I might have more, but I am not sure. I have been busy here at work, busy at home. Working on customer issues, working on my short stories, working on things at home. Last night I replaced our aging minivan. A nice Sienna. I hate dealing with car dealers. It's a necessary thing at times - well maybe. But that's over. The funny thing is I was rambling about the things going on... refinancing the house, buying the car, the kids birthdays, Christmas, my anniversary... the lady actually said, "are you crazy!" I think she actually got scared, but I laughed it off. She did not bother me - because it is insane at times. :) Well, the Panthers go on the road to play the Falcons. Their shot at the playoffs are very, very slim - but I am a realist. They have to beat both the Falcons and the Saints and still need some help. On the way home form the car place I kept thinking how much I am blessed. "To whom much is given, much is required."... am I being a faithful steward of what He has provided? Am I passing the test of prosperity? Updates: None Verse for today: Luke 12:43-48, ESV Blessed is that servant  whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Ok, maybe it's not that bad - but it's close. We are in the market for a replacement vehicle for the family van. The old one is doing ok, but it's starting to cough. A 1995 Previa with 189K miles. The interior looks worse than it is because the kids, but it's in pretty good shape. The hard part is the negotiation with the dealer. I have calls into four different dealers - none of them want to quote a price, but we've managed to pry prices from three out of four of them and the last one is promising to meet or beat - as long as I walk onto their lot. That's not going to happen. In anyevent... it's been a long day, and tomorrow will be longer, but after that I am on vacation until after New Year's. God Bless... Updates: none Verse for today: Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
My poor beloved. She is having coughing fits again. I asked her to go to the doctors yesterday but she was "too busy". Well, after a night of me having to go back down to the couch to sleep I am hoping she goes this afternoon. I hear some of the kids with a cough but it is not nearly as bad. I know I too have been dealing with congestion, but nothing like she has been dealing with. The samurai family here is in the market for a newused car. I really do not like car shopping. While using the WWW to shop around there have been a few cases of where I have had to enter my e-mail address in order to get a quote for a vehicle. Invariably (so far) the vehicle is priced much higher than comparable models and options that I am finding elsewhere. And I am usually told that this price is a "special internet price". The thing I like even less is that now that I've entered my e-mail address I am getting e-mails from the sales-people. I know this is how they earn their living but it is frustrating to me. Mostly because I do not know who to trust, who is trying to take advantage of me. In a recent e-mail I replied telling the man that I do not want to try and negotiate - I want his best price on the table. If it's a comparable price then I will take another look. Otherwise I will just cross it off my list and move on. Oh, before I forget... I highly recommend getting a 30 day trial to the CarFax service! There was one van that looked really enticing. Great price, low mileage, recent model, even a color we would like... checked it out on CarFax and it had two accidents... one of which was enough to cause the vehicle to be declared a 'salvage'! Needless to say that one was crossed off the list. :) I watched 'Studio 60' again last night. I enjoy the whit and the interaction with the charecters - but it just gnaws at me how the writter(s) look for new ways to make digs at Christianity. I know if those digs were directed at certain other religions there would most likely be death threats. I have to run for today... God Bless you all... Updates: None Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, ESV Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Man! That was a good old fashined butt stompin'! The Steelers manhandled the Panthers yesterday. IMO the team has basically quit. I don't think I realized how much of an impact Dan Morgan had played in the middle of the defense. The defense really needs some more run defense... and a consistant O-line. Five sacks! Come on. Oh well. Looking back, of the games I was looking forward to back in August... at least the Panthers won one of those games! LOL Yesterday, and I am still not sure how this happened, but we got sucked into "Everest, Beyond the Limit" on the Discovery Channel. I have a severe amount of respect - and bewilderment - for anyone who would want to climb that mountain. There is a part of me that wants to be one of those people. The ones that go out and climb Everest - or work those extreme jobs. But then God quietly reminds me about all that He has given me. A nice family, a home to live in, enough money to pay the bills (mostly), chances to serve others... that sort of thing. Then I remember that I don't need to do those things and I should be thankful. :) One thought did come to mind while watching that show last night... exactly how tall was the tower of Babel? And yet man has come a long way since then. I think man is more arrogant now, more prideful. When it comes time... I fear for how far and how hard the fall will be... Updates: I added Part 2 for the last chapter and I am already working on Chapter 8 for the 'juve thread' over on my Yarns page. I've not added anything to my Hiku page in some time... maybe over vacation... Verse for today: Revelations 17:9-14, ESV This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
That is what the Bible says. And I know why it says that. If I know God - which I believe I know Him as much as He has revealed Himself to me. If we trust Him - if we call the Lord Jesus Savior - then we know all things are in His ultimate control. He may allow circumstances to go in ways we do not prefer, or enjoy, or understand... but He is ultimately in control. And He works all things - both good and ill - for the ultimate good of our soul. Last night we opened up our monthly bank statement to find a debit for over $800. A bill I had payed on-line but failed to record. *sigh* It was kind of a punch in the gut because we were not expecting that. We failed to record the information and now we are staring down birthday #2 (of three in three months) and Christmas with a lot less money than we expected. Well, I think you get the idea. As a result I have caused my beloved no small amount of consternation. How do I teach such a truth as 'do not be anxious' when I am the one causing it? Updates: Another chapter posted in my 'Yarns' page Verse for today: Matthew 6 : 25-34, ESV “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The same guy who 'commisioned' me to write some short stories was still looking for a few more. He had a 100 page piece that he was getting ready to throw out. So far I've sent him five stories - and then this week I commited to a 2000 - 3000 word piece! I have the idea and a rough outline - but that's it. I am also questioning my point of view but I am going to push it forward and see what plays out. I'd like to thank 'WMD' for being an inspiration - and to 'AP' for her tireless willingness to read my drivel and help me make corrections. It's insane here at work again today. We had a major 'incident' here at work yesterday and there is still residuals today. That, along with us gearing up for a major conversion coming up (a nine to twelve month project) is just consuming a lot of time. I will be going to my fifth meeting today in a few minutes. Updates: None Verse for today: Proverb 24 : 30-34, ESV I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
You will have to pardon the typing this morning... I was 'interupted' from my slumber for work this morning and my mind is feeling a little fuzzy right now. :) Well, while being on the conference call (for the past 4 1/2 hours) I was thinking... if there is one thing I would like to impress upon my children is that when you make a mistake own up to it. I don't care if it's a spilled glass of milk or a piece of laundry left on the floor - or something major. Mistakes are a defining moment of charecter. Own up to them. Tell someone when you made a mistake. Then as the dust settles evaluate that mistake. Learn from it. See what you could have done better - and be honest with yourself. Not all factors may lie with you, but be honest and don't stop there. Look at the entire situation - evaluate it like a rubix cube. Identify where you have erred and seek to improve in that area. I've heard the statement, "ameatuers practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can't get it wrong". What a profound statement... and one that I do not always take to heart in my own life either. Updates: some minor link maintenance... I think I might start a weekly 'link highlight'. LOL Verse for today: Psalm 62 : 5-8, ESV For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;God is a refuge for us. Selah
I often get smirks and smiles when I whistle or sing Christmas carols in June or July. I love Christmas carols. Silent night, Away in a Manger, even The Little Drummer Boy. I am often told "It's not Christmas time". But why shouldn't we (Christians at least)? Take the time this year to listen to the lyrics of the songs... I am not referring to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or Here Comes Santa Claus. Tune into the ones on a Christian radio station and meditate on the lyrics. What powerful truths are there. They are not merely seasonal songs - they are worship songs. They are proclaiming the truth of God come to the Earth in the form of a baby. And not just to experience what His creation is like - but to reach out and touch, to teach, to lead. He has taken the steps to lower Himself and be among us, as one of us. I really want to go see The Nativity Story. I want to glimps what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph. I want to imagine Jesus at the same age as my children now. And think about this... he was still fully God! Did He know it? Did He see what His future was about? Did He just dive into the study of the scriptures? The only picture (that I can recall off the top of my head) is the story of when His parents went to the temple and accidentally left Him behind. But he was not off in the corner crying, He was about His Father's business. And then when His ministry began... culiminating at the cross. I was thinking this morning, "why are there no Easter carols?" but there are - any good song about what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Preach to yourself daily the miricale of Christ being born, and what He accomplished on our behalf - on the cross. Updates: None Verse for today: Luke 2 : 9-14, ESV And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 
When the final whistle blew on Carolina Panthers versus the New York Giants the sound of the air blowing out of the Carolina Blue sails was palpable. Mathmatically the Panthers are still in it - but... the Panthers have not shown me anything to actually hold out a reasonable hope. I would still like to see them run the table for the rest of the year. This team has the talent, but I don't think they have the belief. Only time will tell. I have been having a lot of fun writting short stories of late. I've been averaging about one every other week - about 1500 words long each. I know they are not all that great, but they are a lot of fun. My 'anniversary' day away was a little fun. My beloved and I got some shopping done, and as a side benefit we went to a Macroni Grill for 'Lunner' so that we could get a gift certificate for her father for Christmas. After that we went back home to watch some more bonus material from the Lord of the Rings movies. We are facinated by all that went in to making that movie... as well as enjoying the movies. But what do most parents do when they have a quiet afternoon at home without children? We both napped! Not just a nap, it was one of those where you are in a nice warm place... a restful nap. :) But we had a good day. My mind is drawing a blank right now, but this weekend there was a palpable sense of the Lord's presence. Like He was walking with me... helping me to see myself... similar to how Grace expressed it on her blog "In His Garden". Woe is me for I am a wretched man - but He has brought me to a place where I can see such things, tremble in my wretchesness, and yet rejoice in His salvation and alow my fear to turn to joy. Updates: I've rearranged my "blog list" based on the ones that are updated the most, and I have also added a group of Christian Radio stations that I listen to. If you have a favorite and would like me to add it please let me know! :) P.S. - I'd also like those who visit here to sign my guestbook... but only if you want to. :) Verse for today: Romans 5 : 6-11, ESV For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
I am grateful for everyday, but Fridays still seem to hold a slightly more special meaning. My work schedule has varied from over the years (to include a season of working four ten hour days, Friday - Monday), but Friday has always remained 'special'. :) Not more than Sunday, but a pretty close second. Yesterday I had the endoscopy. Every thing looked normal. The Doc saw some 'tender' spots which he pulled some samples for biopsies. I need to follow up with an appointment in a couple of months; however, I was told that no news is good news. The worst that happened yesterday was the first attempt for the I.V. went through the vien - nothing major. I just had to get stuck twice. The other is the side affects of the annesthesia (? sp). I slept pretty much all day until my beloved woke me up at 4. Today I play catch up on work. Tomorrow my beloved and I will be trying to take a day together. Just watch movies, call for delivery, and maybe go get a gift certificate or two. That is if our kid sitting does not back out. If they do i totally understand. The youngest has caught the cough. One thing that struck me was the utter peace I had yesterday - and in general. Any time you are in the hospital for something there is always a potential of something going wrong. A little back ground - the hospital that I live closest to does not have the most stellar reputation. There are numerous stories of people driving the extra 25-35 miles to two alternatives instead of going there. My family and I also do not have the most pleasant experiences with them either. There is one thing everyone on earth will do eventually (barring the second coming) and that is death. I do not seek it, but... in some ways I'd welcome it. I am not anxious to get there quicky for all too soon it will come. But, at least on the surface of my thoughts... I am not afraid of it. And I give thanks to God and His Son, my Lord Jesus Christ for what they have accomplished in my life. Updates: I have 'published' another chapter over on my 'Yarns' page. Verse for today: Hebrews 9 : 24-28, ESV For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Everytime I try and schedule a time alone with my beloved - be it a weekend, a day, or just an evening - something comes up. Usually some form of illness (especially on the attempts to get away for more than just a couple of hours). About a year and a half ago we dropped a good chunk of change for two nights away (with the grand parents watching the kids) and she was sick as a dog! We ended up going out to eat for dinner both nights, and other than a short attempt to go out and see the sights (we were in Gettysburg, PA) we stayed in the room the entire time and watched TV. She was not even up to putting together a puzzle. Now, we are scheduling just a day out with friends watching the kids, and she is sick once more. The past three nights I have had to retreat to another room to get some sleep. She went to the doctor yesterday and was perscribed some antibiotics. I know that the medicine needs time to take hold and start pushing the yucky stuff back, but I am nervous. And to make things even more interesting we are not even on the same page as to what we want to do. When we first talked about this it was... a nice day in bed, call for delivery, just relax... then there was confusion as to when to drop kids off, when to pick them up.... do we go to see a movie? What about eating out? Didn't I (me,the writter) spend the money for this day on a dinner last week? It is furstrating trying to plan something when the parameters keep changing. Finally last night I just asked her to tell me what she wants to do and we will go with that. Updates: I need to edit my Blog list... some of the more active blogs are in the middle or bottom. Some have not been updated in months... Verse for today: Proverbs 6 : 6-11, ESV Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
I am still filling in for bossman... I stayed up way too late to watch the Panthers lose! and I have been a conference call for over an hour and a half... so today's blog is a low priority. :) I am praying that you all are enjoying the glorious grace of the the Lord Jesus Christ this wonderful day.
You will have to excuse me today. My mind feels all fuzzy. That is usually the case after a weekend in uniform. Friday night my beloved and I stayed up to watch a movie together. It was an OK movie, not really worth mentioning IMO - but it kept me up until around 00:30 (AM). That was rough because I need to be up by 04:30 on drill mornings in order to drive the 80 miles and get to the unit on time for the Chief's meetings. Saturday I filled in for the 1SG who was delayed because he is a Fire Captain and was on a call. With us driving up to Havre De Grace to do equipment issue and receive the HMMWV's we were supposed to have back in the 80's (such is the life of a Guardsman). While we were there we had to line up and get flu shots... which I know is contributing to the fuzzyness. Saturday was long day, but not too bad. I managed to crawl into bed and was passed out by 21:00 (9 PM), only to be woken up by some of the senior NCO's coming in from a 'dining in' as 00:30. From then on I tossed and turned until I gave up at 05:30. Yesterday was not all that strenious, but somewhat long. It is a tradition to do a 'Pass in Review' every December. It traces back to when my unit's guns were still pulled by horses. We all assemble at the Pikesville, MD armory perform this ceremony and then return to our armories for a holiday meal. This event has been a highlight for my kids for sometime. They to come to where daddy plays soldier, see Santa Claus (which we relate to them the story of St. Nick the original, but not about the mythical form), and get to play with other kids, sometimes there are crafts to do, and get a present. But it makes for a long day. We have to drive in seperate cars because of the distance and times. So when we all were finally home we decided not to do Awana's. Top all of this off with my beloved feeling under the weather (and has for about 2 weeks now) the family is feeling quite a bit worn. And yet, I just know I am going to be staying up too late tonight. :) Before I forget - the MRI came back perfectly normal. I will just have to keep up with the exercises and posture. Next up, and Endoscopy on Thursday. I am sure that will be normal. My body is probably just rebelling against my posture and my diet. God Bless. Updates: I trimmed some of the blogthings. Verse for today: Psalm 122 : 6-9, ESV Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions' sakeI will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
Alright - so I'm not a Bengals fan per se. But they are another large cat! And they beat the Ravens - so that will keep the trash talkers a little more quiet this weekend. Most of the guys in my National Guard unit are Ravens fans so... Last night a local University opened up their Holiday banquet to the public. I was able to feed my whole family for $22.00 (and no tip!) and the food was fantastic. Everyone got what they wanted, as much as they wanted. It was funny to see the looks on the students faces. This weekend a longtime friend is hosting a "white elephant" party. I need to say that I have never really enjoyed these parties. I seem to have the worst experiences. One time I got a leg brace! You know, the kind that they give for when you do something bad to your ankle. Another time I got a music CD that was pretty interesting - well, it at least had the Peter Gun theme song, but at the end of the gift exchange part the host of that party comes up to me and says, I lent that CD to 'Bob' and he never returned it. Would you mind?" Of course I gave it over. The rest of the time I team up with the wife to try and ensure that she gets something that she is interested in - that usually means I end up with the almost used up scented candle, or box of 8 track tapes. Just once I would like to tell people... look, take $5 or $10 and get something new. Our trend started when most of families were just starting out and didn't really have the money to do that - but 10+ years on I'm pretty sure we could each afford $5 a person. My wife asked me if I could drive all the way back from my NG unit Saturday night - but to be honest... it's not something I really want to do. Mostly because I will have to turn back around and drive all the way back Sunday morning. May the Lord bless each and everyone of you this weekend. Updates: None Verse for today: Proverbs 1 : 1-7, ESV The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I once heard it said that "disappointment comes when expectations exceed experience". I think that's true. You know how great it feels when something (good) unexpected happens. It might be getting an extra $20 in a paycheck or the item you wanted to buy is half off or something. Even when bad things happen that you are not expecting don't sting as bad - usually. But when you get your hopes up for something, and then it doesn't happen - it hurts. I can get this way with some pretty stupid things. Like Panthers games or maybe a raise at work. It's pretty silly really. When we look at ourselves and our lives in light of what we deserve how can we ever say that we are not doing well? The same man that I heard the above quote from also said this. When he is asked "how are you doing?" his usual response is "I am doing better than I deserve". And that is profound. Because in light of my own sinfulness... selfishness, pride, arrogance, covetousness, idolitry, etc.... what I actually deserve is death. I deserve for the house to fall apart, I deserve the car repairs. If I lived in a perfect world... Don't get me wrong - I enjoy God's grace every day. I enjoy His saving grace, but His 'common' grace we all enjoy. How often have I prayed "Lord I ask for You to cover my lack. Not just where I know I fall short, but in those every day things that I even do not know about." We all need His saving grace... but we all enjoy his 'common' grace - if we know Him or not. This morning I found myself praying to God, asking Him to lessen my desire for those things that I feel disappointed about. I asked for Him to help me not to expect things that my own experience has told me is unlikely. I have asked that He show me where those things have become idols - where I am searching the gift out more than the Giver. Even the 'good' things that are gifts from above. It is not the gifts we should pursue - but the giver. And when we get to enjoy the gift... to be like the lepper who returned and fell at the feet of Jesus. Give thanks and worship to the one who provides all things, good and bad, not just to give them - but to draw us closer to Him and help us to conform into the image of Jesus who is without spot or blame. Updates: none Verse for today: Matthew 7 : 7-11, ESV “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
I am covering for "Bossman" while he is away - in the virgin islands, soaking up the sun, on a sailboat with his beloved (I'm not covetous...no not me ;-) ) - with a late night last night, and an early morn today I need to make this short and sweet today. And now my mind is a blank... ha ha... Oh yea... I've had a lot of encouragement on some recent short stories on a couple of message boards I post them on (the 'Black Library' and the 'Eastern Fringe') which is nice. I really like to write these stories, and the occasional Hiku. Maybe someday I will be able to use these enjoyments more for the glory of God. Well, I really need to run. Sorry for the short post... oh yea... psst... I'm taking my beloved out tonight. Ssh... it's a surprise. :) Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 29 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,  ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.  The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth  and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless  his people with peace!
There are two events going on in my life that remind me that I am getting older. The first is that I had my first MRI this morning. The other is I will be celebrating my 14th wedding anniversary soon. The most joyful is the anniversary of course. I can't believe my beloved has tolerated me for this long. I have a temper from time to time. I have never struck her, nor have I come close. But I can get pretty loud and even shake in anger. She is not one to be passive either so you can imagine how loud we can get. :( I can also be quite tunnel visioned. When I used to commute over an hour each way to work we would talk on the phone before I left work to discuss what we would be doing that night. By the time I got home the plans would often change and it would just derail my thought process. I like to know what I am doing, I like to know where I am going. I can shift gears, but it is much easier when I am a part of the thought/decision process. When I am not my mind sort of slows down until I can process the changes. *lol* I know I have not always appreciated my love as I should. I know I have not always loved her as Christ loves the church either. I am stubburn. I am still in the Guard long after she has wanted me to get out. I often do not take the time to plan vacations or surprises as I should. And yet I do not see me as she sees me. God must have blinded her somehow. :) For me I am very fortunate to have a woman such as my beloved. She takes good care of me. She is a stay at home mother to our three children. She is the one who is on top of the family schedule. She is the one who ensures we maintain communication with the outside world. She is a fantastic hostess, and excellent cook. And she is the most beautiful woman that my eyes have laid eyes on. I am blessed beyond what I should ever hope to have expected. The Lord has made me complete. The other thing was the MRI. I've been having chronic headaches that originate at the top of my neck. They are not debilitating - more irritating than anything else. But I do get them prety much every day. X-rays were negative so the doc ordered the MRI. We shall see. Now I just need to let the doc know about my knees... Updates: None Verse for today: Jeremiah 29 : 10-14, ESV For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
I say that tongue in cheek - but I am disappointed in the Panthers this morning. I can honestly say that while I watched the game yesterday there was never a point that I felt the Panthers won the game (or should win). The Redskins did a masterful job IMO of handling the Panthers. I am not very good at listing off stats - but they are available on the web. The Redskins earned that win - they deserved that win. It just seems like anytime the national (sports) media attention is on Charlotte - the team seems to sag and lose their drive. Like they've arrived or something. Now, I am not saying every player on the team does that but, this is a team sport and no one player makes or breaks the entire game. This morning I am dealing with the issue of being disappointed in other areas of my life. But when it comes right down to it I am being selfish and pouting that I am not getting what I want. It shouldn't be amazed by the depth of my own depravity, but I am. Time and time again. I encourage everyone to honestly evaluate themselves and when they see the incredible depth of their sin to drop to their knees wherever they are and give praise and glory to God for what He has done. We (humans) are so incredibly prideful and arrogant. It makes me appreciate the changes I am seeing in Steve Smith (#89 for the Panthers) and the charecter of Julius Peppers (#90) all the more. I once had a picture in my mind of this... Picture all of mankind trying to climb Mt. Everest to reach God. Trying to achieve that standard. Some like King David or Paul have reached the pinnacle. Others like Mother Terresa (? sp) and Billy Graham are well near the top. Others are on the lower slopes, or even in the foothills. From our persepctive those on or near the top (especially those of us on the lower slopes) are either at the goal, or very very near. Now let's turn the perspective to where God is seing things. The goal is not the pinnacle of Mt. Everest but the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon. Disgarding the fact of man's ability to build a space ship (that after all takes team work and is not achievable by a single person) it is impossible to reach that goal. In terms of sheer distance the scale puts each person's effort on a near linear level. It took God coming to us in that state to bridge the gap. And this picture does not do adequate justice. Updates: Yarns Verse for today: Jeremiah 19 : 10-14, ESV For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
I have nothing this morning... I might finish another short story so I'll post that later. I hope everyone has a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. The end of my "Alphabet of Gratitude" R – Rain. I love the rain. There is something about the rain. I love to go running in the rain. I can spend hours out in it – providing I am adequately dressed for it. The key is to stay dry, and warm. I guess I am different then most. Rain does not bring my mood down, if anything it brings it up a notch. S – The Shenandoah Valley. I have lived in, or around, this valley for most of my life. It is some seriously beautiful country. A lot of history, and – so far – it keeps the pace of life at an even keel. T – My Toyota Echo. I purchased this car Memorial Day weekend in 2000. Since then it has performed quite well and gets excellent gas mileage. I am sure this little car has saved me an enormous amount of money seeing how the price of gas has been the past couple of years. U – The uniform. God has really used the military to form me into the person I am today. The time in uniform has also been a good time. I remember the rays of sunlight streaming through the clouds in Honduras just after becoming a Christian in 1989. I remember going to Air Assault school. I had a chance to visit Panama. Performing an ‘Australian Rappel’ has to be a highlight of recent memory. My career in uniform is nearing completion, but I will always have good memories of my time, and I am grateful to God for the Chaplin’s assistant that showed me that it was possible to be ‘gung ho’ and a Christian. I hope to meet him in heaven and say thanks. V – My vision. Although I have worn glasses since before I can remember I am grateful to be able to see. As I think about this so many sights come flashing to my mind. The birth of my children – the site of rays of sunlight coming through the clouds while I was in Honduras – the scenes around my neighborhood – things like that. W – My Wife. I am so very thankful to God for bringing this woman into my life. She has been my constant source of encouragement used by the Lord for almost 14 years now (as of this list). She is my helper, my lover, and my best friend. X – The Xylophone. Son #2 plays this in his music class. I was never able to master it, but he gets a kick out of it, and to see the joy in his eyes when he plays is beyond measure. Y – My Yard. It is a pain to mow and keep maintained, but when I was a kid I never imagined that I would ever own anything like it. I get a kick out of watching the kids run around and play in it. Z – The Zoo. Seriously – ever marvel at the diversity of God’s creation. The zoo is such a wonderful display of God’s incredible imagination. Updates: None Verse for today: Revelation 11 : 15-18, ESV Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants,  the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
Well... the Jags are also a form of Panther after all. I mean the all black panther is the better of the two - but I can still root for a cousin right? A blog aquaintance indicated that she likes to cheet on Christian coaches such as Tony Dungy. I like that idea as well. Coach (Joe) Gibbs in Washington and Coach (Tony) Dungy are examples of men that I root for. It even lessens the sting when my favorite team loses to such teams. Coach Gibbs was an influence in my young life growing up in the Washington DC area. I find myself drawn to Christian players on the Panthers as well. Frank Reich (Carolina's first QB - who is currently the senior Pastor of Corner Stone Presbyterian) and John Kasay were among the first players I found myself pulling for on the Panthers. Lately it is still John Kasey (yeah!) and I am thinking Steve Smith is a brother in Christ. Last night I was able to listen to John Kasay's interview on WBT (AM 1110) out of Charlotte. Gotta love that AM skip! Random thought... what is up with Studio 60 on Sunset Strip? I admit I am drawn to the fast paced tempo of the dialog and interaction. But I am not real keen on the slight I feel as a Christian in regards to a lot of the issues I believe in. I had the same issues with West Wing. Mr. Sorkin seems to believe (descerned through his writting since I've never met the man) that us Christians are well meaning, but out faith gets in the way of any real individual thinking. I'm just glad that Ms. Hayes (the charecter's name) was talked out of doing some sort of lingerie photo shoot. Ok, I've rambled on long enough... I through Q of my 'Alphabet of Gratitude': I – I am grateful for the internet. It can be such a trap I know, but through the WWW I have been able to do so many things. You can research all kinds of things. Communicate with people all around the country, and even the world. There are a lot of bad things (IMO) on the internet, but it has been a blessing to me in helping me research and double check a lot of things. J – My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the order of things I am most grateful for Jesus. I know that to the world I may never be able to fully explain how or why I believe in what He has done and what He means to me, but I do know this – Jesus is the entirety of why I am who I am. This entire list (and so much more) has been gifts from Him. For as the Bible says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3, esv) K – Kissing. I have scratched my head more than once on how God’s wisdom works through the joining of a man and a woman. But it is a marvelous thing and very often it is apparent that without a woman in my life I would not be all that I am today. Along with all the other things that a marriage is, I really like kissing my wife. L – The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not just the movies, but the books as well. I remember reading the series as a kid and not really appreciating it fully. Some people think the movies ruined the books, or that they just didn’t get it. But I feel the movies are a wonderful addition. It would be impossible to fully convey all that Mr. Tolkien put into those books into a movie form. Let alone be able to make money at it. My beloved and I love to watch those movies together. M – I am grateful for worship music. I love to sing praise and worship songs to the King. I used to arrive early at church to help set things up, and when I was done I would be able to listen to the worship team practice and warm up. I know that our walk with the Lord is often not emotionally driven, but when you feel the Holy Spirit moving in and through the words of a song design to praise Him… words cannot adequately express… N – The National Guard. God has really used the NG to help me find some discipline in my life. I have also been able to do some traveling and to do things that otherwise I might never have gotten to experience. O – The oceans. My beloved and I enjoy times at the beach – usually in the off season. But the sound of the waves breaking on the beach, the fresh air. P – I love to play. Play games, play with my wife, play with my kids, play with friends. Life is far too serious and taking a break from the rat race to just have fun is very important. I am grateful to be able to play. Q – The quilt we have on our bed. Now, I am normally a very warm person at night. It is pretty rare when I am cold at night. But there is something to be said about a nice, thick, warm quilt to crawl under at night. S through Z tomorrow. :) Updates: I have added a new link to another Blog aquaintence - Bob. He is a pretty cool fellow. Flies planes, works around his house, loves to play with his Grandson. Verse for today: Psalm 102 : 12-17, ESV But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. For your servants hold her stones dear and have pity on her dust. Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. For the Lord builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.
I finiished up my "alphabet of gratitude" late last week - just in time for the short work week so I will post parts of it over the next couple of days. This weekend was pretty busy. Friday and yesterday I had to go to drill with the National Guard. It is the time of year where we get the safty tests out of the way for the Section Chiefs on up. I didn't go on Saturday for the written portion of the test because my daughter had a birthday party (more on that later), so I had to do both written tests (section chief's and the "Big 3") as well as a hands on test for the aiming circle (a survey like device) as well as the new computerized version of teh circle. I am happy to say that I passed everything with the exception of the "XO's computation of the min. QE (basically the minimum elivation that the howitzer's can fire). I am pretty good with math so this sticks in my craw a tad. But it is mostly that I have had all of one hour of 'familiarization' of what it is and how to come up with the numbers. So I have to retest that portion. My daughter had her 5th birthday party on Saturday. It was a blast but we felt bad. Invariably there are people you want to invite but can't for whatever reason. It came down to who she really plays with - so I am hopeful that some of the friends of the parents (me and my beloved) are not mad at us. The party was pretty nice. My beloved made a horse shapped cake (which was dangerously delicious) and we hired a family to bring a pair of ponies for rides and peting. A good time was had by all. A quick note on the Panthers (of course). I was very happy to see such a defensvie performance yesterday - 7 sacks! 2 interceptions! A safty! And the kept the Rams out from scoring the whole game. That being said... there are still 6 games left to play - four of them on the road. The next two games are against NFC east opponents (Washington and Philadelphia). Just like Dallas proved last night... on any given Sunday. I am looking forward to the game next week. My father is huge redskins fan. He even played for the Redskins band back in the late '50's. We've had some fun going to games together over the years (we won't be in the stadium next week). I know he will be in his living room and me in mine. Good thing that I have unlimited long distance for the phone. :) I'm sure we'll talk some on Thanksgiving day. Which reminds me... Alphabet of Gratitude: A – I am grateful for the United States of America. I am fully aware that the U.S. is not a perfect nation. Lately I have been keenly aware of the statement that “a house divided cannot stand”. And we are a nation divided. But that is for another blog. For this entry I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America because I know that I will be allowed to worship my Lord without fear for my life, that I can raise my children in relative safety, and that I can pretty much speak my mind without fear of being killed. B – The Bible. The Word of God is priceless. There is nothing more precious than God’s voice speaking to us. C – My Children. What a blessing they have been. They have been the most challenging in terms of my growth as a person. There is nothing like holding up a mirror to evaluate yourself when you have little ones running around revealing them for all to see. D – My Dog. Well, the dog I had when I was a child. He was a Welch Corgi and we called him Lord Spastic of Grin-Bin – or Spaz for short. I took him with me on my paper route and he was a great dog. Never barked, always came when I called him. Now that I am a parent I’ve wanted to have a dog, but I also remember the time and effort it took to take care of them. E – My beloved’s eyes. I love to gaze into her eyes. They are the most beautiful that I have ever seen. F – My father. We usually do not see eye to eye on things relating to politics or religion, but he has always done the best he could for me and my brother. In many ways he has contributed to the man I am today. G – God’s grace. Without it we cease to exist. Both common and saving grace are amazing and I could spend hours just thinking about them. H – My Home. The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful home and neighborhood to raise my children in. There was a time when I thought I would never own my own home and now I do. I - Q - tomorrow. :) Updates: Yarns, and I've added a guestbook Verse for today: Psalm 96 : 11-13, esv Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Things continue to be in a state of chaos - and for me that is not a good thing. The more things are in flux around me the more tunnel vision I get, unless I am on top of the things going on. Anyone who is married or is an office environment knows that there is very little under ones real control. :) I really don't expect it to get any better till after Christmas. I was contracted to write a few more stories for a series of articles on my Necromunda hobby. I've thrown two more together (thanks Amy for proofing them for me. No matter how many times I read through them I always miss the most obvious of things.) and sent them in. I have been encouraged to write as many that come to mind and get them in. Since they become proprietary to the company once I send them in I have not been posting them on my 'Yarns' page. I am not getting paid, but that is ok by me. I just like to write them. They are also not very long each one being between 400 and 1500 words long. I am sure none of them will be up for any literary awards either. :) I will post links to the articles - or see if I can just post them - when they are released over the next few months. On a more serious note... this morning I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to pray for a co-worker and his wife. A little over a year and half ago this man's wife was in a serious car accident. Since then she has been a quadroplegic (? sp). This man is a personal hero of mine. Since then he has been her advocate, her nurse, her best friend, her everything. He has had to pay for a lot of medical supplies out of pocket - in one case his insurance company actually told him that his wife was too old! He has remolded his home to include an emergency generator, has purchased an RV which is being refitted so that she can travel, he has paid for a fulltime caregiver so that he can continue to work (for the insurance benefit), and he takes care of her by himself over night and on weekends. I could fill several blog entries with how this man has affected my life... but this morning I was prompted to pray for him and his wife - and I do not know why (yet). I would ask those who stumble across this humble little blog to also pray for this husband and wife. What an example of sacrificial love this man has been to me. Updates: None Verse for today: Ephesians 5 : 25-33, ESV Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Today has been a whirlwind. I had something insightful to post, but I didn't write it down and I can't remember! Argh. I will be taking a long lunch today to go have lunch at my daughter's preschool. They are having a "Thanksgiving Feast" lunch today! Although it will be a little chaotic (something I am not really jazzed about) it will be nice to have lunch with her. My beloved is at a conference for Aspergers. The title is something like "the frustrations of dealing with social interactions". No matter what it should help us some with son#2. That's all from the mind of this minor samurai. TTFN. Updates: None Verse for today: Colossians 3 : 23-25, ESV Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
Ever feel like that, although things are looking good on the surface, there is something bad just about to happen? That would be an accurate way to describe the last 24 hours of my life. The evening started pretty status quo, but it degenerated quickly after dinner. The wife and I got into an argument that just created a rift that is still being felt as I write this. There are times when I swear I do nothing right. I pile dishes the wrong way, I don't fold the clothes the right way, I don't keep track of all the kids books from school, whatever. I constantly complain that we are too busy, and I am rebuffed - so when I get to the end of the day and the dishes from the night before are not put away, and the 4 loads of laundry are not folded it is somehow my fault that I am piling dishes in the sink, etc. Don't get me started on the counters not being cleared off for me to put the dishes anywhere else. --- I know I am not perfect, and I really have no idea of all that goes on during the day at home, but I get tired of being blamed for things when I am not the only one in the house. On a side note, and far less important, the Panthers won last night but it looked ugly IMO. Oh, I was very happy for the win. Julius Peppers had three sacks, Steve Smith had 149 yards and a touchdown, Keyshawn Johnson set a record for most teams with a TD reception on Monday night, and the Panthers won a division game. Having said all that the 1st half looked bad. The Panthers could not move the ball. #19 had a fumble sure, but the Panthers had to punt on their four other possesions. The Bucs were totally preparred for the run. The Panthers said they intended to run and consistantly on 1st and 2nd down they ran the ball right into the face of 7 or 8 defensive players. No wonder DeShaun Foster could not get more than 2 or 3 yards a carry. I am no football genius - and I try not to be a Monday morning quarterback - but there has to be some adjustment. Next week the Rams are coming to town and they have more sacks than the Panthers do - set aside the 11 sacks by Mr. Peppers. The Rams are going to come to play and the Panthers had better play more like they did in the 3rd and 4th quarters last night if they want to put two in a row together to get the 2nd half of the season off to a good start. Side note 1: Chriss Simms is a man among football players. I saw his interview on ESPN before the game. It's possible his spleen was hurt very early in the first game and yet he played the entire game. I know his contract is over with the Bucs at the end of this year, but I hope they resign him. I think Gradkowski is doing a good job with what he has, but Mr. Simms deserves to have a shot at the least. but don't do him wrong. If it looks likely he will not start, allow him to seek a better opportunity. Side note 2: I was encouraged when Steve Smith gave thanks to "my Lord and Savior". I do not know him personally but over the past few years I have seen his charecter change. He is not as prideful but still gets the job done. Side note 3: I like Julius Pepper's attitude as well. I know him even less than Mr. Smith, but I am grateful that he is wearing a Panthers uniform. Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 67 : 1-3, ESV May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
This morning I came downstairs, running a little late, to an argument between Son #1 and Son #2. Apparently there was a disagreement between the two as to what time it was. Deadpan my beloved turns to me and says, "never teach an autistic child how to tell time". I couldn't help it - I started laughing - hard. :) Both the Falcons and the Saints lost this weekend. All the Panthers have to do to keep things really interesting in the NFC South is to beat the Bucanneers. In prime time, and having won the last seven out of eight games... the Panthers are in for a sail shreeding. Look I am a Panthers fan, but I've been punched in the gut far too many times to not be a little pessamistic. They need to win tonight, and again next week against the Rams. The season is going to be ratcheted up a notch for the Panthers in the 2nd half: vs. Tampa Bay, vs. St. Louis, @ Washington, @ Philly, vs. NY Giants, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Atlanta, and @ New Orleans. IMO the Panthers will have to win a minimum of six of these games to make the playoffs. It might be down with five - but I doubt it. If the Panthers go 5-1 going into those last two games they will need to split them at a minimum. I want to believe, I am suseptable to believing this is possible, but I will not be betting the house. Last night our church had a special Veteran's Day service. Although I was encourage to go and sit in the service I found myself not wanting to do so. Although I have been in the military for 20 years it has been as a career reservist. With the exception of being called up for a year all my time has been as an "m-day" soldier. The year I was on active duty I spent it searching cars and trucks on a domestic base. I have never laid my life on the line. I have never been shot at - never even been in the vicinity of hostile action. For me to equate my service with those who have served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or any of the "actions" during my term of service... well, it is just not concievable IMO. I am a "veteran" in name only. I appreciate all of the encouragement I receive from those who know I serve, and from those who have seen me on the streets... but I just do not feel worthy to be honored alongside those whom have truly been in harms way. Updates: Hiku - I am also working on several short stories... just not sure I have enough time for them all Verse for today: Psalm 61 : 4-5, ESV Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Well, being the wimp that I am I never sent the lettet I typed up a few days ago. So instead of sending it to the newspapers I will post it here. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
-=-=-=o=-=-=-My fellow Americans, I am not writing this letter as a Democrat, a Republican, or even as an Independent. I am writing it as a soldier. It is popular to say “support our troops” so I wanted to take a moment to say thank you, but also share what that means to me. I feel qualified to speak on this topic from a personal perspective as I have been a soldier for over 20 years now – having served both on active duty, and as a reservist. It is true that over the past two years that over 2,000 soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq, and it is true that every day the men and women of the armed forces of the United States face danger. But where are the stories of their triumphs? Where are the tales of the good things that have occurred? Of schools built? Of hospitals built? What about the training of the people to staff those facilities? I could not possibly hope to elaborate in this small note all of the good things that our troops have accomplished, or the work that continues on today. And not just in Iraq either. Today the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard serve around the world and the United States. We have responded to the call of both Republican and Democratic leadership. From the DMZ in Korea, to Afghanistan/Iraq/Bosnia, to the Gulf Coast states after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But all this you know. I have heard it said that the rank and file of these services is flush with those who could not make it in school or society (not just recently, but over the years) – but if you were to delve deeper you will see that these services are really a microcosm of our society as a whole. I have served beside mechanics, construction workers, waiters, firemen, policemen, and even a lawyer. Some have not begun their continuing education; others have set their careers aside to serve. But one thing is common in all cases, intended or otherwise, they have each set aside their personal lives to serve the country. On this Veterans Day I would ask that we all set aside our political ideologies and sit down with a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, and/or Marine and ask about the things they have done. Combat is such a small part of what the armed forces are about. Each and every one of us cares deeply about the deaths and wounds of our fellow soldiers – they are our brothers and sisters, they are our friends. There is nothing more demoralizing to our service than to hear the constant trumpet of all that is wrong. We and our families, probably better than most, know the exact cost that these things inflict for we bare that cost directly. I ask that we more proudly celebrate the good things that are being accomplished. The lives that are being saved with improved education and health care, the sharing of knowledge with others. We Americans do not know everything, and we are not perfect by any means, but we are doing some good in the world today. If you are one who has been affected by the service, directly or indirectly, of a Veteran – please take the time to thank them. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, A soldier
Son #1 has finally finished his science fair project last night! Wahoo! He picked out "wind power" where he created a little generator using a propeller and a fan. It was a blast, but it is like pulling teeth to get him to do the work sometimes. mostly because he is not sure of how, or why. But in any event it is done. I forgot to bring pictures on my jump drive to show it off, but I had fun helping him too so... It gets evaluated today. Last year he did a project on how temperature affects the popping process of microwave popcorn. That was fun too, and he won 1st place in his school - but did not place at the county level. When we were done with that one we took a break from eating popcorn around the dojo I'll tell you. :) Well, this is all I have for today - oh, but to comment that the same guy who asked for 3 short stories for a Necromunda article has asked me for some more - but with a shorter window. Fortunately they only need to be between 500 and 1200 words long. Updates: None Verse for today: Proverbs 9 : 7-12, ESV Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction  to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
This morning I woke up at 4:40 and could not get back to sleep. The song from Mercy Me titled 'Word of God Speak' was running through my head:
Word of God Speak I'm finding myself at a loss for words And the funny thing is -it's ok The last thing I need is to be heard but to hear what you would say
Word of God speak would you pour down like rain washing my eyes to see your majesty To be still and know that you're in this place Please let me stay and rest in your holiness Word of God speak I'm finding myself in the midst of you beyond the music, beyond the noise All that I need is to be with you and in quiet hear your voice
I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing isit's okI have a hard time just sitting still and listening. Especially when it comes to my prayer life. I always want to get out what I have, and then I will sit still for a few moments. But to truly sit still and rest my heart and wait... not so much. For an hour or so I just tried to just still my heart and listen. I finally got up and went down stairs and typed out a letter that came to my mind. It is supposed to be a 'letter to the editor' type of deal, but I am not sure I am even going to send it in. I will pray over it and if nothing else I will probably post it here. But back to my train of thought... God's word tells us to "...be still and know that (He) is God". And I struggle with that. I struggle keeping my spirit still. Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 37 : 23-24, ESV The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
Well, I am. Last night my mood was horrible. And the the later it got the worse it got. It seems like I am losing my patience with things lately. Maybe it's mood swings. I don't know. The cap of the night was when my oldest comes into my room at 10:something to complain that the youngest is kicking him (I should say that she proceeded him in coming into the room). I just yelled at him. I told him that he needed to find another place in the room to sleep. (They were all camping out in the playroom since it was not a school night). Rewind a little... the two youngest are in the playroom and have staked out their areas and put in a movie. A little later the oldest comes in and plops down to watch with them. Movie is over and the lights go out... next thing I know they are complaining. It's not just things like that though. Our schedule is insane in my opinion. A minimum of 5 out of 7 nights - every week - there is something going on. This week it is a science fair project. Before it was soccer practice. Next week it's who knows what. I try and I try to say that I feel we are too busy, but the only things that get cut are things I would like to do. Go out with friends for dinner, or maybe actually attend one of the "believers" services (which I disagree with the concept, but I am not going to go there). Our budget is stretched pretty thin... so thin that we have drawn from our emergency funds for the past two years. Not every month, but fairly consistantly - and we've not been able to make any deposits to replace the money either. With recent health preasures and the things we are spending on for my #2 son (Aspergers) and the constant preasure to retire from the guard (eliminating 10% of the income) is driving me insane. I am not the best communicator in the world, probably not even in the top 50%, but I try. Sometimes it feels like it would be a whole lot simpler if I was not a Christian. Do not misunderstand me... I am NOT saying that I do not want to be a Christian. I am very glad to know the Lord Jesus Christ. If it where not for the Holy Spirit I would not be seeing all of the planks in my eyes. Instead of explaining, calmly, to my son that he was the ;johnny-come-lately' to the little party and that he needed to think more of his sister than himself - a perfect time for a life lesson to him, I lose it. All the while he's just standing there with a blank expression on his face as his father yells at him. All I can think of this morning is the damage I've done to my relationship with him. He's soon to be 11... I do not have all that much time left before I am diminished as an influence in his life. All of the activities we are doing are not for me but for the edification of my children and beloved. The two youngest goo to music classes, and I encourage my beloved to get out away from the children and with friends at least twice a month (if possible), but I want more time with her. I want more time to pursue the things I want to pursue. And yet I am called to lay down my life for my wife - as Christ has laid down His for the church. In the end all I can think of is how selfish I am. Updates: "Yarns" Verse for today: Ephesians 5 : 22-33, ESV Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
The air is crisp, the landscape is colorful, and there is just something to be said about the season. I mean the holidays seem to bring hope to the atmosphere - a sense of anticipation, and the joy of looking forward to seeing family and friends. And of course it's football season! ;) On the way in to work this morning I was listening to a Christian radio station and they had a really good idea. They were looking for people to help them fill out what they were thankful for using the alphabet. This got me to thinking and over the next few days I will be trying to fill out my very own list and then I will post it here. :) Well, I am going to wrap this up for today. God bless. Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 28 : 6-7, ESV Blessed be the Lord! for he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
I seem to have misplaced my little notebook. :) The one I used to write ideas down on. The world just does not move slow enough for me. We are in the middle of a re-org with the agency that I am contracted to. When is it not... but I digress. Lots of changes and it makes my head swim. It's fun, it's challanging, it's a headache. :) Couple this with the constant state of flux at home with 3 kids running around - whew. This is a short one, but I hope to keep my new notebook close this time. :) May the perace of God be felt among you all. P.S. - Once again I would highly recommend those who stumble across this humble blog to check out - Together for the Gospel, Worship Matters, and the Pure Church blogs. Now those blogs have substance that matters for eternity. Updates: None Verse for today: John 6 : 35-40, ESV Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
During a meeting with the commander of my National Guard unit he mentioned to me that he was not sure how me taking time off for a few months would do anything but make me stay away. I did not think of a good comeback until this morning. Most people use their vacation time form their civilian careers and when the time is up they return to work. Mosly it's because they need tha paycheck, but also because it is something they enjoy (sometimes anyway). I am bummed. I missed my Grandfather's funeral! I live over 50 miles from Arlinton National Cemetery and I set out with 2 1/2 hours to spare. I know about traffic in Washington DC - I've lived in the area for over twenty years - and I still missed it. I'm not talking about showing up a little late, or "fashionably" late. I'm talking walking up as the Air Force band and Honor Guard bus is pulling away and the only one standing there is the represenitive for the cemetery. I'm talking that I did not say more than two sentences to the man before the 'grave digger' showed up to do his work. *sigh* :( I spent a few minutes looking around and talking to my Grandfather - not that I actually believe we can commune directly with those who have passed on, but I did anyway. Then on the way back to my car I prayed to the Lord and asked Him, that if my Grandfather was there with Him, to please pass along my greetings - and that I am looking forward to seeing him again. I did get to spend the afternoon with several Aunts and Uncles though. They gave me a copy of a picture of him when he was stationed in Panama, a copy of his discharge papers, and a certificate of his being granted (?) a 32nd degree Mason. I am not too knowledgable of the Masons. They also gave me his grey felt fedora. It's a nice looking hat, and the family was quite pleased to see me in it. My Grandfather played a big part in my finally receiving the Lord in August of 1989. I remember receiving Christmas cards from him - all of them were witnessing and evangelical. Now, he is not known by his own children for being a compassionate man. A man who basically abused his daughters. I do not have details, or evidences, but I would say that something went on. In the later years of his life he seemed to be trying to atone for his earlier years. Giving most of his monthly budget away - witness to all of his grandchildren. I never really got to know him - not for a lack of trying on my part - but I wished I had. Updates: None Verse for today: Hebrews 9 : 24-28, ESV For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
I will be out until next Thursday to attend a memorial service for my Grandfather. He passed away earlier this summer but we had to wait until next week to have him interned in Arlington National Cemetery. Our nation's WWII veterans are passing away at the rate of about a thousand men and women a day. Arlington performs many, many ceremonies every day. So many that my Aunt and Uncle had to wait this long. I have heard it said that our veterans fight and die for the very freedoms that we take for granted. The right to vote for our governing body is not a universal experience. The ability to smear and disagree vocally with our governing bodies. Very few other countries know first hand what we enjoy. To support our soldiers is not just a call for them to come home. It is not just to tell them that we support them. It is learning about what they experienced, and not judging what they went through. Like Theodore Rososevelt once said, "it is not the critic who coumts, but the one who steps in the ring". In Vietnam and in Iraq today - all that the American public hears about day in and day out are the casualties. Both American and civilian. Not about the lives that were saved from oppresive regimes. Not about the schools or hospitals that were built. Not about the people who now are able to leave their homes and go to the market. You want to support out troops? Go out and proclaim these victories! Go out and wave the flag of their success! Because if our men and women die and those who remain come home and all they hear about is the death... what pride are they going to feel in themselves when no one remembers their accomplishments? Our WWII veterans achieved a great and wonderful thing. They removed three very oppresive regimes. Regimes responsible for the deaths of tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands. But do you know what it took for America to get involved? It took Pearl Harbor. It took us getting a black eye before we interviened. Prior to that the Japanese had invaded most of Asia and inflicted many injustices upon Korea and China. Hitler had invaded most of Europe and interned an entire piece of the European culture known as the Jews (and others "less desirable"). I once read a Chinese tale. I do not know if the story is true, or if it is just a proverb - but it rings true. This is to the best of my memory so please bear with me... The Emperor of China was walking with his physician in his garden. The Emperor asked his physician, "Who is the greater physician, you or your brother?" The physician replied, "my brother is the greater. He sees illness a far off, before it takes form and treats it. Where as I treat the illness after it has taken form, and therefor I receive the greater recognition. but my brother treats it before it is widly known." Hindsight is 20/20. Epsecially when there are things to be seen in hindsight. But if something is prevented where is the concreate, without doubt, type proof? There is none. There are a lot of things I do not agree with in regards to those who govern this country (and my state and city), but God has inplaced all authority on this Earth. Democrat, Republican. Democratic and dictator. I do not understand it all but I do know it all works together for His glory. If you want to support our troops (and this goes for the other nations with soldiers in harms way) do not pound and beat down all the bad that is going on - seek out the good that has been accomplished - and rejoice and proclaim those accomplishments. Then you are supporting those soldiers and sailors. Updates: Samurai Yarns Verse for today: Colossians 1 : 15-20, ESV The Preeminence of Christ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by  him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Ever have one of those ah-ha! moments? Most of us do. Ever have one where the ah-ha is not necessarily a good one? This morning I had one of them. Two of them actually. The first one was that I do not have any real deep friendships. The Lord has blessed me with several friends. All of whom I would go out of my way to help with things - even go out in the middle of the night to help. People who I would do most things for, and I think they would return such actions (even initiate some actions on my behalf) - but I do not really know them, and they do not really know me. I have friends from the National Guard. I still get e-mails from one guy I have not seen face to face since at least 1992. I have guys in the National Guard now that I dig into my pockets when they need things, and the same for me. But I do not know them. I see them 2 or 3 days a month and we go our seperate ways. Guys closer to home, guys whos weddings I have been in, that we call each other maybe once a month. We say we need to get together but never do. The other was how poor of a worker I have been of late. For the past 18-24 months my mind has been a whirlwind. Some of that has been reflected here, but not all of it. It is not that I have been a bad worker all the time, but I know I could have been doing better. We are to work as if the Lord Himself was our boss - and I have not been doing that. Well, that is about as deep as I care to get right now. Besides... I need to get back to work. :) Updates: None Verse for today: Colossians 1 : 15-20, ESV He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by  him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Well, today has been yet another whirlwind of trying to keep my head above water. Thank you all for your prayers in regards to my possible business venture. If the Lord moves this forward I will outline it some here. But for now I have just sort of put out feelers and sought some counsel in person. It seems like it will be a good ministry opportunity as well. My Panthers lost a heartbreaker this Sunday against the Bengals. I read in the Charlotte Observer that the Panthers feel that the Bengals essentially got a gift. That the interception in the endzone was because the Bengals were not in their proper coverage. Well, if the defender comes away with the ball, and the offense does not have anything to show for it - I would say that the defense was right where they needed to be. I mean, that's their job - to stop the offense from scoring points - and that is exactly what the Bengal's defense did. This weekend the Panthers will take on the Cowboys at home on Sunday night football. The Panthers are 5 point favorites and have a history of not making the spread (of late) at home. I have several friends who are Cowboys fans. Should make for a fun night. I had to go to the doctor today (thus why I am a little late). I will be having an 'upper endoscopy' just after Thanksgiving. I have been having cronic pain just below my sternum and have been taking things like Prilosec for months now. I will also be having an x-ray done next week for some chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, and back. For some time now I've had chronic neck pain that radiates down through my back and shoulders. Both of these items have been little 'annoyances' that have finally gotten to the point I want to take care of them. One thing I want to write in passing - mostly because I am confident that I do not get too many readers - is that I missed two opportunities this past weekend, and I am kicking myself pretty hard. I need to be more aware of my surroundings. Updates: None Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 12 : 12-20, ESV For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves  or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts,  yet one body.
Well someone has approached me regarding a business opportunity. For those who do... please pray for wisdom. If it is God's will - please pray for Him to open doors. I had a lot more to write up, but this morning has been kind of crazy... if something comes to mind again later I'll tack it on. :) God Bless... Verse for today: Luke 12 : 16-21, ESV And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Well my long drill weekend is over. It was fun, but long and my body is a little sore and a lot tired. :) Friday morning the bus that was contracted to take us down to AP Hill did not show. It turned out that there was a miscommunication between the bus company and whoever in my chain of command that arranged it. So to cut that long story short we arrived over two hours late. We were taken straight to the "zero range". That is where the soldier takes their weapon and put bullets down range in groups of three. After each group you walk down range to look at the target and then make adjustments as needed. It took me two roations through to get the weapon where I wanted it, but that is mostly because on my first rotation I wanted to zero without using the sand bags to steady my aim. My thinking was it would better prepare me for the qualification range (more on that below). Well, once I used the sandbags I had no trouble. But I still, fired up all 18 rounds that I was provided. I just really like target shooting and I never get to do it in my civilian life. Because we arrived later than we were supposed to that was all we got accomplished on Friday. On Saturday I got over to the qualification range. The entire brigade was on post so I knew that if I wanted to do anything else for the day I had to get quailified on my rotation. But due to the sheer numbers of people on the ground it took me until 11:45 to even get my chance. While waiting around I ran into my brother. He had joined up about a year ago to finish out his 20 years (he did 15 active before deciding to get out). He was on the rotation prior to mine so I paid attention to his lane number and listened for his score as he was coming off. He scored a 28. Not great, but it qualifies. To be fair he usually scores in the 30's (at least that's what he tells me). So I told my partner that I had better score at least that much. :) I got down into the foxhole and set up the sand bags, but to hit the right 50 meter target I had to really contort my body. Good thing those targets are fairly easy to hit. When the qualificaiton began I was aiming too high. When I first joined the Guard back in '86 the M16a1 you aimed about neck level for the 250 and 300 meter targets so I sent several rounds sailing too high, but after about 5 shots I realized what I was doing wrong and adjusted. They did not break down how I did in each group so I am not sure how well I did. After that I climbed out and got set for the prone unsupported portion. I settled in and began pretty well. Then the weapon tried to feed two rounds into the chamber. Quite frustrating, but with some guidance from my partner I got it cleared up. In the end I too scored a 28, but I brought three rounds back to the tower unfired. So I just had to tell my brother, "I didn't want to show you up in front of your 'boys' so I scored a 28 as well and brought three rounds back to the tower." I loved that. By this time it was after noon. I got the group of soldiers that were from my battery and had qualified so far. We were given the option of either hitting the land nav course or the rappel tower. No choice to be made there - the rappel tower! :) There's not really too much to get into, but I did my first Australian rappel on Saturday. That was a blast. The first time I went out over the edge and was horizontal to the ground - looking straight down - I had to take a deep breath. One guy snapped a picture on his phone and said he would e-mail it to me, but I am not all that hopeful. If he does I promise to post it. It was a lot of fun, but I have a couple of new 'tattoos' to show for it. A small rope burn on one arm, and a good bruise and rope burn on my belt line. I am going to miss this when my retirement becomes official. Updates: None Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 1 : 18-26, ESV For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.