Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Denny's Delectable Dining or 'Family Bonding at Denny's'

For those of you with kids that do not know, what I'm about to tell you might prove life-changing.  Not necessarily in the spiritual sense, but in the profoundly practical sense.

Denny's has Kids Eat Free every Tuesday and Saturday afternoon/evening from 4 PM on.  And, even better news, you can have 2 free kids meals for every adult entree purchased.

For a family of 5, 3 of which are children, this is a big deal.  We can take our entire family to Denny's for about the same as we often spend at fast food.  With tip, tax, and everything, we usually are out the door for somewhere between $23-$30.  Not bad.

Combine the deal with a lazy Saturday afternoon, and no surprise here, the result is often another fat-laden breakfast-dinner at Denny's.  It is now to the point that the manager recognizes us and greets us when we come in on Saturday night. 

While Denny's is not necessarily the most elegant restaurant, it is a great FAMILY restaurant.  It is kid friendly and typically has good food at good prices.

All of that pales in comparison to the family bonding time Ben and I have when we use the restroom.

I know that probably sounds a little weird at first glance, but we have actually developed 3 separate games that make restroom breaks less of a hassle and a lot more fun.

Game #1 - We race the girls.  Now, this is probably an unfair race right from the outset, as we are the only 2 boys, and there are 3 girls.  Combine that fact with how much slower girls are in the restroom, and the girls really never had a chance.  Except, of course, when they win.  But that doesn't happen very often, and when it does happen, it is only because of Game #2 and Game #3.

Game #2- The Sprinkle All Over Each Other Game-  I know this is a game played in a bathroom, but the sprinkle here is referring to what we do with the water left on our fingers after we wash our hands.  We both continue washing and quit at the same time, to ensure fairness.  We then face each other and flick our fingers/hands at each other as to ensure the absolute maximum amount of water is sprinkled on the other person.  I guess it's no wonder I sometimes get the strangest looks coming out of the bathroom.

Game #3- The Trash Can Toss- Once we have finished sprinkling each other, we both take a roll of paper towel, dry our hands off with it, and wad it up into a ball.  We then take turns trying to make it in the trash can.  Now the Denny's we go to makes this kind of difficult, as the hole for the trash can is just a small hole in the top of the vanity.  We often tie, but the last time we ate at Denny's, Ben made his first shot, and I didn't make mine until the 4th shot.  This makes him extremely happy.  He loves to beat his dad. 

I have heard it often said that the time you spend with your kids is very important.  I think that is very true.  Some say that the quantity of time is not that important- it's the quality of time that really matters.  I sometimes hope that is true, as it seems I never have the time I wish I had to spend with my 3 wonderful kids.  In my heart, though, I think that both are important.  I try to set aside some time each night to be with my kids, but it often seems it's not enough.  Homework, chores, dinner all can get in the way.

Or, they can just be part of the process of bonding with them.

That is why I developed the bathroom games.  Sometimes the silliest things mean the world to your kids.

I hope it's enough.

-The Poor Husband

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Updated Wordle

If you have not yet seen my last Wordle, you can find it here.

And now for my updated Wordle, fresh with all the new and improved words I've been using on my blog lately:

**To see a larger image, just click anywhere on the Wordle and you will see a much larger version.** 

I really like how this one came out with the words 'one' and 'hope' featured so prominently.  We do have one hope, so I thought this was quite appropriate!

The Wordle website says:  'If you use a screen-capture, PDF, or other image representation of a Wordle on this site, you must attribute the image to http://www.wordle.net/. '  So, now you can make your own!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Birthday Business- Life With Rachael

Tomorrow is Tonight was Hannah's Birthday Party. She turns 8 on the 22nd. She is having a few friends over for a sleepover.
As you might imagine, she is quite excited.

There is nothing quite like the brightness of Hannah's face when she is excited.
One of the things I appreciate most about Life With Rachael is how much Rachael does to ensure the kids celebrate their special days properly. Tonight, Hannah was showing me all the things she has for her party tomorrow. Rachael took the time out of her busy schedule to make sure Hannah's party had all the little things that makes a girls sleep over special.
Party Favors? Check.
Puppy dogs for everyone? Check. By the way, Hannah held up her puppy and babies and it reminded me of a re-enactment of the nursing momma mouse. Here's the picture.

Cake and ice cream? Check.

Glow tubes? Check.
Sunglasses and fake wigs for all the girls? Check.

All here because Rachael made it happen.
And for that I am thankful. Rachael is a truly wonderful mother and our kids have been very blessed by her.
I started this post last night, but finished tonight after the birthday party. Here are some pictures of the good times that were had by all!

On this same night, Ben was at another B-Day party for a friend of his. They had a pirate theme and Ben said 'It was the best day ever!'.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mice Murders, part 2

If you have not yet read part one, please click here and start with part one.  Thanks!

As I was moving a log to position it correctly for cutting, a 4 headed, 16 footed, multi-whiskered fiend jumped straight out at me.  I know I said it had 12 feet yesterday.  It didn't actually grow 4 feet overnight.  I had just miscalculated my mice math.

As I jumped back out of the way, I sat the the chainsaw down as quickly as possible.  While the temptation to create a mouse version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (maybe The Mouseketeer Massacre?) was enticing, I weighed my options and settled on the side of safety.

As I stood back up the mouse thing started scurrying along one of the logs.  Except it was not able to scurry very well. 

And the reason made me feel almost sorry for the mouse.  Yes, me, the self-proclaimed hater of all rascally rodents.

The 4 headed creature was actually a momma mouse nursing 3 babies.  But not little 'pinkie' mice.  These babies were about 1/3 - 1/2 the size of their momma.

And they were hanging on to their momma with nothing but their mouths on her nipples.  Yes, she was literally dragging three babies across the log with nothing to transport them but their mouths chomping down on her nipples.

While I have never personally nursed a baby, I understand that it can be quite painful if the baby gets a little over-ambitious while nursing. 

Even I felt bad for this momma mouse.

That being said, I quickly assessed the situation, picked up a metal grounding rod lying nearby and tried to impale my new-found enemies.  While this seemed like a good idea in theory, actual usage proved otherwise.  The point of the rod was too narrow and the rod was too heavy to really be effective.  I chased the momma mouse under a few small pieces of wood.  One of her babies finally lost it's hold on her.  I chased her under an empty planter bucket.  I missed her again, but another of her babies dropped off.  Finally, as I picked up a 2 foot section of 2x4 for my next weapon of choice, she ran straight at me. 

Without even having much time to think about it, I lifted my foot, and stomped down.  Hard.  She was met with a quick and painless death.

In retrospect, I think she may have actually known what was coming and was willing to do anything just to make the pain from her overly gnawed nipples to go away.

I was more than happy to oblige her.

Next, I had to consider what to do with the three baby mice.  I think they would have probably died, but they were big enough, I was not sure.  Plus, I didn't want to see them starve to death, or if they were big enough, I did not want to see them grow up and later invade my house.

So, I took care of them quickly and painlessly.

While I get no joy from dispatching death to my furry friends, I am not willing to sacrifice my home or well-being for theirs.  I already received one comment on my first post about the sometimes deadly consequences of dealing with mice.

I'm just not willing to take that chance with my family.

What about you?  Do you think I did the right thing?  Why or why not?  Do you have any stories about how rodents have impacted your life?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Mouse Murders

As some of you know from some of my recent FaceBook posts, I have been waging a war against the evil mice attempting to invade my kingdom.

Prior to this evening, I had caught 4 mice in my garage and one under my kitchen sink.  I promptly disposed of the carcasses and never really gave it a second thought.

Mice are evil, heinous little scurvy-carrying, Hanta-virus infected, scurrying little venomous beasts that only exist to allow us to enhance our trapping skills.

I work for Clark Pest Control and this February will have been there 20 years.  While I sit behind a desk now, in my day I caught hundreds, if not thousands of mice and rats.  (By the way, if you ever need pest control, Clark is by far the best company out there.  Not the cheapest.  But the best.  And I am not biased in any way.  :-) )  Most people don't realize how much science goes into methods used to make rodent trapping successful.  Let's just suffice it to say that the merry little mice that invaded my house chose the wrong spot to live if they wanted to see next week. 

I have personally seen the havoc that rodents create for us humans.  Rodents are suspected to be one of the main causes of unexplained house fires.  They have this annoying little habit of chewing and they'll chew right through electrical wires, or just about anything else.  In fact, one of my neighbors right across the street from me was just telling me last week that she had to have the wires in her Corvette replaced after mice chewed them up.  So, I am not a fan of rodents and strongly encourage you to maintain a rodent-free home.  I feel completely justified in saying this.  After all, we're human and they are, well, they are not.  They are mice.

As of this morning, the war score was The Poor Husband- 5; Vile, wretched mice- 0

As of this evening, the score is now 9-0.

Those extra four mice are the topic of this post.

As most of you probably know, there is a huge storm coming in this evening and hitting most of the west coast of the United States.  While we don't always lose our power, it does happen occasionally, so I came straight home from work and began to use my chain saw to cut up some lengths of wood I have.  I wanted to have firewood in case that becomes our only source of heat in the next couple of days.

As I began to work on the wood-pile, I discovered the strangest creature.  This creature jumped right out at me, had 4 heads, 12 feet, and lots of little whiskers.  It was all attached together in some sort of almost morbid-looking Stephen King-esque way.  It took me a minute to fully realize what I was seeing.  When realization dawned, it was almost unbelievable and tempted me with pity.  In fact, what I saw made me feel bad enough to write this post.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of this mice tale.  Which is a lot better than a mouse tail. 

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's In A Smile?

This weekend, I had the unfortunate experience of attending a funeral for an old friend of mine that recently killed himself.

He was a fun-loving person that literally brightened up the room when he was there.  He had a smile that lit up his face, and before long, the contagiousness of it would have those around him smiling, as well.

He typically tried to find the best in people and was usually successful.

He was an all-around good guy.

I worked with him for 10 years and have now known him for almost 20.  I saw him last about 2 or 3 months ago.  I have talked with a lot of people that have been around him frequently during the past few weeks and no one saw this one coming.

At his funeral, we all watched as picture after picture swept by on the overhead screen at the church.  The one thing I noticed in every picture was his killer smile.  A smile that lit up the room.  A smile that looked totally genuine. 

A smile that evidentally hid a lot of pain.

The minister spoke and he brought up some of the questions that everyone there had been asking themselves.  The first question was 'Why?'  'Why did this have to happen?'  It seems so senseless.  He had so many friends.  So many people that loved him.  So much to live for.

The minister went on to say that we should not focus on the 'Why?' of this one tragic decision, but instead focus on the positive ways our lives were touched by this individual. 

I think it's probably important to do both.  I think asking 'Why?' is probably part of the normal grieving process, especially when it concerns a friend or relative that has committed suicide.  While no answer will ever totally satisfy this question for my recently departed friend, maybe the search for the answer can lead to areas of self-discovery and reflection on one's own life.

Why indeed does one take their own life?

What has to be going on in one's head to make this choice seem like a viable option?  Especially someone that is not mentally ill and has a huge number of people that love and care for him? 

Why couldn't he reach out for help?




The second question the minister talked about was 'What could I have done to help prevent this?'.  This is the question that I think many were asking themselves.  Could I have seen this coming?  Could I have said just the right words or done just the right things to have prevented this suicide from occurring?

He admonished us to not blame ourselves.  He reiterated what was already fairly obvious to all of us, but needed to be said as a reminder.  We were his family and his friends.  Lots of friends and family that did what they could to be there for him.  What happened was not something that we could have prevented, or we would have.

I appreciated this minister's words.  I have not been as close a friend as late as I used to be.  I know one of the first things that went through my head when I found out about the suicide was that I wish I had been closer to him more recently so that I might have seen this coming. 

In retrospect, I don't really think anyone saw this coming.  And I don't think I probably would have either, even if I had been closer to him.

I can not believe that his life is over.  That I will never see him again.  That his smile will never again be seen aside from in our pictures and in our memories.


Why did that smile hide so much?


It is sometimes hard to see behind the immense problems of here and now.  When that is the case, sometimes we need to cry out to Jesus.  Please follow this link to listen to a great song about hope for the helpless:

Here are the lyrics:

Cry Out To Jesus
Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right


There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith and love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering


When your lonely (when you're lonely)
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight


Please listen to the linked video above first.  I like it the best, but this next one is pretty good, also:

The song Hope For The Hopeless by A Fine Frenzy.


stitch in your knitted brow
and you don't know how
you're gonna get it out

crushed under heavy chest
trying to catch your breath
but it always beats you by a step,
all right now

making the best of it
playing the cards you get
you're not alone in this

there's hope for the hopeless
hope for the hopeless
there's hope

cold in a summer breeze
yeah, you're shivering
on your bended knee

still, though your heart is sore
and the heavens pour
like a willow bending with the storm,
you'll make it

running against the wind
playing the cards you get
something is bound to give

there's hope for the hopeless
hope for the hopeless
there's hope

there's hope for the hopeless
hope for the hopeless
there's hope

Romans 5:1-5
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Talkative Friend

And so we continue our series of Friends With Hangups.  We will be examining The Talkative Friend for tonight's blogisode.  (Kind of like episode, but for blogs.)

The Talkative Friend never saw a conversation he did not enjoy.  While he probably likes to hear about your life, that typically doesn't happen unless you are in the mood for a talk-fest race.  For some reason, this friend is completely uncomfortable with the slightest pause in your conversation. 

There are, however, a few advantages to having lots of The Talkative Friends:

1.  You really don't ever have to think of a topic for conversation.
2.  If you are quiet long enough, it's amazing what you can learn about their life.  And, depending on The Talkative Friend, possibly everyone else's life.
3.  If you are quiet long enough, you may also get to see the stangest of all phenomenas for The Talkative Friend.  I call it the Suffering Succotash Suffocation.  It's basically when The Talkative Friend is allowed to continue talking unchecked by anyone else's input.  Eventually, they begin to get light-headed, and may soon pass out.  What happens is they basically don't breathe enough and soon pass out from a self-induced artificial suffocation.  As soon as they pass out, they resume breathing, so there's no real health worries.  Unless, of course, they talk in their sleep.  Then....you could have a problem.  Here's a video of a potential candidate of Sufferin' Succotash Suffocation.

4.  If you're in a room full of people you don't know, you can scan the room and easily find The Talkative Friend.  He's the one that everyone is listening to while trying to escape to the other side of the room.  However, he can provide just the cover you need until you feel comfortable talking to others.  Plus, some kind-hearted soul may rescue you from his verbal embrace and you may gain a new, true friend.
5.  You can actually perform scientific experiments on The Talkative Friend and they will not even notice.  For instance, you could track the exact amount of time that The Talkative Friend will allow to pass before resuming their conversation with you.  You can even pull your stop-watch out and be obvious about it.  They probably won't even notice.  Once you know the exact time involved, you can then time your responses a micro-second before and watch what happens with the verbal head-on collisions.

Benefits notwithstanding, I have often wondered about The Talkative Friend.  I tend to be quieter by nature.  One of the reasons I am this way is that I don't think you really care about what I ate for lunch, or the loaf of bread I bought, or the store I went to.  Unless something cool, funny, or interesting happened, of course.  But, for me, going to Safeway to pick up a loaf of bread or gallon of milk is just not that exciting the first time around.  Let alone telling it to you the second time.  And I am convinced you would feel the same way.  And yet, the talkative friend will gladly share all of these details and more.  I think it's because when you never quit talking, it's hard to come up with new material WITHOUT resorting to daily mundane activities.

And, it's actually interesting- I don't usually mind hearing about them, unless I'm in a hurry or something.  But what is the point?  Is silence really that bad?  What are we scared is going to fill the silence if we don't fill it with chatter?

I say we, because I think all of us are infected to a lesser degree than The Talkative Friend by the need to not have long, awkward pauses in our conversation. 

I have heard that one of the marks of a true friend is someone you can just sit with in silence and both of you be comfortable in that moment.

So, what do you think?  Do you mind The Talkative Friend?  Do you maybe like not having the pressure of maintaining your end of the conversation?  Any suggestions out there?  Do you think the 'silence test' is a good test of true friendship?

Let me know.

-The Poor Husband  (Being quiet now to hear your thoughts)

*Here's a bonus video of another fast talker.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Just A Wii Little Problem

Not long ago, I bought a used Wii game system for the family.  For awhile, we all really got into Wii Fit, but like most things healthy, that did not continue. 

Ben has a friend with a Wii and his friend has Mario Kart.  Ben put his mind to buying Mario Kart, saved a bunch of money, sold a ton of toys at our last yard sale, and soon had the money needed to buy the game. 

I was happy because Ben sold enough stuff to fill the back end of a small pickup truck and the new Wii game takes up about as much space as a paperback novel.  Anyone with kids knows what a blessing this is.

Ever since Ben bought the game, it has sort of captured the attention, enthusiasm, and every spare moment of free time the kids have.

Rachael had bought a charger and rechargeable battery packs for our two Wii controllers.  The idea being we would save money in the long run since we would no longer have to buy batteries.  This is a great theory, but the other day, the cold hard facts absolutely refused to subscribe to the theory.

One controller was fine, but the other one was in the charger, where Rachael had placed it.  To make sure it was ready for our next video-game session.  The only problem was that she had placed the one with batteries in the charger.  Not the rechargeable battery pack....

With normal batteries inserted, there is nothing but blank white plastic to rest against the metal charging rods of the charger. 

The source of recharging was there, but until it was properly plugged in, it did no good.

So, of course, the remote was dead as could be.

This got me thinking. 

How often do we try to 'plug in' to something to re-energize without even knowing what we're doing?  Or what we're really looking for?  How many people have left on a self-discovery adventure of 'finding themselves' only to realize at the end of it that they're more lost than when they started?

Sometimes the best intentions result in nothing more than burned out batteries and an inability to accomplish what we are striving for.

It has been said that the average family spends more time planning their annual vacation than they do planning their financial futures.

I think we often plug in our time and energy to things that actually drain us instead of revive us.  Has this ever happened to you? 

What is your source of strength?  Where do you go when your batteries are burned out and dead?  Physically?  Spiritually?  Emotionally?

What steps will we take today to be sure we 'plug-in' to those things that actually help us accomplish our goals and desires?  Too often, we trade what we REALLY, TRULY want because we get distracted by what we want RIGHT NOW.  Only to have RIGHT NOW fade forever, with nothing to show for it.  And all our time was spent on RIGHT NOW so we never had the time to accomplish what we REALLY, TRULY wanted.

I have learned that the car I drive, the house I live in, the money in my wallet, and pretty much all other physical rewards or accomplishments pale in comparison to the family hikes, the kids' smiles and giggles, the homework time with kids, the fellowship of friends, and time spent communing with God in prayer and study.

And yet, the other things seem to take up so much of my time, that I often neglect the things that matter most.  What about you?  Any secrets out there?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rachael and the Mennonite Vacation

So, I'll get back to the Friends With Hangups series, but there have been a few interesting stories that have happened that I feel I need to share also.  Then we'll get back to all the hangups.  They'll still be waiting for us when we return.

Tonight I sat down to write my latest post about Life With Rachael.  I was in the process of downloading pictures for two future posts, one about charging the Wii remote, and one about a recent experiment that involved frying syrup on the naked stove top, no pans needed. 

As the pictures were downloading, Rachael started a conversation out of nowhere.

"You know where I want to go and spend a week for our next vacation?"

I thought about it for a minute.  Several destinations entered my mind.

Maybe Hawaii or Kauai.  We have a condo there, but have never visited.  Or maybe a cruise.  Or another state.  Or a national park.  We love National Parks.  We love hiking.  All of these were potential candidates, but I really have learned that it's sometimes best to just ask, as Rachael's thoughts can tend to run on the random and sometimes indiscernible side.

"I don't know, Hon.  Where would  you like to go for a week's vacation?"

"A Mennonite Community."

Wow.  That was so random.  I mean, really.  If she had handed me a piece of paper and a pencil and asked me to guess what her future week's vacation plans were with a guarantee of 30 days straight back massages if I could guess it in 10 guesses, I'm pretty sure I'd have no recourse if I happened to get a sore back in the next month.

"A Mennonite Community.  Wow- I never saw that coming.  Sometimes you're so random.  Why a Mennonite Community?"

"Simple Living.  And going to church every day." 

I know what some of you are thinking.  'Simple living might be OK, but I thought church was something you HAVE to do.  Kind of put in your time to get on God's good side, but sitting in the pew counting off the minutes until you get to eat lunch.'

I'd be lying to say I've never had those feelings, but I try hard to remember the big picture.  Don't go to church because you HAVE to- Go because you want to.  Because you can grow there.  Because you can be a part of something much bigger than you.  Because God has welcomed you to be a part of His big plan.  And, there is not a BIGGER or more important plan anywhere.

One of the things I'm thankful for when living Life With Rachael is that Rachael has a true desire to do what's right and to serve God.  Now she's human, just like you and me, and she's not perfect, so there are times that she doesn't feel like going to church either, but as a whole, she's one of the most pure-hearted, honestly motivated individuals I've ever known.  I am sure you're thinking I'm somewhat biased, and I'm sure you are correct, but I really do believe there is some truth to what I'm saying.  It's one of the things I absolutely love about Rachael.

So, who knows?

Maybe we'll find ourselves spending a week with a Community of Mennonites sometime in the future.  It would definitely be a different vacation, but it might prove very interesting, relaxing, and enriching.  It would probably be a good experience for the kids, as well.

I'm listening to an audiobook novel right now about a doctor that was sued for malpractice, had a hard time dealing with the aftermath and went to Peru on a backpacking vacation.  While there, he started helping out with an orphanage and when it turned out they needed a doctor, he decided to stay on.  Found that the simpler life was a lot more rewarding than the hustle and bustle of where he had previously called home.  His vacation turned into a life-long mission.

What about you?  Have ever made a go at a simpler life?  Or ever had an untraditional vacation?  How did it go?  What conclusions did you come to?

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Insecure Friend


"I, a stranger and afraid

In a world I never made."

-A. E. Housman

If you've not yet checked out the original post for this series, please do so now.  Rachael recently brought up an interesting topic regarding how our ability to co-mingle with others is affected by our own hang-ups, or the lack thereof.  This got me thinking about the various hang-ups we all have.

Today, we're looking at The Insecure Friend.  You know the one.  This person needs constant re-assurance whenever they are talking to their friends.  While you want to be a help to them, you eventually get tired of being the eternal placater.

A typical conversation will go something like this:

Insecure Friend:  "I'm just not sure what to do about my work situation.  What do you think?"

You:  "Well, it sounds like you've been given a great opportunity- I'd go for it, if it was me."

Insecure Friend:  "Yeah, but I just don't know if I'm good enough to do that."

---Long dramatic pause---

(This is where you are supposed to read the invisible cue-cards they are holding up and say..."

You:  "Of course you're good enough.  You've done it a long time and you'll do fine."

Insecure Friend: "I don't know if I'm smart enough..."

---Another long dramatic pause---

You  (reading invisible cue cards once again):  "Of course  you are- Remember when you tackled your last project- You did great with it."

The temporary look of happiness on their face as a result of your compliment is instantly replaced with deep-browed wrinkled worried eyes.

Insecure Friend:  "Do you really think I could...?"

So, how would the perfectly well-adjusted individual with no hang-ups handle this situation?  Would they continue to appease them with their compliments, or would they discern the fact that doing so is actually reinforcing inappropriate behavior?  Would they find a kind way to talk to their friend about the problem?  Would they ignore it?

What do you suggest?

While the following is sometimes maybe fun to consider, it is probably not the best choice:

Insecure Friend: "I'm just not sure what to do about my work situation. What do you think?"

You: "Well, it sounds like you've been given a great opportunity- I'd go for it, if it was me."
Insecure Friend: "Yeah, but I just don't know if I'm good enough to do that."
---Long dramatic pause---

(This is where you are supposed to read the invisible cue-cards they are holding up.  But in this case, the cards seem to have been smudged because you can't quite make out the words.  oh well, you say what you've wanted to for so long...
You: "Yeah- You may not be good enough.  Better to play it safe than to find out."

Insecure Friend: "Well, I just don't know if I'm smart enough..."
---Another long dramatic pause---
You (mis-reading invisible cue cards once again): "That's a good point.  That position would require a lot of cognitive ability."

Insecure friend walks off stage-left.

Obviously, none of us wants to do this.  No one wants to hurt their friend.  So the big question is, 'How do you help them?'  Not necessarily help them to feel better right now, because the answer to that seems to lead to the inevitable never-ending circle game of constantly buttressing their weaknesses while they practically require your praise as much as the food or water or air they need.  But how do you help them long-term?

Wikihow says you should basically keep complimenting them until they begin to see themselves more positively.  Again, I'm not sure that's the best route to take for their permanent happiness.

At this point, you might want to click this link.  It is a very silly video and song.  You can either watch it, or just listen to it while you keep reading, but it's meant to help those that are feeling small and insignificant.  I think it might just do the opposite, but you be the judge.

My best guess at a solution to the problem is that a recommendation for them to read some good books that deal with why we have the problems we do would be in order.  I would strongly recommend just about anything by Cloud/Townsend.  They are the authors of the 'Boundaries' series.  They have great insight and provide biblically-based sound advice for those that are hurting and struggling.  And even for those that aren't.  I don't think anyone could read their books without gaining some insight about themselves.  Check it out at http://www.cloudtownsend.com/.

For those of us that are dealing with our own baggage, here is an excellent video clip from Cloud/Townsend.

So, what are your thoughts?  Any success stories?  Any attempts that either worked, or did not?  Looking forward to your comments...

-The Poor Husband

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The One-Upper Friend

Continuing the discussion of the 'perfectly adjusted friend', how would they handle the One-Upper Friend?  You know the one- They have done everything just a little bit better than you.  The have ran faster, swam farther, belched louder, worhipped longer, prayed louder, worked harder, thought smarter, and created long lists of hang-ups better, than you could ever hope to.

What do you do with such a friend?

Better question- What would the person with no hang-ups, the perfectly well-adjusted person do with such a friend?

I am not sure, but I think it would be fun to do the following, provided your concern for the health of the friendship is not that significant:

**Warning- only do this if you are ready to permanently part ways with your one-upper friend.**

1.  Buy a small digital recorder.  The kind that fits in your pocket.
2.  Hit the record button right before you walk over to begin a conversation with them.
3.  Start talking about how many situps you were able to do.
4.  Wait for the One-Upper to do what he does best. 
5.  Act duly impressed with his prowess.
6.  End the conversation as soon as possible.
7.  Wait a month or two, so the conversation will not be in the fore-front of his brain.
8.  Bring up the conversation of your working out again.  Again mention how many situps you were able to do.  Only this time, state the exact number that he had previously said he was able to do.
9.  Allow him to one-up you as he always does.
10.  Remove the digital recorder from your pocket and press play.  Without saying a word, simply walk away when the recorder has finished.

Then, go home and realize that you one-upped the One-Upper. 

On second thought, is that what you really want to do? 

This is where we all find ourselves in trouble, at times.  In our responses to obnoxious habits of friends, we can often times manifest an exaggerated example of the very fault we disliked in them.

Of course, it is so much easier, and quite a bit more fun, to look for their faults, than it is to examine our own.

But which will be the most beneficial?

**If you liked this post, please be sure to check out a few others, and click the 'follow' button.  And, of course, tell all of your friends about it.  Thanks!  -The Poor Husband**