Well, it’s that time of the year again. Turkey Day! Everyone will eat more food and more leftovers than last year even if they promised that they will “never eat that much ever again”. Families will gather and depart.
Many people are now practicing the, “Send a Thanksgiving card to beat those who send Christmas cards.” Yeah, that’s a good idea. Instead of sending an insincere Christmas card, you can send an insincere Thanksgiving card. Not everyone sends an insincere holiday card. But many have a “list,” and they send a card to everyone on it no matter what.
What Thanksgiving is really all about is giving thanks; or maybe better put, saying thanks.
How do you say thanks?
Go into any retail store and most of the time a clerk will say, “Thanks and have a nice day.” Do they only mean that day? If I didn’t buy anything, would they still want me to have a nice day? After they say the same thing 1000 times, do they really mean it, or are they just repeating it out of habit?
There is a sincerity about Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Friends and family gather around and give thanks for the meal, but I’ve always wanted used it for reflection but I’m usually distracted by my fussing. Who can I call to say hello? Who do I wish was at dinner that is no longer with us? What do I really need to be thankful for? How will I take show my thankfulness? That’s thanksgiving to me.
I love the turkey, I love the stuffing, I love the green bean casserole, I love the pumpkin chiffon pie, but way more than that, I love the feeling.
After Thanksgiving comes the panic before Christmas: the list, the shopping, the 4am door buster sales, the traffic, the hustle bustle, more Christmas concerts that you can imagine. Perhaps you may be forgetting that “saying thanks” thing that you promise to do at Thanksgiving. Let me to awaken you to the reality of Thanksgiving and the promise of Christmas.
The simple answer is: saying thanks.

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I’m angry.  I’m  tired of the media messing with the outcome of this election.  I’m tired of hearing how Senator Obama is the second coming.  I’m disheartened that Americans cannot see beyond the glittering personality.  Have we, as Americans, lost our critical thinking skills?

 

I listened to the first presidential debate.  It sounded like Senator McCain won hands down.  Senator McCain’s voice sounds like an old trusted friend.  Senator Obama sounded flustered.  He stammered.  He made gurgling noises as he was thinking of his response.  He didn’t show any respect to Senator McCain.  He responses were, at best, flippant.

 

The debate last night seemed, at best, rigged.  The questions weren’t very interesting.  A town hall format is supposed to make the candidates seem like real everyday people.  It should establish character and project and establish a personal relationship with you, the voter.  This town hall sounded like an interview.  Where were the all personal questions?  This town hall did neither of these.

 

I did find of couple of things interesting.  Senator Obama’s gaffe about the computer was amusing.  What he described was the creation of the Internet.  This is the second Democrat presidential hopeful making an error on the Internet.  I also found it interesting that as Senator Obama explained how he was going to cut taxes for the middle class.  He basically explained how he was going to re-write the tax code.

 

I also found it interesting that the Democrats are either not communicating with each other or are trying to lock down the Senate.  Last night Senator Obama criticized President Bush for telling the American people to spend money after 9/11 to grow the economy.  Today, Nancy Pelosi says that Fed cutting interest rates is great but not enough.  We need yet another stimulus package.  Isn’t the whole point of a stimulus package is to spend money to grow the economy?  Hmmm.

 

Senator McCain missed a prime opportunity to point out to that American people aren’t very happy with the present state of our country.  He could have said something to the effect of; I know, you are not happy about the current state of Washington.  I’m not very happy about it either.  In 2006, you, the American people, sent that message to Washington.  You voted in a congress with a Democrat majority.  It was change that the American people believed in.  The state of Washington didn’t change.  The Democrat led congress did do anything to stop this economic collapse.  I’m going to hold the executives on Wall Street accountable for their greed.  They call me the maverick.  Well, this maverick is going to reign in Wall Street because Main Street deserves better.  Wall Street mislead you and the American people.  Wall Street’s greed ends at my desk.”  

 

It also became clear that the Republicans have lost touch with the pulse of America.  Senator McCain made references to an era when the American people still believed in the American Dream and hard work.  Democrats have realized that that dream is no more.  The days of the everyman becoming president of the United States of America is over.  We, as Americans, would rather point fingers and blame than pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. 

 

It’s disheartening but we have been a country of privilege for too long that we don’t know what perseverance is.  We don’t know how to make sacrifices.  We don’t know how to stand united as a country. We don’t have a work ethic.  We expect the government to create as many programs as it takes to support us.  The American families don’t have family budgets.  American families have credit cards.  We have come to the conclusion that if the issue at hand isn’t fixed as quickly as it is realized then someone is to blame for my inconvenience. 

I love my birthday. My goodness, read my blog on my birthday. You would think I’m oh-so ego-centric. I love being the center of attention on my special day. I love that for one day it’s all about me.

There was a time when birthdays were difficult. Not so long ago or maybe longer ago than I choose to admit, I was a little girl. I’m the middle child. I have an older sister that I swore was the crown princess. I have a little brother that I dubbed “little snookie”. As a child, it was difficult to understand why they were getting presents and I was getting cake and a Kool-Aid mustache.

This is the difficulty of working on a worship team. Every one believes their idea of worship is the right one. We forget that worship isn’t about us. Worship is about God. He is the birthday boy. We are bringing Him presents to give Him glory but we still believe that we should get a present too. I’m selfish and you are too.

I remember my parents struggling at childhood birthday parties. One parent would be celebrating with the birthday child. The other parent coaxing one of us to come out of our room to celebrate with our siblings and the rest of the family.

I love it when a well planned worship service comes together. I become concerned when comments about the service are based on emotion or feelings. “The message really moved me.” “I love it when the organist opens up the pipes.” “The choir sounds so awesome.”

I don’t believe that we intend selfishness. We have become so good at it that I don’t even think we know we are doing it. Children at a birthday party missing the point. Upset because there is no present for us.

Worship teams need to maintain the difficult balance between meaningful worship and entertainment of the congregation. Each person comprehends God’s message differently. Each part of the worship service ministers to each person differently. It’s like the sugary cereals are a part of a nutritious breakfast. Cereal is only a part but when you add milk, OJ and toast the meal is complete.

Worship is not about the feelings we get when we sing. We can have warm fuzzy feelings but those feelings aren’t worship and they don’t make worship “great”. Worship isn’t about convincing God to bless us. Worship is not entertainment, sound or what’s happening next.

Worship is simply giving ourselves and our lives to God. The heart of worship as the song says is “all about You, Jesus.” Giving at at the very heart of worship. Really, worship isn’t anything more than helping people lift their hearts to Jesus, the Savior of all.

There are most likely several famous people that we could include on this list.  The list would include famous generals and politicians.  The list could include magicians.  The list could include musicians with a unique sound.  The list could also include authors and visionaries.I would like to nominate my husband, Big Scott.  I know, what you’re thinking.  No, I’m not being sappy or overly sentimental.Early on, in our courtship, Big Scott told me that I “would make a great Romulan”.  A Romu what?  Yes, I love raman noodles.Seriously, that was a great risk.  That is one of those hit or miss kind of statements.  There are only a certain number of outcomes.  I could think, “umm, weirdo.”  I could think he was trying to be funny.  I could get upset.  I could agree 100% and go home to grab my costume.I honestly had no idea what he meant.  I was just impressed that he wasn’t saying that I look like Shannon Daughtery or Geena Davis.  It was different.  My head might have said run but my heart said browse.

The first race of the season was yesterday. I am so pumped. I can’t wait for the other 35 races. Honestly, I’m so tired of people saying that NASCAR isn’t a sport. Seriously, where else do athletes brave 120 degree heat in a fire suit for nearly four hours racing at nearly 200 mph within inches of each other.

I’ll be putting together a listing of “isms” for NASCAR fans. It should be fun. One per week.

1) You wait for “the big one”.

2) Loose in and tight through the middle isn’t something naughty.

3) Thunder doesn’t necessarily mean a rain storm.

4) You know a friend by their number.

5) The “Bristol Stomp” is more than a song.

6) Co op a tion is the name of the game.

7) Wreckers or Checkers

8) You love to watch the winner “melt them down”.

9)  Word association “aero”  “push”

I have lived in Nebraska my whole life. Recently, I have been asked why I continue to choose to live here.It’s flat. There is lots of corn and other crops. There isn’t anything “flashy”. The closest major sports venue is in Kansas City or Denver. Okay, the closest major anything is Kansas City or Denver. Looking at a map, Nebraska is in the center of the United States. It is about as far away from New York, L.A., Florida, San Antonio and nearly any foreign county as you can get. Mostly, glitz and fame is stuff we see on TV.Nebraska is known for its football program more than anything else. Nebraska has had its share of the famous Hollywood types. Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Johnny Carson, Alexander Payne and Fred Astaire. Former President Gerald Ford, Willa Cather and Warren Buffet call Nebraska home. NASCAR’s safer barriers were invented here.The fiber that makes Nebraska, well Nebraska is that certain characteristics are valued. We value hard work, loyalty, respect, humility, and commitment. Nebraskans view sports as a life metaphor.Everyday we struggle with the demands of life. Life is a balance of competition and character. How we choose to behave on and off the court/field provides a field guide for how to navigate life. Some chose to win at all costs. Some chose character at the expense of competition.Our state’s slogan is simply, “The Good Life”. Although, many jokes could be made about our state’s slogan. I think, it is right on target. Once people live here, they feel like it is a good place to raise kids. The people are friendly and open. The hustle and bustle of other cities just doesn’t belong here. Most of the towns are of the slow moving variety. Our slogan like our state is overly practical without the glitz. It’s difficult to imagine living anywhere else.

The news is everywhere. Everyone knows what happened here in Omaha. Everyone here in Omaha is stunned. Shocked. Numb. It feels different here. We are still sorting out our feelings and emotions.

I think about how all of this happening during Christmastime is bringing home a point. That point is Hope. The season of advent is about preparing the coming of Christ. He came once as a baby in a manager. He promised He would come again. That promise brings Hope. Hope for His Coming. Hope for a better day. Advent is the season of Hope.

The winds of change are blowing into Nebraska. Earlier this week, Steve Peterson was fired as AD at UNL. It didn’t surprise very many people in this state. Peterson fired Frank Solich after a 9-3 season. Peterson said that the Cornhusker football program was “gravitating into mediocrity”.

Tom Osborne has been hired as interim AD. That didn’t surprise very many people either. Osborne has a very positive image in Nebraska. He coached three teams to national championships. Nebraska loves him. Osborne retired from coaching to start a political career. He served three terms representing District three. District three covers about 75% of the state.

It is next to impossible to watch the news. The first 15 minutes of each newscast is all the hype of the second coming of Tom Osborne. Osborne was a great coach. There is no doubt he knows college football. He was a very successful college coach no matter what era if you would like play a game of comparison.

Conversely, there are only a couple reasons Tom Osborne was “chosen” to be the AD. Tom Osborne will calm the Husker nation’s fears about state of Husker football. He has the ability to unite the sea of red. He is the tradition that Husker fans have spent nearly two generations loving. Tom Osborne will be able to bring the boosters back to NU. He will be given the tough task of evaluating Callahan. Osborne likes to tell the story (all Nebraskans have heard it hundreds of times) that after he won the Blue Bonnet Bowl early in his career as head coach a booster came up to Tom and said that he was glad he won the game. Tom said he was glad too. The booster said that if he would have lost the boosters were going to request his firing. Osborne has been in Callahan’s shoes.

Nearly everyone in Nebraska is wondering what will happen to Coach Callahan. If he goes, then who? Here are some of my suggestions.

I don’t think Nebraska will be bringing back any former coaches. Husker nation may want old school football but the game has changed a lot since Dr. Tom left the game. I don’t think someone like Bo Pelini will be back at Nebraska. He is a great coach. I can’t think of anyone that knows the defensive side of the ball better. He’s resume in many ways is very similar to another successful college coach (Bob Stoops). There is just too much bad blood even if the AD that caused it is out.

Other names that have popped up are the Cinderellas of the last couple of years at Rutgers and South Florida but what a veteran coach like Glen Mason from Minnesota.

Could lightning strike twice in Wyoming? Husker fans may remember that Bob Devaney was the head coach of the University of Wyoming before settling in at Nebraska. Devaney coached the mighty mighty Pokes to a 35-10-5 record from 1957 – 1961.

U- Dub’s current coach, Joe Glen is a Nebraska native. I think, he has a good idea what it will mean to coach in the shadow of a legend. No matter how well Nick Saban does at Alabama, he will always be compared to Bear Bryant likewise with Nebraska. Bob Stoops will always be compared with Barry Switzer. That is one of the things that Bill Callahan didn’t consider or realize before he took the job at Nebraska.

Glen has turned the program around. The year before he arrived at U-Dub the team was in the cellar of the conference. Last year, they finished third in the conference behind BYU and TCU. “The Sporting News” has featured him as an up and coming college coach.

No matter who ends up with the position of head coach, one thing is for sure. Nebraska cannot afford to make a bad hire.

Really. Can we stop focusing on Michael Vick? I’m sick of it. I’m tired of being bombarded by the news media sensationalism. Yes, he admitted that he did bad thing. Yes, he is going to jail.

I was less than impressed with Monday Night Football last Monday evening. I realize that Michael Vick entered his plea in court that morning but do we really need a legal analyst on Monday Night Football? I realize that it was a pre-season game. Pre-season games are only

There has to be more to talk about than this story. Why aren’t we talking about the fantastic pennant races out there? Why am I forced to poker on ESPN? Does Joey Harrington think that we will ever get past the fact that he posed for Seventeen magazines? Who is in the hunt to make the chase for the NASCAR Nextel cup? Wayne Newton, Mark Cuban, Marie Osmond and Scary Spice will be dancin’ with the stars. Oh my! Has college football not started? Isn’t interesting that more “mid-major” teams are showing up in AP and USA Today polls? Oh, Team USA was playing basketball. If I didn’t have the internet, I would have never known.

At one point during the game, someone e-mailed asking if anyone else had fallen from grace at the height of their career. The response was Mike Tyson. I’m not saying that their respective use of bad judgement was any worse than the other. They both did unspeakable things. Rape is a terrible thing. Dog fighting is an ugly underworld. Killing animals in such a way is beyond cruel and inhumane. All of these behaviors are unacceptable for anybody not just “role models”.

I don’t think the fall out for Mike Tyson was as bad. There are a couple of reasons. Football is the United States’ most popular sport followed by NASCAR. Almost everyone knows Michael Vick. Nearly everyone knows who wore the “7” for the Falcons. He’s been in the media since his days playing college ball for VT. Boxing isn’t nearly as popular. Can you tell me the last five heavyweight champions? I might be able to come up with 10 or 15 during the current history of the sport. Might.

I have already mentioned that dog fighting is just ugly. One of the reasons, I think we find so terrible is how we view our pets. I have two cats. My “girls” are like a member of my odd little family. I don’t have children in the traditional sense. My “kids” are furry and have four legs. Each has their own respective personality. I miss them when I’m gone for long weekends. I sincerely love them. My husband knows that if I had to choose between the cats and him that he might not necessarily like the results.

Some people do not view rape as a crime. Some see it as “getting what he/ she deserved.” Maybe that is why it was no big deal when Iron Mike decided to make a comeback. Maybe, it is just the sport itself. Boxing is a physical and violent sport.

Role model expectations for boxing is different than say a NASCAR driver. Maybe that is it in itself. The believing in sports stars as the almighty is gone. Our sport stars have made more headlines getting in trouble with the law than scoring points or playing good defense. I always believe that LT as in Lawence Taylor was an incredible football player but I didn’t believe he belonged in the Hall of Fame because of his personal life. I thought that his drug use did not make him a positive role model. There was a time when David Robinson was super fantastic. He does all sorts of programs for kids in San Antonio. He receives little media attention. It seems that he would prefer that way. He will never have the numbers like Kobe. Kobe will most probably make the hall of fame. Robinson might but Robinson is a better “role model”. I guess, I have always believed that being a role model meant that you create a positive impact both on and off the field.

Mergers.  They happen all the time.  Really, I think that we have become desensitized to it.  Mergers are very ugly things.  Mergers mean that not everyone will be able to keep their jobs.  Mergers could mean relocation.  Mergers means acclimating to a new corporate culture.

NASCAR is not a cheap business.  The supply costs are unbelievable.  I know that the cost to put a car on the track to qualify is more than I will make in the next ten years.  Amazing.  It shouldn’t be surprising that team owners are looking for wealthy people outside the business to fund their teams.

Earlier this year, Roush Racing became Roush Fenway Racing, Jack Roush sold a portion of his team to the Boston Red Sox.  It also should come to no surprise that other teams are doing it to.  Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) recently merged with Ginn Racing.  Ray Everham, also recently, merged with the NHL team owner George Gillett Jr.

It has long since been known that Everham dating his development driver, Erin Crocker has caused a riff or two.  Jeremy Mayfield, last year, accused Everham not only to the media at the track but also in court that Everham doesn’t spend as much time at the track since the dating began.  The racing teams were suffering.

Everham and Crocker’s relationship seems to be the real deal.  It seems like a match made in some sort of geeky heaven.  Crocker does have a degree in engineering.  She is also an attractive woman.  Some might use the terms “Hot” or  “Babe”.  Everham is probably best known as being Jeff Gordon’s crew chief before leaving to become the owner the racing teams that include drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.

The deal with the merger, it seems that Ms. Crocker will have to race for someone else.  It seems that Mr. Gillett is saying that sleeping with the boss is not a good thing.  It is projecting am image that Mr. Gillett a.k.a. Mr. Money Bags would prefer not to deal with.  Everham insists that she is a great role mole for young women.

Crocker’s numbers just don’t add up.  Unfortunately, sponsors look at the numbers.  She has done well in the ARCA series but continues to struggle in the Craftsman’s truck series.  Crocker is consistently ranked in the top 25.  There are on average 30 trucks racing per week.

I’m a very big fan of the sport.  I love watching cars go fast.  It doesn’t matter if it is a dirt track or concrete.  It doesn’t matter if it is a road course where yes, drivers turn left and right or not.  I am also a female fan.  I would love to give the old battle cry of “I’m woman.  Hear me roar “. There are other options if the performance isn’t there.

Personally, I don’t think she should even try the Busch series on a consistent basis yet.  There are so many “Buschwackers” that running Busch is like running Cup.  It would probably behoove her not to mess with Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon or Kyle Busch.  All have the potential to let emotion get in the way.

I’m not really sure how I feel about her as a role model.  Sure, I think it is fantastic that women are breaking into the upper levels of the sport.  I also think that it is super that she earned her spot before she started dating Everham.  She appears to be tough and gritty.  I just don’t see other women like Danica Patrick or Sarah Fischer dating their bosses.  Really, at the end of the day, it appears that what she has done in her personal time as hurt her credibility at best.  Maybe Gillett is right.  Crocker moving on is best for all those involved.