Getaway weekend

I love my kids very much, but I am so very much looking forward to this weekend. My beloved and I will be getting out of town - just the two of us. We are going to her 20th High School reunion and leaving the kids with some friends overnight. Twenty four hours, well almost a full day. No kids, just me and my beloved. It should be a nice evening... about an hour and half drive... check into a hotel... then meet up with one of her friends from school...the reunion... and then a good nights sleep... no kids staying up too late... no kids getting up too early. It will be nice to relax and eat casually, sleep casually, wake up casually... and then have a liesurly drive home... then the chaos starts again Sunday night. I have started a savings plan... well, I now have two of them, that I use to have one-on-one time with my beloved. The first one is for date nights... sort of. For every day I spend away, for time the odometer on the vehicle I am driving trips a 100 mile mark, and for one other reason which I will not expound upon here... I drop $1 into the 'bank'. As these add up I will take the money out from time to time to spring for a night out. We still have the occasional date night and all, but this money is used for a 'surprise' time... or when the budget is a little tight. The other account I have just started. Last spring DS1 got involved in little league baseball. Well to cut some of the costs we agreed to sell candy as a fund raiser. I sold the boxed I had at work in record time. Even after the fund raiser was over my coworkers kept coming up to me to ask for more candy to sell to them. I explained that the fund raiser was over, but they said I should go to one of those discount bulk stores and pick up some to sell to them... so I have. My little 'candy store' has maybe ten different items. I sell them pretty much at cost, but with the amount of candy I have been selling I make about $20 a month. Not great, but hey it's something. So that money now goes into a seperate "bank" and I hope to surprise my beloved with a getaway weekend for our 15th anniversary next year. It won't be enough to pay for the whole trip - but it will cut the impact of it. Well, that is all I have for this day... sorry it took me so long to post today. May the Lord grant each of you a wonderful weekend enjoying His maginificent grace. Verse for today: Psalm 145:1-9, esv I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.


Writting letters

Last night at my DS1's soccer practice I decided to write my beloved a note. I used to do it a lot more often. Not to vent some frustration, or to discuss some deep thought. I just wanted to share how much I loved her. I wanted to share some memories that I had of when we met, while we were dating. Things like that. I printed it out and left it on her nightstand. I'm not sure if she read it - but her demeanor seemed changed this morning. Maybe it's just my perception of her has changed. Either way, it was a joy to write a letter to her again. My e-mail address book has over 130 entries in it. And that is after I've deleted several that were duplicates or incorrect, or people that I no longer interact with (some by several years). But I know I should just drop many of them a note. just to say hi. Maybe i will start doing that. That is all I have today. Our trip around the sun only lasts so long. And those whom God has put into our lives have been put there for a reason. Reach out and write someone a letter. If you are married I highly encourage you to start there. :) I know my heart is lighter today just having written that letter last night. It was a way to remember why/how I am with my beloved. Updates: None Verse for today: Song of Solomon 4:9-10, esv You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!


Not much to print

Well it has been crazy busy here this morning. Just some random thoughts... The Panthers - Saints game this weekend should be exciting! The Saints are rolling on a 3 game winning streek, 2 of those on the road. They will most definetly come to play and the Panthers need to start clicking on both sides of the ball. To date the exaulted run deffense for the Panthers has been pourous to be nice. On the other side of the ball the Panthers have struggled to convert on 3rd down (2nd to last in the league right now). Steve Smith has provided a spark, but the flames are not all that hot - yet. I still have pretty vivid memories of the Gulf Coast. I would encourage people to make contributions - either monetarily, or of their time - to the rebuilding. I am not a huge fan of the city of New Orleans in and of itself, but it is a part of the whole. And please do not forget the Mississippi coast. I saw devistation 20+ miles in land! The most eye popping thing that comes to mind off hand was billboards... some of them their bases several feet in diameter... just bent over like a piece of tin. When we travel through the valleys of life we are not alone. We need to survey our suroundings and enjoy the process just like we do when we reach those peaks and enjoy the green pastures. Some things on my desk at work... 1) a desk fountain - I enjoy the babbling sounds, and it is relaxing to listen to and watch while dealing with things. 2) a picture frame with several out of date photos - I really need to update them. 3) a samurai sword letter opener - a symbol of my faith in Christ (to me) 4) a binary clock - why? well, because I really like being thought of geek, but it is also helping me to translate binary a little quicker. Unfortunately, with IPv6 on the horizon I am going to need to brush up on hex soon. I wonder if they have a hex clock? Hmm... 5) a magnetic Panthers logo - well, because I am a Panthers fan. 6) Although it is not here yet... I will be bringing in my little statue of Gollum. Not because I am a Lord of the Rings fan (which I am), not because I really like Gollum - but because he is sort of a represntation of man's struggle with sin, and its affect on our lives. Well, I need to wrap this up for the day... for those who come by thanks. :) Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 134, esv Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!


Ever feel like you are spinning your wheels

Well, I am pretty sure most of us have felt that one at one time or another. Like there is nothing that we are doing is going forward, or very far - if indeed it is not backwards. I am in such a place. I would say for the past, I don't know, two months it feels like very little I am doing is making any kind of difference. I am feeling all of my failures. I am seeing all of the defficencies. One time I was at drill, and almost literally across the street, was the Air National Guard base. Now most of us have seen jets take off either in person, or via telivision. Those little suckers zip down the runway and shoot up like a rocket. Well, one day I was watching a C-5 transport take off. That is one mammoth airplane! It is essentially an office building laying on its side with wings. That thing look so slow I thought for sure it was going to just roll off the end of the runway and smash into some buildings or something - and this was with its JATO's in full affect (I could hear them). Just as it was getting towards the end of that runway it started to lift. Slowly, but surely, it got enough altitude to bank and make its initial turn. Even then it looked (to me) like it could fall out of the sky at any moment. I guess what I am trying to remind myself is this... that our perception can be irrelivant. It is the perception of our heavenly Father that matters. And it is not the successes of today (perceived or otherwise) that count... but the result of whom we stand with in the end. Well, enough rambling for today. May the Lord grant each of you peace this day. Updates: Hiku Verse for today: John 15:12-17, esv “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, [1] for the servant [2] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


Normally I might dance a jig

Almost anytime the Carolina Panthers win a divisional game I rejoice and maybe even dance a jig - but their victory yesterday included a fairly serious injury to Chris Simms, the QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I have, and will continue to, prayed for him. He showed real heart in leading his team. At one point they were down by 17, and with less than 5 minutes to play he had pulled his team into the lead. This game lends itself to real fair-weather fans and critics in regards to the play of the players and coaches. but I feel yesterday was a true measure of the man. Not his win:loss record, but his charecter in leading his team. Not much else on my mind this morning. Updates: None Verse for today: Genesis 3:8-10, esv And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [3] And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”


The Panthers and the Buccaneers

Did you know that the Black Panther is actually a Jaguar!? That is you look closely at the cat's fur you will the markings of a Jaguar! Well, there are also Black Puma's and Black Leopards. It's facinating to see how these three species of cats are all so similar. I included the link to the Wikpedia site for more information. I am rambling about this topic today because I had not known that the term 'Panther' and 'Jaguar' could be used to refer to the same cat. It just makes me even more of a Carolina Panther fan, but it also gives me some sympathy towards their fellow expansion team the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe it's because they put a hurt on the defending Super Bowl Champions last Monday night. ;) Well, I wil still root for the Colts this weekend! This weekend the Panthers fly to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers! The cats have a 6-5 overall record against this team, with a 3-2 at the Bucs place. Neither team has started the season well and are both 0-2. With what I am reading about the Bucs troubles on offense and defense - and how the Panthers defense performed overall last week, coupled with the likelyhood of Steve Smith's return - I am liking the Panthers chances at coming away with their first win of the season. However, in this divisional rivalry anything can happen. As a Panthers fan I am rooting for the New Orleans Saints this weekend. I want Atlanta to crumble. If the Panthers don't take the division this year (and they are currently on the outside looking in) I would prefer that any other team get it than the Falcons. And a part of that is a shame - because I have heard some good things about the Christians on that team. I think my animosity goes back to when Dieon Sanders was on that team. His ego just got on my nerves, and the past few seasons it has been Micheal Vick this and Michael Vick that. Now to give Mr. Vick his due... most of the hype is from the likes of ESPN. I have not heard all that much from the man himself. And you cannot deny that when he is in the groove he does extremely well. People critisize him for not being a typical QB, but that is not his strength. I think he does well, when he can mix it up. Not that I am happy when he does against Carolina or anything. TO be fair, the Falcons have a good team. I jsut don't want them to win the division - again. Updates: none Verse for today: Psalm 106:105, esv Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them, [1] that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.


Ther but for the grace of God...

Yesterday an internet friend talked about how he had once met Duane "Dog" Chapman and his experience. It got me to thinking about my own path in life. In this man's memory are the facts of "Dog" being in with a crowd most definetly going down the wrong road. That road eventually led "Dog" to jail convicted of being an accessory to murder. Now, he is a man pursuing his faith in Christ and helping bring fugitives from the law in. I grew up in a not so influential surroundings. Parents divorced when I was 4. Custody battle lasting until I was 10. I do not remember many specifics about my childhood, but I was mostly in the custody of my mother. In my early years she worked several jobs to support me and my brother, and she struggled with depression right up until she died in December of 2000. In the 9th grade I lived in 4 different homes and attended 3 different schools. For what I can remember about those days I did not care for authority. If I wanted to do it - I did it. My mother would never discipline me - not since she broke a paddle across my backside (breaking her hand in the attempt). The authoritites were perceived by me as inconsequential. I felt like I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, for as long as I wanted and not have to worry about the consequenses. (I am no longer like that BTW.) At one point I was "detained" (I don't say arrested because I was never charged with anything) by the police for stealing licences plates. For some reason I got it in my head that I would collect a plate from all 50 states. My mother rarely knew my whereabouts because she was never home. The story of kids being out all day - well that was me. In the 12th grade I dropped out of High School. I guess what I am trying to say is that if it were not for the grace of God 'arresting' my headlong flight towards the abyss I would not be who I am today. I juggle in my mind the thoughts of human responsibility and God's sovereignty - a lot. But I know if it where not for Him revealing Himself to me... I would be like those "Dog" seeks to reign in. I would be like "Dog" was when my friend had met him. Maybe not drugs, maybe not even murder... but something on the wrong side of the law. And what scares me at times... I see how much I still "miss the mark" too... and there are times I am not even all that sorry (to my shame). But I continue to feel the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart and mind... and for that I believe I will be eternaly greatful. Updates: Hiku, another short story... same story Verse for today: Romans 8:31-39, esv What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be [8] against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [9] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Dog the Bounty Hunter and Mexico

Last night I watched "Dog the Bounty Hunter: The Family Speaks". Now I have liked this guy for a while. I was happy to see him practicing his faith before the cameras - unashamedly (...everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven... Mathew10:32). Now there were thngs that would make me cringe as a Christian too. For example - him living with Beth for so long unmarried. Now, I do not know the mind of God in regards to what He considers as a married couple. Just that I do not think that those who profess Christ should be living in the same house - having 'relations' - without a formal legal cerimony of some kind. One thing I know for sure is this... that not everything I believe in regards to my faith makes every other Christian entirely comfortable either. I have said this before, but I will say it again here. I am sure that when I stand before the throne of God there will be a great many things that I firmly believe that will be shown to be nothing. In the end - all I have is Christ, and Him crucified for me, raised again on the third day. But "Dog" is a stand up man. He is unashamed to prefess his faith in Christ. He will hunt down those who have gone astray from the law - and then just as soon as he has them in 'custody' he is doing what he can to help them - if they are willing to receive it. He is willing to help them seek counsiling for addictions... help them get legal help... help them in their family relationships. Now, I don't know all that happened down in Mexico other than what I have read on-line, and seen last night. "Dog" did do a good thing. He went out and took down a convicted serial rapist and brought him to justice. But he did not do it legally. Mexican law does not allow bounty hunting. For "Dog" to detain this guy and then 'race for the border' is illegal in the nation of Mexico. So he was arrested. Now I am not sure the exact nature of the reasons "Dog" was arrested for, but it seems at some point he left Mexico and returned home before the procedures where fully completed. In the end "Dog" and his "posse" got nothing for the apprehention of this man. They were never paid the bounty for the capture of this man because it was done illigally. Although it did help propel him to national attention and help launch the show that made him know to me - and I am sure many others. Last night I witnessed what his poor family was going through. And I can only imagine the depths of the pain and worry they are going through. But even in this situation the Lord is using this family to reveal His mercy. A guard in prison told "Dog" that nothing happens without a reason - that the Lord would not bring him this far to just deliver him up. My little blog here is beginning to ramble now. A weakness of mine. But my point in all of this is that I would like to say that the Lord is in charge. All authority of rulers has been given/allowed to them by God (to include those in Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc - but that is for another discussion). We are under the authority of those under whom we are ruled. I think "Dog" does indeed need to see this through and not expect any special consideration. I do not know the reason for the timing of his arrest. I do not know what the American and Mexican governments are doing behind the scenes. But I do know this, and I belive the Chapman's know this too, that God is in charge. That he has their best interests at heart. There is nowhere that He takes "Dog" to, there is no valley that "Dog" goes through that He is not with him. All things are for the good of those who love Him, and and are called according to His purpose. And in the end it will all bring glory to the name of God. Updates: none Verse for today: Proverbs 20:1-5, esv Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. [1] The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life. It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.


Life goes on

Well, this week has been marked by one thing after another jsut beating me down. I am not going to go into it here, but it has just been hard. With things going rough, and work being busy I will just ramble about football. Man the Panthers botched it this weekend. Two gimmick plays pretty much called the game. One for, and one against the Panthers. For those who are football fans that actually stop by here you will probably already know what I am talking about. One a kick off return the panthers tried to get fancy and perform a lateral - where a player who is getting tackled is allowed to 'toss' the ball lateraly (or lsightly backwards) to another player so they can continue to advance the football - but it was botched. The ball fell short and the Vikings scooped it up. The Panthers Defense did well and held the Vikings to what would appear to be - at most - a field goal. Then the second trick play comes about. Snap to the holder, who then stands up and tosses it into the endzone for a touchdown - for the Vikings. This tied the game up and took into overtime - where the Vikings eventually kicked a fieldgoal to win it. The point I really want to focus on is that today Coach John Fox took full blame for these mistakes. To me this is a man of honor. That even though his players failed to execute to some degree he took ultimate responsibility for the miss-steps. It was his call on the kick return. It was his call on the coverage of the fieldgoal "try". Could his players have performed better? Sure. Could they have anticipated something and adjusted? Sure. But as the head coach Coach Fox is the ultimate man in charge - and in a day and age where it is more common for someone to shoft the blame to someone else Coach Fox is a stand up man. And despite the loss, it makes me proud to be a Carolina Panthers fan when there are such examples being put forth. Updates: I have completed two more short stories, but until I know for sure if I can post them here I will hold off. I know I can share them on an individual basis so let me know if you are interested in reading them. Verse for today: Psalm 95, esv Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath,“They shall not enter my rest.”


Pure Church: Getting Fit for Heaven

While purosing blogdem - specifically the links to blogs I have, "Pure Church" hit home with the question, "...would you be satisfied with heaven if Christ where not there?" Now, I am of the belief that the Spiritual gifts are a part of what Christ has for his church today. Not that the gifts are to be sought after as a replacement for Christ, or the experience a substitute for Christ Himself, but a outward expression of what Christ is doing. Reading through this blog today really got me to thinking. Are we - am I - in search of these gifts over Christ. Something I believe every Christian refering to themselves even partly as 'charismatic' needs to contemplate. Enjoy the link and the discussion... Pure Church: Getting Fit for Heaven

Contest for Blog redesign!

Blubird blogs is holding a contest: Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and it's just right around the corner. To celebrate the beginning of the season, I'm having a contest for 2 lucky people to win a totally free, completely customized blog design from Bluebird Blogs. Information on how to enter: - Send an email with your name and blog address to bluebirdblogs@gmail.com. - Entries will be accepted from 7:00pm EST on Thursday 9/14/06 until 11:59pm EST on Friday 9/22/06. *Bonus* - Mention this contest in a post on your blog and receive 5 extra entries into the drawing! The winner will be announced here on Saturday, September 23rd, 2006. Good luck to everyone!

Sleep deprivation and the Sabbath

This weekend was a blur. Not too fast, just that my mind is fuzzy. Our 'retreat' got started Friday evening. Not much to mention but it was nice to get out there and all set up before dinner time. Saturday was where we had "whistle stops". This year our church decided to do more fun related activities instead of deep theological ones. I went to a photography course and the line dancing. The photography stop was a lot of fun. But it got interupted with some thing I needed to take care of regarding my daughter. I got to explore my digital camera some so that I could get to know it's capabilities and all that. The class was given by a professional photographer so that was nice. In the end it was just an overview, and not all that in depth - but that is to be expected for a class that is only 90 minutes long. The line dancing was a hoot! Simple steps, but I could not keep up! And they started everything off on their right foot. Well, anyone who has done drill and ceremony knows that you always start on the left! ;) The afternoon was spent pretty much trying to entertain children. At one point they all wanted to go to the pool. Man was that cold! With 50 degree nights the past couple of weeks it was a numbing experience. Saturday night was fun. We have some talented people who can throw together some skits. Sunday the Pastor delivered a sermon on the sabbath. Good stuff all around. I am pretty fogged-brained right now so... Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Mark 2:23-28, esv One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”


The Weekend is here

There are times when I wonder why we have to work. Aside from needing money to buy things like food and pay for a place to live. For many it drives us to improve in one area or another. And for some it is to improve society, or a social group or agenda. But in the end we work because it does indeed help one another. For example, I work on a computer network. Mostly mundane things, but the devices I work on transport electrical impulses. Impulses organized to reflect a code, that when translated puts together information. Now I have worked on a wide variety of network in my time. Financial institutions, health care facilities, entertainment, legal... but from my point of view it is all about the electrical impulses getting to where they need to go. And the type of networks I work on are not inter-office type of communication but between cities, and sometimes countries. If the networks did not exist communication between offices would take much longer, and in some cases can mean the difference in someone's life, or bank account, or legal case - whatever. But what if we didn't have those professionals that created the data that I help get back and forth... Work has always been a part of God's plan. Genesis 2:15 talks about this. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." This is even before God has created woman. It is at the basis of who we are as a race, what we have been created to be. Not that God needs us to tend to His creation, but that He has given us a purpose. I think it is important to note that work did not become difficult for us as a creation until after the fall. "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17-19, esv) When we complain about having to work, we are essentially complaining about God's plan. We say that His plan is not perfect, that we think we know that we are better suited for... whatever. Now I know there are times when we are not in a job situation that is not the best use of the gifts God has given us. We need to continue to work as if we are working for God Himself - like He is the one who is supervising the very work we do. We can ask for Him to rescue us... to move us to a job that we are better gifted for... but until He sees fit to move us we need to be diligent. I type all this knowing full well I am guilty of complaining, and not being the best steward of my Lord's time either. Just the thoughts I threw done in my journal today. God Bless... 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.


Another coin

This coin comes from when my unit was mobilized after 9/11. Although we did not get activated for 6 months after the attacks we pulled our rotation stateside. What an interesting time. The state called us up 2 weeks prior to our Federal orders so that we could better prepare the unit to be mothballed for the next year - being an artillery unit there is not much use for cannons within the borders. From there we went to our mobilization station to train up for the mission we would be performing (force security). The guys hung together and we got through it all pretty well. Something of note... When we arrived at Ft Myer, VA - home of the Old Guard - we were ushered into an old movie theater being used for briefings, etc. At that briefing we were welcomed to the home of the Old Guard and given the general do's and don'ts. The statement that stuck in my mind was, "we will not treat you like borrowed military man power". Well, from that briefing we were ushered to our barracks... a condemned (it was slated for demo prior to our arrival, but pushed back into service when we going to arrive) barracks. There were few - if any - active duty soldiers still in the building. Our floor had 2 working washing machines, one working drier, 3 working shower heads for over 60 soldiers. None of the windows had weather stripping around them anymore... there were seveal indications of electrical issues... and when our First Sergeant went to try and get this corrected he was basically told to suck it up. It is of note that the rotation of soldiers that relieved us a year later were all given off post housing... Another time I was told that the MP running the gate would be in charge of my search lane - even if that MP was an E4. Now this was an insult being an E6 and basically told the patrol sergeant that unless there was a legal issue such as controband being found that required an MP that I was in charge of that search lane. Basically the MP's worked with us only grudgingly. We were basically considered inferior soldiers and that unless they were forced to work with us it did not happen. At least not at what I consider a "professional" level. At the individual level many MP's did indeed work with us. They understood the politics involved and worked hard to help make things as smooth as possible. The coin shown here was given to pretty much every Guardsman on the mission E6 and above. I like it, but it reminds me of a time in my military career I would not consider a highlight. I am proud to have served my nation, and my fellow soldiers there at Ft. Myer - but I am ashamed at how I was treated simply because I was a National Guardsman and not an active Duty soldier. After our year on active duty 'Big Army' mandated that we spend two more weeks refamiliarizing ourselves in our primary MOS. For me this was the best time of the mobilization period. The picture below was taken of my section and I am very proud of it.

Updates: Well, i've written a short story, but I am not sure I am allowed to post it here since it was 'commisioned' by someone to be a part of another article. I will gladly e-mail it to friends if they wish to read it.

verse for today:

Psalm 116:1-9, esv

I love the Lord, because he has heard

my voice and my pleas for mercy.

Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me;

the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

I suffered distress and anguish.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

our God is merciful.

The Lord preserves the simple;

when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return, O my soul, to your rest;

for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling;

I will walk before the Lord

in the land of the living


Not much going on today

Well, things are brewing up for a storm. Not much to write about today. We have a church retreat this weekend that I am looking forward to. This will be the 3rd year we have been able to go, and the 2nd time it looks like I will miss at least part of it. :( My paperwork to transfer to the inactive National Guard has yet to be approved, and my request to be excused from drill this weekend has not been approved. Well, strike that. I can miss drill on Saturday - IF - I make it up on another day. So, I either make the trip on a Saturday or I have to take a day off from work. Now, usually I would say I'd rather miss a day of work than a day of a church retreat, but there will not be much theological training going on. Line dancing, archery, photography... etc. Now - I would love to do these things with my fellow church members... but... that is all I have for today. God Bless... Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Proverbs 31:10-14 esv An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.


The NASCAR division in the NFL

Well, it turns out that some periodic readers of my blog are fellow NFC South fans. Not everyone can be perfect like me (yea right) so I will allow them to be true to themselves. *LOL* One is an Atlanta Falcons fan - I am only guessing since he lives in the Georgia area. The other actually referred to her Buccaneers. :) I would love for a Saints fan to become a regular reader now. :) The Falcons have pretty much owned the Panthers since 1995. 8-15 is the record against this opponent, with six of those wins coming at home! And now the Panthers will have to go to Atlanta to try and improve against them later this year. To be totally honest Micheal Vick has done a fantastic job against us. I believe he has only lost once. Dunn, just ran over the Panther's defense this week - one that was supposed to be improved. Listening to the radio it seemed like the Falcons moved the ball pretty much at will. Very frustrating as a fan I tell you. The Buccaneers has been a hot and cold rivalry. One year the Bucs own us, the next it is role reversal. There have been some truly good games when these two teams meet on the field. the series is led by the Panthers (6-5) but that is only because of a meeting between the two before they were division rivals. I look forward to trying to watch any game I can when they are playing each other. Which is rare being an out of town fan. :( The Saints... there is a perception that this team is one that is practically a win when ever they are on your teams schedule. I can tell you as a fan from a division rival that this team can come to play. Especially in division play. The Panthers series with this team is dead even (11-11) with both teams having a slightly better record in their opponents house. The only Panther inducted into the their Hall of Honor is Sam Mills who was essentially stollen from the Saints. When I was outside of New Orleans last October I made it a point to visit the Superdome. I have enjoyed football since my first memory of watching a Redskins/Giants game in black and white - and then being taken to a Giants/Redskins game in New York (my father is a huge Redskins fan). I think the NFC South is a good division of football - and the rivalries are cyclical, but they are there. I love football season! :) Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Proverbs 12:1-10, esv Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns. No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised. Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread. Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.


Gimme coins

I was thinking that I should write about the embaressment that my Carolina Panthers experienced yesterday - but I just don't want to reopen that would just reopen a fresh wound. :) The coin pictured above was the second coind I received in my military career. I'd like to go into a long chest thumping on this one, but the truth is I didn't do anything to earn it other than be in the right place at the right time. Before the United States turned the Panama Canal over to Pananma per the lease agreement the National Guard unit I was in at the time had been tasked to perform rotations down to work with and help out the active duty MP battalion there. For about 2 1/2 years we were able to pull 3 sets of 3 rotations. I missed one rotation - but I can't remember why right now. The work was pretty straight forward. One week of gate security - check ID's etc. and one week of patroling (on foot). I remember it was HOT! I specifically volunteered for the midnight shifts. Tales of guys Kiwi melting off of their boots and leaving outlines was enough for me. :) Two quick (I hope) stories. The first one was one night while I was on foot patrol my partner and I heard the sound of breaking glass. We called it in and responded to it. It turned out a DOD teacher had went downtown and lost his keys (house and car). Well, it was around 2 am and he did not want to wait until the office he would need to go through to get a new set of keys and opted to break into his own house. The only problem is that it was not his own house/apartment. It belonged to the Army. Basically he had to go "downtown" to answer questions, and fill out paperwork... but it all went well. The second tale is my attempt to do some sight seeing. My roommate on one trip was a soldier who had been stationed there many years before. So, he talks me into getting a cab to go see some sights in Panama city. Since he supposedly had been there before I let him get the cab, negotiate the fare, and choose the destination. Well, we end up near the French embassy. it was very nice and had a wonerful view. Nearby was an Opera house that was being refurbished. Very nice architecture. But once we'd seen those sights we opted to walk around. While walking down one street we were looking at the profile of a police officer who was standing at the end of an alley way. Now, this is not America so I didn't think too much about it. As we got closer the policeman asked to see our ID's. Ok, but while he was looking over them I looked down the street along the water front - our destination. There were Police about every 30 yards as far as I could see. Just then we are handed back our ID's and told, "This is not a place you want to be." He called us a cab to take us back to base. And thus ended my tourism adventure. :) I did get to go see the locks - and that is really cool. Both times my barracks room looked out on the Pacific locks. What an awesome sight to see these huge ships moving up and down - by water power alone! A quick note about the coin: The stamped number... I was in-line to get the number 1863 coin. But the active duty unit (who was basically handing out the coins because they were folding their flag when the canal was handed back) held it back to give to the Platoon Leader. Some of you all may know the significance of that date... I was in a West Virginia NG unit at the time, and the year they became a Federally recognized state was - 1863. :) Update: None today Verse for today: Psalm 121, esv I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.


The Professional Football season has finally begun!

Although the two teams that played last night are not my favorite, the Steelers at least, are among the top 5. :) I didn't watch the entire game, but it was just enjoyable to watch a football game. Any football game. I've tried to get into college football and I just can't. It is not fun for me to watch a game that is fairly predictable from the onset. Now I know, and have seen, a game that just defies those odds (probably why sports betting is so popular) but it is rare. And you really cannot discount the fact that a professional game is doing really well when there are 80,000 fans in the stands - but college games can have up to 120,000! Just mind numbing. Several of my drill weekends when I was an MP where basically helping out the state police by being a road cone. It is an amazingly difficult task to get 100,000+ fans all moving, especially when you have to tell a driver (sometimes drunk) that they are not allowed to turn left and me being dressed in a cammoflauged uniform with a dull road vest - in a poorly lit intersection. Another thing that probably does not help me affinity for collegiate football is my NCAA team is Army. Basicaly my education beyond H.S. has been mostly military, Army in particular thus my connection. I believe they as an organization are really moving in a good direction with Bobby Ross as their Head Coach. They even have an open invitation to a bowl game (Pointsetta I believe) IF they can find a way to win six of their twelve games this year. (They are a little behind on their goal having lost the first game of the season versus Arkansas State.) One really nice thing that did occur through a college football game though. I met my beloved at one. That will have to be a story for another day (making a note in my notebook right now :) ). Updates: Hiku Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, esv And I, when I came to you, brothers, [1] did not come proclaiming to you the testimony [2] of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


That is it!

Last night I was at my son's soccer practice - working on a short story - and I had an idea for a blog. By the time I got into bed I had forgottent the original idea, but had like two more ideas, this morning those two were gone, and had possible idea... but that too is gone! From now on I am keeping a notepad and pen in my pockets! :) While I was at the soccer practice last night I received a call from a fellow National Guardsman. He was letting me know of a pending promotion and subsequent transfer to the HQ battery. He is a good soldier and I was glad to hear it. I am a little sad about him having to leave Alpha to get his promotion, but I totally understand. He will make an excellent NCO IMO, and I hope he has a long career in the military. This brings to mind another friend whom I sort of encouraged to join up. He was a friend I met while courting my beloved in college. He didn't join the same unit as me, but he had bigger plans. He went on to become an officer and has since moved away. We keep in touch far too infrequently, but he is single and tends to get around alot. He is career. I know this because well, he's an officer and has served going on 10+ years now and shows no sign of slowing down. :) Wow - memories are sort of flooding back. I have the e-mail addresses of 3 of my old platoon mates from back when I first joined up. One is a police officer in Northern VA now, another moved out west somewhere - I'm not sure what he's doing, and the third runs a website in PA. We are not exactly tight, but it's good to exchange the odd e-mail now and again. I just submitted a request to transfer to the inactive National Guard with my unit. It is a sad time for me, but a necessary transition I need to make. Like I conveyed earlier this week. The world does not stop, or even slow down. It just continues careening through the universe. Well, I need to wrap this up for today. God Bless... Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Psalm 34:1-8 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!


Where was I?

Yesterday I was trying to express that I have noticed that 1) I am getting older, 2) that it is the natural order of things, and 3) the world will essestially continue on no matter what. At least until the appointed time comes and the Lord returns. Last night I had a thought about somethign that I thought - "Oh, that would be good to blog about". But did I write it down, did I reherse what I was going to say to wax-eloquent? (Or however you spell that *lol*). NO! That would only makes sense. Then again this morning another though, although less eloquent. Well things just kind of caried me along and now I cannot remember either idea. I really need to jot these thigns down in a notebook for later reference. Not that my thoughts, ideas, and/or opinions are all that vital to the world - but that I'd like to get them down into my journal. And since I do not keep a hardcopy journal, this is it. :) I am excited about the NFL season getting ready to kcik off tomorrow. I am signed up for some fantasy football and some on-line football related 'fantasy' games with some friends. It is a nice diversion at times. Something comfortable and familiar. I've also been able to play a few games of Necromunda, and as a result write a few short stories. Not something that takes up a load of time, but just little things that allows my mind to wander some. Well, I pray that this finds you all well and enjoying the grace of God this wonderful day - both common, and redemptive. Updates: Campaign, Hiku Verse for today: Proverbs 6:16-19, esv There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. I had a hard time picking this small section... all of Proverbs 6 would be a good read today IMO.


The Agasi era is over

I couldn't help myself. I watched the entire match. Agasi nearly pulled it off. He had Becker a little worn out, but Agasi's body just couldn't take the pounding anymore. By the end he was severly hobbled. I could see his back was in pain, because my back gives me problems from time to time too. I know why Andre had to do it... but I didn't want it to end either. My beloved and I were talking about it some this weekend. She asked if I thought he would try the senior's tour, but I don't think so. Maybe, but I am not so sure. Then this weekend two other events sort of brought my own mortality to heart. One was a father murdering his two sons and then killing himself, and the other was the death of the "Crocidle Hunter". I liked Mr. Steve Irwin. How could you not? I may not have agreed with him on all fronts about the environment, but I know I coule never have refuted his evidences. Or his passion about wildlife or the environment. In my little world there is a reason wild animals are called 'wild'. You will not catch me willingly coming within 5 meters of one unless there is some form of restraint involved. And he appeared to know his business. He knew how an animal would react in a given situation, he new their strengths and weaknesses, and he knew how to conduct himself around them. But in the end it was just an animal reacting to a perceived threat. I have not seen the video footage of the animal's attack, nor do I want to. But it apparently surprised even the camera man as he did not even know it had happened until he saw the blood. The world is a lesser place without him in my opinion. The other was the murder/suicide at Sherpherd University. That hit close to home because my beloved and many of our friends have either attended or graduated from there. I have heard rumors as to the motive, but I am not anyone assigned to the case, nor am I close to the family, so all I have is conjecture. But the sad thing is that a 40 something, a 26 and a 24 year old are now dead. They were in the middle of things. The two young men were seniors in college. They had friends, they had projects due, they had things going on in their lives. What also hit me was that in the middle of these four men I have mentioned here (and many, many others I do not even know about) the world did not stop. It did not even slow down. And although it drew my attention - even my own life did not hickup. I still had to trim the hedges, I still had to make sure the kids were fed. Just amazing... we trouble and worry and work hard... I am glad I have some hope to look forward to when my turn upon the earth has come to an end. Updates: Necromunda campaign - pending Verse for the day: Revelations 21:9-27, esv Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare; its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. [4] Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits [5] by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.


Is it Friday yet?

Oh yea, it is. :) Well today caps a what felt like a very long week. It probably has more to do with trying to stay up and watch Andre Agasi's last U.S. Open. Last nights match was a good one to watch. I had to keep getting up and move around because I was so nervous. I don't want Agasi's ride to end without him going out a winner. And yet the realist in me knows that he will probably not make it to the finals. 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 was the final score of this match. When I first met my beloved I was like "Tennis! Why would I ever want to watch tennis!" Well, after a few weekends at her parents house during some of the 'grand-slam' events got me hooked. Especially the matches between Andre Agasi and Pete Sampras. Agasi is the most memorable to me. Sampras would shoot a shot across the court and Agasi would seem to have to leap to even get his rachet on it, and it would shoot back across the net and land in some corner that Sampras just could not reach. Epic tie breaker, 5 setters between these two. Since I first got hooked Sampras and Agasi have aged (me along with them) and soon both will be gone from the competitive side of things, but they have formed a desire to see other players play and thus it goes on. James Blake is looking good, Roddick may be bouncing back now that Jimmy Conners is his coach. And then there are the likes of Federer, Nadal, and Baghdatis from other countries look really good. I am not really sure how, but marriage changes people. Before I was married I did not like Tennis, wine, or sappy 'girlie-movies'. But now I love to curl up on the couch and sip one glass of a nice wine (preferably red) and watch a good tennis match or some sappy love story (with a happy ending!) with my beloved. Don't get me wrong - there is still the side of me that wants to watch a good football game (preferably the Panthers - who won another meaningless game last night) or be outside chopping wood, but when I can relax... it's a whole new ball game. :) Updates: None Verse for today: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, esv For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Oh Lord I need your help to see the times for each thing in my life. To put it in a place of 'balance' that always keeps You at the center. Have me see what You would have first. When to move forward and when to sit still. I ask this in You name Lord Jesus. Amen.