Instrumental Goodness..

What do you focus on when you watch movies?

– The main actor/actress?
– The plot?
– Different camera shots?
– (for the ladies) Ryan Reynold’s abs?

How about movie scores? Not the soundtrack, but the score! Night/Day difference..

  • A movie soundtrack is usually made up of bands that have already recorded records specifically for the movie. Example: Garden State
  • A movie score is simply the lyric-less, instrumental music that sets the mood for a specific scene..  Example: Titans Score

I’ve loved movie scores for as long as I can remember. It’s the first thing I notice in movies. Doesn’t matter how crappy the movie is, if the score is great — all is good. If you ever want to surprise me with anything, just get me a movie score.

Here are a few of my favorite scores:
Friday Night Lights
Pearl Harbor
The Holiday
Avatar
Forrest Gump
Blood Diamond
Invictus

Favorite “composers” of these scores:
Hans Zimmer
James Newton Howard
James Horner
Aaron Zigman

These are good for three things:
– Getting to sleep
– Getting work done
– Running (Saving Private Ryan & Gladiator)

Because of this movie score obsession of mine, it sparked an interest in “Post-Rock” or “Instrumental-Rock” music.

Artists I heavily recommend are:
Explosions in the Sky
Signal Hill
This Will Destroy You
The Album Leaf
If These Trees Could Talk

Really makes for good “pondering” music..

No words — Just instrumental goodness!

What’s your favorite movie score? Favorite Post-Rock band?


Huh?

Who’da thunk?

Texas Rangers would reach the World Series

Brad Childress would get fired following a 12-4 season

Chad OchoCinco & Terrell Owens would play on the same team

Michael Vick would rise back to stardom

Brett Favre would start sucking

OSU would be 10-1

Jon Acuff would give me a phone call

I would use my car to kill Bambi’s momma

Life’s full of moments you just don’t expect ..

What else has you saying, “huh?”


Finding Success in the Workplace

Transitioning into the “real world” from college can be tricky.

I’ve recently experienced that transition and feel qualified enough to mention a few things to consider regarding YOUR career:

Listen!
Be a sponge. Absorb any and every kind of information. That’s all you need to do right now. Slow to speak and quick to listen!

Build your foundation
That first job is your first shot at building your career foundation. Make it count. Work hard and do whatever it takes to gain the confidence of your boss. However, make sure you know the difference between exuding confidence and cockiness.

Be confident!
No one wants to hire someone who is insecure about what he/she brings to the table. Be confident and know that you are highly valued. Speak up when you need to and let your voice be heard. Think creatively and provide a fresh perspective.

Be respectful
The main difference in between my generations (20-30 yr. olds) and the Baby Boomer generation is that we tend to treat each other as peers while they do the opposite. Your boss will most likely prefer being called “sir/ma’am” or “mr/mrs _____” until you get the “ok” to call him by his/her first name. People of the baby boomer generation demand a respect that my generation is not used to giving. Be respectful.

Embrace a strong work ethic
People are watching in your workplace. Every move you make, every project you submit, every e-mail you send, etc. Make sure your representing yourself in a way that nonverbally demands a promotion by your day-to-day work.

– Get organized
Something I’ve found to be the hardest of this transition is being organized with your tasks. This is so key for being successful. Keeping track of your assignments, papers, sticky notes, your inbox is critical to excellent quality of work within the workplace. It’s an art that I’m consistently trying to master.

Embrace opportunities
When opportunities come your way, go 150% at them. You never know if this opportunity is a “test” to see what your made of.

Have integrity
Integrity in the workplace means being honest and doing what is right no matter the circumstance. It requires you to make the right choice, even when you may not receive personal gain from the outcome, and to put your own agenda aside for the greater good of the organization and the people.

With these said, I also want to let you know that COLLEGE does not prepare you for EVERYTHING.

I’d say I was unprepared for:

Emphasis placed on teamwork skills
If you work in a corporate atmosphere, chances are that you are on a team. Staying in communication, understanding each other, and working together towards a solution are essential to building success within the workplace. I never read anything about this in a book.

Personal finances
Accounts Receivable. Balance Sheets — Blah. Blah. Blah. Learning to budget, especially when you decide to get married, is SO IMPORTANT. I think I actually took a personal finance class in High School..Mrs. Watts. However, once you have money and start making a consistent paycheck — it’s way different than reading case studies in books. I recommend going through this for a healthy financial life.

– Having to move back in with the family
I won’t go into this again. You can read here if you’d like to know more about this topic.

Reality of 8am-5pm job
I’d say the closest I learned about this topic in college would be the all-nighters I pulled in college. That was the closest thing to 8 straight hours I can think of — and that only happened MAYBE 4 times. Once again, no book can prepare you for this.

You can read about it in books, but the second you experience a career first hand is when you really get it.

Embrace these things while jumping into a career. Despite the struggles, tedious tasks, interesting co-workers, etc — develop an optimistic, hard working attitude and dominate your day job.

With great work, comes great reward!

ML


The Situation

I know many of you came upon this post thinking there would be pictures of Jersey Shore’s “The Situation” to start us off, but that content isn’t permitted here. No, sir-ee

The Situation as it pertains to myself these days involves the art of moving back in with the much-loved parents after being on my own for so long.

Like many people, it’s normal to move away from home after high school and continue schooling into college. Again, like many people, (or as i’d like to think) it’s common to move back in with your parents when you’re finished with said schooling. Whether you have or haven’t graduated, are employed or unemployed…whatever the case may be — the 4 years of independence from your parents are long gone, and before you know it, you’re sleeping in the the same room you grew up in.

Now, many people associate moving back in with the parents with simply failing to grow up, or as being an “adultolescent” — yielding to a result that you have not exited childhood yet. Some people move back home to avoid the “real world” to simply delay the responsibilities that come with being an adult. And no, you don’t still get your “allowance” once you move back home..so don’t even ask!

I’m happy to say that this is not the case for me. I’m happily employed, paying my own bills, and living as independently as possible while sharing sq. footage w/ the parents. I moved back home to be financially responsible; to temporarily reduce my expenses; to build on my savings, thus being able to prepare for my future marriage with some sort of financial stability.

Let me rewind. Before I graduated High School — I obviously lived with my parents for 18 years. From the good o’le days as a child, the insecurities in middle school, & the years of HS — they knew pretty much everything about me. My thought-process, friends, activities/sports, where-a-bouts, struggles, strengths/weaknesses, etc..

After leaving that 18th year, I was gone for 4 years. 4 years in the beautiful town of Stillwater. It wasn’t as if I completely cut the cord from my parents after I moved out, but throughout those 4 years, I transformed from a teenager to an adult. Living in 4 different places within a 4 year period, working with OSU athletics & the OKC Blazers, in & out of my “party” stage — all the while working my way to a Sports Management degree; what i’m trying to say is that a lot of “Michael Lane” was defined in Stillwater.

So, moving back with the parents is proving as an interesting experience. Below are a few reasons why moving back in with MY parents has been challenging for me (could be the same for you):

1. They aren’t used to you being back in the house
2. They could be on a whole different level than they were when you left them in HS.
3. They don’t REALLY know you like they did back in the day.
4. Personal space is limited.
5. TV channels are blocked.
6. Room cleanliness has to be 100% maintained all the time.

I love my parents — but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to live at the o’le casa. Here’s a few reason(s) I moved back home:

1. Save money (i’m getting married in May, 2011)
2. Reduced expenses
3. Home-Cooked meals (a-mazing)

Basically, its all about being wise with your money & laying down a little bit of independence/pride to be way better off in the future. To be debt free — to have some stability. Not many people get that chance, so I’m fully aware of how blessed I am.

So, if you are planning on living with the “roommates” after a significant time away from them to save money or for any other reasons — here are some things to consider:

1. YOU are different
2. THEY are different
3. SITUATIONS are different
4. Sense of lost independence
5. You’ll have to tell co-workers, “yea, I live at home..”
6. They have rules you don’t necessarily agree with..
7. All of a sudden, making your bed is #1 priority.

While the pro’s absolutely outweigh the cons (saved money > daily life w/ 2 extras) — moving back in with the parents definitely makes for an interesting “season” of your life. It’s important to be respectful of them, their space, and their “way of doing things.” Acknowledging that its the best thing for your current situation certainly makes for a good argument to the “moving back home = failure” equation.

ML


iBelieve

“I believe in you”

This phrase is so powerful.

If you’ve attended LifeChurch in the past 2 months — you’ve seen a couple of messages from the series based on that phrase “I Believe in You.” Whether you are on the receiving end or the giving end of that phrase, it’s easy to dub this phrase as a top “life-giving” phrase.. The hope it gives is so valuable in basically any context.

Take a second and think about who you can say this to…Maybe your neighbor? Kid at church? Student? Son/Daughter? Subordinate? Co-Worker? Athlete?

Here’s a look from a 15 year old’s perspective:

I was 15 years old when I went away to Military School. It was only 2 hours from my home, but might as well been 1,000. The first several weeks I was extremely homesick and feeling pretty lost. There were actually several cadets who helped or mentored me during those first months. John Saltzman, who was my squad leader was the first to show compassion and to make me feel that everything would be okay. But there was one teacher who made the most difference for me during my 4 years at Oklahoma Military Academy. His name is Gary Easley. He was my History teacher, and my baseball coach. I remember that even though History was not a favorite of mine that Coach Easley inspired me to want to learn. He always had a calm and kind demeanor, and had a genuine concern for his students. In one of our baseball games I hit a ball between left and center field. When I connected with the ball, I thought to myself that this was my best hit ever. After I came back to the dugout, Coach Easley put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Gary, I think that was the hardest I’ve ever seen you hit a ball”. I think what made Gary special to me was that he cared. He made me want to be better; to do good. Since I left OMA, I have done better… I have done good. Thank you Gary Easley for being a mentor to me!

Gary Good
Oklahoma City, OK

It’s stories like these that reinforce the importance of reaching out and pouring into someone’s life. We have this honor, this great opportunity to take what we have learned through the good AND bad experiences, and pass it down to the next generation in hopes of seeing them succeed.

Some easy ways you can believe in others:

– Literally tell them, “I believe in you”
– Coach them
– Take time out of your week to hang out with them
– Tutor them
– Shoot them a text
– Be real w/ them

Serving is one of the most gratifying things you can be a part of. To be able to impact & heavily influence the next generation is something that is in HIGH demand. Think about who YOU can “take under your wing” & make it happen!

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
John Crosby
Check out my post from a while back on Leader’s Roles
ML

Being Proactive..

Thanks to some good discussion with my good buddy, Nate Thiry, I’ve been thinking about the word “Proactive” and what it really means.

Proactive – Action and result oriented behavior, instead of the one that waits for things to happen and then tries to adjust (react) to them. Proactive behavior aims at identification and exploitation of opportunities and in taking preemptory action against potential problems and threats, whereas reactive behavior focuses on fighting a fire or solving a problem after it occurs.

—–

During this 10 month engagement –I’ve almost been overpreparing for the preparation stage of Paige and I’s marriage.

I’ve been:

– Reading marriage blogs
– Studying lists of do’s/don’ts as a couple
– Books
– Listening to podcasts at work
– Talking to fellow husbands
– Watching Craig Groeschel’s archived series on marriage
– Following “MarriageMentor“, “NWAMarriages” or “RelationshipMgr” on Twitter

….Anything and everything that can help better prepare Paige and I for the next chapter of our lives, starting May 29th.

Why am I doing this?

Throughout my high school days and into college, I’ve had a front row view of ways some spouses went about their marriages. Putting work first, letting finances tear them apart, being selfish, being cold-hearted, forgetting the reason they got married in the first place, and ultimately having to crawl back from the lowest of lows to get to a place of contentment. So, in seeing this — if I can do some things to prevent the lowest of lows, you better believe i’m all about it!

So, I talked to Nate about all the above — about how I  want to make sure we’re ready for everything;  the foreshadowed struggles,  the 24/7’ness of living with one another, the finances, careers, etc..

And Nate just said — “Dude, don’t worry so much about your marriage falling apart — through this engagement stage, it’s obvious that you are being proactive.” He continued on by saying “…you’d have to start worrying about things if your relationship became inactive..”

Let that sink.

While its great to read up on tips to being a great husband, or how to handle conflict in the best way possible, or how to stay out of debt, or how to balance work-life with home-life — just know that being proactive in your relationship will help combat the destructive behavior that sometimes plagues marriages due to inactivity.

What can I do to instill pro-activity within my relationship?

  • Establish/Maintain strong communication skills
  • Be supportive
  • Build trust
  • Uphold a HIGH level of respect for your spouse/fiance
  • Practice a lifestyle of servant-hood to each other
  • Make her needs your needs, her desires your desires, her goals your goals
  • Find common interests and share them with each other
  • Get on the same page
  • Be real & open with issues
  • Makeout
  • Act only out of love
  • Keep God in the center

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” – Eph 5:33

That’s all I got..

ML


Papa K, Bunny, DLG & God..

I discovered that this co-worker of mine is a fellow blogger. However he’s not your “typical” blogger. One who references his wife as “Bunny” & his daughter as “DLG” (Daddy’s Little Girl), there is nothing this guy won’t write about. From working out in your home using the dog for a tricep exercise, to running across the highway in the middle of the night, to stories about his wife & daughter — if you don’t laugh at least once on his blog, you’ve got serious problems.

Let’s get into it — I’m pumped to have him guest post today! Show him some blove (blog-love)..

ML

——–

Papa K is an extroverted-introvert Hell bent on becoming not only a successful blogger… but a successful blogger that writes about nothing in particular. In an overcrowded “industry”, where themed blogs seem to generate a high number of readers, he’s just doesn’t seem to care. He’s going to write aboutwhat he wants, when he wants to write it. If you want to laugh and/or cry and/or get angry and/or winsomething in his frequent giveaways and/or shiver in excitement at his extremely good looks… then go to hands to war.

Now that I’ve got you pulled into my world of talking about random crap like boobies, beer, Megan Fox, my wife’s boudoir photographs and any other number of inappropriate things… I want to talk about something of substance for a moment: God.

My relationship with Him has been a rather incredible journey that I feel will only continue to hit its low moments and its high moments until I gasp my final Earthly breath (hopefully) many years from now.

It’s a funny thing having a relationship with an entity you cannot see, hear or touch.  In fact, as I wrote that sentence it seemed a little ridiculous.  What you may not know though is if you are an atheist, agnostic or struggling Christian… God may be a lot closer than you may think… you’re just so used to looking at things through your desensitized eyes

We’re bombarded constantly with TV shows, celebrities, books, magazines, etc. pushing the idea that pure chance created our world, our bodies, our environment, our brains and our ability to differentiate between right and wrong and on and on.  Science, with all its positive uses, has slowly and methodically given people a reason to doubt His existence.  Sadly, I am a piece of what the world has become.  I am in the middle of the sea of Earth’s population looking heavenward for a sign that God truly exists so I may rejoice in the fact that they were all wrong… and I was oh so right.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the face of God will appear in the sky or flames will consume Mount Everest.  Since this does not happen… all non believers will roll their eyes at me, shake their heads and continue living their life with the notion that when they die… they just die, or some other ill-conceived notion conceived from our tiny, pea sized intelligence.

But why do we need a sign of such insignificance?  Why does God need to do something as simple as write in the sky when he’s created the human reproductive system that gives you children from nothing!  Did pure chance create this:

Daddy’s Little Girl: created by complete circumstance?  I think not.

A non believer would tell you “yes”…that in 8 billion years anything is possible.  But I have to disagree… a human reproductive system created from nothing is entirelyimpossible without some massive intelligence running the show.

Science can show us how we maybe could have been created by chance with the help of controlled environments, experiments, lab results, microscopic studies of the human DNA, etc. but… aren’t we just the “less superior” intelligence looking at all the pieces to the Master Craftsman’s ultimate creation?  If we can create something in a controlled environment aren’t we just the far less intelligent creator of our own little “world”?  How ridiculous is it to think that if we can create something in a controlled environment… that it suddenly implies that it would happen entirely by chance in the real world?  If a bag of trash shows up in my back yard… I’m going to assume that some asshole dumped it there… not that it materialized all by itself!  And that’s just a bag of trash… not a human reproductive system (at least I hope one’s not in there).

Point being… we are completely incapable of seeing the “big picture”.  We are so focused on ourselves and the things that God doesn’t do we can’t see Him right in front of us!

Some common utterances:

“Chris, what about 9/11?  Where was God then?”

“Why is there disease?  If God really cared there’d be no disease.”

“What about all the innocent children kidnapped and murdered by unstable freaks?  Seeing that stuff makes me doubt there is a God.”

All of these are good questions and questions that should be explored before embarking on a relationship with Him.

These are all horrible things.  And from the depths of my piece-of-corn sized brain I cannot 100% answer your question as to “why”.  But what I do know is that we live in a fallen world.  We made the decision long ago for God to take a back seat and He has obliged us in our choice.  Thus, we know how much He loves us.  Despite his longing for us to come home He allows us to see for ourselves what life without Him is like.

And let me tell you people… have you seen the world lately?  We’re not doing so well on our own.  Through the centuries we’ve continued to fall more and more away until God has turned into an undistinguishable blur on the forefront of our brain that continues to whisper to us time and time again only for us to push it aside for the next immediate satisfaction.

I’m convinced the supernatural God is right in front of us.  But that’s exactly what he is:supernatural.  Since we’re vastly far from being supernatural ourselves, the idea that there’s actually something there is completely preposterous to most.  It may be a good thing we can’t actually see God come to think of it because I’m sure the creator of the universe looks vastly different from anything we could conceive in our minds eyes.  Pooping your pants would be the least of your worries.

In closing, I’m the furthest thing from perfect… drastically far from it in fact I’m sorry to say.  Some might even say that I’m a sinner… to which I would say “yes, I am”.  But I know where I came from.  I know where my wife came from.  I know where my daughter came from.  I know that when I do something wrong… I feel guilt and I repent.  Because of this, I know that one day… it’ll be my time to go and I probably won’t be ready… my OCD won’t let me.  But in my heart of hearts, I know there’s an incredible place beyond the realm of human understanding that not even though most brilliant minds that have walked this Earth would be able to conceive.  There will be no OCD, there will be no struggle for power, there will be no pain and there will be no more questions.  I really don’t know what there will be… but just knowing what isn’t there… is enough reason for me not to explore the question any further.

God bless you… whether you want to believe it or not.

http://handstowar.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/345/