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Showing posts from 2013

Wal-Mart sucks and so do I

Like many people I know, I avoid shopping at Wal-Mart as much as possible. I loathe the dozens of cashier stations with typically just a small percentage open. I cringe at the thought of using the terrible self-service kiosks that always seem to crash when I use them while gleefully exclaiming, “item not found in bag” when I try to pay. Oh the agony.

Then of course there are the people of Wal-Mart. It seems the store brings in a lower class of poorly dressed and equally poorly behaved people shopping in pajamas, house shoes and no bras. Give me the high class folks of Target or a locally owned store any day.

Just other day the son and I were forced to shop in Wal-Mart together for an item that could not be found anywhere else. We bravely fought the holiday crowd while at the same time gaining great amusement feeling good about ourselves by making fun of the people in the store. Huh?

I was no further away from the store than the parking lot when the whole thing came crashing down on my h…

Thinking of texting and porn

Thanks to smart phones and tablets, our society is quickly moving through a technology motivated transformation with broad impacts. Most of these are positive with hyper-networking opening doors to community and innovation that would not have been possible even just a few years ago. I think most of us now take for granted the amount of information that is available at any given time right in the palm of our hand.

But with these changes have also come pitfalls as well and we should be ever on guard to ensure we embrace the positive side of technology rather than fall into a technological hole that will destroy us. Truly there is danger for it to take our lives, darken our souls, and destroy our families.

Am I being over dramatic?

Check out these facts about texting and driving. It seems more and more common to hear of accidents due to distracted drivers. Thankfully the wireless industry recognizes this problem and companies like Sprint are now offering tools to help.

Sprint Customers m…

Catching the right attitude

“The world is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts we can change the world” H.M. Tomlison



A funny thing about attitudes is that they are as contagious as colds. We truly tend to catch whichever one we surround ourselves with most. No one is immune. I have often found myself in a circle of negativity fully participating in the downtrodden conversation about how terrible this or that or him or she is. Soon thereafter upon reflection, I often end up feeling a genuine sense of shame that I chose to take part and more importantly chose to enable.

There was a day during my chemotherapy that served as perhaps the best reminder. I was sitting quietly in the waiting room before the start of my treatments when the nurse came in to get the gentleman sitting next to me. This guy was in obvious pain, poor health and was well advanced in age. The nurse asked, “How are you today?” Without missing a beat he replied, “Wonderful! My eyes opened this morning and the Lord has blessed me with…

The mountains are calling

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The mountains are calling…..
And I must go

I love this video from The North Face. Indeed there is something about the mountains and the outdoors that call your soul to return once you have experienced them up front and personal. I am not referencing the mountains seen from a car window or a condo but instead the kind that can only be experienced from a backwoods trail. Close my eyes and I can quickly return to a star filled night during the summer of 2012 sitting in a New Mexico mountain meadow in complete silence surrounded by nothing but nature. No machines, no electronics and even no animals. Simply silence.
It turns out you can have some pretty good talks with God when there are no distractions in your way and complete evidence of his glory surrounding you. Take such an outing with some youth and you will also be amazed to see the difference hardship, fun and learning while breathing in some clean mountain air will make. It clears the mind and it clears the soul.

Months later you wi…

Praying for the future Mrs Copeland

Conner is 16 now and it seems lately I have been thinking more and more about his future. What kind of man will he be? How will he do in college? Will his dream of becoming a petroleum engineer come true? Will he go on to have a big house, nice car and fat bank account?

That stuff is all well and good but the bottom line really is that I just want him to be a Godly man and happy person no matter what path he takes to get there. I also hope that he is blessed to find a great woman to be his wife and partner through life’s journey. It is kind of surreal to think that his future wife is out there now. This week she will go to class, hang out with friends and I am sure spend a bunch of time texting. She is also daily making choices and developing relationship skills that will impact her and Conner’s future. The teen years are the most formative in determining who we become in the future. Right now she is learning what it means to be part of a family.Her parents could be married, they coul…

Fighting the numbness of frequency

Have you ever fallen into the frequency trap? So much of life is a simple matter of routine. Same drive to work. Same people surrounding you. Same church on Sunday, Same chicken dinner every Tuesday and on and on and on it goes.

Frequency creates numbness to our surroundings and often to our life. To break free, many people end up seeking a rush hoping to escape and find excitement. This can be positive with goals to learn new skills, go on a special trip, try that food that cannot be pronounced, start that devotional, go for that dream job. Of course there are unhealthy ways to break out that often lead to debt, distress and even divorce. Getting un-numb productively takes work but most of all takes awareness. It seems too often that we take for granted those things that are frequent. The seemingly mundane can be our best window to happiness if we simply take a moment to realize these are the moments that truly make our lives meaningful. There is no need to go jump out of a plane or r…

Get your but out of my way

Years ago I used to facilitate a course that had a section about attitude. I began the session with a little exercise with the folks in pairs to share a story. The conversation had to be about a plan for the future and for round one no matter what person #1 shared the second person was to respond “yes but!”
“I am really looking forward to the weekend with my family”
Yes but it looks like it is going to rain all weekend so you will not be able to do much.”
“My son is doing great is school right now”
Yes but you know college is going to be super expensive and most likely he will struggle to get a job when/if he graduates.”
The round two response had to be a positive “yes and
“I am really looking forward to the weekend with my family”
Yes and with the rain you could play some really fun board games with great conversations.”
“My son is doing great in school right now”
Yes and that is a terrific indicator of a positive future ahead.”
You kind of get the idea huh? The point of the conversation…

On Conner turning 16

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As far as birthdays go there are few more memorable than sixteen. It is more than just a number as it represents a new freedom to roam and a giant step to independence thanks to the all-important driver’s license and access to a vehicle.

Conner reached this milestone and began his junior year of high school on the same day last week. That is a pretty good day by any measure.

His excitement level reminded me somewhat sadly of those giddy days of old when a $3 Star Wars toy or a pirate birthday party would bring boundless energy of anticipation. I made a point to be home for that moment when with the new freedom card in hand he drove off alone for the first time. Certainly a big part of his childhood was left behind in the driveway as he cruised away music cranked and smile wide. Meanwhile back at home his mother and I shared a hug as we too acknowledged that our lives had at the same time had just changed into a new stage of parenting and of being with each other.

Just less than two yea…

Welcome back to me

It is hard to believe it has been almost nine months since my last blog post here. I seem to be suffering from a lack of inspiration as a result of extreme work and life busyness. January has somehow suddenly rolled into August and we are just days away from our son turning 16 and starting the first day of his junior year of high school.I started this year with grand ambitions of goals to be met and instead found myself faced with many obstacles that I have yet to determine an effective strategy to overcome. Basically, it became a year that had to be dedicated to work success at a high intensity level requiring hours of extra time. I am thankfully succeeding in this area. Looking back, I do not regret the choices I have made. Looking forward I know that it is time to return to balance and regain control of things through effectively managing priorities. That is my commitment. That is my choice.

S.T.O.P

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In my role as a Scout volunteer, I recently had chance to learn a little about techniques to use in a crises situation as part of the Wilderness Survival merit badge. There was something about the STOP model in the training that struck me as valuable for my personal life as well.

The point of the discussion was that often when people get lost there is panic which in turn ends up making the situation worse. There are many examples of people that in crises decided to blaze a way out of danger situations by panicking and running through the woods. These folks soon find themselves in even more despair, lost and alone.

I realize now that I often make this same error as a parent, husband and manager. Like many others, I see a problem and I want to immediately jump to a solution. Men are notorious about solution jumping when our wives bring a problem.

How different might the outcome be however if I simply followed this model instead.

Sit=Find some time alone in a quiet place to…

Think=W…