Praying for Europe

Following Eurasia Stories is a great way to pray for Europeans. Check out this post on work in Iceland and watch the video below.


Creativity & Urban Living

hiking in Saxony SwitzerlandOne of the most puzzling myths about urbanization is that the more we live together in big cities, the more creative we become. Despite all the evidence to the contrary - longevity, quality of life, increased commutes - this conclusion remains strong.

There is some evidence for it. There are more patents in urban areas. It is very interesting that the fewer people in the urban area, the more patents per capita. Higher density living also makes networking easier, or so the argument goes. I am guessing the advocates never lived in Oklahoma City. In addition, the financial resources required for creativity to be successful - concerts, tickets, art sales, people to buy things - are best found in urban settings.

However, there is another side to this coin. Most creativity requires expertise, which is best developed alone. When checking beyond patents and sales, you discover that arts, writing, thought, even politics find their beginnings in solitude. Maybe I'm just trying to justify my introverted needs.

Check out this blog article by A. J. Kessler. His blog has several excellent articles about creativity. In his article he quotes Steve Wozniak and I'll close with that:

Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me — they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone — best outside of corporate environments, best where they can control an invention’s design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee. I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee… I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.

- Steve Wozniak, iWoz



Finishing Well

Okay, I know I'm not that old - only 53 - but several years ago I watched a person finish their working career in a bad way. They complained about people and were harsh and critical. Their legacy became those things, despite earlier good.

I decided not to become a curmudgeon, despite some natural inclination toward it, and to pray for two things as I enter those later middle aged years; by the way, I've still not reached a mathematical understanding of how 50 is middle age. First, instead of harsh and grumbling, I want to have a spirit that is kind to all. Second, I want to be a learner throughout my days, always reading, studying and open to new things.

My post yesterday about my Pap-pa is related to this, but this article about Billy Graham addresses this topic in far deeper and better way.

Phillipians 3:12-14 - "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."


The Good 'Ole Days

Nap during lunch break from work. Pap-pa in his 70's.Pap-pa's good 'ole days consisted of almost dying of a burst appendix in his mid-teenage years, hitting 19 just as the Depression started, and working for the WPA program for years. He was one of hundreds who helped build Buchanan Dam, creating Lake Buchanan; he was a mechanic on heavy machinery and had something to do with the mule teams used to move boulders around.

Around 1940, he got married just in time for WWII, during which he had one child, my mom, and was an airplane mechanic at Carlsbad Army Air Base. After the war, he ran a gas station and small engine shop in Ft. Stockton, Texas. I never heard him complain, but I don't think he saw the good 'ole days as that good.

Tony Morgan recently posted an excellent article called Embracing Change: The Unbiblical Pursuit of "The Good Old Days" and I highly recommend it to you.

The past is seldom as dark or bright as we make it, nor the future. Today, we can accept what God brings and embrace whatever change He might ask us to make. Whether music or technology or work or relationships or church or boss or style of worship or growing kids, pushing ahead and not focusing on what is behind seems key to spiritual, emotional and physical health.


Language Fun!

The man on the phone from the UPC helpdesk said in response to me asking in Slovak if he spoke English, "I'm sorry I don't speak English. Please give me your phone number and I'll have my colleague call you back." The man had great English. Even as we spoke, I was reminded of the "Do You Speak English?" commercial below.