I might have more, but I am not sure. I have been busy here at work, busy at home. Working on customer issues, working on my short stories, working on things at home. Last night I replaced our aging minivan. A nice Sienna. I hate dealing with car dealers. It's a necessary thing at times - well maybe. But that's over. The funny thing is I was rambling about the things going on... refinancing the house, buying the car, the kids birthdays, Christmas, my anniversary... the lady actually said, "are you crazy!" I think she actually got scared, but I laughed it off. She did not bother me - because it is insane at times. :) Well, the Panthers go on the road to play the Falcons. Their shot at the playoffs are very, very slim - but I am a realist. They have to beat both the Falcons and the Saints and still need some help. On the way home form the car place I kept thinking how much I am blessed. "To whom much is given, much is required."... am I being a faithful steward of what He has provided? Am I passing the test of prosperity? Updates: None Verse for today: Luke 12:43-48, ESV Blessed is that servant  whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Ok, maybe it's not that bad - but it's close. We are in the market for a replacement vehicle for the family van. The old one is doing ok, but it's starting to cough. A 1995 Previa with 189K miles. The interior looks worse than it is because the kids, but it's in pretty good shape. The hard part is the negotiation with the dealer. I have calls into four different dealers - none of them want to quote a price, but we've managed to pry prices from three out of four of them and the last one is promising to meet or beat - as long as I walk onto their lot. That's not going to happen. In anyevent... it's been a long day, and tomorrow will be longer, but after that I am on vacation until after New Year's. God Bless... Updates: none Verse for today: Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
My poor beloved. She is having coughing fits again. I asked her to go to the doctors yesterday but she was "too busy". Well, after a night of me having to go back down to the couch to sleep I am hoping she goes this afternoon. I hear some of the kids with a cough but it is not nearly as bad. I know I too have been dealing with congestion, but nothing like she has been dealing with. The samurai family here is in the market for a newused car. I really do not like car shopping. While using the WWW to shop around there have been a few cases of where I have had to enter my e-mail address in order to get a quote for a vehicle. Invariably (so far) the vehicle is priced much higher than comparable models and options that I am finding elsewhere. And I am usually told that this price is a "special internet price". The thing I like even less is that now that I've entered my e-mail address I am getting e-mails from the sales-people. I know this is how they earn their living but it is frustrating to me. Mostly because I do not know who to trust, who is trying to take advantage of me. In a recent e-mail I replied telling the man that I do not want to try and negotiate - I want his best price on the table. If it's a comparable price then I will take another look. Otherwise I will just cross it off my list and move on. Oh, before I forget... I highly recommend getting a 30 day trial to the CarFax service! There was one van that looked really enticing. Great price, low mileage, recent model, even a color we would like... checked it out on CarFax and it had two accidents... one of which was enough to cause the vehicle to be declared a 'salvage'! Needless to say that one was crossed off the list. :) I watched 'Studio 60' again last night. I enjoy the whit and the interaction with the charecters - but it just gnaws at me how the writter(s) look for new ways to make digs at Christianity. I know if those digs were directed at certain other religions there would most likely be death threats. I have to run for today... God Bless you all... Updates: None Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, ESV Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Man! That was a good old fashined butt stompin'! The Steelers manhandled the Panthers yesterday. IMO the team has basically quit. I don't think I realized how much of an impact Dan Morgan had played in the middle of the defense. The defense really needs some more run defense... and a consistant O-line. Five sacks! Come on. Oh well. Looking back, of the games I was looking forward to back in August... at least the Panthers won one of those games! LOL Yesterday, and I am still not sure how this happened, but we got sucked into "Everest, Beyond the Limit" on the Discovery Channel. I have a severe amount of respect - and bewilderment - for anyone who would want to climb that mountain. There is a part of me that wants to be one of those people. The ones that go out and climb Everest - or work those extreme jobs. But then God quietly reminds me about all that He has given me. A nice family, a home to live in, enough money to pay the bills (mostly), chances to serve others... that sort of thing. Then I remember that I don't need to do those things and I should be thankful. :) One thought did come to mind while watching that show last night... exactly how tall was the tower of Babel? And yet man has come a long way since then. I think man is more arrogant now, more prideful. When it comes time... I fear for how far and how hard the fall will be... Updates: I added Part 2 for the last chapter and I am already working on Chapter 8 for the 'juve thread' over on my Yarns page. I've not added anything to my Hiku page in some time... maybe over vacation... Verse for today: Revelations 17:9-14, ESV This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
That is what the Bible says. And I know why it says that. If I know God - which I believe I know Him as much as He has revealed Himself to me. If we trust Him - if we call the Lord Jesus Savior - then we know all things are in His ultimate control. He may allow circumstances to go in ways we do not prefer, or enjoy, or understand... but He is ultimately in control. And He works all things - both good and ill - for the ultimate good of our soul. Last night we opened up our monthly bank statement to find a debit for over $800. A bill I had payed on-line but failed to record. *sigh* It was kind of a punch in the gut because we were not expecting that. We failed to record the information and now we are staring down birthday #2 (of three in three months) and Christmas with a lot less money than we expected. Well, I think you get the idea. As a result I have caused my beloved no small amount of consternation. How do I teach such a truth as 'do not be anxious' when I am the one causing it? Updates: Another chapter posted in my 'Yarns' page Verse for today: Matthew 6 : 25-34, ESV “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The same guy who 'commisioned' me to write some short stories was still looking for a few more. He had a 100 page piece that he was getting ready to throw out. So far I've sent him five stories - and then this week I commited to a 2000 - 3000 word piece! I have the idea and a rough outline - but that's it. I am also questioning my point of view but I am going to push it forward and see what plays out. I'd like to thank 'WMD' for being an inspiration - and to 'AP' for her tireless willingness to read my drivel and help me make corrections. It's insane here at work again today. We had a major 'incident' here at work yesterday and there is still residuals today. That, along with us gearing up for a major conversion coming up (a nine to twelve month project) is just consuming a lot of time. I will be going to my fifth meeting today in a few minutes. Updates: None Verse for today: Proverb 24 : 30-34, ESV I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
You will have to pardon the typing this morning... I was 'interupted' from my slumber for work this morning and my mind is feeling a little fuzzy right now. :) Well, while being on the conference call (for the past 4 1/2 hours) I was thinking... if there is one thing I would like to impress upon my children is that when you make a mistake own up to it. I don't care if it's a spilled glass of milk or a piece of laundry left on the floor - or something major. Mistakes are a defining moment of charecter. Own up to them. Tell someone when you made a mistake. Then as the dust settles evaluate that mistake. Learn from it. See what you could have done better - and be honest with yourself. Not all factors may lie with you, but be honest and don't stop there. Look at the entire situation - evaluate it like a rubix cube. Identify where you have erred and seek to improve in that area. I've heard the statement, "ameatuers practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can't get it wrong". What a profound statement... and one that I do not always take to heart in my own life either. Updates: some minor link maintenance... I think I might start a weekly 'link highlight'. LOL Verse for today: Psalm 62 : 5-8, ESV For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;God is a refuge for us. Selah
I often get smirks and smiles when I whistle or sing Christmas carols in June or July. I love Christmas carols. Silent night, Away in a Manger, even The Little Drummer Boy. I am often told "It's not Christmas time". But why shouldn't we (Christians at least)? Take the time this year to listen to the lyrics of the songs... I am not referring to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or Here Comes Santa Claus. Tune into the ones on a Christian radio station and meditate on the lyrics. What powerful truths are there. They are not merely seasonal songs - they are worship songs. They are proclaiming the truth of God come to the Earth in the form of a baby. And not just to experience what His creation is like - but to reach out and touch, to teach, to lead. He has taken the steps to lower Himself and be among us, as one of us. I really want to go see The Nativity Story. I want to glimps what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph. I want to imagine Jesus at the same age as my children now. And think about this... he was still fully God! Did He know it? Did He see what His future was about? Did He just dive into the study of the scriptures? The only picture (that I can recall off the top of my head) is the story of when His parents went to the temple and accidentally left Him behind. But he was not off in the corner crying, He was about His Father's business. And then when His ministry began... culiminating at the cross. I was thinking this morning, "why are there no Easter carols?" but there are - any good song about what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Preach to yourself daily the miricale of Christ being born, and what He accomplished on our behalf - on the cross. Updates: None Verse for today: Luke 2 : 9-14, ESV And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 
When the final whistle blew on Carolina Panthers versus the New York Giants the sound of the air blowing out of the Carolina Blue sails was palpable. Mathmatically the Panthers are still in it - but... the Panthers have not shown me anything to actually hold out a reasonable hope. I would still like to see them run the table for the rest of the year. This team has the talent, but I don't think they have the belief. Only time will tell. I have been having a lot of fun writting short stories of late. I've been averaging about one every other week - about 1500 words long each. I know they are not all that great, but they are a lot of fun. My 'anniversary' day away was a little fun. My beloved and I got some shopping done, and as a side benefit we went to a Macroni Grill for 'Lunner' so that we could get a gift certificate for her father for Christmas. After that we went back home to watch some more bonus material from the Lord of the Rings movies. We are facinated by all that went in to making that movie... as well as enjoying the movies. But what do most parents do when they have a quiet afternoon at home without children? We both napped! Not just a nap, it was one of those where you are in a nice warm place... a restful nap. :) But we had a good day. My mind is drawing a blank right now, but this weekend there was a palpable sense of the Lord's presence. Like He was walking with me... helping me to see myself... similar to how Grace expressed it on her blog "In His Garden". Woe is me for I am a wretched man - but He has brought me to a place where I can see such things, tremble in my wretchesness, and yet rejoice in His salvation and alow my fear to turn to joy. Updates: I've rearranged my "blog list" based on the ones that are updated the most, and I have also added a group of Christian Radio stations that I listen to. If you have a favorite and would like me to add it please let me know! :) P.S. - I'd also like those who visit here to sign my guestbook... but only if you want to. :) Verse for today: Romans 5 : 6-11, ESV For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
I am grateful for everyday, but Fridays still seem to hold a slightly more special meaning. My work schedule has varied from over the years (to include a season of working four ten hour days, Friday - Monday), but Friday has always remained 'special'. :) Not more than Sunday, but a pretty close second. Yesterday I had the endoscopy. Every thing looked normal. The Doc saw some 'tender' spots which he pulled some samples for biopsies. I need to follow up with an appointment in a couple of months; however, I was told that no news is good news. The worst that happened yesterday was the first attempt for the I.V. went through the vien - nothing major. I just had to get stuck twice. The other is the side affects of the annesthesia (? sp). I slept pretty much all day until my beloved woke me up at 4. Today I play catch up on work. Tomorrow my beloved and I will be trying to take a day together. Just watch movies, call for delivery, and maybe go get a gift certificate or two. That is if our kid sitting does not back out. If they do i totally understand. The youngest has caught the cough. One thing that struck me was the utter peace I had yesterday - and in general. Any time you are in the hospital for something there is always a potential of something going wrong. A little back ground - the hospital that I live closest to does not have the most stellar reputation. There are numerous stories of people driving the extra 25-35 miles to two alternatives instead of going there. My family and I also do not have the most pleasant experiences with them either. There is one thing everyone on earth will do eventually (barring the second coming) and that is death. I do not seek it, but... in some ways I'd welcome it. I am not anxious to get there quicky for all too soon it will come. But, at least on the surface of my thoughts... I am not afraid of it. And I give thanks to God and His Son, my Lord Jesus Christ for what they have accomplished in my life. Updates: I have 'published' another chapter over on my 'Yarns' page. Verse for today: Hebrews 9 : 24-28, ESV For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Everytime I try and schedule a time alone with my beloved - be it a weekend, a day, or just an evening - something comes up. Usually some form of illness (especially on the attempts to get away for more than just a couple of hours). About a year and a half ago we dropped a good chunk of change for two nights away (with the grand parents watching the kids) and she was sick as a dog! We ended up going out to eat for dinner both nights, and other than a short attempt to go out and see the sights (we were in Gettysburg, PA) we stayed in the room the entire time and watched TV. She was not even up to putting together a puzzle. Now, we are scheduling just a day out with friends watching the kids, and she is sick once more. The past three nights I have had to retreat to another room to get some sleep. She went to the doctor yesterday and was perscribed some antibiotics. I know that the medicine needs time to take hold and start pushing the yucky stuff back, but I am nervous. And to make things even more interesting we are not even on the same page as to what we want to do. When we first talked about this it was... a nice day in bed, call for delivery, just relax... then there was confusion as to when to drop kids off, when to pick them up.... do we go to see a movie? What about eating out? Didn't I (me,the writter) spend the money for this day on a dinner last week? It is furstrating trying to plan something when the parameters keep changing. Finally last night I just asked her to tell me what she wants to do and we will go with that. Updates: I need to edit my Blog list... some of the more active blogs are in the middle or bottom. Some have not been updated in months... Verse for today: Proverbs 6 : 6-11, ESV Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
I am still filling in for bossman... I stayed up way too late to watch the Panthers lose! and I have been a conference call for over an hour and a half... so today's blog is a low priority. :) I am praying that you all are enjoying the glorious grace of the the Lord Jesus Christ this wonderful day.
You will have to excuse me today. My mind feels all fuzzy. That is usually the case after a weekend in uniform. Friday night my beloved and I stayed up to watch a movie together. It was an OK movie, not really worth mentioning IMO - but it kept me up until around 00:30 (AM). That was rough because I need to be up by 04:30 on drill mornings in order to drive the 80 miles and get to the unit on time for the Chief's meetings. Saturday I filled in for the 1SG who was delayed because he is a Fire Captain and was on a call. With us driving up to Havre De Grace to do equipment issue and receive the HMMWV's we were supposed to have back in the 80's (such is the life of a Guardsman). While we were there we had to line up and get flu shots... which I know is contributing to the fuzzyness. Saturday was long day, but not too bad. I managed to crawl into bed and was passed out by 21:00 (9 PM), only to be woken up by some of the senior NCO's coming in from a 'dining in' as 00:30. From then on I tossed and turned until I gave up at 05:30. Yesterday was not all that strenious, but somewhat long. It is a tradition to do a 'Pass in Review' every December. It traces back to when my unit's guns were still pulled by horses. We all assemble at the Pikesville, MD armory perform this ceremony and then return to our armories for a holiday meal. This event has been a highlight for my kids for sometime. They to come to where daddy plays soldier, see Santa Claus (which we relate to them the story of St. Nick the original, but not about the mythical form), and get to play with other kids, sometimes there are crafts to do, and get a present. But it makes for a long day. We have to drive in seperate cars because of the distance and times. So when we all were finally home we decided not to do Awana's. Top all of this off with my beloved feeling under the weather (and has for about 2 weeks now) the family is feeling quite a bit worn. And yet, I just know I am going to be staying up too late tonight. :) Before I forget - the MRI came back perfectly normal. I will just have to keep up with the exercises and posture. Next up, and Endoscopy on Thursday. I am sure that will be normal. My body is probably just rebelling against my posture and my diet. God Bless. Updates: I trimmed some of the blogthings. Verse for today: Psalm 122 : 6-9, ESV Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions' sakeI will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
Alright - so I'm not a Bengals fan per se. But they are another large cat! And they beat the Ravens - so that will keep the trash talkers a little more quiet this weekend. Most of the guys in my National Guard unit are Ravens fans so... Last night a local University opened up their Holiday banquet to the public. I was able to feed my whole family for $22.00 (and no tip!) and the food was fantastic. Everyone got what they wanted, as much as they wanted. It was funny to see the looks on the students faces. This weekend a longtime friend is hosting a "white elephant" party. I need to say that I have never really enjoyed these parties. I seem to have the worst experiences. One time I got a leg brace! You know, the kind that they give for when you do something bad to your ankle. Another time I got a music CD that was pretty interesting - well, it at least had the Peter Gun theme song, but at the end of the gift exchange part the host of that party comes up to me and says, I lent that CD to 'Bob' and he never returned it. Would you mind?" Of course I gave it over. The rest of the time I team up with the wife to try and ensure that she gets something that she is interested in - that usually means I end up with the almost used up scented candle, or box of 8 track tapes. Just once I would like to tell people... look, take $5 or $10 and get something new. Our trend started when most of families were just starting out and didn't really have the money to do that - but 10+ years on I'm pretty sure we could each afford $5 a person. My wife asked me if I could drive all the way back from my NG unit Saturday night - but to be honest... it's not something I really want to do. Mostly because I will have to turn back around and drive all the way back Sunday morning. May the Lord bless each and everyone of you this weekend. Updates: None Verse for today: Proverbs 1 : 1-7, ESV The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.