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Time

by Larry Hehn on August 3, 2015

timeA few nights ago my wife and I, looking for a break from a busy week, decided to crash on the sofa and watch a movie. After flipping through the Netflix directory for several minutes and failing to find anything that excited the two of us, we settled for the 1996 John Travolta/Christian Slater flick Broken Arrow.

As reviewer Don Kaye describes it, Broken Arrow “delivers a number of exciting action sequences but is let down by a credibility-straining plot.”

While it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (that distinction belongs to 1984’s Night Patrol), it was far from the best. As the credits started to roll I turned to my wife and said, “Well, that’s 109 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

When it comes to time and what we do with it, I’ve determined we have three options:

  1. Waste it. When my time is “wasted”, it’s used up in pursuits that don’t generate anything of value for me or anyone else. Things like worrying. Mindless entertainment. Looking for ways to be offended. Plotting revenge. Posting angry rants. Reading angry rants. People magazine. Night Patrol.
  2. Spend it. When my time is “spent”, it’s used up in pursuits that may be worthwhile, may be necessary, but offer little long term impact on me or those around me. Things like sleeping. Eating. Making the bed. Mowing the lawn. Shaving. Ok, the necessity of shaving is debatable…
  3. Invest it. When my time is invested, it generates a return not just for myself, but for others. Things like praying. Visiting the sick and lonely. Making meals for those who don’t have the time or means. Learning a new skill with practical applications. Teaching someone a new skill. Offering sincere hope and encouragement. Seeking and pointing out the good. Mending fences. Seeking reconciliation. Choosing not to be offended.

The next 24 hours are going to go by anyway. With those three options before me, the hope for a positive legacy lies in how much I focus on category 3. What I do with my time is entirely up to me.

Who or what will you invest your time in today?

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

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How To Be a Rock Star

by Larry Hehn on February 11, 2014

rock starBack in January I became a rock star. For about 35 minutes.

When told that I’d be making my singing debut in front of roughly 400 people, my friend Dan had the best reaction.

“Wow,” he said, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

Fact is, I don’t, really.

There are no delusions of grandeur here. I would never make it beyond the judge’s table of American Idol. Heck, who am I kidding? The producers would screen me out long before that, and not just because I’m too old.

Still, a friend was in a bind and needed a vocalist. He knew I had been on stage before, and thought maybe I could help.

Sure, Andy. Invite the hard-of-hearing introvert to be your lead singer.

But hey, when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this presents itself, I figured I’d be crazy not to jump at the chance. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a rock star for one night?

I let the band know that I’d come out to one rehearsal and give it a try. They could choose not to invite me back, and I would not be offended.

To my surprise, I was invited to the next rehearsal.

When it became clear that I was going to be the lead vocalist, I decided to make the most of it. I ordered some online voice lessons to help me with my range and overall comfort level. I practiced and experimented. I reviewed other performers to see what worked, and what didn’t.

I got a good, healthy assessment of my own limitations.

And you know what?

It was a blast!

The band was very gracious, encouraging, and lots of fun. The audience, even more so. The gig was a big success.

And, of course, I came away with some tips about how to be a rock star:

  1. Seize the opportunity. Every once in a while, something is going to come up that will stretch you well beyond your comfort zone. Will you take the plunge, or politely decline?
  2. Give it your all. The singers I enjoy most aren’t necessarily the ones who hit each note perfectly. They’re the ones who exude joy and passion when they sing, and connect with their audience. It’s not always about your skill level. It’s about how much “you” you bring to the table.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We knew we weren’t the greatest band. But the audience loved us in spite of it. Actually, because of it. How could someone refuse when you say to them, “I may never be a pro at this. But here’s my best, and I’m giving it to you, warts and all.”

Whatever you do, why not be a rock star with it?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – Colossians 3:23

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Happy, Happy, Happy

by Larry Hehn on October 23, 2013

Happy Happy HappyAs you may gather from this photo, over the past few months I’ve started to resemble Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Though he’s 21 years my senior, I’m ok with that.

We come from very different backgrounds, but his story still resonates with me.

An autobiography of sorts, Robertson’s book Happy, Happy, Happy reveals the story behind the iconic creator of Duck Commander duck calls, and his 14 rules for “living happy, happy, happy”.

To say that Robertson is “old school” would be an understatement. From growing up in the woods of Louisiana with no bathtub or toilet in the cabin, living off the land and sharing a bed with three older brothers (younger brother Si slept separately since he had a tendency to wet the bed), Robertson has learned to appreciate – and espouse – the simple life.

Each of the 14 rules draws wisdom from Robertson’s background, including working hard, learning to cook, reading your Bible, getting outdoors, avoiding alcohol, and yes, even not trying to understand women.

Agree with him or not, you will always know where he stands.

He shares some amazing tales of his former “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle, and the trials he put his wife and young children through before accepting Jesus at age 28.

There is much more to Robertson than meets the eye. A former star football player who started at quarterback ahead of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in education, working as a teacher before getting into the duck call business.

Duck Dynasty fans will be fascinated by Robertson’s account of how he founded and grew the Duck Commander business before handing over the reins to his son Willie.

Happy, Happy, Happy is a sitting-across-the-kitchen-table chat with a man who has travelled many miles and has many nuggets of wisdom to share. Robertson does that with a strong dose of humor and humility, and a love of Jesus that is infectious.

As Robertson confesses, “Following Jesus has been a blast. The Lord has blessed me mightily.

It’s what makes me happy, happy, happy.”

This book was bought with my own hard-earned cash. It was not a freebie, so I felt no obligation to endorse it. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Embedded in this review is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you follow the link from here and buy a copy of this book, Amazon will award me a 4% commission on the purchase.

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