Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Busyness: the state of not having your priorities where they should be.


The whirlwind we call life......



Here in the South, we have historically always known that wasting time had nothing to do with sitting on the porch swing.  When they say that things move at a slower pace down here, that has always been by design.  Until recent years, Southerners have kept certain aspects of life as a priority.  When I was kid, "visiting" was a thing.  Sunday afternoons were spent with loved ones.  A phone call was not the proper way to check up on somebody who was sick.     


Often I have attempted to admonish others to use time wisely.    To make the most of life while you can.  

I have spent many years living caught up in this whirlwind we call life.  Often I felt that if I was not being productive, that I was somehow less successful.  I understand.  I get it.  We all find ourselves wrapped up in trying to make the most of our time. Our priorities seem to be: To pay bills, to put food on the table, to buy the latest and greatest cell phone, or to buy more stuff,  more stinking stuff....... Recent events in my life have caused me to take heed to my own words, to explore more, to hug longer, to listen often, and to simply make time for people.  Time is the single most valuable part of our life. For many years I have told people to always remember that "We are only as busy as we allow ourselves to be".  Unfortunately, most of the time this was used out of selfish ambition to convince some unwary soul to venture off on a particularly difficult hike or paddle trip or some other off the wall place that I wanted to explore.  You see, "I'm too busy" is the standard go to excuse.  Somehow, I just always knew that one shouldn't always put making money as top priority. 

Busyness is nothing more than having your priorities misplaced.  In the end, we will never wish that we had spent one more day at the office nor a little more time mowing grass.  Carve out margin in your life to spend a few more minutes with your loved ones.  Place that work email on hold to call your college buddies.  Let that dang grass grow a little taller in trade for a few extra stories told over a cup of coffee with friends.  The time we have is borrowed.  Our lives are made richer by the adventures lived and the ones we share them with.  So if you find yourself in conversation with me and I tend to stick around a bit longer, to hug instead of just shake hands, or to just show up out of the blue, you should just know that I have a renewed spirit of how to spend the time that I have borrowed and that you are part of it.  

  Fill your life with adventure and people, not work and things.  

Monday, January 21, 2019

Today's carry 1/21/19

Today's carry knives,  I know, quite a difference in styles. 

I suppose that in the grand scheme of things,  they both are cut from the same cloth.


 I'm going to be brief.  Lots of work still to be done on this cold day. 

Both knives and people follow a similar path in that we all have unique talents endowed to us.  It is  only in the real world, where put our abilities to the test, that we develop an appreciation for our differences.    I am certainly no elitist when it comes to my knives.  These two knives that I am carrying today are very different in origin,  function,  and form.  They both play an important role in this world.   The old Kabar folder has probably seen more of this world than I, and been through much.  It holds a traditional, almost elegant, mystique that has developed quite a following.   The folding sheffield razor knife is a sort of new breed if you will.  Always sharp (cause you can just swap the blade in an instant).  Built certainly for function over form.  Though quite different,  they both can get the job done.  We may have varied tastes and opinions,  but when it comes right down to it, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

Learn to appreciate the unique differences of this world and apply it to your life.



Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  

JEJ

Non nobis Domine

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Masculinity In A World Gone Mad

Due to my recent blog post The kind of men who carry pocket knives , I have received some negative feedback, messages, and comments  accusing me of glorifying masculinity. I am thick skinned so it doesn’t bother me too much.  If they had said I am an awful writer, poor with grammar, or even dim witted, I could get along with it, but calling me a misogynist is simply where I draw the line.  What it did positively for me was bring me to the thought of what is masculinity?


The article didn’t compare carrying a knife with masculinity as one message suggested.  It didn’t say that women couldn’t or shouldn’t carry. It was simply about the historical and cultural significance of The kind of men who carry pocket knives.  I am sorry if it came off in a negative way. However, I am not sorry that it is written about men who are willing to keep a versatile tool with them at all times.  I am not sorry that it was written about their willingness to fix what is broken. I am not sorry that it was written about men that are willing to help others.  I am not sorry that it was written about MEN!


Recent events with the likes of Roy Moore, Brett Kavanaugh, #metoo, “baby it’s cold outside”, etc.  have brought with them a flood of negative narratives towards men. It seems that masculinity is under fire.  All things masculine. I was ready to fire back!


Gillette recently released an ad about hyper-masculinity.    This Gillette ad has stirred quite a bit of emotion recently.  Until today my only exposure was listening to a couple talk show hosts bash the ad and talk about how it was a seemingly ridiculous idea to trash their target customers.  At first I was ready to jump in with them with angst, to stand up for men everywhere. While I’m not terribly keen on bashing men, I don't think anyone should get a free pass either.  As every man should do, I decided to check it out for myself and formulate my own opinion.  I watched it, then I watched it again. I didn’t see the reasoning behind the uproar. In fact, I liked it! It seems that the same people who are upset about this are the ones that don’t like my pocket knife either.   



“The Best A Man Can Get”  What a statement.  Or is it an admonishment? Shouldn’t we hold each other accountable? 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17) .    

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things  (Philippians 4:8).


The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts (Marcus Aurelius).  


Do I agree with every word of the ad? Of course not.


Do I think we as men should shun all things masculine?  Absolutely not!


Am I proud to be a man who will stand strong in a world gone mad?  You betcha!


A “REAL” man will stand up for what is right!
I am not ashamed of being a man, nor all things masculine that go along with that! It is who I was made to be. My mission is truly that I may be able help develop the same sense of masculinity in my son and in the men that I choose to surround myself with.   Genesis 1:27, 31 tells us, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (NIV).


Stand up for what is right! Be prepared to take care of things yourself! Take the time to fix it right!



Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  


JEJ

Non nobis Domine

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Local Diners and Overalls

In the heart of most every southern town is an almost daily "meeting of the minds".   

This morning as I sat eating breakfast in the company of good friends and strangers, I began to look around and take note.  Through the clatter of dishes, the laughter,  and  the old men arguing I began to see another tradition that seems to be fading away.    Almost daily, men and women gather around tables, booths, and counters all over the land to discuss the weather,  politics,  religion,  high school sports,  and  anything else that makes good gossip.   I  love it!  Often the faces of those who gather are wrinkled and worn, but sometimes they are pierced and tattooed.   Either way,  I guess they gather because they have learned the secret to  the local diner.   It is here that lies are told,  legends are made, and lives are filled. 





If you seldom take part in your local "meeting of the minds", maybe you should.  The topics may not be relevant,  the stories may not be be new, but one thing is for sure, the heartbeats of the ones there are much stronger when a new face takes interest in what they have to say.

Seek out your local diner. Spend a little time there in conversation with the old man in overalls,  with the kid wearing baggy pants,  with the guy in the cowboy hat, and don't forget to talk with the ones serving all this madness.  Whether you fit in with the late night after-ballgame crowd,  the early morning coffee sippers, or the lunchtime gathering,  it is at the local diner that you will find a wisdom deeper than the words that you will hear.  


I'm afraid  one of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming that others think the same way we think. Young or old,  we were made for interacting with each other.   It seems the less we get to know our neighbors,  the less we know ourselves.   


Just my ramblings for the day,  JEJ




Going out today!



Non nobis Domine



Monday, January 14, 2019

Today's carry

Just thought I would share today's carry.   Someone is going to get a leatherman micra today. 

Non nobis Domine

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The best view comes after the hardest climb


"The best view comes after the hardest climb"




This old photo from 10 years ago was taken shortly after a difficult climb both physically and mentally. Many times in life it's easy to give in, to back off, or simply walk away. I have always believed that overcoming obstacles and adversity are what makes the journey more memorable. 

Now this spot was not that high in altitude. It didn't overlook some grand valley, nor some beautiful lake. I have driven in an automobile to scenic overlooks where the view was beautiful, but few are etched into my mind like the ones that appear after hours of difficulty on the trail. Ahh, those are the sweet ones. The ones that the memory clings to. 

Our lives are filled with trials and tribulations, and it is in those moments of determination where we have to dig deep, that is where we find the "best views". 

Persevere in your struggle. The view will be worth it.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Kind Of Men Who Carry A Pocket Knife

The Kind Of Men Who Carry A Pocket Knife



Less than 40 years have passed and I am astonished to see how the times have changed since my father bought this knife for me as just a small boy. I do still have it, which by today’s standards is an anomaly. I’ll leave the discussion of our throwaway culture for another time.




Yes, this pocket knife has witnessed many changes in our society. Technology, communication, transportation, and even education have dramatically changed from the way it was just a generation ago. My pocket knife and I are neither quite certain if all the changes have been for the good. When I look across the landscape of America and take note of the differences, the greatest change that I see is in the people themselves.




Growing up in rural Northeast Alabama in the foothills of the Appalachians, I was privileged to catch the tale end of what was an era marked by ruggedness and self-sufficiency. I grew up around men that were willing to fix what was broken and take the time to do it right. My father was a Vietnam veteran and the product of growing up farming the hills of these same mountains where I was raised. He always carried a small pocket knife much like the one pictured. He had an affinity for Case knives, but would carry the occasional “Old timer” or “Buck” or even “Schrade”. One thing was for sure, that he had one with him, wherever he was.  You could also be pretty sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would bleed.   Now that's pretty sharp....    The pocket knife was an important part of his life. Whether it was to slice a freshly picked apple, or to cut some twine, (coincidentally twine can patch most any broken farm implement until you can get home) he was always prepared. At Christmas time, my father always had his knife waiting to help open those pesky gifts that needed cutting open as only a father can do best.




My father was not the only man in my young life that I watched wield his trusty 3 bladed pocket knife as if it was a surgeon's scalpel. My uncles, my friend’s dads, my bosses, they all carried pocket knives. I watched. I learned. I saw a resourcefulness in the these men, that is seldom seen today. For my father and so many others of a generation gone by, a pocket knife was an essential tool for daily life. The men who carry pocket knives are hardworking, do it yourselfer types, who were raised to rely on themselves and be prepared in nearly every situation. I have seen a pocket knife start a tractor, remove a splinter, slice a watermelon, carve a toy, and open a can. They have been used to clean wild game, cut gum/tar out of hair, sharpen a pencil, cutting fishing bait, and teaching responsibility. The list goes on and on. The uses of the pocket knife are as varied and strong as the men who use them.




I adopted this tool at a very early age as one that would always be at my side. A pocket knife has always been a part of who I am. So much so that I was almost offended when I would encounter a grown man who didn’t have one in his own pocket. I took it upon myself in my 20’s to start gifting knives. Sometimes to random strangers, sometimes to close friends. The conversation would generally start by asking if I could borrow someone’s knife, knowing full well that I had 2 in my own pocket. If the answer was a proud “why sure”, then I would gladly take the knife and inspect it for its level of wear as an indicator of how much work it had actually seen. Often paying a simple compliment as I return the knife. If the answer was that they didn’t have a knife to let me borrow, I would quickly reach into my pocket and deliver one to their hand along with a reference to the fact that every man should carry a knife. To date, I have given out somewhere north of 300 knives.




So, who are the kind of men who carry pocket knives today? They are typically utilitarian. They are the type of men who work hard for a living, fix what is broken, and stand fearless in the face of a world full of evil. To put it simply, they are the type of men that I feel this world needs more of.




If you find yourself in a tight spot and need some help, just ask the guy with the pocket knife. Although they are few are far between these days, chances are he can and will be able to lend a hand.







I carry, do you? JEJ





Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  

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