Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The ABCs of Thanksgiving

A - Apartment Life and Alpharetta, GA
B - Bunkbeds, Bible Study, and Braves Games
C - Computers and Chick-fil-a
D - Dunkin Doughnuts: "smooth" coffee
E - Etowa: little "m" born
F - Fifteen - hundred square feet: Seven Pines Apartment Complex (no rent)
G - Grandparents
H - Health
I - Ipoletos
J - the John's Sunday school class
K - Kohl's cash: they keep sending us free money :)
L - Leadership Development: staff of six and senior leadership
M - Marta: runs all the way to the airport
N - No: to tv, it's a time chewer with nothing to show for it
O - Ocean: I love beach vacations - Thankful that the Paschal's have this in their blood
P - PCBC and the preschool ministry: the kids love church
Q - Quiet Life: a much simpler season of life
R - Reinsel: have learned a lot of leadership and people skills from MJR
T - Talladega & Twisted Taco: one was free and the other one comes with chips
U - Uncle David
V - Vance and Susan Garison: young married class
W - Wednesday night church: opportunity to teach after a six month hiatus - "God can use me, but He doesn't need me!"
X - Chi: Christ, where the source of all joy is found
Y - Yes: to extra time off the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas - Indy trips
Z - Zero: the amount that I miss dark, cold days!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Presidents: General Andrew Jackson - "Old Hickory"

The 7th President of the United States, General Andrew Jackson was to say the least colorful. Jackson was first and foremost a soldier who whether on the battle field or the political stage led boldly with his emotions. A passionate man, Jackson was tempered by his loyalty to family, friends, and faith (Presbyterian by birth - became more centric later in life). To most Jackson alluded a charming and charismatic personality, but those who stood in his way knew Jackson's unrelenting fury and were viewed by Jackson as enemies who must be crushed or vanquished!

Jackson believed that he represented "the people," and for better or worse Jackson saw himself as the supreme representative of the people - a paradigm shift in political thinking. This coupled with the spoils system was the single greatest impact Jackson's Presidency brought to the American political life!

Jackson's life reflected a life of extremes. "The good" of Jackson's Presidency, which were aided by his unbending will, was his thwarting of the Nullification Process (Jackson's foes: Calhoun and Clay) - South Carolina's power struggle with Jackson over the issue of state vs. federal power - the rumbling before the outbreak of the civil war. Abraham Lincoln would ultimately quote Jackson to validate his pro-union position. Jackson was a staunch believer in the United State's policy of Manifest Destiny. While most of his contribution to this end was accomplished as a military man - Jackson fought in the Revolutionary War, the Seminole War, and the Battle of 1812 where he was the triumphant victor at battle field of New Orleans - his Presidency reinforced the prevailing attitude of the day.

While not apparent during his lifetime, history would look back on the removal of the Native American as "the bad" of Jackson's presidency. Jackson has the distinction of being the first President to face an assassination attempt (there have been 10 attempts to kill Presidents; 4 have been fatal; there have been 44 Presidents; I don't think I want to be President!).

"The ugly" of the Jacksonian life can all be tied to Jackson's female relationships. His mom died do to a cholera epidemic during the Revolutionary War; Jackson blamed the British. His wife Rachel, is suspected to have died from the rigors of campaign trail rife with personal attack and animosity; Jackson never forgave those that defamed him (Jackson fought 13 duels primarily over honor in which he took several bullets and killed one man). His need for family drove Jackson to surround himself by his protegees and their wives which would eventually lead to the "petticoat affair;" in response Jackson disbanded his first cabinet.

Loathed by his enemies and loved by his friends. Jackson's Presidency and era were an age defined by American military accomplishments and expansion. Driven by Jackson's will and reflecting his personality, America embodied the persona of its self viewed father figure. It was truly, the age of Jackson!

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
- Jon Meacham

Talladega, AL

What do Indiana, Florida, and Alabama all have in common? Give up?
Super Speedways - enormous races tracks to be exact!

My memories of automotive racing are fond ones. My grandparents lived in Speedway, Indiana, home to the worlds "greatest spectacle in racing!" As a kid I had been to several Indy qualification days, the race itself, and even had the privilege to sell candy bars for little league baseball to drunk fans after the race (would have made a lot more if I was selling beer). During high school I attended the first inaugural Brickyard 500 but with all of this past racing history somehow I have never become a avid racing fan.

This is not the case for my dad! Who would want you to know that NASCAR stands for "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing" not "Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks." From the pictures showing my dad kissing the start finish line, it would appear that at some point during my college years, my dad become NASCAR fanatic!! For this reason and this reason only I had him fly in this last weekend to head to Talladega. Apparently the only place on earth where it is kosher to invoke the name of Jesus at the end of a prayer after having belted out a
Sweet Home Alabama - what's Lynyrd Skynyrd got against vowels anyway!? Since Lynyrd decided to be short on vowel's I will attempt to be short on words.

Our day in phrases:

"You can't buy these tickets!"
- in answer to what tickets would normally cost
"Your parking space is right under your seats below the track inside the gates."
"The pits and garages open at 8."
- we had passes to both
"Remember this when you finalize your will." - me to dad as he inspected Jeff Gordon's car
"This isn't racing; it's Talladega!
"I got a great deal on these 2 seats, $375!" - the guy sitting next to us
"Gentleman, start your engines!"
"If you got it this far, I'm not going to stop you!" - the security guard in reference to our 2 over-sized cooler housing our lunch and tasty snacks, a polish sausage was $8!!

Ok, so maybe this hiatus to "Dega" wasn't just for my dad! After all our seats were the Presidential seats from which we had a bird's eye view of the entire track and the opportunity to watch 44 very loud stock-cars riding each others bumpers for 500 miles only comes around (the track) 188 times once a year! Dad, I guess this means your buying Daytona?!