Monthly Archives: November 2011

On Thanks and Entitlement

I admit, as Thanksgiving approached this year I didn't give much hard consideration to all that I'm thankful for. And really, the majority of my prayers are small utterances of appreciation, thanks to the Giver of all good and perfect gifts for friends, circumstances, parents that love me and my sister that has taught my niece all about me so that she knows me despite having barely met me.

But now, most of a week after thanksgiving, some articles that have come across my screen have got me thinking about the nature of thanks. One was posted on Boundless and really wasn't about gratitude at all, but how our perceptions of what we deserve affect our values and actions. Thinking about entitlement, though led me to the source of thankfulness. You see, we aren't thankful for things we deserve. Who would we be thankful to? Ourselves? No, we are thankful for what is given to us. If I didn't understand that God is the source of my life and livelihood, there would be no reason to be thankful for a car that I bought with money I earned.

I am thankful for life because it's not something I can give myself and it's not something I deserve. What did you do to deserve to be conceived? If you have an answer to that, I really would like to sit and listen to you for a few hours. What about where you were born? Did you choose to be born in America, or Canada, or the UK? Regardless of and of our work or discipline, we ultimately have to be thankful to God for all that we have on this earth.

Now, what about our value as children of God? If Christ followers are children of a King, don't we deserve luxury? Remember, Paul told us that it is not our home (Philippians 3:20). What right do we have in a foreign land? And Jesus said that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33) and that those who persevere will be saved. What is there to persevere if all comes easy?

So in this world we are not to expect an easy life or riches. Our reward is in heaven and all we have here is cause for thanks, not of our merit or from inherent value because our value is in Christ. Perhaps those commercials that tell us exactly what we deserve are wrong. Perhaps we don't deserve better. We don't deserve the good life. We don't deserve to be happy. It's not that we don't have worth. We have eternal worth, but it doesn't mean we deserve whatever we want in this world. So be happy because you are valuable, and you are loved, and you have been given much. And because you have much, you have much to be thankful for.

Later Days,
Aaron

1st Place!

IMG_0220-300x225You will undoubtedly be glad to hear that the BTX Peloton was well represented at the Natural Bridge Caverns Duathlons this Sunday, with three of us taking 1st in our age groups!

The races began deep inside the caverns with 5 second staggered starts where we ran for several hundred yards before emerging into the hill country west of New Braunfels. Teresa, Kristin, and I ran the Wooly Mammoth race that sandwiched a 26mi (actually 27) bike ride between two 5k runs. Monica, though, ran with the big dogs in the T-Rex race that had 5mi runs, including the hardest section of hills to climb. Monica, Teresa, and I each took first with Kristin suffering a foot injury and SAGging out. She was awesome as we finished, though, offering encouragement and getting water and fruit! Thanks Kristin! Hope your foot heals quickly! Prizes came in the form of agate slices which were unlike any finisher's medal I've ever seen and I think I'm going to display mine of a plastic plate stand. I'll add a pic for ya after I get it.

IMG_0221-300x225So that's the big news from the weekend, but certainly wasn't all of it. Saturday, before driving over to the race, I got up to do the usual Saturday morning bike ride, which was longer than usual and particularly windy. The group rode from the west end of Beaumont to the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bridge City, which we crossed before turning around and heading back – about a 65mi trip. The ride was relaxed and the group was kind enough to let me sit in the back of the line and take it easy for the Sunday race.

That's what's been going on. Now here's what's coming up!

The Lamar Civic Orchestra will have it's fall concert Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the university in the Setzer Student Center Ball Room. Come watch us as we play a melange of familiar orchestral music. The concert will begin at 7:30 and admission is FREE. That's right, and FREE is a very good price.

In the meanwhile, it's my prayer that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family, and that you will remember to be thankful to Him that gave each of them to you.

Later Days,
Aaron

Hey, race photos are now up! Click here to see pics of me riding and running across the finish line! or check facebook to see my full album of the BTX Peloton folks and the awards ceremony.
 

Oh Canada!

The last few weeks have been pretty fun. Friday I got back from a business trip to Calgary, Canada, where I set up a controller for another contractor on the project I'm on so that they could test their software. Despite the image of Calgary as a cowtown, it's really a pretty cultured city with hundreds of nice restaurants, several museums and a thriving downtown.  The city is well maintained with more golf courses than you can count and wonderful parks, though they don't see too much use in the cold!

Work was relaxed and I got more done than was expected by the folks I was working with. There was plenty of time left in the evenings to go for a (frigid) run or use the exercise bike in the hotel workout room and still be able to sit for a nice meal and linger for a few hours. My favorite meals came the last two nights when I visited a Greek restaurant and Lebanese restaurant. Both nights I enjoyed lamb which is far too rare in America.

Those of you who may be aware of traditional Canadian fare may be glad (or sickened) to know that I did indeed try a plate of poutine and actually enjoy it, though I'm sure it knocked a few years off my life. If you don't already know, poutine is the Canadian equivalent of chili cheese fries. It starts with a bed of thick-cut fries. They're topped with chunks of cheese curds (mozzarella cheese) and doused with a brown gravy. Mmmm hmmmm. It's a good thing I don't live up there because I'd be eating my way into the morgue pretty quickly.

My friends from the H2O Ride were in Beaumont Monday night and stayed with my wonderful Sunday school teachers. I got to spend the evening laughing and listening to stories of their ride around the country. They finished the 9K mi ride this past Friday, on Veteran's Day! Uber Congrats Joel, Jillian, Eric, Troves, and Abe. Ya'll can still give to Living Water International in the group's name to help provide clean water for folks that don't have it nearby while sharing the good news of Christ.

My first duathlon is coming up quick! I'll be running and riding… and running again, on Nov 20 at Natural Bridge Caverns North of San Antonio. Training is going alright. I did miss my usual Saturday ride last week after flying in, but have been able to ride at nights, despite the time change, thanks to Jeff (my same Sunday school teacher that opened his house for the H2O riders) lending me his trainer for the month. If you want to know more about the race, which starts inside the cave, click here.

Weekday bike rides are off due to the time change, along with Thursday golf, but I'll be playing a concert with the Lamar Civic Orchestra Tuesday, Nov. 29. The concert will be at the university, in the Set, and I'm giving plenty of advance notice so you'll have no excuse to miss. Speaking of playing my horn, I've got a gig playing at a church in Mid-County this Christmas that will be paying for some valve work I've been wanting to have done and I'm pretty stinking excited. I love my old Eroica and may post about it one of these days, perhaps after it's had its work done.

In the meanwhile, later days!
Aaron