Sunday, May 12, 2019

Best Mom

     I know what your thinking. You know who the best mom in the world is. I''m sure most of you would say your mom. Well, your wrong. I'm married to her. I know because of the sacrifices she makes everyday just to be a mom.

     Everyday, before everyone else gets up she is up. She opens the blinds and curtains and lets in the sun. She has everyone's schedule in her head and is ready to make sure everyone is up and getting ready so that they can get to where they need to be. She gets everyone in order before she even gets ready herself. Her day revolves around the schedule of our children.

     Everyday she goes to work. Her office is in our home but not once has she ever taking advantage of the opportunity to work in her pajamas. She's dressed for success even when no one will see her.  She manages our business. Taking calls all day handling customers demands and of course doing more scheduling. In between she finds more time to do accounting and all other aspects of running a business. 

     Everyday she has a routine for cleaning the house. I don't know what it is except for that laundry is on Thursday. She keeps our home looking beautiful. It's mostly thankless. The kids leave for school and work and come home and everything is clean. I think they believe a fairy came and dusted while they were gone. You would think they might question why the fairy skips their room.

     Most days she cooks us supper. By now she is getting a little worn out, after all she has been going strong all day. We stuff our faces and she cleans up.

     Evening rolls around and there might be time for a 11 mile bike ride or maybe there is some errands to run. There is also planning tomorrows meal and maybe a business meeting between us to get ready for the next day. She also spends time for things the kids need. Something for school, a ear to listen and a laugh or two.

     Somewhere in the middle of all that she also finds time for me. A snuggle on the couch and conversations about our day.  I don't know how she does it. She doesn't nap and she will repeat it again tomorrow. My wife Lori, is truly the best mom out there. She sacrifices herself everyday for us and once a year we sing her some praises. That's not enough. I always loved the story "The Giving Tree". That tree gave and gave and when it thought it had nothing else to give... it still gave more. Lori gives everyday. When her head hits the pillow she feels like she has nothing else to give. But tomorrow she will get up, before everyone else, open the blinds and curtains and give some more.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Daughters, Daddys and Guitars

When I was a teenager I really really really wanted to learn to play guitar. I saved up my paper route money and bought a Harmony H-802 sunburst reissue. It came with a small plastic amp that ran on batteries. I knew nothing about playing guitar. I had played the tuba in the school band. (Insert your own jokes here) I also had a few months of piano lessons but I wanted to shred on the guitar. I bought a black and white checkerboard guitar strap, a beginner guitar book and was ready to jam. Only it never happened. I learned a few cords and would pick it up from time to time and say "This time I'm going to get with it and really learn to play" I eventually bought my second guitar. A black stratocaster copy made in Korea. I learned a bit more, bought a few distortion pedals and could rock out with my power cords to a few songs but never felt like a guitar player. 

Over the years I bought a few other guitars. My wife even bought me a Gregg Bennett Samich acoustic guitar so I could practice more often without having to drag out the amp, cords and pedals. But I never really hit a level of guitar playing I felt confident in. 

One day I can home to find a note on my daughters marker board addressed to me. She wrote Dad, will teach me to play guitar. I was excited to jump at the chance. Neither of her older brothers had any interest in playing a instrument or even much love for music as I did. I let her use my red Fender Squier Bullet and I used my black strat to show her a few cords. I let her keep the bullet in her room and I would hear her strumming away. What a advantage she had. This little thing called YouTube helped her learn a lot. Soon I was hearing recognizable songs coming from her room. 

On a trip to Minneapolis we came across a First Act acoustic guitar for $25 in a thrift store. We picked it up, had it restrung and set up the best we could. She used that guitar to learn to play. She sat in her room, disciplined, working, playing. She was getting good.

Our church was offering a get together for those who were interested in learning the guitar. We thought this would be a great way to spend time together and learn some things. We would attend the class and strum along. Mostly playing cords we already knew but it was fun just hanging out playing guitar. 

Soon she bought her own electric guitar and for Christmas I gave her a gig bag and a pink and black checker board guitar strap. I wanted her to look as cool as I thought I did back when I was her age. 

Recently we were invited to start sitting in with the worship team at our church and I started seeing just how good my daughter has become. In some areas she is better than I am. Now after trying to play guitar for over 30 years and to have a 16 year old show you a cord you do not know can really hit your ego. But that's ok. I taught her her first cords why shouldn't she help show me some. 

The real high point in this came when we were invited to actually play with the worship team during a service. For me it was surreal. A musician I admire for his skill and abilities believed I was good enough to stand in front of people and play. After 30 years I finally felt like I achieved the goal I set out to reach so long ago. I so often spend my time telling others that you can achieve your goals and that they don't always happen on your time frame and here is some proof. 

Thirty plus years ago I started learning to play guitar. Thirty plus years ago God set in motion a skill that I can now use to worship Him. He also set in motion something that my daughter and I can connect over. When other parents are having a hard time with their teenager I'm playing music with mine. 

That first time I stood up there playing in worship was a confirmation in my abilities and my daughters. Her's was confirmed at age 16. Mine, 50. But the fact that we both were up there together, sharing that moment is a memory that we will both have forever and if I never played again, it would have all been worth it.     

www.timolson.info
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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Do Not Do Outrage

     In the last few days I found myself reading a post where someone was outraged. I know I'm shocked! Another scam, another lie, however you want to look at it. It is really just another way to be outraged. Since I am a fact driven person I always believe if I just point out the actual facts using data and explain where it comes from the person posting would have to acknowledge that their statement wasn't completely true. I thought long and hard before posting because I am not interested in a fight. A debate would be okay, after all...facts, but I do not want to engage in any argument. My facts were brushed off so I followed with more. That was followed by a change of argument. I posted back that that was not relevant to the original complaint and that once again the facts stand. There was no reply so I let the conversation end there.

     At lunch I received a notification that someone else posted on the conversation so I checked it out and guess what...all my comments have been deleted! Yes, my facts, provable mathematical facts had been deleted. I cannot venture to guess why my posts were removed as that would be judging. (Real judging is assigning a motive to a action without knowing what that motive is) But what did remain was more outrage. The comments that followed showed even more outrage as all the like thinking people enjoyed taking their usual positions. 

     I'm not telling you this so I can brag about my awesome factual points, although it was awesome. What caught my attention was that this person would rather be mad and outraged than even take into account the information I was providing. In fact in looking back, outrage is all I see. Social media posts have turned into nothing but angry posts about the latest outrage. What happened with the Covington School kids is a great example. I woke up and looked at my Facebook only to see everyone so outraged about these kids. (The things people called these kids was unbelievable) I looked at a few videos and within 10 minutes I knew there was more to the story and decided I needed to wait for more information before forming an opinion about it. 

     In 1979 "The Logical Song" was picked as Paul McCartney's favorite song and I think that a lot of it still rings true to this day. "When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful" sang Roger Hodgson. "But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, Logical, oh responsible, practical" He went on to sing about how they made him dependable. All very good things. But then it takes a turn. "I said, watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, Liberal, oh fanatical, criminal." Then worse yet, "Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel your acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable!" 

     I think we have fallen into the later part of the song only we are the one's who want to make sure that your acceptable, respectable and presentable. We feel we need to right every wrong by posting about how WE believe this is a travesty. The sad part is we have not formed our own opinions. We have become Pavlov's dog jumping on every outrageous injustice. We somehow believe our yelling helps. But it only adds. It helps light fires you don't always see. Instead of being a positive light we throw fuel on the flames and if you don't agree, well then. your just not acceptable.

     We signed our name to a team that makes us feel acceptable but we really are bunch of vegetables. We follow the orders and react without thought of our actions. You can't keep that up. You cannot react and scream about everything we see that is wrong. It would be a full time job and for so many it has turned into one. So many of the people I know on Facebook post more news articles and political memes than they do about their friends or family. Boy I wish I would see a huge burger post again! 
        "The Logical Song" also has the lyrics, "But at night, when all the worlds asleep, The questions run so deep, For such a simple man. Won't you please tell me what I've learned, I know it sounds absurd, PLEASE TELL ME WHO I AM" I think we have lost who we are. So many of us have become Grandpa Simpson yelling and complaining about everything and we don't even see it. We don't even realize what we have become. We believe yelling wins an argument over debate. We believe only our answer is the answer. We scream about compassion while screaming shows none. We step on others while claiming to love all. All because we love the rush, the acceptance, and the superiority of the outrage. 

     Join me, and lets stop the outrage. Leave your team. Discover yourself. Get to know YOU! Break the chains and be a leader. So many are living in the dark, be a shinning light. Teach what you know and learn what you don't. Hold each other up. Listen more than you talk. Do these simple things and maybe just maybe you will notice "the birds in the tree's well they'd be singing so happily, oh, joyfully watching" you.   

www.timolson.info
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Trump's Effect

     Over the past few days social media is again ablaze with outrage. This time it's over how some teen boys reacted to...well you know. This post is not related to this one incident.

     I really don't even know where to start with this as I cannot even understand where we are as a country. In fact I just wrote a bunch of stuff and then backed up and started here again. I think the thing I struggle the most is with judgement. Although I have had many non Christians try to tell me that the Bible says not to judge that just simply is not true. By the way, instead of just repeating what others have said, try to study the Bible before you use it to argue against someone. You wouldn't argue with a architect without understanding something about architecture would you? Good. Hopefully I just saved you from looking like a fool. The Bible does tell us to judge but here is what so many get wrong about judgement. Judging someone's actions are fine and good. Judging someone's heart is wrong. In other words, someone steals bread. Wrong. Someone steals bread to feed his family? His actions are still wrong even if his heart was in the right place, and the worst judgement is when you assign the motive to their actions without knowing what it was. 

     Today everyone seems to know the heart of everyone else. Sometimes actions may look like one thing but where their heart is, is another. I find it mind blowing that everyone seems to know, without question, the heart of others. Because they are so sure they then feel justified in calling out, shaming and even destroying said person. In fact we have become so effective at discerning someone's heart that we need not be present. We need not know those involved. We need not know anyone who was present. We need not do any research. We just need to be told by our like thinking friends, news source, websites, and social media what to be outraged about and then we pick up our pitch forks and post!

     The worst part about Trump's being elected is how we have reacted to his presidency. I have watched people I used to think were great, fine, smart individuals turn into the most hateful, angry, mean spirited people. Before you say, "Hey Timo! Are you judging?" Yes, I'm judging actions. I have watched these people take down others, some longtime friends. I have listened to and read posts that are so full of hatred for others for simply having another point of view. Everyday full of outrage and bitterness. I myself have been the focal point of these attacks. I was even attacked for suggesting we take a break from politics. How dare me! 

     I have watched and I cry for my children as I think is this what we really want to leave them? Is this what we want to model for them? I for one do not. So I do not engage in this childlike behavior. I sit back and take notes. Trump will be out of office someday and his role in my life and yours will be gone. I will forget about Trump, but I will not forget the actions of those I know. I will not forget how I witnessed you treat others. How you judged the heart of others. The names you used. How you behaved. I know you feel justified. I know you feel as your fighting the good fight, but there is no nobility in taking someone down to elevate another. I will be judging, your character, and the true effect of Trump's presidency is that it will take me a lot longer to get over and forget your actions than those of the president.

Tim Olson
www.timolson.info
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gillette Is Not the Problem

     News feeds across social media are filling up with the current outrage. In case you haven't heard Gillette made a commercial where they changed their tag line from "The Best A Man Can Get" to the "Best A Man Can Be". In the ad you see men looking in a mirror while in the background you hear television news reports about the #metoo movement. Then what follows is a series of shots showing men disrespecting women. In one scene two boys wrestle while the dad's exclaim "boys will be boys".  Then Gillette proclaims that they believe in the best of men. The ad then shows men standing up against other men after Terry Crews proclaims that men need to hold other men accountable. The final line is "Because the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow".

     So why all the outrage? It seems to me that the commercial is telling the truth. Real men need to stand up in situations that call for it. Real men need to teach our children how to be respectful and how to treat each other.  But in the commercial Gillette says men need to "say the right thing, to act the right way, and SOME already are". See the outrage comes from the word SOME. That word should be MOST. Most men already treat women with respect. Most men model good behavior for their children and most men do stand up when they see the situations portrayed in the commercial.

     The real outrage is coming from the fact that men are tired of being the punching bag. We all know how men are portrayed on television, incapable of doing the most meaningless tasks. Men have been told for the last few decades that they are not needed. We are not needed to be present in the home to raise good children. We are told women do not need us to be happy. We read articles about our privilege and how we run "rape camps". That we are unhappy that we no longer have unfettered access to women's bodies. I once posted a joke about my wife escaping by cutting her chain off the stove and I was taken to task for my toxic masculinity. It was a joke!

     Out of fear that I will just be written off as mansplaining I hope I can shed some light onto this situation. Yes men are outraged. MOST men are good men. MOST men are as disgusted by the behaviors of the Harvey Weinstein's of this world. MOST men do the right thing most days. The men I know worship their wives and children. They work jobs they hate to provide for them and do it all without much complaint. So I ask Gillette, where is our commercial? Where is our article? Why are we only focused on the negative minority of men and not on the bigger demographic of well behaving, hard working, family loving men?

     If our younger generation is watching then we need to hold up what it is we want them to be. This isn't something only men need to do, this is something as a society we need to do. We need to stress how important the role of a man is in the home. We need to stress the effect that a man has on his boys and his daughters. We need to feature REAL men and showcase what a REAL man looks like in a positive way.

     Society can do a better job of lifting up men but just like most things it starts at home. There are too many broken homes. The breakdown of the family unit is the single largest reason we are facing these issues today. But we don't want to talk about that for a variety of reasons. We would rather just blame men. Studies show that just by having the father in the house children will be less likely to use drugs, alcohol, engage in risky behavior, have better school attendance and do financially better in life. Not to mention intangible stuff like knowledge, habits, and willpower are increased. Stable, healthy families are at the heart of strong societies. No wonder we all think our society has gone crazy.

     So yes, men are upset but it's not about some razor companies commercial. We are tired of hearing about how we are nothing but a bunch of disgusting pigs who need to change ourselves because we are nothing but evil and that until we change we are nothing but worthless to society. But I'm one man who can tell you, MOST of us are not disgusting pigs. We are dedicated to our wives who we love very much, we love our children and would die for them. The fact that men work most of the high risk jobs to provide for their families proves that fact. We give and sacrifice of ourselves for our families, and the good ones, which is MOST of us are hurt by the fact that we are looked upon with such disgust and hate when we know what is in our hearts. So I ask, if "the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow", where is our commercial?

Tim Olson
www.timolson.info
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Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's Too Late.

    Yesterday marked my mothers 70th birthday, Only it didn't. She hasn't had a birthday in 29 years. No it isn't some type of trick she pulls to keep her age a secret and remain young forever. She passed away in 1989. In a way she is going to be forever young since none of us will ever see her as a old woman. She will always be 41.

My mom and I about 7 months before she died. The last time I
not only saw her but spoke to her.
     The morning of March 19th was as ordinary as any other until my phone rang. It's really strange how something as normal as the phone ringing can change your entire life. Your phone rings hundreds of times conditioning your mind. Never thinking that your world will be shaken to the core. I would have never guessed in a million years what I was about to be told on that call but as soon as I heard my step dad's voice I knew something wasn't right.

     My mom had moved to California and I hadn't seen her or talked to her since I visited the August before. She was busy with her new life and I with mine. She was now remarried and trying hard to make ends meet. Working two jobs to support her new (and lazy) husband and my sister. I was working and had my own relationship that kept my time full. The one thing that we both had in common was that we both took for granted that we would always be there.

     It's too late. It had now become to late for me to pick up the phone and call my mom. Something I thought I should do week after week since our visit. The longer time from the visit the more I thought about it. Sometimes at work I would think when I get home I should give her a call. Then at home the thought would enter my mind. But for some reason my hand never grabbed the phone and pushed those numbers. Now, it was too late.

     Over the years I have accumulated tons of questions. I remember as kids that we flew to Indiana to visit her mom. Did we only ever do that once or was there another time I can't remember? What foods did I like as a kid? My son Alex looks so much like me, are our personalities the same?

     We also think of things we should have said. My relationship with both my parents was very strained to say the least so there was a lot of things that shouldn't have been said but were. The things that should be said will not be and the things that were can not be unsaid. It's too late.

     Sometimes we find ourselves burnt by the hot stove of life. Sometimes scars are left for a lifetime and the only thing that helps heals those scars is the fact that you can prevent others from receiving them. So we stand near the stove and stop everyone from placing their hands upon the red hot burner. It gives meaning to your scars.

     I'm here to prevent you from having those scars. DO NOT let it be to late. DO NOT forget those important questions. DO NOT forget to say your sorry. DO NOT forget to say those all to important words. I LOVE YOU. Tomorrow is not promised so do not let the sun set another day without saying what needs to be said or you will find out that It's too late.
   

Sunday, September 3, 2017

LOVE? - Is giving bad?

     I keep hearing that love MUST win.  If this is the case, I believe we need to start acting like it. I have decided to start a series of blog posts asking LOVE? because I have trouble seeing LOVE in the actions of some.

     President Donald Trump just gave $1,000,000 of HIS money to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Soon after I see tweets and stories about how "little" he gave. Right away I looked up to see how much Obama gave so I could argue back. But then I realized I was falling for the trap. I'm not here to defend Trump although that's how this is going to read. (who I support and vote for does not matter in this story) I am here to stand for LOVE. Where is the LOVE? I did not know there was a test as to how much you have to give for your gift to be appreciated. If there is I wonder if I pass. Where do I send in the documents and who runs the numbers and decides how much is enough? You see there isn't. It's not up to you or me to decided what is right for others to do. These posts and complaints come from people who are so blinded by HATE that they cannot see the LOVE. 

     If I was running a table with a can for donations and someone donated one dollar, I would be thankful that they opened their heart to help. If someone gave ten dollars I would be thankful. As each person walked by and dropped their donation into the can I would say thank you. Now walks by Mr Big Money and I know he is worth a lot. I just saw him pull up in a BMW. He drops a large donation into the can. biggest one I've seen today. I now have a choice. I can look at him and tell him he's a jerk because I know he could give more or I could thank him and think about all the good that amount of money is going to do. 

     See, the problem with this situation isn't Mr. Big Money. It's with me! The individual. I could JUDGE him but I didn't do that to the other people who walked past. For all I know someone who didn't donate may even have more money than him, I don't know. Someone may have giving a larger percentage if their income. I don't know.  But my personal feeling for the man stomped on my heart and will not allow me to see the good that man just did. 

     One definition of love is the concern for the good of another. So, do you LOVE the victims of Hurricane Harvey or do you hate Trump more? I for one will stand up and cheer for ANYONE who does ANYTHING to help the people who need help. I will not criticize the effort no matter how big or small and I most certainly will not criticize their efforts over something as foolish as political points of view. In times like this it's not suppose to be us against them. It's 330 million individuals who need to stand together and forget about differences and parties for a while and contribute to our society instead of filling it full of vile words and HATE. 

     I for one LOVE those who have been hurt by Hurricane Harvey and I even LOVE those who are so full of HATE that they cannot let it go for even one minute. It's my LOVE for you that makes me write this today in hopes that maybe, just maybe you won't try to justify your anger but to take that energy and make it into something productive and useful. You don't need to praise Mr. Big Money, but you do need to practice tolerance and not HATE and let LOVE be the action you take today.