Managing expectations

I tell my wife and daughters constantly to manage their expectations.

Whether it’s a new job, new boyfriend, new place, new car, new neighbor, fast food, new conspiracy theory, new elected officials, or new girl scout cookie flavors, manage your expectations.

You get the picture.

Manage your expectations about pretty much everything in life.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations of anybody or any place or anything.

Don’t believe that Wendy’s commercial about their food.

Once, I accepted a new job. It was in East Tennessee.

Now, East Tennessee is beautiful and sometimes I miss living there.

I grew up in South Alabama and was unaccustomed to any geographical feature higher than 10 feet.

Or mountains.

The closest I’d gotten to hills in South Alabama was the roller coaster at the Mobile county fair.

While my new little part of East Tennessee wasn’t quite in the Smoky Mountains, it was sure close.

Like I said, it was a beautiful place.

I was the new preacher at a little church in a little community near Chattanooga.

Maybe I was 26 or so. This was my first preaching job and I had no real expectations.

I was single and the very definition of insecurity and doubting my choice to have moved so far north into Yankee territory.

But all my insecurities were put at ease one Sunday morning after services not long after I had begun my journey.

A little lady was speaking to me.

Yes, that little old lady. She was a retired teacher, prim, proper, and she knew how to spell and such.

Anyway, she stopped me at the door and felt called by someone to share the whole story of the church’s recent decision about whom to employ.

And by “someone” I don’t think it was God or any of his agents.

She begins: “There were two men that we were considering to hire for the job.”

‘Oh,’ I said with a barely interested vibe.

‘Another guy and me?’

We were the candidates for the preaching job at this little church in this little community.

Because there was no real leadership in that little church, it became a sort of sloppy democracy. Just the other guy and me running for office.

I bent down closer to listen to her report the news of the election. An election that I had obviously won.

So, I was somewhat smug because, well, I was there and he wasn’t.

She whispered: “I voted for the other guy.”

And just like that, things started looking up – for a short preaching tenure.

So, let’s manage those expectations.

Missing Tigger

We used to breed miniature Dachshunds.

The moms would usually give birth in our front bathroom. The official bathroom name was “Hotel Bathroom.” Although I suppose the Birthing Center would be more appropriate. We saw several liters come and go through that bathroom.

Tigger is the male. He doesn’t normally get to stay in Hotel Bathroom.

Continue reading “Missing Tigger”


Are you frustrated sitting in the lobby of your doctor’s office? Are you bored riding public transportation on your way to work? Let me join you and tell you a story through my blog.

I am a father, husband, follower of Christ, and Army Reserve JAG officer. My wonderful wife, Inna, is from Russia. I hope you’ll enjoy these stories from these areas of my life.

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My dad pulled into the driveway after a day of working his air-conditioning business.

But he left the engine running so he could listen to a song on the radio.

He hadn’t said a word for the last several minutes. But for the moment, he was listening only to that song.

It was an Elvis song.  Continue reading “Sentimental”

The Music

At the end of the school year at Robert E. Lee Elementary School, the band teacher at the middle school (Adams L. Middle School) arrived to test us fifth graders to see who had music.

If you had the music, you could be a part of the middle school band the next year.  Continue reading “The Music”

Tunnel Vision

Mobile, Alabama:  I saw no signs warning me not to drive into the George C. Wallace Tunnel (eastbound) with an empty gas tank.

In my mom’s Ford Focus.

The signs were not necessary because the State of Alabama assumed that I would have the aptitude to ensure that the vehicle I was driving contained an adequate level of fuel to negotiate the short distance through the Tunnel to the east side of the picturesque Mobile River.  Continue reading “Tunnel Vision”

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