The other night I got to pass along a lost art to my son - shining shoes.
I decided to wear some cordovan (burgundy) shoes to work the next day. However, I noticed that they had become quite scuffed. I told Ethan that I was going to shine my shoes and asked if he wanted to help. I'm not sure he understood what I meant, but he said sure.
I retrieved my shoe shine box from the closet. You know the kind. It holds all the shoe shining materials and has a place for you to place your foot (in the shoe) on top of the box while working on your shoes. I set it down in the living room and went to get some newspaper to put down to keep the carpet clean. When I came back, Ethan was going through the shoe shine box asking what everything was. It was then that I realized several things.
First, I realized that in our disposable society, this was a lost art. Especially from my observations at meetings, trade shoes, in the office and at church. People just don't take the time to shine their shoes. They wear them until they are unattractive and then, simply toss them and get another pair. Second, it dawned on me that I had the opportunity to pass along something to my son that my father had passed to me. I remembered as a child, Dad would get his shoe shine kit out on Saturday evenings and he, my brother and I would shine our shoes for Sunday. They had to be clean and presentable.
The first thing I did was explain to Ethan what the different things in the box were. We looked at the shoe wax, the applicator brush, the buffing brushes, and the shining cloths. Then I had Ethan sit down on the hassock and put his foot in the shoe and hold it on the box for me. He watched as I applied the wax into a smooth coat. The whole time I called him "sir" and talked to him about his busy business life and what he did for a living. Once that shoe was coated in wax, we moved on to the other. I could see in his eyes that he wondered what was going on because the shoes weren't shiny, they were cloudy and dull looking.
Then it came time to buff and shine the shoes. He put the first shoe back on the shoe shine box and I began to buff the wax. The shine immediately began to come through. The wax and pigments had done their work. The shoe became bright and shiny with no evidence of the scuffs and dirtiness that we started with. His face lit up and he started giggling as the shoes became shiny.
After completing both shoes, we turned them around and presented them to the ladies, my wife and daughter for approval. They were both impressed and Ethan was so proud. I thanked him for helping me and told him I was now excited to wear them the next day.
Wow, an act so simple can be such a time of bonding between father and son. Shoe shining may be a lost art today, but my son will know how to do it.
Oh, and I did have someone comment on my shoes the next day. I was sure to pass that along to my son. That smile was unforgettable.
Now Playing: "Life Again" by Decyfer Down
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The other night I got to pass along a lost art to my son - shining shoes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
During the last week, I noticed a new ad campaign on my local radio station. It appears that the US Mint is trying to jump start usage of the $1 coin. The ad appears to target businesses by encouraging them to use dollar coins in their everyday business. I went to the official US Mint website and came across the official press release. Below are a few excerpts:
The United States Mint has chosen four pilot cities to test new efforts to encourage regular use of the $1 Coin. A series of events at popular attractions and retailers, as well as television, radio, newspaper and online communications, seeks to make residents of Austin, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Charlotte, North Carolina, aware of the benefits of regularly using the $1 Coin. The campaign begins this month.Many may not realize that dollar coins were first minted in the US in 1794 and have been minted off and on ever since. The most recent effort to increase usage of the dollar coin focuses on the new Presidential series which started in 2007. The first coin in this series featured George Washington, obviously.
"This is the first program of its kind to inspire shoppers, diners and commuters to use $1 Coins in their normal, everyday activities," said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. "When each of us spends the $1 Coin, we make a difference for our country, because the $1 Coin is durable and using it saves the Nation money. We hope our pilot cities lead the change!"
The $1 Coin lasts for decades and is 100 percent recyclable, so using it can save the country billions of dollars over the years.
Each President will be featured on a new coin until all have been featured. But do you think this new emphasis will help? Will the dollar coin gain traction among consumers?
As things stand now, I don't think so. As long as there is a paper dollar, consumers will gravitate toward that familiar format. Over the past few years, I have been a regular traveler to Canada. In Canada, they have a loonie ($1 coin) and toonie ($2 coin). When the loonie was introduced, the paper Canadian dollar availability was intentionally reduced and eventually eliminated. I believe that the dollar coin won't catch on in the US until the US Mint reduces the availability of the paper version of the currency. I actually like the idea of doing away with the paper dollar and going with a coin. The money wasted to print new $1 bills will be saved due to the longevity of a coin in circulation. For example, according to the Federal Reserve, a $1 paper bill only lasts about 21 months. However, a coin can remain in circulation for 25 years before it needs to be replaced due to wear.
It makes sense to me to move to the coin and retire the paper version. What do you think?
Now Playing: "Sleeping In" by Nevertheless
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I am sure you've heard the phrase, "Jack of all trades and master of none". This often applies to the knowledge base that someone has. The phrase also implies that there may be breadth to what that person knows or does, but there is little to know depth. There have been a number of times that I have been that person. It's not a fun place to be.
So, then, why do we allow our Christian walk to suffer from the same problem. We have Width Without Depth. Through church, VBS, summer camps, mission trips, etc, we may have been exposed to many things from the Bible and from other Christians. However, looking back, have I ever chosen to dig deeper? Am I digging deeper now? If not, then the knowledge I have about my Christian walk may be broad, but it is shallow. There is a head knowledge of the subject material, but that knowledge hasn't been embraced and incorporated deeply into who I am as a Christian. This is a very dangerous place to find ourselves.
In Luke 4 (ESV) we see the following:
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written,What I see here is a warning. Satan knows the Bible and will use it, out of context, to try and convince us that something is good or "OK" with God when it is not. Notice that each time Satan addressed Jesus, Jesus responded with a Scriptural response. Jesus demonstrated to Satan that his 'out of context' use of Scripture would not work.
"'You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.'"
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
"'He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,'
"'On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Here's the point. As Christians, we must have depth to the breadth of our Christian knowledge. In today's society, there are many other religions that are growing, and growing quickly. Many of the followers of these religions know their faiths deeply - especially Islam. Therefore, these followers have the tools to use to convert others to their faith. Still others within these religions have taken the time to learn about Christianity. As a result, they are able to present arguments as to why their faith is true and Christianity is not.
Can the same be said for us? Have we taken the time to add depth to the knowledge of our faith? If not, know that width without depth is a dangerous place to be. Much like a building on a weak foundation, our faith then doesn't have a deep, strong foundation on which to rest and is easily swayed.
Now Playing: "Complete" by Kutless
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
As I continued to watch the video from the Saddleback Civil Forum (I've been forgetting the 'Civil'), I am still very impressed with the way Rick Warren handled things. I've already posted the videos for Barack Obama. Below are the videos for John McCain.
Please give me some feedback. What was your opinion of the Forum? Was there a "winner"?
Now Playing: "Workin Man" by Newworldson
Monday, August 18, 2008
UPDATE: CNN Fixed Part 2 with Barack Obama and I've added it below.
In case you didn't already know, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, hosted a Forum with both presidential candidates. As much as I hate to admit it, CNN has done the best job organizing the video in easy to absorb chunks. Below is Part 1. I'll embed the other parts in the next few posts, or you can simply go to CNN and watch the rest.
I was quite impressed with the directness and detail of the questions asked by Rick Warren. In my opinion, this forum would be something worth watching as you consider the candidates.
Now Playing: "Something More" by Switchfoot
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We just got back from a few days in the mountains of North Carolina. For those of you that know me, you know I love the mountains. I love driving through the mountains, hiking the trails, wading in the creeks and rivers and just marveling at the beauty of it all. Sadly, I don't get to go as much as I would like and surely don't get to backpack or camp like I used to.
When I was young, I was introduced to the "Backpacker's Psalm". When you've spent many a mile hiking through God's creation, this particular Psalm takes on a very personal meaning. I've included it below for you to read. Read slowly and absorb the full meaning of the Psalm.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;I know there may be a "correct" interpretation of this particular psalm. But, this is what it means to me.
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
When I am surrounded by the overwhelming beauty of God's creation, which to me is most evident in the mountains, I am reminded of all that He is capable. The God that created everything I see, in all it's towering majesty, also created me.....me. Not only did God create me, but He is concerned with my life on a day to day basis.
Reading further, God not only is my source of help but He is also my protection. The Psalmist writes, "He will not let your foot slip". To me, this means that God, is so concerned with my life that he even takes note of each step I take. Beyond that, his vigilance is ongoing. He doesn't take a break or leave me on my own while He sleeps. He watches over me 24/7 - like all parents do with their children.
Lastly, He is my protection. He is there day and night watching over me. The closing verse sums it up perfectly. "The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in, From this time forth and forever."
Next time you go on a hike or simply visit the mountains, I urge you to read over Psalm 121 and then contemplate it while you're there.
Now Playing: "I Aspire" by Hangnail
Monday, August 11, 2008
Good evening everybody! I haven't posted much lately, but that's mainly because I've been slammed with end of summer things. Work, travel, end of summer trip with the kids and Children's Camp. If you follow my tweets over on Twitter, then you'll know I've been out and about.
Before I get back to more regular posts, I've posted a clip from Children's Camp this summer at Look Up Lodge. This is a skit done by the camp staff during Funapalooza one night.
Enjoy a good laugh!
Now Playing: "Turn On The Lights" by Sanctus Real
Monday, August 04, 2008
Hello all! I just blew back in from Children's Camp with my daughter at Look Up Lodge. Camp was great and I'll post more on that later. The kids had a great time, learned a LOT about God and got to experience a really severe storm while we were there.
Anyway, I wanted to post this quickly this afternoon. I am really excited about the upcoming movie Fireproof. Enjoy the trailer and we'll get back to regular blogging soon.
Now Playing: "My Struggle" by Seventh Day Slumber
Posted by Greg on 8/04/2008