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Archive for February, 2007

The Waning Wimp

Posted by jbharp on February 26, 2007

I’ve been meaning to give an update on my workout progress lately. I began my gym visits at the beginning of November. The goal was to develop my arms into something other than puny little twigs. The recap was going to outline all of the sweat, the early mornings in the gym, and the development of my calloused hands. And followed by what I though was less than thrilling results. But fortunately a different perspective was revealed to me this weekend. Thus, I begin in another place. And that is church.

At the Saturday night service, I decided to mosey into the kid’s room to see if they needed any help. They did. Knowing that I could squeeze in the service on Sunday morning, I stuck around. Almost immediately I spotted two rowdy boys needing a stern tap on the shoulder. Quickly seeing that this form of discipline would not be a deterrent from their disruption, I split them up and sat one on each side of me. This did calm them down.

As we watched a short movie clip as part of the lesson, the third grade boy on my right was now so calm that he plopped his head upon my shoulder. He wasn’t disturbing anyone so I reconciled myself to be a pillow (of sorts). Moments later he put his hand on my arm, which I didn’t take notice of at first. I became aware of his hand when I felt his fingers ever so slightly squeezing my arm a few times before he let go.

A few seconds followed as I was thinking if I should say something to him and what exactly to say. But before I could do anything he looked up to me and with sincere awe and adoration said, “You’re strong.” I relished the praise momentarily and replied, “I know. Now listen to the teacher” as I quickly went back into my role of keeping order.

So it is apparent that my puny arms are coming to the end of their history. The ‘guns’ are just now starting to bulge and will soon become an entire arsenal. And if my stern taps on the shoulder don’t work for the rowdy kids, I’ll just role up my sleeves and let them experience fear.

Harp’s Guns

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Posted in Running | 3 Comments »

Law Abiding Hand Washers

Posted by jbharp on February 25, 2007

A few months ago I took a trip to Oregon with my improv troupe. We drove around the northwest area for four days. It was a wonderful time driving in a minivan, which we called the Horse Trailer. During those days we only had to stop for gas three times. I had no idea minivans performed so well in gas mileage.

The Horse Trailer  My fellow horses are (l-r) Elisa, Dianne, & Suzanne.

State laws in Oregon permit only the station workers to pump gas. During one fill-up, while the attendant filled the tank, I went inside to use the restroom. As I was exiting I saw one of those signs near the sink reminding employees to wash their hands before returning to work. But this sign was slightly different than all of the others I had seen. This sign was not merely a reminder or a suggestion, it was a law. The sign read, “Remember. It’s state law to wash your hands before returning to work.”

Now I do appreciate the people at this convenience store washing their hands after using the restroom. It’s an act that I appreciate not just of those employees and not just before returning to work, but for everyone and at any time. From time to time I do see people slipping out the door after doing their deed, not stopping by the sink.

But I wonder if there should be such laws as this one. Could this lead to other laws? Perhaps enforcing everyone to wear deodorant? Or requiring everyone to cover their mouth when they sneeze? Of course we wouldn’t demand these laws onto minors. Or would we? Hmmm…

A push is being made in Illinois state legislation to require Chicago Public School students to wash their hands before meal time. For those dirty, little, snot-nosed kids that don’t wash, I hope they get a stiff punishment. 10 to 20 hard years should do it. One benefit this law provides is weeding out all Chicago students that are unfit to work at an Oregon gas station.

These laws may have been proposed under good motives – to hinder the spread of germs and bacteria in public places leading to a reduction in sickness among the citizens. It sounds good, but how much role do we want the government to play in our everyday lives?

I’m glad I didn’t have laws like these in my school. And although it’s a bit disgusting that a few people at work don’t wash their hands after a trip to the urinal, I’m glad we still have the freedom to choose. In fact I may exercise that freedom this week. Just for fun.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Home of the Easter Bunny

Posted by jbharp on February 21, 2007

I finished painting my living room this last weekend. A task that began more than five months ago on Labor Day. On her last trip up here in October, I recruited my mom to help. Even, with her asistance I did not get the job finished. But since she helped me get closer I took her out to dinner after our hard day’s work.

When I picked out these colors so long ago, summertime was coming to a close and the short days of winter were imminent. So I decided against dark colors to avoid creating a somberness affect, and choose colors that would bring brightness and light to the room.

Those little square inch pieces of paper don’t give you the best insight as to what that color will look like on every square inch of your wall. There needs to be a warning that tells you these same two colors are the primary colors at the Easter Bunny estate. Oh well. Maybe I’ll invite all the neighborhood kids over for an egg hunt in a few weeks.

Here’s some pictures of my new non-white walls (and cj).

Green room     Blue Room

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Four years of the Real World… of Gas.

Posted by jbharp on February 19, 2007

Today marked the fourth anniversary of my current job at Colorado Springs Utilities. I was blessed to start a job nearly two months after I graduated college. And not only to land a job, but to move to Colorado. I’ve always wanted to come to Colorado, but I think this move showed a hint of help from God.

After graduating from Oklahoma State in Dec 2002, I decided to not pursue a career back home in Arkansas. Even though my home stomping ground was very tempting at the time, I figured that I could always move back there easier than moving away at a later date. So I began sending my resume and applications all over the country. The interviews began pouring in. Well, actually only one. But fortunately after that one interview, I was offered the job. By the end of January I was, as my aunt phrased it, game-fully employed.

The last four years have flown by, although at times it has lingered, but mostly flown. And in 365 days Lord willing I will be fully vested at Utilities. I have learned a great deal at my job. It’s fulfilling to look back over all the projects I’ve worked on. But the projects to come are certain to contain their own problems and challenges, a reality my boss has drilled into me several times.

Today I did not go into work. In fact, on my very first day of work, I didn’t go in. And the reason for that, of course, is due to my official first day being on Presidents Day. Yep. My very first day in the “real world” I earned my first 8-hours of pay doing nothing. Nice.

I never imagined having a professional career giving people gas. But it’s been a…well, gas. So keep those furnaces and hot-water heaters going. But of course, utilize any energy saving techniques you can.

Signing off – The Gas Man.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A day of struggle

Posted by jbharp on February 17, 2007

It’s been a trying time a work the last few days. Not due to the work load. Not due to conflicting personalities. And not just for me. Last Friday (2/09) we received the news of an unexpected death of a receptionist for the field engineering department. And yesterday (2/16) we came into work hearing of yet another man in the engineering support group passing away the previous night.

The relief and unhurried feel that is typified on Fridays was replaced by grief and sadness. I was not on a daily contact with either of the two individuals, yet over the few years I’ve been here (and the many years they were here) working relationships along with friendships developed. It is clear to see and sense sorrow from so many who know these relationships will not continue on this earth.

Although I and a few others here at work are comforted that these two individuals both knew Christ as their savior (the guy made the commitment just three months ago), death remains to be difficult and a testing truth of life to undergo.

Sitting in my office yesterday attempting to do some work, I was reminded that a battle is going on in this world. A battle is going on right here in my workplace. I couldn’t help but feel that I’ve been a lazy soldier. There have been days I’ve left work with a beautiful, blue sky and brilliantly, warm sun. But I felt as if a dark, wicked cloud had been over and within my office building all day. I’ve found myself anxious to leave and ready to get away on those days. My life would be much more comfortable if those days never existed. Scripture is clear about what is going on…

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph6.12

I believe God was evident in directing me to my current workplace. So I am recommitting my work at Utilities to Him. I’m not sure what it will look like, but I want to be in the midst of the struggle. I do not want to flee from it. I know this to be true though; my workplace needs comfort, my workplace needs wisdom, my workplace needs love. And I know the true source to satisfy these needs.

So, the battle continues…

Posted in Religion | 2 Comments »

My First Shabbat

Posted by jbharp on February 11, 2007

Nearly two weeks ago I visited the Jewish Synagogue Temple Shalom here in Colorado Springs. I went to the Shabbat services held on Friday evening. Unfortunately, I missed the last two weekends, but do intend to go back.

When I walked through the doors, two ladies were standing in the foyer near the sanctuary. I quickly introduced myself to the one with the name tag, Heidi, who was obviously an usher. Within two questions into our introductions I confessed… “I’m Christian.” As if completely unfazed, the one lady (I think her name was Sharon) quipped, “That’s alright. We don’t bite.” Heidi proceeded to give me a service book and instructed me to remember my kippah (KEE-puh, more commonly known as a Yarmulke, YAH-mi-kuh) before I entered the service as she pointed to a basket full of kippahs against the wall.

After I put on my kippah, Heidi escorted me into the sanctuary welcoming me to sit by her. Actually, I think she insisted. She pointed to the second seat on the back row. A split second after I began sitting in the third seat, because the first two were clearly marked “Usher,” she playfully snapped “No sit here between us!” She again pointed to the second seat. I didn’t hesitate to follow her instructions this time.

Moments later entered Fay. As I stood, she squeezed by to claim the seat directly next to me. Upon our meeting she repeated her name three times. After we were aquianted (rather we knew each other’s names) Fay boldly asked, “Where have you been all these years?” So I confessed to her. “I’m Christian. And I just came here because I want to learn.” Her reply was, “Oh good! You just listen to me and Heidi.”

For the next hour I sat between Heidi and Fay on the back row of a scarcely attended service. Heidi and Fay were the noisy ones in the congregation. They clapped to any song they deemed appropriate and conducted numerous conversations around me. They attempted to help me follow along in my service book, but they seemed to have difficultly finding the right page for themselves. As I interacted with them, I noticed a smile remained on my face for the entire service. These two amusing, enjoyable ladies proved to be the highlight of my evening. They were care-free, joy-filled, unashamed, Jewish ladies that welcomed me sincerely.

The words that Heidi said to me while we were still in the foyer is what I will remember most. With indisputable affection, she professed her love for Judaism and declared she would not want to live her life without it.

I’ll share more about this experience and (hopefully) many more to come.

Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »

Hoist Old Glory!

Posted by jbharp on February 11, 2007

This is just a reminder for all of us American loving patriots. Put your US Flag out.

It is said that the flag should be flown on everyday, but especially the holidays.
There are quite a few to note in the next few weeks:
Lincoln’s  Birthday is February 12.
President’s Day is February 19.
Washington’s Birthday is February 22.

Also, The State of Colorado orders the observance of the following dates:
Susan B Anthony Day: February 15

Get more info on Old Glory here.

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Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Huckabee for President

Posted by jbharp on February 2, 2007

I just found this piece in the Washington Post about Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee beginning the journey for President in 2008. Of course I’m excited about a fellow Arkansan, but what’s more important is that Huckabee is a man of God with a quality character and strong discipline. In November, he finished his fourth marathon at New York City with a time of 5:33:39.

Check out the Mike Huckabee Exploratory Committee website. Huckabee, a Republican, governed Arkansas for more than 10 years with a Democratic State Congress. This could be a convincing selling point since the Democrats now control the US Congress. Although, working in a non-partisan way with the Dems in DC is certainly a whole different game than those in Little Rock.

If elected Huckabe would be the first second President to have a marathon under his belt.  I wonder if he would have time to complete one during his presidency. Run, Huckabee. Run.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

So Long, Wimp

Posted by jbharp on February 2, 2007

I originally wrote this on 11/3/2006. I’ll give an update later…

I’m the youngest of three boys. And I’ve got to admit that both my older brothers aren’t wimpy little guys. No. They are both built on a heavier set, but they are in great physical condition. And they always have been. So growing up, I saw the size of my brothers and always thought that I was that same size.

Over time I’ve come to realize that I’m not big and brawny like my brothers. Instead, I’m actually quite puny. Wait a minute… I’m a tiny, scrawny, little fart.

I finally noticed that the reflection I see in the mirror was bigger and buffer than what I really was. Recently this hasn’t been too bothersome to me because I’ve become more involved in running. And the scrawny frame goes great for runners.

Well, I’m really not completely content with my tiny arms. So after years of hardly lifting weights at all, I’ve decided to set myself a new goal – get ripped. Aaauuuugggghhhh!!!!

So, I found a workout plan from Men’s Health magazine. This plan claims to increase my arm size by two inches in one month. Watch out sleeves! Yesterday morning I completed my first workout. It would have been my second, but after finishing some sets on Monday night I realized I was doing the wrong workout (it was a super toned down version for the super wimps – of which I am not).

Hopefully, I’ll be able to soon say with sincerity – I need a band-aid. Because I’m CUT!!! (I know. The line is much funnier when I deliver it with tiny arms).

Posted in Running | 1 Comment »

Stick Horses in Love

Posted by jbharp on February 1, 2007

The title is sappy, I know. And you won’t hear me talking about lovey, dovey stuff much. So just bear with me on this one. Or rather, enjoy this rarity.

To say that the last three years of my life have been deeply impacted by improv would be a farce. The truth is these years have been greatly impacted by and with the people in my improv troupe.

Perhaps you should begin by reading my fellow Horse Suzanne’s blog post about our little family. It brings a tune to my head…”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” Are troupe truly is unique. John 13.35 states “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I’m not crazy about the words “I’ve fallen in love” or the counterpart saying “I’ve fallen out of love.” I’m more in favor of choosing to love. That’s my thoughts – Love is a Choice. I happened to fall into this improv group, but I have distinctly made a decision to love this group.

A general rule in improv is to make strong choices. Whether it’s big or small, loud or quite, fast or slow, improv requires making choices. A improviser can’t wait for something to happen. A choice has to be made to create an entertaining scene on the stage.

We’ve had some ups and downs in the history of Stick Horses. And just like the times we are on stage, strong choices have to be made. And as a group who desires to serve Christ, we’ve made the choice to love each other. Aaawww….tear. I wrote a blog for the Stick Horse myspace site that gives a glimpse of the closeness of the Horses. It’s called: Improv to Intimacy: The story of Two Arms and a Fly. Check it out.

Posted in Improv | Leave a Comment »