The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley is the latest book I’ve received from Thomas Nelson for reviewing it.

The book is based mostly on a comparison of our lives as a road or path, with our current situations and the more desired situations as destinations on that path.

The reason we are where we are, lost or otherwise, is because we chose that particular road, and that is where that road led. It would have led anyone else to the same place had they also selected that road, and looking backwards you can see how the steps along that road led where they did.

But being lost is not a problem to be fixed with a solution, its a matter of changing direction to take a different path that leads to somewhere else. It’s this direction that matters, not our intentions, and this direction is often set by where our attention is focused.

The book goes into many different aspects of this, from ways to tell a road is the wrong one before you’ve taken it (such as if it’s against God’s principles), learning to get maps from people who are or have been where you want to be instead of those who are in the same place of life that you are, and dealing with situations where the destination you desire to reach just isn’t going to be reachable.

I really liked the book. While it’s message isn’t anything earth-shatterningly new and the author himself even mentions this occasionally, it’s a good perspective check.

It’s also very applicable no matter what the particular road you find yourself stuck on. Whether it’s considering whether your next purchase is a step along the road to bankruptcy or towards financial freedom, or next meal is towards the path to healthy or the path toward medical issues, or less black and white goals such as relationships, the principle works the same.

Thomas Nelson page

Amazon page


Did the editors have the day off?

I’m finding myself really wincing at the local news tonight.

I realize a lot of people are hyped… but really… can we get at least a few people to interview with interesting insights?

Yes, the girl so passionate about never thinking she’d see this day is representative of many feelings. But, um… she looks roughly 20. She really didn’t think that anytime in the next 4,5,6, maybe even 7 decades she might have left here we wouldn’t have a single african american president? even if she only sees age 60, thats 10 more elections.

perhaps we can swap her for the lady who looks to be about 80 they had on. from her, it would make sense. much more sense than her discussion about how she sees her grandsons all wrapped up in drugs and gangs and now they really can be president. as if magically their possibility of making good choices popped up overnight and had never been there before.

Followed by the “now i’ll be able to get a job and all of my problems will be over” by someone i wanted to ask if was the grandson of the other lady. i believe it was bill cosby who said something about having a hard time being a doctor speaking ebonics. i find myself wondering a bit about what happens a few years down the road when obama didn’t turn out to be a fairy godfather after all, and places looking to hire still expect not to see more than 4 inches of underwear.

Come on… we have two large colleges in town, one of which specifically has a minority studies department, and both have various political studies classes. we have many intelligent politicians and businesspeople.

can we please get some balance? or are you trying to make everyone look full of hype and lacking in any depth or insight for a reason here?

Growing up to different songs

My daughter has a thing for ice cream trucks.

What am I saying? Every kid seems to have a radar on those things.

However, my kiddo has an over-indulgent grandma who lives two doors down who supplies cash for what seems like unending ice cream truck purchases. So literally, the lady knows her name and sits and chats with her daily… and slows down to almost a stop and looks for her when my car is here but the kid isn’t at the curb of one of the two houses.

But that’s her favorite ice cream lady. We live in a semi-large city, in an almost entirely residential neighborhood, near a junior high… which means we have at least 2 but normally 3 ice cream trucks go by on any given day that it’s abobe 60 degrees, even if its an odd warm spell in February or if it’s raining. And sometimes even a mexican food truck. It’s really very odd… but you kinda get used to it after a while. They come for the same reason the guys go door to door here selling meat and frozen goods… it’s a concentrated audience.

So of these 3 regular ice cream trucks, the truck driven by her favorite plays the song turkey in the straw. My mom’s favorite plays la cucaracha (sp?) and sells an entirely different type of popsicle from the others that are all fruit flavored and have chunks of fruit in them.

The third one usually comes early enough in the day that she is still at daycare, so she doesn’t hear it much. But she was home the other day when it came by, and made a comment about that being the truck playing the wrong song.

This really struck me as interesting… because when I was a kid, there was only one truck that came by our area, and only when school was out… and that was the song it played. It was the song I grew up associating with ice cream truck. (I have no clue what the name of it is.)

I even remember the first time I heard a truck playing a different song… the one by my grandma’s house played the entertainer (actually, it still does), and it was totally weird to me.

Just as this one is now weird to her.

It made me reflect a bit… about the things that are part of my past that won’t be part of hers.

School districts that will never be anything but an opposing sports team.

Cars my parents owned that will never be anything but another car on the road or a story her mom tells her about her grandparents.

Restaurants that will have no deep loyalty associated with memories more than the food.

Churches, for that matter denominations, that will never be “hers” unless she chooses them herself someday, but never be her childhood home.

And it made me think about the loyalties we have built and are currently building.

About how a different suburb will be the one she remembers living in before moving into town.

About how she will have associations with our vineyard church songs similar to the ones I hold about some baptist hymns.

How red, navy and white will be the combination that instantly triggers school colors thoughts rather than my royal blue and white for one and red and white for another, and eagles instead of lions or titans.

And it really made me pause a bit, and wonder if some of them are things I want her to have.

Do I want that awful but really cheap pizza place we visit to be what she remembers as special, when I was making it as a quick solution to too frequent time crunches?

Do I want those packaged cookies to be what she associates with childhood and makes a comfort food?

Do I want that halloween costume to be what she remembers sentimentally that she wore in first grade?

The song I grew up to is not the song she will, and is a song she will only even hear softly as a distant sound through me.

But I think sometimes I need to stop and remember that the song she will hear is the song that’s currently playing. And to remember that I’m frequently the one choosing it, and put a bit more focus sometimes into the decisions that form it.

Disappointing myself

Today has been one of those days.

I’ve disappointed myself more times today than in most entire weeks.

Went to doc for wrist this morning. Got released because basically there’s “not much else (he) can do if (I’m) going to keep working there”. Which, wasn’t a huge deal since the company held me to the same requirements on “light duty as tolerated” as when released to full duty. However… I’ve been getting by ok with the brace and medication twice a day on days I work. Without meds? This might not go well. I really should have stood up for my needs more knowing that nobody at work is going to care either outcome.

I followed this up with a trip to the store, where I managed to end up getting junk I didn’t really need because it was on clearance… after doing so good lately on that sort of thing. Do a really need a remote thermometer? Even if it is only 3 bucks? I then followed up by changing my mind on something I’d decided a while back I wasnt going to get, then followed that up by failing to stick up for myself again when the clearance wasn’t ringing up right, and the clerk was rounding, but not in my favor. I don’t know why I didn’t… maybe jsut pity for her having to mess with it and being bad at math… and it wasn’t like it was huge amounts…. but it probably did make about a 10-15 buck difference when added up.

Then back to work, where the HR person jsut took the paper from the doctor and said ok good and went back to her work. Even though it was written on there that I do still have the few minutes of break each hour, and the original paper she had given me from the company had only said they would honor them until this appointment. So, basically, while I have the docs note, I don’t have the company’s statement that they will honor it for sure if it ever gets challenged again.

Today was just day of the doormat I guess.

One of the biggest disappointments of the day was when I got home. One of the clearance items I got was a new scale, because mine had stopped working a while back. 40 scale, was marked to 30, was supposed to be 75% off of that should have been 7.50, not the 11 the clerk guessed… but 40 for 11 isn’t something I’m gonna complain about. Unfortunately, the numbers have not been going in my favor with the scale in the time I’ve been without a functioning one… really a big disappointment.

But really, the day sort of started off on this foot even before I hit bed last night. At mindnight I was still in 2 pm’s, neither of which were going well. One I got talked into agreeing to make a post for someone on a site she’s no longer a member of, that I pretty much know better than to get involved with her messes related to.

The second is kind of an ongoing thing. A friend, who in a different stage of my life was a bit more. And who makes sure I know the offer is still open to return there if I want to. Instead of just the usual thanks, we got into a discussion. And I had an opportunity to firmly close the door to that option. Which is what I should have done. And not what I did.

I think with that one, I leave the door open because I like to know that its there, just in case I ever want it. Somehow it makes me less likily to feel anxious to seek new doors if I know I have one around should I ever want it. But, its not fair to do that. And its not good to leave myself options open that I know I should never take. It only invites later risk.

But I made the wrong choice.

All day long it seems.

But for the most part, its over. What was done was done.

Goodnight today, and I’m glad tomorrow is a different day.

Dieting and Christianity

So, once again I have these big ambitions of how I’m going to use the cool weather to get into better shape, and be more healthy. The cycle goes round and round.

And I find myself having to frequently return to the basics.

The most frequent of the things I find myself thinking is a reminder about the importance of each moment. Many people set these diet goals, which is important. But then, the choices they make in each given moment don’t lead towards the goal.

My grand plans and expensive tools and best intentions mean nothing if I face north where I plan to go, but every step I take is towards the south.

But each small choice made adds together, and the total is more than all of my intentions.

Do I choose to step towards my goal, or back towards comfort, when I know that comfort to often be false? In this given moment, what direction do I step, however small the step may be? When I’ve gotten 5 steps off to the side, do I run further, or start walking back?

I can’t help but notice the similarity of this mentality to my outlook on living my life better spiritually.

Intentions and plans are good. But as each choice comes, what do I do with them? Which direction does each tiny step of daily choices take me?

The sum of these choices means more than goals and desires ever could, and yet each choice seems so tiny by itself.

Unfortunately, I think the proclaimed dieter who is having the legendary big mac, supersized fries, and a diet coke is all too often the appropriate equivilant. Has the tiny step of the diet coke helped? A bit on the calories anyway. In the same way 1 step forward with 2 steps back is an improvement of 2 steps over just taking 3 steps backwards.

But so many missed spots where my foot really should have gone the other way. On both the physical and the spiritual paths!

But tomorrow… brings new chances. New tiny choices to build into progress in whichever direction I choose, chosen not by my goals and desires, but by each individual decision as to how I will handle each small moment.

Pets (evil, free will, heaven and hell)(relocated)

Remember teddy ruxpin? It was a stuffed bear that was big when I was a kid. It played a tape and its mouth moved. It was pretty cool, but got kinda boring and predictable.

Furbys are much cooler. They have some spontaneity, and when ya reset them can even change personalities. But still kinda annoying, mainly cuz they always say sweet stuff like “me want kiss”… Never any chance for anything surprising.

But pets are so much cooler. Almost all kids want a dog or a cat at some point. I think that the reason why they are cooler is that they aren’t very predictable. The cute little puppy could be your best friend, or could be the demon that ruins everything you own and bites and snarls at anything that gets near it, or anywhere in between, or at times both! But if ya knew it was always going to be sweet, it would be furby type boring… And if ya always knew it would obey it would be like the taped teddy bear. Neither is one I would want for very long.

By letting us be bad if we so choose, he lets us choose to be nice instead of only putting nice stuff into our vocabulary like a robot. But it also means some of us wont. Maybe tolerating the mean dogs will help us become stronger from the fighting. Maybe with our scars we will become more timid. But eventually, when it gets to the point to where for the welfare of the good dogs the unmanageable dogs must go. This is why some will go to hell. Because if all stayed, it would be just like it is now.

But a lot does depend on how you manage the dogs. A very strict owner with a lot of rules may have the dogs that obey being more in control, but he is gonna lose a lot to meanness. Even the obedient ones will be less friendly.

God tried this. The story is called the old testament. It didn’t work well… We dogs didn’t go by the rules, and were constantly needing yelled at, and even the good ones weren’t good at following directions. He was losing a lot.

So he tried approach two. You cuddle, and love, and spoil the puppy. The dogs will come and try to learn to obey you cuz they like you, not because you are holding a whip. Some still will not come to you… Even if you call and try to chase after them. And so it is with a lot of people. And he’d rather keep them… But it will only hurt the rest to do so.