Archive for April, 2007

Ohio Boy Makes Good…(finally)

quinn.jpg

You know it occurred to me, something has to go right for the Browns sooner or later.   Tony Dungy finally won the big game.  The Boston Red Sox finally won a World Series.  The Cubs will win one too, one day. quinny.jpg

Today finally went well for Brady Quinn too.  Brady had heard all the hype as a surefire top five pick if not THE top overall pick.  All the ESPN cameras on him as he sat through the first 9 picks undrafted.  Surely he would go to Miami the experts said.  The finally shuttled him off the set to a hurriedly set up respite place for this young man as his stock rapidly fell through teams that did not need a QB. 

I have not been this excited since I predicted one year in advance (you can ask my daughter Lisa) that the Browns would take Tim Couch #1 overall in the 1999 draft.  Or maybe since the Browns stole Bernie Kosar in the controversial 1985 supplemental draft.  Well some things work out better than others.  In the late 1980’s I actually thought that Bernie would have a longer, better career than John Elway because he relied on his wits and savvy rather than his legs like Elway did.  Like I said, you get some right, and you get some wrong.

I would not have been surprised nor disappointed had the Browns taken Brady Quinn with the 3rd overall choice.  I was pleased with the selection of Joe Thomas as the #3 overall choice (finally an offensive lineman in an early round) but to add Quinn literally brought tears to my eyes.  Immediately my phone rang and it was Lisa wanting to get my take on the pick of Quinn.  I gathered my emotions and share my excitement.  Oh yea by the way she got the job in Baltimore and yada yada but what about the BROWNS!

What a day for sports hibernation!  The CAVS are coming on in a few minutes, ready to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first round series with the Wizards and getting ready for the eventual rematch with the Pistons.  The Wings are tied at 2 in the 3rd period with the Sharks.  The Byron Nelson is on too! 

It has been a productive day too!  Been doing a little pruning!!  Cutting off some dead wood. 

Well, is it Sept 9th yet?  Bring on the Steelers! Here we go Brownies, Here we go.  Go Browns, Pittsburgh sucks.

 Well, I must be off!

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Sometimes its better to pause…

By Terry Pluto, Beacon Journal columnist

A few hours after her husband’s funeral, she had the urge to rearrange the furniture in the house. She talked to her children about some other projects.

“I told my mom just to wait,” said Paul Sartarelli. “She wanted to sell the car. She had just been through a battle with cancer with him, and it’s like she lost control of her life for a while. Now, she wanted to get it back.”

Sartarelli is a pastor at The Chapel and says it’s very hard for some of us to wait. Psalm 46:10 reads: “Be still and know I am God.” But being still often feels like giving up.

“There are times when we just aren’t capable of making good decisions,” he said. “You can make a terrible one just trying to find something to make you feel like you’re getting your life back.”

But the longer we live, often the more we lose.

“That’s why grief is very powerful, but it’s also one of the most off-limits subjects in America,” said Bishop Joey Johnson of the House of the Lord. “In this country, we are just supposed to keep acquiring things. When we lose something, we are told to just swallow it and move on.”

We can move in the wrong direction.

My mother died of a heart attack in 1984. Within a year, my father had moved to Florida. Other than my brother, the rest of our family was in the Cleveland/Akron area. I now sense he wanted me to tell him to wait before moving, but I refused to give him any advice.

Florida was OK for him, but I always believed he would have been happier had he stayed in Northeast Ohio closer to family and friends. But he wanted to do something…

“Sometimes, it comes out in anger,” said Johnson, a certified grief counselor. “We want to sue the doctors. We want to get back at someone who we think cost us our job. We get angry, and we don’t even know why.”

That often happens when someone is divorced.

“They talk about the fear of being alone,” Sartarelli said. “But it’s more than that. Some people hate to be considered the victim of divorce.”

That’s because you start to think people are feeling sorry for you because your spouse took off with someone else. In most divorces, someone feels rejected, and there’s a temptation to find someone who will love you again — and make you feel that you’re worth being loved.

As Johnson said, that’s why so many poor decisions are made when it comes to second and third marriages. Most surveys reveal that 43 percent to 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. For second marriages, it’s 63 percent to 70 percent, according to Divorce Magazine and other sources.

The magazine also reported that the average person remarries within three years of being divorced. Johnson believes many people need counseling, and he likes the Grief Recovery Program that comes through Summa hospitals and is at his church and elsewhere.

“If you bring all this unresolved pain of a first marriage into a second marriage, how is that going to work?” he asked.

“A lot of us are afraid to be in-between, sort of a no-man’s land,” Sartarelli said. “It’s not just with marriage. I have a friend who is leaving one job, and he’s getting a nice settlement. He’s taking the first offer that came by. Not only do I think he’s unsuited for it, but so does his wife.”

Isaiah 30:18 reads: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for him.”

But waiting can lead to us feeling forgotten, unloved.

People ask, “What are you going to do next?”

If we answer, “I don’t know,” we sound like a fuzzy-brained dolt.

If we say, “I’m waiting on God to show me,” we sound like a Holier Than Thou.

I recently met a lady whose left arm was in a sling. It was broken and required surgery. Her legs were bruised. It is a tough time, especially because she is leaving one job and trying to figure out what she should do next.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to work again,” she said. “But I’m not sure when. What I have learned is I’ve got to heal first; nothing else matters right now.”

It’s not just good advice, it’s godly advice.


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.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water?
Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE
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Isn’t making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?

 

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 If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea…does that mean that one enjoys it?

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There are three religious truths:  
a. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
b.. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith.
c. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or at Hooters.

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 If people from Poland are called Poles, then why aren’t people from Holland called Holes?
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 If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

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Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety-one?

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 If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

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 If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?

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 Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?

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 What hair color do they put on the driver’s licenses of bald men?

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 I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me…they’re cramming for their final exam.
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 If it’s true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?
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You never really learn to swear well until you learn to drive.

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Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn’t zigzag?
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If a cow laughed really hard, would milk come out of her nose?

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Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

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As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice: When you put the two words “The” and “IRS” together, it spells “THEIRS”?

Will you pass the TV Test?

Test your private acts by imagining them public.

I  receive e-mails from people wanting advice.

Often, I have no clue what they should do, because sometimes I have no clue what I should do.

Some people say, “That’s easy, just look to the Scriptures.”

Certainly the Bible supplies general guidance about everything from money to sex to gossip, but there are still times when it’s not clear what decision is best.

God’s will can seem elusive in our everyday choices, too.

That’s when I use the TV test.

I ask myself, “If this were shown on television, would I be embarrassed?”

Not sure if you should go to that bar? To that dance? To that person’s house where you could end up in a compromising position?

Just ask yourself the TV question, and you’ll probably get a decent answer.

When I’m on the computer, I ask myself: “Would I be OK if my wife was sitting here next to me when I’m on this Web site?”

That brings immediate clarity.

I use the same question when I’m watching TV and she’s not there. I give it the Roberta test. Some men who travel put a picture of their kids next to the hotel room TV set. The message is loud, without anyone saying a word.

If the kids were with Dad, could they watch this program with him? That certainly keeps we men who travel away from most of the pay movies and from a lot of the late-night premium channels.

For some women, the question would be, “How would my husband, my boyfriend, my best friend feel about me taking part in this chat room?”

Or suppose a phone conversation was played over the radio. Would I be OK with the content if everyone heard it?

Confession time: I struggle with my language. St. Paul told the Romans, “What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.”

That’s me in several areas of my life, including my vocabulary. It’s been cleaned up a lot, and I don’t take God’s name in anger, but I still can be stunned at some of the words coming from my mouth.

I also duel with gossip. I’m in the news business. Perhaps a dozen times a day, someone asks: “What do you hear?” The Indians want to trade for a certain player, or the Browns are close to drafting someone — that’s information.

But sometimes I hear things about the personal lives of athletes and coaches. I have no idea if they are true. I try to sometimes stop people in the middle of a story when it’s obvious where it’s going — and it’s just character assassination disguised as passing along information.

I just say, “That’s OK, I get the point,” and try to change the subject.

But there’s a side of me that finds it tempting to believe the worst about most people. Yet, I expect them to believe the best about me.

Doesn’t exactly line up.

I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “I’ve heard Pluto talk, and believe me, he’s not afraid to rip someone.”

So true, and I’m not proud of it. When I criticize someone, I want to take issue with the action, not the person. A smart guy can make a very dumb trade. That doesn’t make him a moron.

I recently listened to a CD of a sermon by Mike Breaux, a pastor from Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago. It was part of a series he did about figuring out God’s will for our life. He said God is more concerned with the person we are and what we are doing rather than where we are doing it.

In real estate, it’s all about location.

In life, it’s about character.

The idea is when we go to work on ourselves in a godly way, life tends to work out better. Not easier, just wiser.


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.

`I’m sorry’ doesn’t fix everything…

By Terry Pluto, Beacon Journal columnist

Ever have people say to you, “Well, I said I was sorry?”

They may not have sounded very sorry. Or perhaps, they truly were sorry. But does saying you’re sorry automatically make everything OK?

I know I want it to, at least when I’m the guy asking to be forgiven.

Several years ago, I broke the confidence of a friend.

While I apologized both on the phone and in a letter, our relationship has never quite been the same. It lacked the depth that it had before I failed to keep a certain piece of information to myself.

I don’t blame him for not trusting me quite as he did before.

That is not a sign of unforgivingness. I’m sure he has forgiven me. But there is part of him that is very careful about what he says in front of me. I wish it were otherwise, but it’s a consequence of my actions.

I know a man who had an affair many years ago. After much prayer, tears and counseling, his wife took him back and their marriage is restored. But one of the keys is he makes sure his wife always knows where he is and what he’s doing.

Rather than say in an accusing tone, “Don’t you trust me?” he gives her reasons to trust him. He uses his cell phone to be accountable to her. He walks the talk of his apology. Year by year, his marriage is returning to what it was before he cheated. And she doesn’t throw his past into his face because she can see his behavior has changed.

Too many people think we can apologize and then go back to business as usual.

Christian counselor and author Lynette Hoy wrote an article in Women Today magazine where she said, “There are consequences which sometimes can’t be and shouldn’t be removed when we forgive…. Forgiveness does not cancel out all consequences.”

Hoy cited a book called Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall. The book mentions the most extreme case of a woman who was sexually assaulted and she opposed the early release of the rapist. I know of people who were sexually abused as children, and have forgiven the abuser — but don’t want their children around the abuser.

A few friends lately are dealing with having an addict in the family who is stealing from them. Yes, he needs a place to stay. Yes, they have forgiven him. But no, they don’t have to allow him back in the house — at least not until he’s been clean for several years.

As Hoy also wrote, “Forgiveness does not mandate that you trust all people on the same level.”

It’s easy for most of us to understand that concept when applying it to someone who hurt us. But when we’re the person who offended someone else, we have to accept that.

Odds are the relationship that I had with the person whose trust I broke will mean that our dealings will be very casual, lacking the depth of the past. It took me a couple of years to figure that out, and then to realized it’s the consequence of my own actions.

It’s a harsh verse that’s often quoted from Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reap what he sows.”

The point is God can forgive us. Others can forgive us. But if we borrowed money from someone, apologizing for not paying it back isn’t enough. We need to work out a repayment plan and stick to it. Feeling forgiven means wanting to pay it back — and forward to someone else. It’s why so many former alcoholics and addicts become effective in helping others battle addictions.

In Luke 17, a crooked tax collector named Zacchaeus is so moved by the acceptance and forgiveness extended him by Jesus that he proclaims, “Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor. If I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Someone once said, “Being truly sorry means being sorry enough to change.” I try to remind myself of that when I need to apologize.


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.