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.
This Sunday will pit my favorite football team, the Carolina Panthers, against the Cincinnati Bengals. A few years ago I might have had a little more confidence in the Panthers chances but the Bengals look fairly impressive the past couple of years. Last yeart hey won the AFC North title, and this year they are doing a good job at repeating that feat. The 'line' favors the Bengals by 3 points, but that is a given amount for homefield advantage. Basically the odds makers are saying that this is a pretty even game. ESPN has pointed out that the receivers for the Bengals, Chad Johnson and Houjzmanzada (I just know I murdered that spelling) have both been big playmakers for the Bengals this year. Julius Peppers will be facing off against a rookie so I am liking that match up. One area I am a little concerned about it the Panther's receivers and Jake Delhomme against the Bengals secondary. I have read that the Bengals have interceptions in each game so far this year. With me having drill this weekend (no I am not retired yet) I will have to follow this game via my cell phone. I am hoping that the Panthers will break the trend of losing the last game of a 3 game run against the AFC (this is the 3rd time in the Panthers history that this has happened). I pray that you all have a wonderful weekend as I will not be back until Monday. Updates: None Verse for today: Revelation 22 : 1-7, esv Then the angel  showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life  with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants  will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Jesus Is Coming And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
A co-worker came into work this morning and shared a drive-through story. You know those stories. You just want to grab a quick meal/snack/whatever and then something happens. What you thought should only take a minute or two turns into ten minutes or more. In his story the car in front of him contained two "very large" people and the amount of food they were getting was a lot apparently, "and of course they had a handicaped license plate". Now I am not sharing this story to comment about people buying a lot of food, or how the driver or owner came to be handicapped. What I am commenting on today is how many times am I 'suffering' because of a poor decision I have made? Today I have a pair of bad shoulders and knees. Both are the result of poor choices I made when I was younger. My shoulders are the result of an attempt to lift a pair of very heavy objects into a helicopter one handed (one in each arm). I was full of adrenalin and youthful arrogance. Instead of setting one item down and putting the other in, then getting the next one I attempted this stunt - which did not work anyway. The next day I could not lift my arms abouve about a 25 degree angle! And today I still have trouble with them. My knees are the result of pushing myself in a 2 mile run in Air Assault school. When I went through this school the Army still required the candidates to run the distance in boots. I have never really been a very smooth runner anyway, but in boots there was no shock absorbtion. Both my knees swelled up and I went to the medics. When I was told that if they reported my knee problems I would be going home. Well, there was no way I was going to quit so I popped two asperin every night and elevated my knees with pillows from the guys that had been washed out. Today my knees still ache and it has caused back problems and everything. My point is this... none of us make good choices all of the time. I'm willing to be the sun will not set without us each making at least one bad decision. There may or may not be any consequences to them, but they are all there. Updates: None Verse for today: Romans 3 : 21-26, esv But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Today was pretty crazy. Bossman was down in Reston along with another coworker. It's not too bad but it does add some additional duties. But I made it through the day (so far) without too many knives sticking out of my back. I received the books I ordered from Amazon.com yesterday and will begin diving into the first one tonight. This is going to be a long road and I definetly will need to take my beloved away for a long weekend when this is over. Speaking of which, the first month (well just a little over a half a month now) of my self promoting candy sales has netted just over $20 so far! At this rate, if I manage to stick to my timeline, I will have just about $500.00 for out getaway! LOL... well, once I get enough to open up a savings account I will. At least it will be earning some interest. Side note: I submitted three short stories to an internet aquaintence for an article he is working on for Necromunda. He liked them and is planning on useing all of them. He even asked me for some more. I'm not sure I have the time, but... if they come to mind I will. This will slow down what I push to my own short story blog as I am pretty sure I need to not 'publish' these stories when I 'give' them to him. Long story, anyway, if/when these stories make it to 'publishing' (i.e. posted on the 'net somewhere) I will post a link like a proud papa. Well, I need to get one more thing done for work today, and then it will be time to hit the books. May the abundant grace of the Lord Jesus Christ rest on you all. Updates: None Verse for today: Romans 5:15-17, esv But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Well I finally broke down and picked up a copy of the Madden NFL game. I enjoy watching football and my oldest son keeps asking me to play with him on the Nintendo Game Cube. Problem is I really can't get into Mario Party or the Sonic games. The latest is Pokemon something or other. I've had Madden for the PC, but never the a games system. I've been told that the game systems play better (easier to control, etc.). So while I was out with S#1 picking up parts for his required science fair project I dropped in the Game Stop and picked up a copy of Madden NFL 05. That's right baby! Well, it was only $8.00! :) The newest version is about $40.00. I had a birthday recently where I turned 40. To me this is no big deal. I feel good about my age, I am not one who really cares about how old I am. I tend to look at it as another day/year closer to heaven. Sooner or later I will die - I might as well enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. My beloved threw a nice little party. Normally I am not one for large gatherings, but she really enjoys hosting parties and is good at it. There was the black ballons and all. The gag gifts like a couple of canes and a walker, denture adhesive, and a basket full of 'goodies' us older gents are assumed to need when gettings - shall we say - closer with our wives. But there were some really nice gifts too. Two of them from friends that knew the theme was gag gifts (for the party) gave me on the side. One was a set of samurai swords. There were not straight from Japan, and I am sure they are not made like an authentic sword, but they were very thoughtful. The have a nice finish and look very nice. The other is a collection of 'samurai' movies. I don't know where I will find the time to sit down and watch them all, but I will squeeze them in over time. :) All the gifts were thoughtful, and it was nice to see so many people (the number of children outnumbered the number of adults!). The Panthers pulled one out yesterday against what is considered to be one of the top defenses in the league. I am happy about that. Next week it is on to Cincinnati and the Bengals. A tussel beteween a pair of big cats. :) That is all for today... ramblings from a rambling mind. Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Proverbs 16:1-5 esv The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
I've never really been one to be superstitious. I remember as a kid deliberately walking under ladders, not carring if a penny was tails or heads up. Sometimes I'd walk on the other side of coloumns and not say "bread & Butter" and it freaking my mother out. We were halfway across a parking lot when she turned around and walked all the way back just to walk back around the poll! The Panthers game on Sunday will be a good game. At least it looks to be on paper. Both teams look solid on defense. Where there seems to be an edge is on the offensive side of the ball. I think the Panthers have a slight edge. But this could be the fan in me. I have a hard time being objective and unbiased when it comes to football. That is because I generally do not try and follow all 32 teams. Not even the 3 other teams within the NFC South. I might when I have more time, but not right now. Last night I was watching the end of CSI: (The original). The story line was about a group of teenagers that went around beating up the tourists. Of course they get caught and the cast is having a discussion in the locker room of where they work. Grissom (the boss) was talking about how a moral compass can only point someone in a general direction. It does not make a person do anything. And with society being "everything is alright", and Las Vegas being built on the premis of anything goes (I'm paraphrasing here) and there are no consequences, the end result is something akin to what these kids were doing, and without guilt or remorse. It was not a statement to endorse any sort of religion (as Grissom's charecter has some issues with the church), but to me it was a very positive statement. I applaude CBS, the writters of the show, and the actors for actually putting something like that on the air. Now, obviously, I would promote the church as a great source for moral direction. But for this show to actually come out and say (in a genreal way) that our youth and society need moral guidance - makes me at least a little happy. Especially in a time when I do not feel so secure in proclaiming my faith due to concerns of being thought lesser off (a sin on my part - fear of man). I know that the church is full of hypocrites and people putting on a good face, wanting to be a part of a something, etc. But it is also more than that. This is "Pastor appreciation month". I would encourage each Christian who reads this humble blog this weekend to lift up your pastr in prayer. Pray that they will hear the Holy Spirit. That the Lord would give them strength and courage to follow Him first and formost. That they would be equipped to be good leaders in their homes as husbands and fathers (if they are married and/or have children) as per the guidance set forth in Timothy (and elsewhere) - but also in their churches. Pray that they too would have moral fortitude to preach what God has for His people and not just to tickle people's ears. But do not stop there. Pray that the congregation would have ears to hear. That their hearts and minds would see what the Lord has for them also - and then that they would be filled with hope, courage, and strength to follow where God is leading. I pray this for myself too. I know I am not a perfect paritioner. May the Lord richly bless each of you. May you hear what the Lord has for you, and may the light be bright upon the path He leads you. Updates: None Verse for today: Matthew 11:11-17 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,  and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear,  let him hear. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ -we should dance and rejoice, we should be bold and proud to be called Christians. -samurai
I ordered three books to study for work: Routing & Switching Official Guide, Cisco LAN Switching, and some flash cards for review. And these are just the tip of the iceberg. I have been slowly steeling myself for the months ahead. I keep cycling through determination and doubt, but I am pressing forward. At home I have one of the recent Necromunda Novels, "Cardinal Crimson" sitting on my bathroom sink, and I am wanting to get "Back from the Dead". I have also been wanting to read more from the Bible more - I especially would like to read through the gospels again. So many interesting discussions with a coworker lately. But then I'd like to read more about my son's Aspergers and other good books. There just is not enough time in the day. There has to be a balance between learning all the time and doing all the time. Updates: None Verse for today: Psalm 106:1-5, 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,  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.
Normally I would have waited until tomorrow to post but the inspirtation struck me as I was wrapping up a study session. Here are some quotes that really define my way of thinking and sort of form a guidline for how I live my life:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness  for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely  goodness and mercy  shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell  in the house of the Lord forever. 
It is Not the Critic Who Counts
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds might have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins knows triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
-=-=-=0=-=-=-Samurai Code Chu - Duty & Loyalty: For the samurai, having done some “thing” or said some “thing,” he knows he owns that “thing.” He is responsible for it and all the consequences that follow. A samurai is immensely loyal to those in his care. To those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true. Gi - Justice & Morality: Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true samurai, there are no shades of gray in the question of honesty and justice. There is only right and wrong. Jin - Compassion: Through intense training the samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one. Makoto - Complete Sincerity: When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to “give his word.” He does not have to “promise.” The action of speaking alone has set the act of doing in motion. Speaking and doing are the same action. Meiyo - Honor: A true samurai has only one judge of his honor, and that is himself. Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are. You cannot hide from yourself. Rei - Polite Courtesy: Samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A samurai is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals. A samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealing with other men. The true inner strength of a samurai becomes apparent during difficult times. Yu - Heroic Courage: Rise up above the masses of people that are afraid to act. Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A samurai must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is dangerous. It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong. Replace fear with respect and caution.
"To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure the fruits of victory is the secret of a successful war" - Thomas J. Jackson
-=-=-=0=-=-=-Updates: Samurai Yarns Verse for today: Psalm 23 - which I posted above. :) God bless one and all.
Part of me was hoping the Ravens would pull off an upset in Denver last night. If for nothing else than to maybe give them some cockiness. But the loss last night will probably go a long way to firming their resolve. Ray Lewis is indeed all over the field. Although the Ravens offense looks like it has a ways to go the Denver home field advatage is just that. It was cold, it was wet, and it was loud. It will not be like that in Baltimore. Well, it might, but it will be in the Ravens favor, not the Panthers. A lot of people think the Panthers are vamping up for their run... this Sunday's game will go a long way to proving that or... Tomorrow my beloved will be having some form of radiological scan of her thyroid. It is apparently swollen and our new doctor is concerned. After a CT scan (I think that is what it was) the doctor is concerned. It has also raised some consternation within the dojo of late. With that and some issues going on with my own health... things are par for the course. A par of people going through life getting older. On a side note: I am doing fairly well in two fantasy football leagues I am in. I am 5-0 in one, and 4-0 in the other! Pure luck. But this week I am will be hurting as both my QB's have bye weeks. Who thought of this bye week anyway! :) In the other football games I play I am not doing nearly as well. Oh well. Updates: My Short Stories Verse for today: Romans 8:38-39, esv 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.
I am a contractor for the Federal government, but my employer does not give Columbus Day as one of it's regular holiday's - so I am here at work today. Not much going on, but my mind is kind of blank. I am not sure what to write about. Although the Panthers won another game yesterday I am not ready to go out and buy my tickets to Super Bowl XLI just yet. They went 0-11 on third down! The incredible Mr. Smith dropped 3 passes, one of them in the endzone, and another where he had a shot at another touchdown. I am also wondering about calling a time out with less than 2 minutes to play in the game with the score 20-9 in your favor. Granted, I was not watching the game live, and I am reading most of what I am commenting on (as opposed to watching it first hand). But I am concerned. With teams like the Bears just dominating the game as they did yesterday... if the Panthers make into the playoffs I am not getting my hopes up - yet. The next two weeks will be good measurings rods in my opinion. They go on the road against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals (who are the Bungles no more IMO). The Ravens have a very nasty defense again this year, and their offense is moving the ball better than their recent Super Bowl team IMO. The Bengals are pysched up after winning their division last year, and their win over the Steelers of a week ago. If the Panther split these games I will feel much better - if they win both then I will start to get excited - but if they lose them both I will be pulling for a .500 season or better. On a more personal note: I sent my beloved an e-mail on Friday. Our lives are so hectic that we rarely get to see one another for very long, and when we do there is little time to talk about things other than what ever is the latest 'fire'. So, in an attempt to continue to get to know her I sent an e-mail proposing that we exchange questions. She will ask me a question, I will then answer it as completely as I can, then ask her a questions, and then vice-versa. She sent me her first question and I made sure to answer it... but then I found my brain had a cramp and could not come up with a good question read: that I did not feel sounded childish, or niave, or just out right stupid). But anyway, that ball is rolling. And I am gald. Well, I need to wrap up today - maybe even get in some extra study time. Updates: None Verse for today: 2 Samuel 1:7, esv And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my  God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. “For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me;  the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.
It all started with me wanting to go see the movie 'Flyboys' with a couple of friends (read one or two), but then I added another, and another... I just didn't want to leave anyone out. Well it has expanded to about a dozen or more! One thing led to another and we are now meeting at The Texas Steak House for dinner... but the movie is now up in the air. The movie only opened up two weeks ago and it has already been shuffled off to the matinee only section. But it is playing in Hagerstown - at 10:15. And I am bound and determined to see this movie in the movie theater. Not really sure why though. When I was a kid I used to pretend to be a WWI flying ace - not WWII, or even a figther jet. Nope, it was the good old fashioned Bi-planes that intregued me. I'd zip around on my bike pretending to be looping and swooping. Wierd. :) Well, that is it for today. I hope that all who find this (and many, many more) feel the love of God and are given a glimpse of His amazing grace this weekend. Updates: Short story Verse for today: Ephesians 1:11-14, esv In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee  of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,  to the praise of his glory.
Anyone who has ridden a bicycle or motorcycle has experienced first hand the power of what a gyroscope will do. Now, I probably don't have this done hard but this is my 'theory'. As the wheels spin the centrifical force helps hold the vehicle upright. The heavier the wheel, the harder it becomes to lean it and get it to turn (even though it's not so difficult as to make it impossible). Or, have you ever held up one of those toy gyroscopes? Get them to spinning and it actually gets harder to turn them over. Gyroscopes are very interesting things. They are used to help hold the international space station in orbit. They are used to assist in flight paths, and things like that. This morning I was thinking about how we in life have various 'gyroscopes' in our own lives. We have our personalities, and our health (spiritual, relational, physical) - things like that. And when one of them is out of wack it can cause problems. When life is coming (or going) slow instabilities in the 'gyroscope' are almost imperceptable. But speed that sucker up and the imperfections become noticable. Sort of like a tire that has not been properly balanced. Now sometimes two different 'gyroscopes' will counter act each other and although the steering wheel will woble, life stays on course. But continue to spin it up.... Sooner or later there is nothing that can hide that something is off kilter. Eventually something like an "exploding CD" effect can take place. Whatever is out of kilter - if not properly attended to and maintained from time to time - will eventually have a catostrophic failure. For me the primary 'gyroscope' needs to be my spiritual gyroscope. The one that helps my walk with God. Many times the relational one will try and override the guidance of the other one... but sooner or later it becomes obvious. Not really sure where I am coming from, or where I was going with on this one... it was just a thought that came to mind. Yet another example of me blogging to work things out in my own head. lol Updates: None Verse for today: John 14:1-7, esv “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;  believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
I chose the title not just because I am getting ready to turn 40, but because of a discussion I had with my beloved last night. DS2 has been having troubles lately. He does pretty well academically but when it comes to peer relationships he is having a pretty tough time. Last night he asked his mother (while he was home because he had not been invited over to a friends house along with his brother) why people did not like him. That just breaks our heart. He is such a sweet boy, but he does not always get the intricacies of social interaction. When he sees something that appears to be an injustice he is quick to come to the aide of the underdog. Unfortunately that is not always... in a way that can be construde as... well, normal. He is quick to get angry, or even very sad. He also does not take losing very well. He wants to do well, and those that are on the same team that he is on (when involved in team sports). And when they are losing (or an a perceived slight has occured) he is quick to get mad and/or sad - to include crying. My beloved and I have struggled for many years trying to understand why is this way. Last year he was finally diagnosed with Aspergers - it is a type of Autism that falls within the 'high functioning' spectrum of that disorder. Well, due to these issues with him not fully understanding social cues he tends to alienate himself from his peers. And this just breaks my beloved's (and my own) heart. Last night he was asking for a puppy. Now he is taking theraputic riding lessons on Monday nights - which he LOVES! I have been told (since I am taking DS1 to his soccer practices) that he soaks up the information like a sponge. So now I am torn. I have resisted getting a dog, any dog, for a long time. They need care. They need to be walked. They need to be trained. And they need to be fed. They take up time and money - both of which are at a premium in my home right now. Please do not get me wrong. I LOVE dogs! When I was growing up I owned a dog (well, it was my dog to take care of) - a Welsh Corgi. He came along with me on my paper route. I also think a dog would be a great thing for my son. I just don't know how we could fit in a dog now. Well, that is all I have for now. :) God bless. Updates: Hiku Verse for today: Luke 18:15-17, esv Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Today, right after work, I will begin studying for the CCIE (Certified Cisco Internetworking Expert). My job requires certain proficencies. Up until the tech bubble work experience played a huge part in determining such things for employment (and sometimes continued employment). Post tech bubble and the subsequent management changes throughout the corporation that I work for pieces of paper are now predominantly used to determine proficency. This along with the fact that my salary finally reached pre-deployment levels (2002) once again and the cost of living NOT staying still I am being pinched to ensure my employability. This certification is no easy thing. It is broken up into two test. A written test that has one hundred questions with a two hour time limit costing $300 per attempt, and a lab portion of the test which is an eight hour hands on exam costing $1,250 per attempt (not including food or lodging). Anyone who has known me very long knows that I do not do well with studying on my own. I tend to be easily distracted. I also tend to get brief episodes of "brain cramping". I have been told that I am very good at this sort of thing, but I also tend to doubt my own abilities - after all, I'm the one that has had to live with them these past 40 years. No one is going to hand me this certification, and I am probably going to need it as my career goes forward. My motivations for pursuit of this takes several forms. One is fear for my job. I am essentially a contractor for a government agency. I have been blessed to work on this contract for over three years. However, there are movements within the agency that do not really like the company I work for. I have seen things that do not make sense from my point of view that reduces my company's exposure. Now, because this agency is so close to my home I would love to stay on this contract indefinetly - even if that means leaving my company to work for the government directly. My company also has some incentives with Cisco that require them to maintain certain numbers of the various certification levels. Another motivator is financial. When my unit returned from it's deployemnt in 2003 I was informed that my position had been moved to the swing shift. I voiced my concern about not being able to see my children and was basically given 30 days to find another position/job before I would no longer have a choice. By God's grace I found the job I have now. Unfortunately it included a two paygrade reduction as well as a 10% pay cut (not including the shift differential I would have gotten). For not a few reasons my pay raises since then have not been much more than 1%. Last may I finally completed the CCNA (Networking Associate) - and along with it I was given one of those paygrades back and a pretty good raise. That along with my raise this year I have finally achieved an equivilant salary of what I had. With my pending retirement from the National Guard I could use the extra income that is potentially possible from both my company and other potential employers if that need came up. The last motivator is personal. I have desired to actually pursue this certification since I got into this industry back in 1996. This certification is akin to getting a four year degree in a specific field. I am very nervous. But I know if this is God's will I will succeed. Two - four hour - study sessions a week seem like not enough time... but it is all I can dedicate to it. Status reports on this will be few and far between, but I am anticipating a two year commitment as a minimum. Well, I need to wrap this up. God bless you all.... Updates: none Verse for today: Proverbs 3:1-12, esv My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success  in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh  and refreshment  to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty,and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
...expect to be disappointed. Not really sure why I am posting this. My mind was blank and then this phrase popped up. So before it flitters away I am just letting the fingers get to typing. How often do we express disappointment with something? I know for me it's pretty often. We get something in our head. And it doesn't matter if we have anything to back up this train of thought. Such-and-such is gonna happen (usually when relating to a sporting event)... but then the reality of the situation hits and we are left looking like Wile E. Coyote - our jaw handing lose and our eyes bulging out of our head. For me I just try and remember that although I am going through life as an observer, I have faith in the orchestrator. That He already knows all of my days... and not just my days... those of my family... and my favorite football team. :) When we are disappointed about something we need to take a step back... let it go... learn a lesson - either in how we conducted ourselves (i.e. things to do differently/better), or to just trust in what God is doing. Well, that is all I really have for today. But I am happy about yesterdays games... Guaex Panthers! The rematch in December - in New Orleans - will be a battle. Updates: none Verse for today: Proverbs 2:1-8, esv My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.