Moody Thinking

“Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” — Inigo Montoya

More Mixed Metaphors Please

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Last week, a friend described the first few weeks of graduate school as attempting to drink from a fire hydrant. It’s an apt analogy.The initial push of the water has been beaten back; however, and I feel as though I can breath again. The water is still flowing, but the pace has slowed down just enough to not feel overwhelmed.

Another friend in graduate school likened his Ph.D. program to being underwater and coming up for air every now and then when possible. Again, the reference works. I took one of those moments from Friday lunch to Saturday lunch, a school Sabbath if you will. I thoroughly enjoyed time with the whole family and a couple of quiet moments with my wife.

One of the benefits of living in the North Hills of Knoxville is that we are within a short drive (and sometimes walk) from some great playgrounds. I took him to one on Friday that has some flat natural boulders that are perfect for an almost four year old to climb. He’s fearless. He slips and bounces right back up to play again.

Saturday morning we played with his slip and slide, which really amounts to him sitting in the water sprayers and playing with his toys. I was playing with his foam baseball bat and huge plastic baseball because, well, I am still waiting on that invitation to join the Braves during September call ups and I want to be ready.

I hit the ball close to the fence and discovered over 100 marbles that had been dumped there at some point. I never played the game “marbles” unless you count “Marble Madness” for the Nintendo, but they have an inherent beauty to them that I was able to share with my son. He loves them, though we limit playing with them to times when his sister is asleep. The first time we took them into his room, he dumped them out, which is fine except for the fact that we have hardwood floors at our new house.

And so began the mad dash to collect all of the marbles before they rolled to locations where they will never be seen again.

I begin my second full week of school today and I feel somewhat relaxed, though that may change in an instant.
I say relaxed, but I guess I am as relaxed as someone can be while trying to drink from a hydrant, come up for air, scramble on rocks, and keep all of his marbles…

And while trying to maintain his swing for September call ups.

Written by Jeff Moody

August 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

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Advertising Gone Too Far

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The Braves telecast just announced the “Delta Air Lines On-Deck Batter.” This product placement seems a bit excessive. I imagine the sales pitch went a little like the following:

Salesperson: “In the uberplatinum sponsorship, you get the big billboard, prime commercial space, and at least 100 mentions per game.”

Delta Rep: “Sorry, not enough. You have to bring it to get one of the world’s top airlines, even though we are the hometown airline.”

SP: “What if we name the hot dogs after you? We could call them Delta Dogs.”

DR: “Nope.”

SP: “We can’t change the name of Turner Field, but what if we call it “Turner Field at Delta Stadium?”

DR: “Not enough.”

SP: “Okay, you know we need your business. You’ve twisted my arm. We will give you the original offer… plus we will give you “The Delta Air Lines On-Deck Batter.”

DR: “No way. Deal!”

—-

Maybe I am missing something in the modern advertising era, but some things should just be left alone.o

Written by Jeff Moody

August 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

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Just a Little Overwhelmed

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I apologize for the radio silence lately. I am currently going through a week long orientation to the Ph.D. Program and First Year Composition Program, so my brain lacks the capacity for larger coherent thoughts right now.

I will post sometime next week after school starts. I have a lot of topics to discuss, but every time I try to write them down the only thing that makes it to the page is something like, “jdnfouhfidsfnnidnfaondcincjgjh.” See what I mean? Those are my thoughts about the U.S. Credit rating getting lowered.

I would write a clever ending, but I cannot think of one right now. So… bye.

Written by Jeff Moody

August 11, 2011 at 4:38 am

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How Do You Write Facial Expressions?

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The Braves won a 19 inning game last night on a ridiculous blown call where Julio Lugo was out at the plate and was called safe.

The transcript of his post game interview is classic (Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dave O’Brien):

On the game-ending play at the plate

“I know I’m safe.” [Smiles]

Did he miss you?

“Yeah, I think so. He made the right call.” [Raises eyebrows]

What, your slide was so fast we couldn’t see you hit plate before the tag? [Sarcasm]

“That’s what happened.” [Smiling]

You secretly snuck around him? [More sarcasm from reporter]

“I was trying to avoid the tag.”

Surprised by the call?

“He made an appreciation call. Safe or out. That’s what they do.”

An appreciation call?

“Yes. You can appreciate if I was safe or out. He thought I was safe.”

What did you think?

“I was safe.” [Smiles]

How many times were you tagged?

“I was safe.”

So you were never tagged?

“I was safe.”

Ever been a part of a game like this?

“It was crazy, but it was good.”

The best part is DOB’s inclusion  of both his and Lugo’s sarcastic facial expressions and tones. The words on the page are given life by these quick asides and DOB did a nice job to bring us into the conversation.

Written by Jeff Moody

July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

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Growing Up

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As we transition, my thoughts are lingering on signs that I am now officially a grown up. Here are some internet specific signs that I am old.

1. The funny email addresses I had as a teenager seem pretty dumb now. Could you imagine a 30 year old with an email address like “feelnmoody”. (I did not realize this email’s opening for off-color jokes when I set up my first hotmail account.) This applies to usernames as well.

2. I still remember when it took a good 5 minutes to load a website. I was a lot more patient when I was younger, or I was a lot more distracted. Either way, I now get frustrated when a page takes time to load.

3. My most visited pages are news sites instead of video game sites or professional wrestling sites… Don’t judge me, I loved the Wolfpack.

4. I actually think before writing now (Note: This is not always true).

5. I have no idea how to use the new acronyms and I do not care to learn. The old man in me also hates it when people use them in person, you know, if in person conversations are still around. (That is my generation’s: “GET OFF MY LAWN!”).

I’m sure there are more, but it’s in the afternoon and I need to go take a nap.

Written by Jeff Moody

July 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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Greater Purpose

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“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” — Acts 17:26-27

Mandy and I found a house to rent in Knoxville on Saturday. This entire journey has been one example after another of God’s great faithfulness. He has stretched us and increased our faith and has provided all that we have needed. We trust that he will continue to provide.

I heard a sermon on the passage above and I felt some conviction about our home selection process. We, as a culture, get consumed with what we can get from a neighborhood rather than what we put into it.

Our attitude going in is one of consuming: “What are the schools? Is it safe? How are the neighbors?” We should be asking more questions of how we can benefit the community.

Is there anything wrong with wanting good schools or being safe or having good neighbors? Absolutely not. The problem comes when we make these questions the determining factor in where we live.

According to Paul in Acts, the purpose of God placing us where he has is so that we will “feel our way toward him and find him.” We have to ask the question: “Is God at the center of my pursuits?” This question applies in all facets of life. Those things that are good and valuable in our lives have the greatest potential to become our idols.

I believe through a number of affirmations that we will be living where God has called us to live. But I want my heart to pursue God first over his blessings.

Anyone else share this struggle?

Written by Jeff Moody

July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

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Updates All Around

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Well, read the post below and you will see some of the struggles that Mandy and I have faced in moving to Knoxville. Some of these things have been resolved and some things still need to be settled, but we are confident that we are following God’s plan in making this move.

We have been incredibly blessed. God has clearly provided for us to follow his call, above and beyond any natural means. I feel a bit torn in making this statement because who am I to claim God’s blessing? Why should I think that God is blessing me above other people? I honestly struggle with guilt  because I feel like I am presuming on God’s grace when there are others that are much more deserving. The questions resounding in my mind is “Why did God bless me so much?”

A little background: this decision is the first time where Mandy and I are completely living on faith. We have had an easy life (with some struggles), but God has called us to a new life where we will literally dependent on his provision for “daily bread.” Living this way has caused us to ask God to provide for us in ways that we never have.

I realize of course that being alive at this moment is a work of God’s grace, and that the job I have had that has provided for my family is a work of God’s grace. In this situation, he is taking our family to a new level of faith that is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Here is how he has provided:

1. In a very tough climate for getting into graduate school, I received a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the University of Tennessee. I am honestly not a very attractive candidate. I am not published and have no teaching experience. I have no idea why they accepted me. Also, this offer was the only one that could possibly open doors for my family to move, so we feel this offer was all a part of God’s plan.

2. The 1999 Toyota Camry my wife was driving was not big enough for our family even now. Our daughter’s car seat caused us to have to remove the passenger seat headrest and we have no storage space. Well, someone called and told us that they believe in what we are doing and want to help. Next thing we know, I am turning over my truck and we are given a 2007 Nissan Quest, above and beyond what we need.

3. I will need to work part-time in order to provide for the family. I interviewed in the last couple of weeks and have a tutoring job paying a great rate and I will have the opportunity to continue working with teenagers.

4. We own a house in Montgomery. We tried to sell it for several months and received no serious offers, culminating in an open house that netted 0 visitors. On July 5, at 3:00 pm, Mandy put our house for rent on Craigslist. On July 5, at 6:30 pm, we had a deposit down and an agreement in place. We really like the family that will be living at our house and are excited about the opportunity to bless them.

In thinking about these many blessings and the weird guilt I feel associated with them, I have learned that it is not up to me to be in the business of determining where God dispenses his blessings. He has given me so much and my only response should be “Thank You.” I think that the guilt I feel is some remaining pride where I want at least some reason in my control that earns God blessing. I struggle with the idea that I have not done anything to deserve these gifts.

And that is the point.

I have not done anything. Any attempt to try and justify God’s blessing for me leads to me trying to earn God’s favor. God is not my servant; I am his. I should be thankful for whatever blessings he gives me and ask for those same blessings for others. The answer to the resounding question of “Why has God blessed me so much?” is “God has blessed me so much out of his goodness and for his glory.” All of the other reasons are his.

Please forgive me for a bit of a rambling post because I am still trying to wrap my head around all that God is doing. Please pray for us as we need to settle on a place to live by Saturday and begin planning our move. Pray also for us to continue to believe in God to meet our needs, especially when we seem to have no answers. God has promised and he continues to deliver on these promises.

P.S. I should also add that God has already begun to develop relationships with friends in the area. One family we met through a friend emailing Mandy after she wrote a blog post about our move and they have been scouting houses for us in the area. Another family will be moving there next summer to work at a church. I also found out this week that a friend (and fellow blogger) from high school lives in Knoxville now and has offered to be our official Tennessee Welcoming Committee (shout out to http://meetthebuttrams.wordpress.com).  God continues to confirm that this is where he wants us to go.

Written by Jeff Moody

July 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized