Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pivotal Circumstances

Last Sunday, Andy Stanley at Northpoint Community Church finished the 5 part series titled Five Things God Uses To Grow Your Faith. Our Small Group is also doing a study based upon the series. Part 5 of the series - Pivotal Circumstances - really spoke to me and my life dealing with stuttering. When I discuss the subject with people today, I often will tell them how my stuttering has been a Blessing from God. Often, people have a hard time seeing why I think it is such a Blessing.

When I was younger - mainly before my PFSP therapy - I would often ask God why stuttering had to be the cross I had to bear in life. At times I would be very angry about it, but mainly during that stage of my life, I tried to pretend it was not an issue or problem.

After I first went through the PFSP program in '95, I felt as if I had been reborn. Due to my success with the program, all of a sudden my life was filled with Blessings and an empowerment I had never dreamed of before. However, as my pre-therapy life was very faith-driven - my life in the first few years after therapy was not.

When I met and married Staci a few years later, I started making some connections between my stuttering and it being a Blessing from God. As she often blogs about, my wife is extremely bi-polar. I don't know what it is like to be bi-polar, and Staci does not know what it is like to stutter, but we both know what it is like to wake up everyday with this "thing" in your life that you have to work dilligently to control so that it does not control you. I think Staci and I both needed to be with someone who understood what it was like to have that "thing" in your life.

The other piece of the connection is that after many years, I realized that my life has turned out much better because I stutter than it would have I have been naturally fluent. A few specific examples:

> I don't know if I would have had the motivation to start and/or finish college. I finally realized I needed a college degree if I was ever going to have a decent job. I was the first person of my immediate family who graduated from college (and I am proud to say that my oldest cousin - with a little encouragement from me - graduated from college a few years after I did).

> If I made a short list of the made who have meant the most to me in my life, 4 of the names would be people associated with the program (3 who I see every year and 1 who was in my original 3-week group).

> Even though my fluency is a continuing work-in-progress, the knowledge of how far I have come is extremely powerful. There are so many times when I see people so discouraged about something relatively trivial that has gone wrong in their lives. Small problems don't tend to phase me anymore.

> There are (many) times when being fluent and executing nearly perfect targets is extremely euphoric.

There was a lot of pain and frustration associated with my stuttering, but not for a second would I give up that pain and frustration if I also had to give up the experiences mentioned above. This has grown my faith in God in that it made me realize that His long-term plan for my life was much better than any short-term plan I may have had.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Joe Biden is one of us!

I never knew Joe Biden was in the blessed 1% of the population when he was younger.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Felix (1995)

It is 2:30 in the morning and I am up watching CNN's coverage of Hurricane Ike. I have an odd fascination with hurricanes. I certainly don't like to see anyone harmed, but I will always watch as much hurricane coverage as I can.

My hurricane fascination started in August of 1995, when I went to my 3 week PFSP program at the EVMS, Hurricane Felix was forming and moving across the Atlantic. During the 2nd week of the program, the hurricane's projected path had it hitting Virginia Beach. There was serious concern that downtown Norfolk would be flooded. The other patients in the program were completely freaked out and ready to leave town. I told everyone it took me too long to get there, and I was not about to leave. Somehow that argument convinced everyone else to stay.

The day before Felix was due to hit, Norfolk looked like a ghost town by sundown. Virginia Beach had been evacuated and many Norfolkians had left the area as well. After dinner that evening, and a few frosty cold adult beverages, me and 2 other patients in the program came up with the idea that we should drive out to Virginia Beach. After making the short drive out there and rearranging some police tape; we parked the car and headed out to the beach.

The sight on the beach was definitely worth the trip. The sky was pitch black dark and the waves were huge. We were having a great time taking pictures when we were interrupted by the fine officers of the Virginia Beach police force. This was early in the 2nd week of therapy, and away from the clinic, we were still using the disfluent speech patterns we had arrived in Norfolk with. The police started asking us why we were there when all 3 of us started answering in a constant barrage of stuttered speech. After a few minutes of this, the police officer seemed relieved to let us walk back to our car with a warning and the promise that we would leave VBC and head back to Norfolk.

The next day Felix stalled in the Atlantic before heading up the coast to the northeast (possibly to do some whale watching in Maine). We ended up only missing 1 day of therapy in the clinic.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bob Barr in '08!

I think the Paris Hilton video is funnier, but Gina Gershon in a bikini and wearing glasses is too awesome for words.

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bad Week at Work

I am having a pretty lousy week at work. For the last few months, we were in a bidding process for a huge contract which would double the size of our Company. Now it appears that we won't get the contract. My boss has decided in a very Dilbert-esqe manner to take his disappointment out on the senior management team - especially yours truly. The other day another manager and I were discussing the situation when she asked me if I had thought to ask myself why the Company had 5 Controllers in the last 5 years and why my 18-month tenure has been the longest of any Controller employed there this century. I had not.

What I am happy about is that through this situation, I have put my speech and fluency first. What I mean by that is that in the past it has been easier for me to monitor targets and be fluent when things are going well. However during times of adversity, my concentration drifts away from my targets and my fluency suffers. I am very excited that is not happening right now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Enough of the old white people crowd shots

Let me start this by saying that I am a card carrying libertarian. I loved Reagan and Clinton for the inspiration they gave me. However, my political philosophy is that government should stay out of my life and be as unobtrusive as possible. Nobody is Washington to going to fix my life.

Mercifully, the Sarah Palin speech is over. Granted, she is a 40-something hottie, but the crowd shots of all of the old white people (combined with the recurring shot of the 1 black guy in the audience) was enough to make my head hurt.