Archive for November, 2006

On the hot seat (again, still) oh that “vision thing”…

You know it occurred to me that “that vision thing” keeps coming up.  You may recall that around 15 years ago, a president named George Bush dismissed criticism that he was pursuing short-sighted policies by saying he lacked the “vision thing.”

  

Now with Romeo on the hot seat in Cleveland after an embarrassing, pitiful loss at the hand of cross-state rival a team formerly known as the “Bungals”.  Romeo’s “vision” is also being questioned.  Cleveland was shutout by the 32nd ranked (worst) defense in the National Football League and possibly even worse than that they  failed to maintain their composure.  Rumors are flying that Romeo has “lost control” of the team or he is losing his “players”. 

Crennel shows no signs of losing his appetite for the job.  Asked to identify his vision, he said:

“I want this team to be competitive within the division and have an opportunity to play for the division championship.

“I would like to get to the playoffs and have an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. That’s probably not going to happen this year, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen next year.

“If I have the opportunity to continue, I’ll plan to do that next year.”

Romeo has already “fired” one of his coordinators this season.  He is a defensive specialist.  There is no one on his staff who has offensive credentials.  There is no experience either on the coaching staff or in the players on the offensive side of the ball.  He needs help and I don’t think it will come from within. 

I would have to say it does not look good for Romeo.  The players are coming out in his defense and the management team has been silent.  The owner tries to maintain his ties with the fans and he can see that the fan base has become apathetic.  Apathy to me is a clear sign of deeper problems.  The General Manager is holding a “scheduled media availability session” today.  Didn’t that used to be called a “press conference”? 

When did we lose our ability to “call ’em as we sees ’em”? 

The Bible tells us in Amos chapter 3:

Witnesses against Guilty Israel

 3 Can two people walk together
      without agreeing on the direction?
 4 Does a lion ever roar in a thicket
      without first finding a victim?
   Does a young lion growl in its den
      without first catching its prey?
 5 Does a bird ever get caught in a trap
      that has no bait?
   Does a trap spring shut
      when there’s nothing to catch?
 6 When the ram’s horn blows a warning,
      shouldn’t the people be alarmed?
   Does disaster come to a city
      unless the Lord has planned it?

Sounds alot to me like we need to give things the “duck test”, that is “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck”.  

I was looking for some insight into the situation or for a feel for what is going on in Cleveland.  Despite having a pretty good feel by reading my favourite sports writers are saying, I searched for some Cleveland Brown blogs to try and get a feel for what others are saying about the situation.  I was directed to one blog that had no recent comments and was hosted by an organization “browns.scouts.com“.  The reason they had no comments is because they can find no one to moderate or write the blog.  Now that is apathy! 

Randy Lerner gets the message.  When he sees 40,000 empty orange seats by the end of the 3rd quarter, he gets the message.  They say there is no voting in Pro-Football.  Well I say there is and just like in other organizations, people vote with their fannies.  I look for plenty of votes this coming Sunday in Cleveland.  I have a couple of votes myself.  Let’s give this thing the duck test and see what the results are…

IDYBT, IMBO…

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Grab your blessings, one by one…

Gratitude can be hard to muster

For some of us, it’s a battle to have a truly grateful heart.

We can say all the right things, be properly thankful in public.

Thank God, the chemotherapy seemed to work. I’m now cancer free.

Thank God, after six months of looking for a job, I found one.

Thank God, I got up this morning in my right mind (at least, sort of) and I can walk and talk.

But sometimes there’s that voice in our heads….

It’s great that cancer has gone away, but why did I have to get cancer in the first place? I never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I just spent the last four months throwing up and losing my hair. Why did I have to go through that?

It’s terrific that I got another job, but why did I have to get laid off last year? I still like my old job better, and why did the company have to move to China?

It’s wonderful that I can still function, but why do I have to get old? Why does life seem to go by so fast?

Most of us don’t say these things, but the questions sometimes linger. It seems sinful (or at least ungrateful) to admit these thoughts exist.

That’s why I love the Book of Psalms. It contains honest prayers that can plead to God, vent frustrations and appeal for help to ease pain.

In Psalm 73, a man named Asaph writes, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles. Their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man…. ”

It goes on and on, with Asaph calling out to God in anger because it seemed like bad people were getting away with it, and he was having a rotten time.

As he wrote, “All day long I have been plagued, I have been punished every morning.”

Then he adds, “When I tried to understand this, it was oppressive to me.”

On Thanksgiving weekend, some of us may be feeling that way. We smile through the family gatherings, rave about the turkey, try to find some reason to be thankful.

It’s not all phony. We do appreciate the people — at least some of them. We do know how random good health appears, especially when it comes to things such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases.

I find it easy to be thankful for my job, that I can work for a newspaper that pays me well and gives me freedom to write about everything from sports to faith. I am especially thankful for the readers of my stories and my books.

My father worked in a food warehouse; my mother, in a bowling alley. I had part-time jobs at both places while in school. Many of my childhood friends now have middle-aged bodies that are worn down from decades of physical labor.

I’m truly thankful for my wife, not just for 29 years of marriage, but for 29 years of always knowing who is my best friend.

I really have been blessed, and I know it.

But at some point, most of us will look to the heavens and say, “God, I just don’t feel real thankful today.”

In Psalm 73, Asaph seems to talk himself into a thankful heart: “Yet, I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

He’s drawing gratitude from the hope of heaven. He’s urging God to give him courage: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.”

Nothing can wash away gratitude faster than being trapped by all the WHY questions. We know most of them can’t be answered. Life doesn’t always make sense. Our view of the world can be faulty, because we see it only through our eyes.

Those who seem to have the most grateful hearts seem to forever be thankful to God for the good things that happen, but don’t blame God for the bad. They don’t worry about the inconsistency of it, probably because they know they’ll never be able sort it all out anyway.

They just grab blessings wherever they can find them and give thanks. That’s the kind of heart that I want this Thanksgiving weekend.


Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com.

Standing with Others – today’s Blackaby devotional

You know it occurred to me.  I just love reading my two devotionals along with my other daily readings.   Some days they just reach out and grab you.  Other days they slap you across the face.  Some days I just don’t get it.  Those are the ones I try and tag and go back to another day.  A couple of years ago, less than one day apart, I was turned on to Oswald Chambers by two different brothers in the Lord, Jack Blayer and Rosco P. Hawkins.  Since that time I have read his devotional “My Utmost for His Highest” on a daily basis and have provided copies to several of my dearest brothers and sisters in the Lord. 

We read “Grace for the Moment” by Max Lucado for a couple of years and when looking for a new one the lady at Sounds-of-Light in Adrian suggested the Blackaby Devotional, “Experiencing God Day by Day”

“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10

“From the beginning of time, God made it clear that it is not good for His people to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God designed us to cooperate. Throughout the Scriptures He speaks of His people as a community that accomplishes more together than separately. God did not create us as isolated individuals, each seeking to achieve our own goals. Rather, the success of our endeavors depends upon our interdependence. This is why He established the Church and released His Holy Spirit to empower the community of believers to spread the gospel. We are to be a kingdom of priests (1 Pet. 2:9).

During difficult times it is critical that we are walking in fellowship with other Christians. When a crisis hits, it is overwhelming to face it alone. But if we have cultivated supportive friendships, we will find strength in the comfort and encouragement of those who care about us. Interdependence is also a safeguard for us when we are lured by temptation. The consistent testimony of those who have fallen to temptation is that they isolated themselves from other believers and were not held accountable by Christian friends.

If you are not a part of a caring community of believers, you are missing out on what God designed you for. You are also in danger of falling into sin. You must link your life with others who are seeking God’s will. Seek to be a person who willingly joins others in carrying out God’s assignments. Strive to be the source of support and encouragement that those around you need.”

You can learn more about Dr. Blackaby, his writings, and his ministry at www.blackaby.org, or write:

 So today I encourage you to be shallow and profound this day.  IDYBT, IMBO!!

Welcome to Flu Season (no, not Flue season)…

Flu season begins with preschoolers, study confirms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Preschoolers may signal the arrival of flu season: Thirty days after hacking 3- and 4-year-olds start showing up in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, flu-ridden adults follow.

It’s a provocative discovery sure to bolster growing calls to vaccinate more healthy children against influenza — to help keep the misery from spreading.

Moreover, researchers using a system that almost instantly tracks Boston-area health care found that a spike in respiratory illness among youngsters under 5 predicts that about five weeks later, influenza-related deaths among the elderly will peak.

The study doesn’t prove preschoolers actually drive each winter’s flu epidemic, just that they’re harbingers for waves of illness.

“What we think is most likely is that 3- and 4-year-olds are early spreaders of influenza because of the preschool setting,” said John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital of Boston and co-author of the new study.

Brownstein calls the close quarters of preschool and day care, full of kids who don’t yet cover their sneezes and are apt to pick their noses, “hotbeds of infection.”

Regular schools are too, caution other experts who cite evidence that school-age children may be the biggest influenza spreaders. Older children may have better hygiene, but the 5- to 18-year-old population is much larger and more active in the community, giving them greater contact with the elderly who are most vulnerable to influenza, explains flu specialist Ira Longini, a biostatistician at Emory University.

Consider:

Some 85% of school-age children in Tecumseh, Mich., were vaccinated just before the 1968 influenza pandemic, resulting in 67% less flu-like illness in that community than in a neighboring one.

Sea of Scarlett…

You know it occurred to me today.  I don’t think I know anybody that actually graduated from UM!

I know lots of people that either work there or follow their sports teams.  I am sure I must know someone who is  UM graduate.

 So please let me know!  I graduated from The Ohio State University in1980, just 9 short years after I graduated high school.  I enjoyed college I have lots of stories I could share and a few I would not.

So if you are a UM grad sign in!!  I declare you blessed today.  I must be off!!!

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