (I very much recommend a special brand of duck-feather oil – you will live a happier and longer life!)

Anyhoo… yeah, this blew a little wind out of my sails at the time. What shocked me was that this lady had me all wrong. Or did she?

As I considered her words, I realized that she was wrong in that I wasn’t out there to make anyone feel bad, or think i was more holy than they. I was out to merely be used by God to offer eternal hope to people.

At the same time, she was also right – I did NOT care about her personally. I mean, how could I? I had never met her. Sometimes we need to show people we care before we do anything else. This woman had probably been preached to and “evangelized” many times before by well-meaning church people, or others not as well-meaning.

I have learned that I need God’s compassion for others. I have seen that when I show someone care, concern, compassion, they are very open to hearing anything I have to say.

I used to think it was what I KNEW that would change the world. Now I know that it isn’t about what I KNOW, its about how deeply I CARE. True love and compassion has moved many mountains in our world.

Ask God to give you His compassion for others. And then, once you care, ask Him to show you how to show that love and concern.

The secret lies not in KNOWING, the SECRET IS – CARING!

Until Next Time
Jeff

Check out updates for my upcoming book with co-author MIKE STEHR at https://www.facebook.com/GetTheLifeBook


The Greatest

In Luke 9:46 we have recorded a rather hilarious event that took place among the disciples. Apparently they felt it was necessary to establish a pecking order among themselves early on. This of course resulted in an argument – and the ones who were the most outspoken basically “got dibs” on the titles such as “CEO, CFO, P, VP ” and other key “VIP” titles.

There is an entire study on the phenomenon of how and why people choose to rule over other people in sociology. It’s simply human nature – we need a leader, and leaders need to be followed.

I remember one person on my high school who was always running for some kind of office at school. I know people “say” they do this so they can better “serve” the group or body at large, but many times one gets the feeling they are on some kind of power trip and feel the need to lead. Politicians call themselves “public servants” but many times they seem to want others to do the serving while they “lord it over” them.

Stories like “Lost ” or “Lord of the Flies” remind us that people naturally look to dominate and usurp one another as they gather together.

It’s no wonder the disciples were doing this too.

It’s funny especially in light of the previous few verses where Jesus just got done warning them that one day men will come and arrest and imprison him. Hardly the ideal situation for these disciples who yearned for “greatness”.

The great thing about “greatness” in the kingdom is that it is very attainable from a practical standpoint. But the way to eternal greatness is counter intuitive to say the least.

If you seek true greatness, you must seek to be the least – the floor mat for all of your friends and acquaintances to walk on and upon. I’m not saying you must be a pushover – but in terms of humility and how we position ourselves on this planet, Jesus is asking us to serve others, to seek his greatness and not our own, to build up others as if they outranked us, and to remove all pretense and false humility since God sees that anyway and he is not fooled.

Is this the greatness you were looking for? If not, there are plenty of opportunities to become great in this world. Enjoy them. It might be the only greatness you will ever see in your eternal life.

Until next time,

Jeff

Now & Later – Part 4 of 4

Yes!

If you have been following my “Now & Later” Series you have made it to the final post…

Congrats are in order!

Basically the notion that we can have good friends both for now and later is not that incredibly deep. Many people have best friends for a lifetime. I wish my life worked that way. I think a person could have a best friend for life if both parties live in the same area their entire lives.

For me, it hasn’t really been possible to stay in the same place. I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. Somehow I got the reputation of being a bit on the ancy side when it comes to longevity vocationally and locationally. But you know, God’s will is the result of what happens while we are making other plans.

I tend to make a deep friendships – more than many acquaintances. Not that I am shy or socially awkward. I can flutter and flit with the best of them. But I get bored with being merely a social butterfly, barely landing on an individual’s shoulder long enough to get beyond the surface. I like to get deep. Yeah, I like deep. I like to really get real, honest, vulnerable.

“How you doin?” “No… really. Come on man… talk to me.”

Good or bad that’s what I like about human interaction. I hate it when someone is listening to you but their mind couldn’t be further away from you. I remember one time, I was sharing with a prof in college about my classes and some frustrations I was having with another teacher, and my prof fell asleep at his desk while I was in mid-sentence!

He fell asleep!

So I stopped talking and just stared at him.

Okay. So what does one do in moments like that? Should I start yelling? Should I, slip out of my chair and twinkle-toe-it outta there before he wakes up? Should I pour water over his head? Maybe I should have called “911”. But instead, I just stared at him. I was miffed. Finally he awoke and saw me staring at him. He shot right up and said almost on cue, “Well it sounds like your on the right track, brother.” I wished I had been telling him I was a horrible addict with a huge record of felonies. That would have made for an amusing reply from him, assuring me that I must be on the right track.

In his defense, I found out later that he had severe sleep-apnea. Ya think?

You see I’m not out to take from others. I do believe that when it comes to relationships, people are either givers or takers – they are either looking to get, or looking to give.

Ladies, try to stay away from the guys that are looking to get from you. Instead, look for the guys that are givers. I know, I know… easier said than done. Well I have had so many life-changing experiences that have deepened me, stretched me, and really made me more of a giver than a getter.

Have you noticed that those who are ‘getters” tend to keep all of their relationships at the surface level? They are too self-centered to think about giving to others. It would be way too inconvenient for them to give without getting back. I think Now & Later friendships have to be built on an equal exchange of giving and getting. Kinda like withdrawing money from your checking account – you cannot make withdrawals if you never make deposits.

Think about your friendships today. Have you been frustrated with very small withdrawals lately in those relationships? Maybe it’s time to make a big deposit in someone’s life today. Take a moment and write down someone who really could use a deposit from a friend. We all have those special people in our lives that have blessed us in the past.

I think it is time to make a deposit. It’s time to be a giver to that special person

I really hope that once you make that deposit, you will see that friendship grow in fresh new ways! I believe you will!

And when that happens, you will be the NOW & LATER friend that everybody wants!

That’s the real secret of friendships – give to others, even if they don’t always give back. If you ARE a good friend, you will HAVE more friends that you can handle!

Until next Series,

Jeff

Now and Later – Part 2 of 4

So, back to the spit…

It may have been superstition, but we believed swallowing a brother’s spit was akin to the grossest possible scenario – and always produced the automatic vomit trigger in the bowels of any sibling who ever tried such heretical shenanigans. If it was spit upon – then no matter how much it was wanted or desired by another, it quickly became poisonous dreck – and was shunned at once.

I digress for a moment to let you understand how gross NOW and LATERS were if ever swallowed by another sibling.

I know some people who will eat food like that; they will eat some at the coffee shop, wrap it up and save the rest in a napkin. Then a day later, they will pull the napkin out with the slightly crusty item and nibble some more. Then, two days later, they go to the movies with a friend and sneak that crusty, napkin-wrapped thing in with them to munch on during the flick.

Now I’m all for saving some goodies for later but, that’s just flat-out weird.

The thing I liked about NOW & LATERS was that you could, in theory, eat some now and wrap up the remainder for later, and no one would be the wiser.

I was thinking about this concept lately with regard to how we treat our friends. Many people today have friends for a awhile, and then when they are done with them, that friendship is basically discarded. You know, they are friends for NOW, but not for LATER. The excuse is often something like “Well I can’t be everybody’s friend.” or “I moved to a new town. What do you expect from me?”

Hey, I understand completely. I have been a pastor in 6 different congregations, some of those were way over 1000 regular attenders. I have thousands and thousands of people who might be considered friends (even more if you consider Facebook. I have tried to keep those “friends” down in number on FB as it is) so I do understand that you cannot cultivate a hundred, a thousand, even fifty close friendships. You really can only build and grow a handful at a time. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot consider all of the other friends your friends.

For a few others, once a friend, always a friend. I like the idea of having a lot of friends. I don’t need to cultivate most of those friendships anymore. Once they grow to a certain point, friends for life; as far as I am concerned. Now everyone doesn’t need to be like me. You can choose to have as many friends as you want.

But here is my BEEF – those who use their friends when they are needed NOW, and then toss those friends as soon as their “usefulness” has passed, I really don’t think that is cool. And I know that friends who feel tossed to the side after a deep and mutually benefiting relationship had been built do not think that is cool either.

So the question is, when it comes to friendship, are you a “Now & Later” friend, or just a “Now” friend?

More to come in Part 3 and Part 4 of “Now and Later”

Keep smiling,

Jeff

Now and Later – PART 1 of 4

Remember the candy “Now & Later”?
I think they still make this, at least in gummy format. Back in the day, it was hard candy. It was so slow to dissolve in a kid’s mouth that they called it “Now & Later” because you could eat it for a long time NOW, and then put it back in the wrapper until LATER, when you felt like giving it another round.

It seemed really cool at the time in my “kid mind”. Now, hmm. Sounds a little gross. Hardened saliva is no longer one of my favorite things, I have to admit. But you don’t think about that when you are a kid.

Now if it were a sibling’s saliva, well that would have been a game-changer. That’s one of the all time kid-rules of life – never ever eat anything that a brother or sister has salivated on. EVER!

I remember one time my mother made us three boys some cherry popovers. Oh how we loved those! The package came with the popover dough and the cherry filling, and even a special icing package to drizzle over the popover just after baking. Yum!

So there were three of us boys, and six popovers. I don’t know what it was like growing up in your house, but in our house, us three boys could eat a regular size bison each in one sitting. My mother used to buy us three new gallons of milk A DAY – yes, we each put that much milk away. Of course today we are all over 6 feet tall and very fast metabolizers.

So in our adolescent years, as we went through the puberty JET STREAM, we were eating my parents out of house and home. 6 popovers between the three of us was like giving us two peas a piece. We would eat most or all of these ourselves if we had our way.

So we had a tradition that was very glorious and culturally refined – we would spit on our popovers!

YES! I said we SPIT ON OUR POPOVERS! Because spit was the death sentence – there was no traversing that great expanse. There was no triple dog dare or any other device that would be apropos for said occasion. If a brother spit on any food item in the house, it was his, no questions. Because even if one were to swallow their pride and swallow the spit-upon goodie, they would be cursed by the owner of that spit from that point forward – “You ate that with his spit! Now his spit is in you! Ha Ha Haaaaa!”

Next blog, I will tell you what this could possibly have to do with BUILDING LASTING FRIENDSHIPS that last both NOW, and LATER! And we will discuss some of the reasons why some people only use their current friends for NOW, but never connect again with those friends LATER.

Christmas as Unusual

Christmas is here!

When I think back to previous Christmas Days, several memories come to mind. Of course I enjoy being with family, opening gifts, and eating delicious family dinners. Those are the “usual” activities that happen each year. No, I think it’s those unexpected unusual experiences that are most memorable.

I recall as a young single youth pastor I was once approached by some pretty college ladies in our church who were putting on a special Christmas event. Well, they already had my attention, so I was already going to say yes to almost anything. Somehow they talked me and two other single guys into dressing up like “Alvin & the Chipmunks” and singing AND DANCING a karaoke version of the “Chipmunk Christmas” song.

You have GOT to be kidding me – I actually agreed to do this!

So anyhoo, we practiced with the girl who was the director of the evening. She went through the choreography and song with us a few nights before. I was so embarrassed! How could we have allowed ourselves to do this?

Well, the night we dreaded finally came – and soon we were next on the docket to do our routine on stage – live!

I will never forget the look on my two buddies faces (I think I played Alvin) – There they were in full chipmunk costume, with their faces painted to look like Simon and Theodore, staring at me with this look as if they were saying, “I cant believe we were stupid enough to agree to this nonense!”

The song began and a ROAR of LAUGHTER came from the audience! They soon figured out it was us dressed as the Chipmunks. I wanted to crawl in a hole and stay their for a few months! But as we continued, the crowd started to sing along and cheer and clap and we were now really rockin’ it!

Well we went through the entire song and got alot of laughs and shouts and screams. It wasn’t so bad after all. We were the hit of the night!

Turns out many people remembered that crazy performance for years after that. I have had more people than I would have imagined stop me and tell me about how that memory has really endured in their minds. I don’t know how it became a fond memory instead of a nightmare, but there you have it. I do know, however, that I will never subject myself to a repeat performance this side of heaven!

But I do think of this memory with fondness in spite of it all because I saw how it bonded many people together.

We know that Christmas is supposed to be about giving rather than receiving. But I will never cease to be amazed how often I receive so much more when I do give to others. Sometimes that gift can even be a karaoke version of “The Chipmunk’s Christmas Song” in full costume, or something like it.

And when we give of ourselves to others, we truly let the reason for the season have the spotlight – we give because God first gave to us.

I pray that this Christmas season will be full of opportunities for you to receive as you give!

Merry Christmas!
Jeff

Thanksgiving Training Day

Yep.

I went to Training School to learn my Thanksgiving skills.

I was schooled and sharpened; re-tooled, tried and tested by my own mother. She was a Thanksgiving Meal Master. She has been taught in the school of amazing Thanksgiving deliciousness by her mother – my grandmother, a Jedi Thanksgiving cook in her own right.

You could set the Thanksgiving Day raw ingredients in front of the average male, and they would croak under pressure, moan under total cluelessness. They could haul the giant bird up from the freezer and take the plastic wrap off. After that, they would just back away and watch football on the TV. The men in our extended family could lift and haul and peal, but they could not turn the frozen and uncooked elements into the fabulous food finale’ that my grandmother and mother could.

The first few years, I was content to merely enjoy the deliciousness and experience the dining ecstasy. But the day came when I was now old enough to be trained. My mother had no daughters. I was first in line. My number was called, my draft card was issued. It was time to step into the Thanksgiving master cook arena. It was time to sink or swim! Cook or be cooked!

At the crack of Thanksgiving Day dawn, my mother arose. Since I was now in basic training, she burst into my room and woke me up. “Time to get the turkey ready.” Oh, she said it nice enough. But I knew what the stakes were. Anytime I had to get up before dawn, I knew it was serious. I was still half-asleep. But I looked into my mother’s eyes. Her countenance said it all. “Game on!”

I was amazed how easily my mother put together the stuffing – a mix of soft bread pudding with perfectly cooked celery and the most pleasantly aromatic sage and onion smell I had ever experienced. I watched her stuff the bird in holes I never knew existed. Turns out God designed this bird to be so perfect for this magical stuffing-manna from heaven. She had figured out a way to make the stuffing the night before so that it seemed to appear out of nowhere. And they say mom’s aren’t magicians!

Then we went to the potatoes. Two million potatoes (it seemed to me) were pealed and polished. The scraps filled up three full garbage bags, I think. Then the peeled potatoes were put into a gigantic pot and boiled for a long, long time. Our family tradition included making scalloped corn and candied sweet potatoes. I have no idea how she made those dishes. The corn was succulent and salty, and the sweet potatoes were rich and luscious. No mortal could create such divine offerings.

When I thought I could not take one more culinary wonder, my mother pulled out a light saber looking knife and went into the cooked turkey – cutting slices of meat so tasty, I could not tell if the juices that seeped forth from each bite were from the fantastic fowl or from my own salivating mouth. To add more insult to outlandish injury, she created a supernatural sauce so succulent, so pungent, I felt my heart skipping beats and racing faster and faster! Yes, she called it gravy, I called it “glorious.”

It was amazing to watch this feast come together on a great table – one that had to be specially built by commercial contractors just to fit all of the food on one place. We sat down for the meal. Dad would pray that we wouldn’t die from delight. And yes, of course we were thankful. Thankful to live in a country that could come up with a holiday so wonderful.

We ate and ate and ate. When the meal was over, paramedics would come and check our pulse, to see if we were still alive. If we were, as was usually the case, mom would then bring in the crème de la crème – The Pumpkin Pie!

No way! I was sure this was a secret plot to assassinate all of us. What a clever way to kill someone, and yet be totally innocent of any wrongdoing! The truth is, we loved it of course. The men looked at their huge stomachs, and for a moment had the sense to say “No way” to dessert just after total engorgement. But at the end of the day, resistance is futile. We all knew we would not only eat one piece, but two!

And just to make it irresistible, Mom would take her last trick up her sleeve – whipping cream! She would put that on top of the pie! A bright light would shine forth from her hand and it would totally wipe out all other sights or senses. We had no will left. Men, with five pounds of food undigested still in their bellies, would then eat even more pieces of pumpkin pie!

Mom had not eaten yet. She was the orchestrator of this great production. When it was over, everyone was slumped in their chairs, totally unconscious. If my memory is correct, at least once I saw her leap into the air, spinning sideways twice around (Yes, a 720!) and landed with the light saber knife extended – exhaling a victorious wheeze that would make Bruce Lee envious!

Perhaps I have exaggerated some of this in my distant memory, but that is how my ten-year old brain remembered it.

Because you see, I was trained in the fine art of Thanksgiving Day Feasts. This Thanksgiving, I will prepare the bird for the 35th time, I will perform the same miracles my mother and grandmother did. I am no chef, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, you better watch out. I got my game face on, and my light saber knife is all charged up and ready for some mean meat trimming!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff