Tembo: Videogame Subversion

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Tembo the Badass Elephant. Big attitude distilled down to the size of a peanut, or something like that.

Side-scrolling games scroll to the right. This is a founding principal established by the platforming forefathers Sonic and Mario. Game Freak’s Tembo the Badass Elephant goes against convention in Stage 8 of the game. Check out the first few seconds in the video below:

Yes, I charged to the right and plunged to my death. Videogame experience has taught me that the developers were toying with me. There had to be some sort of invisible platform or some such device to catch me, right? Wrong.

The level began to the left. Videogame subversion.

Cultivate Your Thoughts

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Our reaction to change can either be positive or negative, depending on the mindset we choose to cultivate.

My church is in the midst of a building project that includes a brand new two-story children’s wing. Breaking ground this Spring, we have had to merge the nursery and children’s department together. This will allow us to demolish the current nursery and begin work on the new building. This is positive change.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to serve with the kids. During one of the lull periods, I found myself in a brief conversation with one of the volunteers.

“Those kids are so loud.” said the volunteer with disdain.

Now, I do not know this person at all, but I detected a consistent negative thread to our conversation. So, I changed the tone.

“Have you seen the new virtual tour video on the church website? I uploaded it yesterday.”

I went on to talk about how exciting it is that we are moving forward with the building project. I’m excited about where we are heading and I wanted to share that enthusiasm. Doing so ended our conversation on a positive note.

Funny how we get upset over temporary things and fail to look at the big picture. We can make the choice, with God’s strength, to view our current situations through a healthy lens. Yes, I’m preaching to myself.

How High Will You Climb? by John C. Maxwell

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Just as a farmer spends time and energy cultivating his fields a man needs to spend time cultivating his attitude. Pruning out the bad attitudes while meanwhile nourishing the good attitudes. John C. Maxwell’s How High Will You Climb?, talks about steering the internal mental plane of attitude. No matter the turbulence we encounter, with God as our co-pilot, John reminds us, we are not alone on this adventure.

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How High Will You Climb? features short, easy to digest chapters as well as Biblical and personal application. John does not shy away from sharing solid Biblical truth. But no matter how many times I tried to sit down and read this book, I couldn’t manage to break into it. The hook isn’t there. That is not to say that I didn’t glean some nuggets in my readings:

“Remember, the difficulty really becomes a problem when we internalize unfortunate circumstances. Another thing to remember when the weather gets rough is that what really matters is what happens in us, not to us! When the external circumstances lead to wrong internal reactions, we really have problems.” p60

In the end, I did not find How High Will You Climb? to be captivating. This is not a book I would recommend to friends or family who follow JBG.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Where I Have Been/ Where I Am Going

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There comes a point where words must become actions in ones life. Failure to turn those particular words into actions will lead to those very words holding you captive; Haunting your waking thoughts with regrets of “what if” and “if I had only”. Trust me, I know.

For over five years I have worked for a company that offers me zero chance of career advancement. Short of going back to school and obtaining a degree in something I have little interest in, I simply cannot go any further in my current place of employment. I am in a way stuck due to the current job market and salary. Compound that frustration with frequent poor treatment, and you often have an irritated and sometimes depressed individual. I feel like I lost myself somewhere when I was told in a mocking tone, “this is so easy a third grader could do this”. Whatever level of college graduate optimism died within me the day those words were uttered. In my mind, I had become another worthless cog in the system, one that could be replaced on a whim. Reality had drop kicked me at the door.

Sometime last year, shortly after my Grandma died, I came up with a plan to move forward. I excitedly told others about this plan and began to set it into motion. I was going to go into web/graphic design. In the midst of the frustrations of learning/ moving toward my goal (acquire skills, get hired), I abruptly quit. I learned that letting go of a new found dream is easy when you lack the will to really work towards it. In a way, I hadn’t quite hit rock bottom yet. I was still comfortable pressed up against the glass ceiling of my job. What I needed was some fresh perspective, some truth spoken into my life. Little did I know that an email, a link, and a purchase were about to radically shift my way of thinking.

One morning, I received an email from Dave Ramsey. Well not a personal email but an email from his site. A link and a click later, I found myself reading about a book entitled Quitter. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this book was about to change my perspective and my life.

Quitter, by Jon Acuff, is all about pursuing your dreams while remaining firmly planted in your day job. Your day job, no matter how terrible it may be, provides a firm financial foundation for you to move towards what you want to do with your life. Truthfully, I had never thought of my job in this way. I had always seen it as something that brought in a paycheck, that had to be endured.

Jon Acuff goes even further in talking about how your attitude in your current place of employment will carry over into your future job. In other words, practice today the attitude you want for yourself in the future. This was a revelation for me.

The Bible talks about how Christians need to be faithful in the small things:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10 (NIV)

Which got me thinking about my attitude and how I needed to be thankful for all that God has given me. This has required me to shift my perspective, which I admit is not always easy. It is easier to give into the norm and not rise above it.

In the midst of God working on my perspective, He also reminded me of my web/graphic design dream. I was finally ready for it. Almost a year after I first set out to change my career, I was finally in the right frame of mind to pursue it.

Two weeks ago, I started on the first phase of “moving forward”. I began working once more on redoing my churches web site. I have set rewards in place to help me achieve my goals. I have also limited the distractions in my life (video games) that I felt were keeping me from working hard.

My goal right now is to finish the church web site, show the church what I’ve done, and give them a list of possible hosting options for the site. Then, I’m going to find a new project and continue working/refining my web/graphic design skills.

Changing our perspective is hard. Words must become actions; actions must become a lifestyle.

  • What dreams and ideas do you have that you keep putting on the back burner for later?
  • What do you need to change so that you can move forward?

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. Thanks!