Saturday, October 7, 2017

Looking Back From Retirement

Life is always interesting.  On the first of February 2016 I retired.  Since then I have read a lot, relaxed and did a little adjunct teaching.  I have been teaching for over 20 years, and it is always a challenge!  Each time I have to figure out what my students bring to my class and try to provide some of the wisdom I've gained earning a BSc, MSc, M.E.Ch.E. and Ph.D. , not to mention a number of additional miscellaneous courses.  Most of the time I teach at the very bottom entry level, so motivation is mixed. 

Even high motivation isn't enough if it is not coupled with discipline.  I was fortunate to go to a school where I had to figure out how to be efficient and effective early on. I took 22.5 hours the first semester, and 26 the second.  I needed to overload to complete my major, and to have a chance to have some choice in a couple of extra courses.  Nowadays students take a maximum of 15 hours, so I have a little trouble understanding why they can't keep up with the class.

I was also reflecting on my last year at work.  I realize that circumstances made me less than useful to the organization, even with my knowledge, skills, and network.  When people know you are leaving, you become a non-person.  I had that happen a couple of times in my career, and it was very painful.  I also realized that I felt significant anomie as I was ungraciously swept out of the organization.  The upshot was that it really was time for me to move on and retire.  So -- no regrets!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life's Turnings

On Monday I am facing a layoff at work. I may find myself moving into retirement a little earlier than I expected. I have realized I am probably not cut out to be a consultant. I don't have the energy I had earlier in my life. My stroke in 2004 has taken some of the wind out of my sails.
If I am not chosen for the layoff, some of my friends will be leaving me. In any case my work environment is truely changing. I have been asking the Lord to guide me, and He has given me great peace about this. Whatever happens, I will not be begging bread.
I do wish I had some of this wisdom earlier in my life when I faced some very difficult times. I did put my trust in the Lord, but before the stroke I didn't really understand how faithful He was, or how He would put people in my life to truely bless me.
Thank you Lord for your steadfastness!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Children bring humility

My darling oldest daughter has started blogging. I'm learning her perspective on a number of things that until I read the blogs, I viewed differently. Being a parent is humbling. My desire for my children was that they be competent, caring contributing people, and so they are. I weep when I read that my wounds were truly stumbling blocks for them.

I know that my parents loved me, but they like me weren't very good at loving. In their own stumbling way they tried to help me avoid the errors of their lives. Like me they over-corrected and caused me to have a false view of my self.

I don't think my father ever had an honest discussion with my granddad. As a result his way to deal with me was the way of command. I don't think he ever realized what a lifelong curse that was. I have not felt comfortable confronting my management in an appropriately humble and sincere way. In order to confront, I have had to stir myself to anger, which has ended up with no-one listening, no-one hearing. As Paul said in Colossians 3:21 "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged". Discouraged I was for most of my life, never expecting to actually be heard.

This the Father of Lies has used to keep me discouraged. I have bosses tell me all kinds of discouraging things, many of which told me how I felt or how my method of approaching a problem wasted a lot of time. This was pretty painful, as I was solving problems that had escaped solutions by others with more education and experience.

If my children should ever have children, I hope their lives will learn from my experience, and know that they are loved not only by their Mom and I, but by a truly Awesome God who doesn't have to stumble over the wounds that have kept me from being the father I truly wished to be.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A white Christmas in 2010

It has been a while, but after returning from a beautiful white Christmas in New England, I felt compelled to reflect on the first reading for Sunday, December 26th.

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays he is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
-- a house raised in justice to you.

This seems to be also connected to what the Lord spoke when speaking about marriage as recorded in Mark 10:708

This is why a man leaves his father and mother,
and the two become one flesh. They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh.

In this respect, blessings come from honoring your father and mother. You cannot honor one and dishonor the either. Dishonor to either is dishonor to both. Being unloving of either is being unloving of both. Being unforgiving of either is being unforgiving to both. Note that the blessings in Sirach do not ask the father or mother to be worthy of honor and respect, even when the mind fails, the duty to respect and honor does not.

It was very proper that the homily that followed this talked about loving and forgiving in families. While families can be the place for greatest support, they may be the place of greatest hurt. That is why Gods Loveletter to us, His Word, talks about honor and respect. When we deal with our parents with love and respect, His Love flows through us, even though we may not at the time be aware of it.

Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Defined by Story

I find it amazing that the Lord used story to put forward his most important messages. Who can ever forget the Prodigal son story, or the story of the lost sheep. I then began reflecting on how important the stories that are our own lives are to us. We are in many ways the stories of our lives, shaped by our defeats and triumphs, colored by the richness of our relationships and the connections in our conversations.

It is no wonder that we have been given the Word, that story of stories, to help us glimpse, even if darkly the wonder of what the Lord God has created for us. The words we speak are so important. Are they not indeed bread for the hungry, drink for the thirsty? Do they not bring comfort to those in sorrow, and celebrate with those who are joyful? In turning to God, and seeking Him, should we not reflect on the Story he has given us, to see if our story resonates with it? No imperfection is not revealed in the Story so we can be comforted.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Resting as the Beloved

I went with Alicia, Buddy and Evan (Daughter, son-in-law, & grandson) to New Hope this morning. The pastor spoke on the importance of resting in God. He pointed out that man's first day (the seventh day of creation) was a day of rest, and that chapter three and four of Hebrews has an emphasis on rest. I am finishing Henri Nouwen's "Here and Now". It talks about believer's being beloved of God, and how that is important to meditate on in the ebb and flow of life. It is hard accepting life's challenges and staying in faith. Although God had promised the Israelites a land of milk and honey, when the sent in spies only Joshua and Caleb came back with a positive report. If I understand the power of word correctly, by their speaking, the 10 cowardly spies and those who belived them created their 40 year fruitless hejira in the desert. As for Caleb in Joshua as they say in Numbers 14:8 "... do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."

Living in the beloved, as a child of God doesn't mean no storms. I just means that walking through the dark places we don't walk alone.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is nigh! Praise the Lord

I didn't realize how long it had been since I set down my thoughts. January! Lots has happened since Christmas. Christmas in New England had some fabulous moments. We had two tinkertoy sets sent to Chris, and Zeke, Caleb and Michayle had a great time. John made a bug wapper! Chris served us high tea which was very special. Michayle who is five had made fruit kabobs with strawberries, and kiwis on toothpicks -- her own invention. We also had a great dinner at Hank's and a wonderful Mass at St. Pauls. They have Franciscans there now, what a change!

Now we're getting ready for spring. I bought a native hybrid azalea last Fall and I wasn't sure it would make it, but little green leaves are peeking out. The turtles have returned from whereever turtles go in winter.

I went to the INCOSE IW in February in Mesa AZ, outside Phoenix. I had a great time, but picked up a number of assignments that I am still working on. I volunteered to write a lesson plan template, for SE in classroom, but I didn't realize how much was involved. I have been gathering input, but putting myself in the mind of a Middle Schooler is a little tough. Hopefully I can get some words down this week.

Sue and I are thinking about planting a few things this year which was really exciting. We have some azaleas in front that are ready to bust out into bloom. My roses in back survived the winter, deer and squirrels. I'm hoping they can make a comeback. We're also going to try to put in a raised bed. I have been very frustrated at not being able to grow things in the South. Perhaps here I will make a difference!