31 July 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ My Sources Say No

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are times when the answer is no.  There are others where the source we are asking says no.  Having already discussed the merits of no one would wish to focus on the merits of considering the source of no.

By the source I do not only mean the person who is answering.  I also mean the factors related to the answer.  No is not always permanent.  It is not always final. 

There are circumstances that can change.  There may be bias in the source.  A no may come from a perspective that is not yours.  It may be that the source does not have all the information. 

Whatever the case, one must always consider the source or the answer.  We must think and observe.  We must review options.  I must assure that I meet the no with integrity and faith.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

30 July 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ My Reply is NO

Greetings Dear Reader,

When one inverts the Magic 8-Ball® one gets an answers Five percent of the time that answer is “My Reply is No”.  Of the twenty possible answers five are negative.  There is a fifty percent chance of getting a positive answer, twenty-five percent chance of a neutral one, and twenty-fiver percent chance of a negative one. 

What we first need to consider it the context in which the answer is being given.  The negative answer is neither good nor bad without context.  The question that is asked will determine the timbre of the answer.

If I ask the ball, “Will I get a pearl in this oyster” the reply disappointing.  If I ask “Will I get food poisoning from this vending machine tuna sandwich” and the reply is no then the reply is reassuring.  For every answer, the value and feeling is determined by the question.  It is also impacted by the attitude and hopes of the asker.

The most negative of answers can be definite and final.  The serious of situations can have a negative answer that we do not desire.  Still the answer may be no.  Still the asker can determine his or her response and attitude. 

A no answer that I do not want does not mean that it is the wrong answer.  It is an opportunity for me to do what is right no matter how I feel.  It is an opportunity for faith.  When it comes to the choice of fighting the answers that are no that I cannot change, I must ask, “Am I going to let the answer I dislike determine my heart and actions?”  My reply is no.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 July 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was very young I received a Magic 8-Ball® as a Christmas gift.  For those unfamiliar with this toy it is a softball-sized 8-ball filled with alcohol, blue dye, and an icosahedral (20 sided) die.   I was still a few years away from knowing how much importance icosahedral dice would play in my future but that is another tale for another time.

The Magic 8-ball has answers that are positive, neutral, and negative written on the faces of the icosahedral die.  One holds the ball window down, asks the question, and inverts the ball so the window faces up.  The ball slowly swims up through the murky liquid revealing one of the twenty answers inscribed on the die faces.  The answers are:

 It is certain
 It is decidedly so   
 Without a doubt
 Yes definitely
 You may rely on it
 As I see it, yes
 Most likely
 Outlook good
 Yes
 Signs point to yes
 Reply hazy try again
 Ask again later
 Better not tell you now
 Cannot predict now
 Concentrate and ask again
 Don't count on it
 My reply is no
 My sources say no
 Outlook not so good
 Very doubtful                    

One might ask what a divination toy has to do with following Christ.  There are answers and there is an answer.  Questions come to us every day.  Some are easy and some are taxing.  I would never relegate important things in life to chance.  Then again I do not always know what to do when faced with demanding choices.

I want to ponder the answers offered by the Magic 8-Ball.   I do this for a couple of reasons that will be light hearted and for a deeper reason that I will discuss later.  For now Dear Reader, I wish to invite you to join me as we look at the possible answers and their ramifications.  If you need to consult your Magic 8-Ball before deciding feel free to do so.  I will wait a moment.  If you are joining you may be wondering if this will be a good use of your time.  All signs point to yes.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 July 2017

By Faith ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

As I said earlier in the week, we all have faith in something.   The current climate in my life necessitates that i exercise faith actively in areas that are usually easy for me.  I do not like not knowing the answers.   I do not like being unable to give easy answers to others.

I have hope.  I am doing well.  I was able to spend some time this morning with a dear friend and reassure him that I am well.  I was privileged to renew my position that if my faith is not enough when I am in diversity then it is useless altogether.  This is truth Dear Reader.  If my faith only sustains me when things are good then it is not my faith that sustains me.

 Faith is the fuel for my journey.  Each day, each moment must be lived in faith.  If I do not live the high and the low in faith then I am not living by faith.  Circumstances and the fortunes of life are not what determine my life.  I cannot follow Christ and cling to a job, a human, or a thing and say that I follow in faith.

My kindness and generosity must not go away because I think I lack.   I must not be less loving and compassionate because I feel alone.  I cannot live by faith and count on things to sustain me.  

Once again thinking through faith reassures me that I must stand in Christ alone.  It is in him that I live and move and have my being.  It is in this that if find peace, hope, and sustenance.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 July 2017

By Faith ~ Hands and Feet

Greetings Dear Reader,

Someone asked me this week what type of leader I think I would follow.  He listed several different aspects of leadership.  Right away the answer was clear. 

To lead others one must embody every aspect of leadership at some time and sometimes all of them at once.  The connection to faith is that I must assure that I lead others by my faith.  I must become the embodiment living by faith by putting hands and feet on the clear aspects of the Gospel.   Faith without works (living out the Gospel) is dead.

It is clear that love and care for others is what we do to show evidence of our faith.  It is clear that understanding who others are is a clear path to showing that love and care.  It is not my place to approve or disapprove of another’s life and choices.  That is a conversation that the Father reserves for his leadership.

It is vital that no matter what state another is in that I possess genuine love, compassion, and care for each individual.  It is vital that I show that love by meeting the needs of others without condition or expectation.  It is my responsibility to be the hands and feet of the Gospel in faith that the Father will work out the results. 

You see my obligation is to love and provide in faith as obedience to the Father.  It is not my job to make sure that this act results in something.  That is conditional care.  That is not the way it works.  If I obey in faith then I have done my job.  If I add expectations then once again I am adding baggage to the task.

I must also be wary that what I am told is acting in faith is not cruel, unkind, unloving, and lacking in compassion.  It is in following the great commands in faith that I can give substance to my faith.  It is being a man who trusts his leader in the moment.  I must remember that our leader, the one I follow, Jesus assured me that he would make all things right. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 July 2017

By Faith ~ Authorial Intent

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a writer I often face the          question of what I intend by what I write.  This is one of those areas where unthinking people foster ideas that serve individual purposes and not the greater good.  It is a basic foundation of communication that something means what the author intends it to mean.

This is one of the ways that we do what I was pondering yesterday.  We put too much baggage into what Jesus told us by ignoring the intent of the authors of the Gospels.  An example would be the way we ignore the intent that redemption is through faith alone.

The Father never intended for us to earn his favor.  The system of sacrifices in the Old Testament could never redeem us.  The intent was for them to serve as a place holder until Christ completed the work of redemption for us. 

It is not faith plus anything you can think of to add.  It is faith alone.  It is faith that is required.  The intent is that faith start our small and grow.  It is not to be made complex.  It is not intended to be hard. 

I must not defy the intent of the author of my faith.  I must not add anything to faith as a requirement for my reclamation.  I must live out my faith so that others can see it.  I must evidence the intent of the author in all that I do.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 July 2017

By Faith ~ Baggage

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that we do as Christ followers is add baggage to faith.  We insist that there need to be things we do to prove we have faith.  I need to be clear that faith is evidenced by what we do.  It is also necessary for us to do things that show we have faith.

This does not mean that we do what others say we “have” to do to prove to them we have faith.  We do not need to subscribe to what a denomination or church says we must be to prove our faith.  Jesus requires that we love and act in loving ways.

We are required to be holy, righteous, and set apart for God.  That does not mean that I get to deiced how that is lived out for you.  It means that I am responsible to live it out for the sake of showing the Father that I love him.  Obedience is evidence of love. 

What I must not do is add baggage to faith.  I must not tell others they must do this or that.  I must constantly direct them to do what is loving and kind.  I must echo specific things that Jesus tells us not to do but I must do so without judgement or condemnation. 

I must have faith that the Father will make all things right.  I must have faith that the Son will draw ALL people to him as he promised.  I must not add any baggage to faith even for the purpose of helping others follow.  The purpose of redemption is freedom.  The way of redemption is faith.  I must follow in faith.  I must not carry anything that is not connected to this.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

24 July 2017

By Faith ~ One Requirement

Greetings Dear Reader,

I visited a different church than my church yesterday.  I was on a mission of mercy and was invited to stay for the service.  I chose to do so. 

What was pleasant was to be reminded of what it takes follow Christ.  In simple uncomplicated terms I was reminded of the part that faith plays in redemption. It is is the lead. 

Redemption is not something we earn.  It is a gift.  We acquire it through faith.  It through the Father’s grace we are rescued and redeemed by faith.  It is belief.  It is not an act of obedience or keeping a list of rules.  It is not following a ritual or making a promise.  It is not by anything we undertake.

How then are we assured that we have faith?   We continue in it.  We use it to follow.  The good we do is not to merit the approval of the Father.  It is to be an example to others of that approval.  It is to obey his desire to love; to love him and all humans.

There are things that tempt us to think we have earned the Father’s favor.  This is a lie.  He may approve or disapprove of our actions but we are always loved and accepted.  We are always his. 

Faith alone is the path to following.  Faith alone will guide me.  Faith alone will sustain me.  Faith is what puts me in the relationship.  It is required, singular, and sufficient.  You do what you believe. The rest is just talk. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

23 July 2017

By Faith ~ Creation and Evolution

Greetings Dear Reader,

Before I dive into this I want to be clear.  I believe in intelligent design.  I also assert that this can live in harmony with honesty concerning science.  My intent is not to give an apology for that here.  It is, rather, to put my thought in perspective to the relationship between faith and the argument about creation and other origins theories.

Those of us who follow Christ need to understand what we believe and why.  We need to realize that we cannot prove intelligent design.  We must be content with the fact that it is logical.  We must be a peace with the idea that we have to have faith in what we believe.

What we must not do is create false “evidence” for what we believe.  What me must never do is argue and hate in the name of those beliefs.  We must listen to honest science and find the common ground.  We must realize that if our beliefs require falsehoods to stand then they are not worth believing.  If we have to be unkind to assert them then we have the wrong perspective.

I do not to reconcile that my faith teaches me creation and there also seems to be an older world that one would think.  What I must do is avoid the arrogant failure of thinking I understand everything. 

Recall that this examination of faith sprang from my study of the letter to the Hebrews.
It begins by asserting the Jesus created all things.  No matter how far back one must go or how that process unfolded I have faith that this is the truth.  Perhaps if I honestly hear all thoughts on the matter I will find a path to the truth. 

What I must not do is forget that I am commanded to live by faith.  I must protect honesty and integrity in my thinking.  Perhaps others will see reason in the logic of intelligent design.  Even if none of this occurs then I will have done what I am required to do: live by faith.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

22 July 2017

By Faith ~ Yes You Do

Greetings Dear Reader,

You have faith.  I am not accusing my atheist friends of believing in God.  That would be improper.  What I am saying is that you have faith in something. 

We try to eliminate our need for faith by saying that we can prove that there is or is not a God.  I believe my faith is reasonable but it would be arrogant to say that I can prove the existence of God.  The tentpole reasoning for me is that if we are not designed by someone then there is a mathematical problem.

In order for the universe to be a great cosmic accident then there must be an infinite stream of regressive probability.  There had to be millions of instances of just the right combinations of materials and events stretching back through billions of years so that we accidentally arrive at sapience and sentience.  I find this illogical.

It also begs the question of where did the first materials come from. What caused them to exist.  Nothing comes from nothing.  It takes faith to say that energy or matter just always was.  It takes faith to believe in this infinite regression.  I am not mocking anyone.

I am saying that no matter what you believe it takes faith.  You reach the point where you have no answers.  I must be honest but so must those who disagree with me.  I must admit that I reach the point where my belief is based on a leap of faith.  It is also true that the leap must be based on calculation and reasoning. 

My faith is based on the reason, logic, and substance.  I must not forget that faith is still necessary.  I must not forget that the fact is that God requires faith.  I must remember that even those who witnessed the supernatural doubted Jesus.  Faith is necessary.  We just choose the object of our faith. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 July 2017

By Faith ~ Walking, Driving, Flying

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I lived on the southern edge of the Misty Mountains there were often mornings where the fog was so heavy one could hardly see the road.  The journey from the road near my home to the highway could take three times as long as when the sun ruled the day.

Those drives were both beautiful and dreadful.  I did not have to make them often but when the fog forced me to slow down it was a lovely thing.  I like fog.  I find it beautiful and enchanting.  It also can hinder so much.

The choice in fog is to stop or keep going.  The choice is to walk by faith.  I have to keep moving.  I have to continue the journey.  No matter the speed or conditions I must walk, drive, or fly by faith. 

I cannot claim to live a life of faith and not use it when I cannot see what is next.  I cannot walk by faith only when the sun is bright and the path clear.  Faith or sight are the choice.  I am commanded to live by faith for now.  That is all there is.  Without it I cannot please the Father.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 July 2017

By Faith ~ Show it to Me

Greetings Dear Reader,

Take a moment to take out your faith and look at it.  You say that you cannot.  I agree.  Faith is not tangible.   It is the thing that is evidenced by our actions.  It is the fuel that powers them. 

What is faith then?  It is the foundation of the things for which I hope.  It is how I prove my confidence in the things I have not witnessed.  This is not just in relationship to Christ.  It is in all things in which we invest ourselves.  It is why our faithfulness to our word is so vital.

The proof of what we believe in all things is reflected in how we act.  My faith cannot be taken out and shown to you.  I can evidence it through what I do and how I live.  If I do not show you love Dear Reader, then how can I tell you Christ loves you?  How can I claim to have faith in that love?  This does not mean that I must put myself in harm’s way or endure toxic treatment.  It does mean that I walk the tightrope between safety and failure to love very carefully.

I dare not ask someone to believe if I am not willing to live my faith.  I dare not say that I have faith if I am not willing to put hands and feet on it.  When crisis is upon me if my faith does not work in that moment, then what good is it.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

19 July 2017

By Faith ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday I had a long conversation with someone I love dearly.  This beautiful soul struggles with faith.  Faith comes easily for me.  When I see this struggle, it reminds me of how hard it was for me to come to faith.  I will ask the indulgence of those who do not share my faith.  I feel I need a little deeper dive into what it means to live by faith. 

There are areas where I need more faith.  Places in my heart and mind need to have faith first.  I get in the way.  I imagine or plan instead of listening and following.  For the last week I have done a deep dive into the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  It is a clear defense of the need for faith.

I have friends who refuse to have faith.  Faith is what they oppose.  The problem is that we all have faith in something.  We all believe in our own certainties.  We have faith that there is no God or faith that there is.  We have faith that there is only the natural world or that the universe fell from the fingertips of a Creator. 

We are designed to live by faith.  I have chosen Christ as the object of my faith.  It is a reasonable choice.  It is a logical one.  It is also foolish and daring.   There is also the vital truth that faith in Christ requires that we live in the crux of a paradox.  That too, however, is an act of faith. 

An honest examination of the day shows that we exhibit faith often.  We often place it in things that we should not.  It is still faith.  Since I know I live by faith I want to assure that I put it in the proper place.  Walk with me if you can Dear Reader.  Faith is all I have and your company makes it richer. 

By Faith – Michael Card

By faith one was commended
For the sacrifice he made
Another out of holy fear
Built an ark the world to save
Another left his homeland
and as a stranger he'd reside
But none received the promise then
And so, in faith, they died.

Others conquered kingdoms
Quenched the fury of the flames
Some made strong in battle
Some were raised to life again
But many more were martyred
Midst the crowds loud clamoring
By faith they would not bow the knee
Nor kiss the emperor's ring

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Being sure of what we hope for
Seeing what is yet unseen
A universe from nothingness
New life where none had been
The known made from unknowable
And hope for the comfortless
Who hear and hold on firmly to
The faith that they possess

So fix your eyes upon the Champion
As you seek to run the race
Understanding that He cheers you on
As you long for His embrace
So hold on and do not grow weary
Of the faith that you profess
Remembering that you are ringed around
By this cloud of witnesses
  
Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



18 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is one of those topics about which I could ruminate for weeks.  I have penned two books on the topic that will likely not see the light of day.  The project life cycle is an odd and insufficient image of real life.

From inception to completion we are a project.  We are also a sub-project of the great project.  I realize that some of you, Dear Reader see this all as a natural accident.  I will not argue with you about it.  I cannot see the logic and I have honestly tried.

That said I must always remember that the project who is Aramis Thorn is a small project under the care of the great project of getting things back to good.  The difference is that the Project Manager has every detail of every sub-project under his eye, in his heart, and within his scope.  Nothing is left to chance.  Every issues has a solution.  There is mitigation for every risk.

As I wander in the doldrums of uncertainty over these weeks I have had to deal with the surprise turn of events in my project.  That does not mean that the Father was surprised.  Unbidden I received encouragement from a dear friend.  Meg reminded me that the Father is the planner of great adventures.  He is the one who plans my project.  I am excited by this.

“The wind blows where it will.  You hear the sound of it but cannot tell from where it comes or where it is going.  So is everyone who is driven by the Spirit of God.”  That my be the best  project plan ever devised.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Stakeholders (who is my customer?)

Greetings Dear Reader,

When you think of a customer what comes to mind?  When it comes to project management that question has several correct answers.  That is the crux of it.  When we ponder who we serve we have several things we must satisfy. 

Stakeholders are out customers.  They have vested interest in the outcome of the project.  They include both internal and external entities. Those for whom I work are stakeholders.  The company with whom my company contracts the project has stakeholders.  We do not speak of it enough but both are customers.

Then there is the oft forgotten end user.  Whatever our project is producing there are those who will be impacted by it who are not present in the process.  The end user must be considered a customer and should be thought of as a stakeholder even though they have little if any involvement in the project process. 

When it comes to my personal philosophy of project management I simplify it greatly.  Anyone who touches or is touched by my work is my customer.  They are not always right but they always matter.  They are always worth the effort to hear and support. 

If I approach business this way then I must also approach life this way.  Everyone; family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and enemies are my customer.  Everyone who touches or is touched by my life is a customer. 

When I fail to put Christ first I endanger that customer relationship.  I fail to show my “product” in the proper light.  It is in assuring that I do what is right by them that I assure that I am following Christ properly.  So much is at stake in this life that I dare not do less.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Customers

Greetings Dear Reader,

We have all heard the axiom, “the customer is always right.”  We also know this is an attitude and not the truth.  There is a similar attitude in project management.  During the project the customer will often ask a “can we” question. 

The “can we” question is usually a new idea about functionality or content.  If the thing is possible that does not mean that we say yes.  In truth, we can do almost anything that can be done but we always have to consider the impact to the overall project.  In the moment we never say yes or no because we do not want to commit to an unknown or to offer what we cannot deliver. 

We must consider the cost of everything.  I must always do the same.  I must not commit to things I cannot do and I must not fail to do that to which I have committed.  I must consider the cost of things before I say yes or no. I must measure the request against what my purpose is.

It is in following Christ’s example that I find the filter through which I must measure my yes or no.  It is in that there is truth and understanding.  Then there is the question of who is my customer when it comes to following Christ.  That will have to wait for tomorrow.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Agile and Waterfall

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the project management world there are two basic approaches which both have value.  The waterfall approach cascades a series of step to completion of a project. If is focused on a series of predefined requirements, a plan or schedule, and those guide the project.  The agile approach focuses on the needs of those who will use the end result.  It is more about what is to be accomplished than the demands of the predefined requirements. 

Both are effective.  One can argue over which is better but a true project manager will agree that there is a proper use of both depending on the project.  Mixing them can be disastrous.  There can be moments of each in the other but they are few of them.

The waterfall approach came first and agile arose out of needs unmet by that approach.  This week I was reading about the difference between living under the law of the Old Testament and in the fulfillment of the law in the New Testament. 

People often describe this as living under law or grace.  I feel that is a false distinction.  The law still required one to live under the grace of the Father.  It still demanded that one live by faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.

The law is intended to show us that we are imperfect.  It is a taskmaster to show us our need for grace.  We no longer need that because we have the example of Christ.  I must not insist that someone live under law whether it is Old Testament or otherwise.

Completing the journey is fulfilled by meeting the requirements of the journey.  I can choose a systematic approach as long as I do not ignore the needs of my fellow travelers.  I can choose a needs-based approach as long as I do not forget that there are rules that must be obeyed.  Either way I need to walk in grace as that is the only hope I see.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

14 July 2017

Second Thoughts – Crema Cafe

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

Crema Café is a simple but by no means simplistic eatery on Madison’s East Side.  Literally a scone’s throw from lake Monona it is almost hidden by the small strip mall in which it resides.  It is, however, worth finding.

I love trying new diners and cafés.  I did not venture to this one accidentally.  A former student works here and we wanted to reconnect.  I brought my Daughter for a Sunday brunch a few weeks ago.  I was pleased to see my student again but was also surprised by the reasonably priced high quality fare.

I chose the Killer Scramble (smoked salmon, sautéed leeks, local goat cheese, 3 eggs w/ toast and petite salad).   I did not inquire as to whether the actual goat or its cheese was local.  I was too taken by the excellent portion and quality balance of the food.  Smoked salmon can overpower a dish but not in this case.  It was rich and sweet to a perfect complement of the goat cheese.  The leeks were properly sautéed and rendered their flavor to harmonize with the dish, 

My Daughter chose the Breakfast Sandwich (Fried egg, local smoked bacon, cheddar-herb cream cheese, and frisée on ciabatta).  Her palate is much harder to please than mine but she found it wonderful.  She liked it enough that she had the same thing on our second visit.

The atmosphere is relaxed.  They offer sidewalk seating when the weather allows.  Tea and coffee are abundant in quantity and variety.  The staff is friendly and energetic.  It is very busy on weekend mornings but I also chose to linger whilst writing on a weekday.  It was made clear that I could sit as long as I wished.  

I urge you to try this hidden gem. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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Project Life Cycle ~ Stories

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the Agile method of project management user stores define what is desired from the perspective of the customer.  It focuses attention on the desired outcome over writing requirements.   It is conversations held to understand before one tries to build.

As a storyteller I value this highly.  It puts listening and understanding over creating rules for work.  It puts people ahead of the process.  It requires people to get to know each other before they try to work together.

I feel that Christ followers fail so often to hear the story of those who do not believe.  We do not get to know people before we try to change their lives.  We do not seek first to understand before we ask to be understood.  We do not hear their stories before trying to share ours.

My story, when honestly told, is a sad one most of the time.  There is always sadness lurking around my heart because of loss and pain from years past.  That, however, is not the key to my story.  The light in the fog is that there is a way out.  The pain and loss are not the life.  They are things that lead me to the life.

We must realize that the tragedy in our stories can help us hear the tragedy in others’ lives if we will set our stories aside long enough to listen.  I must listen first.  I must use two ears and one mouth.  I must listen with my heart and love the storyteller no matter what his or her story is.  Perhaps if I listen and love and linger I will get a chance to share my story.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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13 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Harmonization of Effort

Greetings Dear Reader,

It amazes me when working on a project that there will be persons who actively work to hinder a project by demanding specific things that hazard the overall project.  I sat in a meeting once where an individual insisted on changes that were not critical to success but would hinder the project for all the other participants.

When I consider project management I consider what feeds the critical path.  I consider how everything suggested speaks to the requirements, the time line, and the resources.  What makes a project run smoothly is harmonization of effort.  When all the people involved focus on the needs of the project and the most effective way to accomplish those things the resulting harmonization can be amazing.

When I look at those who wish to follow Christ I do not see this.  I see tower building, self-gratification, and wasted resources.  Organizations avoid the critical path to build up a position or standard.  They waste resources on activities instead of the work of the Gospel.  The infighting in the church wastes resources that could be used to care for a hurting world. 

I must be sure that I do all that I can to promote harmonization of effort.  I do not have to agree with the choices or lifestyle of someone to help care for him or her in need.  I do not have to agree with everything about an organization in order to help its efforts in caring for the poor. 

I must assure that if it is true and good that I support it.  If it aides the Gospel I do not care about much else.  If I am to follow Christ then I must live peaceably with all men.  I must follow the critical path no matter what the agenda.  I must work toward and encourage others to seek harmonization of effort.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

12 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ The Critical Path

Greetings Dear Reader,

In every project there is a critical path.  The critical path is “the sequence of stages determining the minimum time needed for an operation, especially when analyzed on a computer for a large organization.”  This is an aspect of the project that must be followed if the project is to be successful.

The critical path can change if requirements are added or work turns out to be harder or easier.  The critical path defines what must be done.  It defines what has to be accomplished.  It is, well, critical.

In life we make things critical that are not.  In life we make things unimportant that are critical.  We neglect the critical path and then wonder why life fails.  Marriages, child rearing, and careers all have critical paths.  Even these, however, are not the core path. 

You know, Dear Reader, that I believe we are all on a journey back to God.  We are all in need of him.  There is a critical path to this journey.  Jesus said that it is a narrow path.  When asked what the critical path was he always included three things.

The first is that it is faith.   Faith is necessary because the path is only accessible through it.   So many people try to hang deeds that merit God’s favor on the critical path.  We cannot earn God’s favor.  We already have it.  We already have the love and compassion of the Father. 

We have two other items that are the critical path.  When asked what the critical path was Jesus made it very clear.  We are to love God unconditionally with all that we are.  We are to unconditionally love our neighbors.  Everything else in the project hangs on these two things. 

I have lost friends because I insisted that this is love.  It is not just respect.  It is not just acknowledging.  It is unconditional permanent love.  We need to follow this path or we turn Christ into something that he is not.  The journey; the project is impossible without it. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

11 July 2017

Project Life Cycle ~ Beginning a Project

Greetings Dear Reader,

The certain way to doom a project at the outset is to fail to properly define the objective.  If we do not begin with the end in mind we do not know where we are going.  We dare not commit resources to something that is not defined.

The first thing I need to consider is that I am responsible for the project but that the resources that make it possible are not my own.  I am entrusted with resources from the owner.  I am accountable to him for how I use them. 

This brings me to an understanding that if I view life as a project I must consider what I am building.  As a Christ follower I get some clear instructions.  I am not to build for the project process but for the implementation at the end.  I am supposed to invest in the success of the project not the wants along the way. 

Like the project process the life journey is getting to a destination.  It is getting back to God and all that is good.  It is in my interest, therefore, to build things that lead to the end of the journey.  It is a waste of project resources to spend too much effort on the temporary.

The end of the project, the journey, is my reclamation and all things being brought back to good.  Everything, therefore, must be done with that in mind.  It is after all an excellent way to begin.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

10 July 2017

Second Thoughts – Bezel’s Birthday

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

I miss my younger Son today.  We spoke earlier and I was able to wish him a happy birthday in an un-rushed manner.  We talked about his dreams.  He is anxious to get there but has learned the valuable lesson of putting in the work to do so.

I am more proud of that than I would be if here were a successful “fill in the blank”.   He understands hard work and can work hard.  He has learned that you have to build to success and is willing to do that.  I believe in his dreams.  I believe in him.

Take a moment and raise a glass to my Son on his advent anniversary.  He is a good man with a promising future.  I am honored to be his Father.  Happy Birthday Bezel.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Project Life Cycle ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Until you wonderful people buy enough of my books to allow me to work only as a writer I eke out a living as a project manager.  At the end of June I was laid off and am currently seeking a new gig.  One of the things I am doing to promote my learning during this time is catching up on my reading about project management.

This led to me thinking about the life of a project and then to this project called life.  Right now risk has been introduced into my current project plan.  Part was unavoidable and part is understood.  It is risk I must mitigate.

As devote my “free” time to looking for work, self-education, and writing I will also continue to ponder this project life.  I promise not to get to academic in my pondering but I may put a fine point on some things.  The project life cycle applies well to the life cycle project.  It is in this management that we and the Management can find a path to making life a successful project. 

I hope you will join me for s few project meetings Dear Reader.  I could use the input and you are a valuable resource.  The journey would not be possible without you. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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09 July 2017

Freedom ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that in many ways we have abandoned the idea of personal responsibility.  We blame circumstances and others for our failure to do what we should.  We say we need more time when we have all been given the same amount.  We say we have too much to do when we have over-committed.

Too often we are not honest about what we want to do and then blame others for making us do things.  We do not excise an honest locus of control on our lives.  We then blame others for controlling us. 

I am free to do as I choose to do.  I am, however, accountable for my choices.  It is in those choices that most of life unfolds.  I cannot control the choices of others and I may be impacted the consequences of their choices.  I still am free to choose my response.

What then are the preset guidelines for my choices?  What do I put in place to assure that I exercise my freedom with responsibility?  I choose to follow Christ.  I choose to assert his primary commands to love God and to love others. 

In the freedom of choice I will fail at times.  The goal is to shorten the time between failure and rectification.  To lessen the times of failure is a goal as well.  If excising my freedom and commitment to love others becomes the habitual and not the uncommon then I will exercise my other freedoms more responsibly.  In that lies true freedom.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

08 July 2017

Freedom ~ Commitment

Greetings Dear Reader,

I wonder if we truly understand the nature of commitment.  When I make a commitment I am giving up a piece of my freedom.  This is why it needs to be voluntary and fully reasoned.  When I choose to give my word on something then I must not think that I am free to do as I wish.

Our society, including me, does not always see this as clearly as it should.  I have worked hard to become someone who does what he says he will do.  It is not a little thing to fail at this even in little things.  I am not speaking of implied consent or unjust expectations of others.  My only concern is with the things we say that we do not do.

My friend Tina recently asked for regular prayer for a new situation that is challenging her experience and comfort.  I told her I would pray for her.  I put my favorite picture of her in a place where I see it daily so that I remember to pray for her needs.  Too often we tell others we will support them and we fail to do it.

It is too easy to say we will do something small and forget about it in the next moment.  It is too common to make big commitments and abandon them when it gets hard to keep them.  If I cannot fulfill something I must not commit to it. 

It is damaging to the fabric of who we are to think that once we have committed to something that we are free to do otherwise.  When I commit to something I give up my freedom to choose what to do.  I may appeal if circumstances change.  I may even ask to be released from my commitment.   My heart, however, must be focused on committing only to things that I can do and then doing them with all my ability. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

07 July 2017

Freedom ~ Choice

Greetings Dear Reader,

I feel I need to draw the distinction between will and choice.  I can make choices as an act of will.  It is not logical to proceed that choices are forced upon us.  We may be forced to choose but there is always a right choice. 

The right choice may seem impossible or un-doable but we still can choose it.  We are responsible for all our choices.  We may be the “victim” of the consequences of another’s choice.  We are still able to choose our response.  The freedom to choose comes with the great responsibility of the consequences of our choices. 

No one believes when a man abusing his wife says, “look what YOU made me have to do.”  It is always his choice to abuse her.  It is always wrong to do it.  Instead of taking responsibility for our choices we try to mitigate them.  We may say, “I did not have a choice.”  There is always a choice.  We are always responsible for those choices. 

I have made poor choices and poor excuses for those choices.  The freedom to choose means that I must choose what is right no matter the personal cost.  I can provide all the situational justification I wish but that is not truth.  Truth is that I can choose.  I do choose.  In following Christ I must always use my will to choose what is right.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

06 July 2017

Second Thoughts – OM: Meditations on Naan

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

"You OM away from home"
My Daughter Christmas and I made a Naan scheduled stop for a lunch buffet at an excellent Indian Fusion Restaurant.  The establishment, on Madison’s east side is called OM (pronounced like the OM in home {this matters}.  When I first heard about it a year ago I was Naan-plused.  I like Indian food but am also very picky about what I enjoy.

I chose to go the first time with my Son, Maxim.  He seemed to like it and I take a Naan-chalant approach to trying new eating establishments.  The interior is simple and Naan-descript in a pleasing way.  One can tell from entering that the focus is on the food and not Naan-essentials. 

The owners Nancy and Sumanth Viswanathan are friendly and welcoming.  They make the time even when the venue is very busy to personally greet each diner and follow up during the meal.  I have eaten in many places with good food where the proprietors were Naan-committal in their approach to knowing the customer.   Nancy and Sumanth not only remembered me but asked where my Son was the second time I visited. 

Their Naan-wasteful approach is evidenced in the use of unbreakable stainless-steel dinner ware.  The shiny plates instantly reflect a green approach to thriftiness and cleanliness that is Naan-eclipsed.  One cannot fake a clean stainless-steel plate or cup.

This is a Naan-paid effort to inform others of an excellent eatery where the food is amazing and the owners are even better.  Whether you enjoy the buffet or order from the extensive menu you will be Naan-disappointed.  OM also offers delivery.  Whatever you try, be sure to get extra servings of their Naan.  It is the best I have ever had.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)