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Cruise Control (Life in the fast lane)

Cruise Control

I was driving on Hwy 40 East with my wife a couple of weeks ago. (Some time back I did a series on how our driving may be an indicator of how we live from day to day. Next week I will make one more installment on that theme.) As is the case on most stretches of highway between metropolitan areas, there are several miles between exits and great distances between the Emergency Vehicle turn arounds in the median. When you travel certain areas regularly, you tend to have a pretty good idea where the police set up. I knew, that day, that I was in a place where the police rarely sit. I also knew that if I passed a policeman on the other side, there was too great a distance for him to try to turn around to stop me.

I knew I had set my cruise control at 80 MPH. I also know the speed limit is 70 MPH. This was a very regular practice for me. What hit me that particular day is “I am cruising in sin!” I put my vehicle in autopilot knowing I was breaking the law. Wow, that’s deep.

Cruise control puts the car in charge of the driving. Yes, I can always hit the brakes, but cruse control while speeding says, “I have chosen to break the law and also yield my control to the vehicle I am breaking the law with.” Sort of like when we like to say we can’t control our anger or our lust or our cussing. The behavior is in control. When we learn that breaking the law is wrong – even when the police are not around – we will set our cruise control at the legal speed; we will be intentional about controlling our behavior.

There was a commercial some time ago where the tag line was. “Leave the driving to us.” Our lower self wants to convince us that we can trust it to do the driving. It got us where we wanted to go, didn’t it? Well, whether you get caught and have consequences or not, wrong is wrong.

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Thursday Is The New Friday

These came to me advertising Wednesday & Thursday sale dates!!

For those who have been following the series you may wonder the relationship to “What Will Be Legal Next?”
The relationship to that question is how our acceptance of things change. When does Black Friday begin? Now, it begins Thursday night. Thursday is the new Friday as it relates to the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Wait, though. I have been inundated with emails advertising “Black Friday all week.” And “…all month,” for at least one consumer hustling establishment.
In 1983 I moved to Birmingham, Alabama. No grocery stores or department stores were open on Sunday. States and municipalities called that the Blue Laws. I watched the transition from no shopping outlets on Sunday except gas stations. The grocery stores petitioned to open, but only after 1:00, so they would not encourage shopping during church service times. The department stores and malls soon followed. Not long after that, they opened as early as 10 AM, then 9 and 8. I moved from Birmingham in 1990. You would be hard pressed to find a grocery store chain that was not 24 hours.
Who remembers when no stores were open on New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas?
First, a nationwide chain pharmacy / drug store opened for part of the day. More “convenience” style stores began opening. Now, instead of being closed, just about every kind of store has big sales in honor of those holidays, beginning ON those holidays, and lasting for several days.
What else has changed? Dry counties going wet. Sunday liquor selling. Truck stops replacing restaurants with fast food places. Foul language on regular TV. Christmas displays going up in stores right after Halloween instead of after Thanksgiving.
Let me iterate, again, that I am all for progress and change. But every change costs something. How much and in what ways are we paying for some of the changes being made? In many cases, we have no idea until the bill arrives.

Mama Rosie’s Chicken Salad

Mama Rosie's chicken saladMy mother-in-law makes some of the best Chicken Salad I ever tasted. I had heard about it but it always got eaten up before I could get a taste. Finally, about a week ago, she sent some to our house. Our daughter likes it as much as anyone and took it for her lunch. So I asked Mama Rosie, “If I bring you a chicken, will you make me my own batch?” I knew she would.

As my wife was getting ready to take the chicken over there, I wanted to know if we needed to bring anything else. Mama Rosie said she had everything she needed.

If I don’t know anything else, I know how much pride Mama Rosie takes in her cooking. She is not going to put just anything in her recipes to make up for something that is missing. That would de-value the dish – even if only in her own eyes. People may not know, but she will know.

This made me think about how often we just throw something together; especially if we convince ourselves we are doing someone a favor. Or worse, when we are required to repeatedly to a job or task because the person we are working for changes their mind back and forth.

Sometime we seem to stop taking pride in our work when it is for someone else. We will give others something we would never accept for ourselves. We don’t seem to understand how we de-value peoples expectations by just throwing anything together. Even when we are certain they won’t know. But we know when we have not done our best.

We de-value our gifts, talents, and skills by being complacent in our preparation and presentation. The hardest thing in the world for me to do is to shortcut a job, mess it up, then have to undo it and start over. Have you ever gotten through a project and have parts left over?

Take a cue from Mama Rosie. Have enough pride in your work to be prepared before you begin. And don’t let just anybody bring ingredients to add to your recipe.

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