We've also gotten through the time for DS2's Horse riding (therapy for his Aspergers) - which he is really sad about. Although he gives us trouble about going, he always enjoys the time while he's there. So we are now going to enter a somewhat subdued schedule time. But there are always things to take up the slack... to continue the spiunning plates list...
5) I really need to tend to the cracking caulking in our bathrooms. We have a lovely home, but like most new houses (when we bought it) the builder used a pretty cheap grade of caulking (not to mention a whole lot of other things). As a result I need to come along behind him and redo it. I've managed to get started on this, but I really need to finish it.
1) I am planning on a weekend getaway with my beloved for next Spring. She has expressed a desire to go to Hershey, PA. We want to get "his and hers" massages, eat out at a nice resteraunt, do a puzzle together, and spend some one-on-one time. When I mentioned to her that the Park would not be open, she told me, "that's alright. We're not going for sight seeing." *sigh* I Love that woman. :) To be honest, I don't want to get my expectations all set up, because it will take way too long for the day to get here, and then the weekend will fly by way too fast.
2) I have at least three short stories running around in my head right now, and I can't seemed to get any of them sorted out and down on paper (or typed up in a Word document). One has to do with a small band of down-and-out sorts who stumble upon an old abandoned town and find out that it's inhabited by zombie-like cyborgs. Another is a back ground piece for a faction within a faction that is "spun off" as a result of a small civil-war. The last one is about a nomad type who wakes up in the middle of an apocalyptic desert with limited knowledge of his past and stumbles across an old something-or-other that contains a copy the Bible. The result is he ends up traveling from shantytown to shantytown spreading the gospel.
3) Keeping my blog up to date... there are times when my real life just get in the way. You'd think it would just give me more material, but... it seems to just confuse me. :)
4) Keeping track of "soldier issues" for my unit. With most of my unit "upstream", and me filling in for the First Sergeant, I have had my hands full of between drill activities. Soldiers to follow up with. "Beans, Bullets, and Bodies" - that's my new job function, and I'm not fully trained as a Platoon Sergeant. I put it this way - it feels like I am being pulled behing a bus and I can't quite keep my feet underneath me. The "funny" thing is, my BC (Battery Commander) is encouraging me to get to ANCOC (Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course) next summer. The "problem" is that I would have to re-enlist to go so I told him that "...it's not just one of my life's priorities" right now. But in the meantime I plan on holding down the fort until the real 'First Shirt' gets back to resume his normal workload. Then it's off to the "old Soldier's Home" for me.
Well, look at the time... which I am out of... there's more, but... I hope you all have a blessed day...
Verse for today:
Proverbs 24:3-7, ESV
By wisdom a house is built,and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filledwith all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is full of strength,and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war,and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Wisdom is too high for a fool;in the gate he does not open his mouth.
I'm not sure why really. Even my earliest memories about learning and studying of this war I remember knowing that slavery is (and was) wrong, and knowing full well that the morally correct side won (at least in that regards). Yet, I was (and am still today) was inspired by what the Southern soldiers, both private and officer alike, went through and accomplished. Sort of a sense of pride for what I perceived of some as-yet-unknown relative endured (I later found one such ancestor).
I have come to know that not everyone in the South supported slavery, and not all supported succession from the Union. But what they all did share was a love for their homeland, which was usually the state in which they were born into.
Two such leaders of the Confederacy were Generals Robert E. Lee, and "Stonewall" Jackson. Both men were men firm in their faith in God, and firm in their belief in what they were doing was the right thing to do. I've been reading the book "May I Quote You, Stonewall Jackson" and have really taken note of this man's convictions in regards to his faith and his philosophy towards war.
For example, there is a quote that says "A Chaplain should not be questioned as to what denomination he belongs to, but does he preach the Gospel!". And another in regards to his view of the war itself, "Every thing must be done to prevent war, but if that should fail the sword must be drawn and the scabbard tossed aside." (both of these are paraphrased as I forgot to bring the book with me today.) General Jackson was so devout in his faith (in one case he actually wrote a remorseful letter to his wife concerning a battle that took place on a Sunday where he says, "may it never have to happen again") that he was considered eccentric. He never shied away from proclaiming his faith, he never failed to let someone know where he stood in regards to his belief in his Lord Jesus Christ. I feel that the reason "Stonewall" was killed was because with him removed, General Lee would not be able to get the same kind of execution of the battle plans as with Jackson - and in the end, the loss of the war. At least sooner, rather than later. The only way the South could have won that war was if they had broken the will of the North to continue to wage war. Some believe if the South had won Gettysburg that is exactly what would have happened. I am not convinced of that, but then we will never know.
You will not see me running around with a Confederate Battle flag license plate, or attending some kind of rally wearing a bedsheet. I am convinced that, but God's providence, the Northern victory was the right outcome. President Lincoln's freeing of the salves was the right thing to do, even if it was not his original intention. But God has really been working on my heart of late. Especially in regards to dying to myself, discipline in life, and not always seeking out the 'softer' (or easier) road. In a very real sense, I see General TJ Jackson as a 19th century "samurai" in service to God.
Verse for today:
Ecclesiastes 7:8-13, ESV
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
Purgatory, or "the final purification of the elect", is the process by which, according to Catholic doctrine, "all who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." - Wikipedia.com
I know I am not in hell, and I am positive I am not in Heaven. The only other choice could be is Purgatory.
When I got home late from my drill weekend on Sunday I was very tired, and to borrow a phrase from the military my hind-quarter was dragging in the dirt - both physically and mentally. I had not even had a chance to take a shower when my beloved races in the door to dropped of a slightly injured DS1 (he pulled something in his lower leg at his soccer game). Her intention was to drop him off and then, DS1 and I would just go out to dinner and hang out instead of going to AWANA. Well, it was an example of idols coming to the surface (on my part) and really poor communications. I totally lost it and we had an "intense time of fellowship".
I had arranged to take yesterday off from work because I knew I needed time to unwind from the weekend, and I really wanted to spend time with my beloved. It was far from an ideal time for us. I had to mow the lawn, and my beloved wanted time to exercise - neither got accomplished until after noon, and it was not because we were taking time for intimacy. We managed to get through the day until last night my beloved was going over the checkbook and bills (because she is taking the day to day 'operations' back from me since I've managed to thoroughly screw it up in the eight weeks I've tried my hand at it).
I want to declare here and now that as I walk through this time, and I spend time on my knees, I believe God is revealing an idol to me. One that has haunted me for some time now. It's related to me acting like a 'cameleon', and wanting people to like me. But with my beloved I think it goes even deeper. It seems like I want her to almost idolize me... like I want to be perfect in her eyes. This is an extremely dangerous place to be, the Lord God will not sit idly by and allow His children to form false idols or gods. In this situation I am seeing a painful side of Romans 8:28-29. The Lord does indeed use all things for my good - including painful confrontations with my beloved - in order to conform me into the image of His perfect Son, my Lord Jesus Christ.
I titled this entry as I did because I know that I am in the situation I am in with my beloved, because of my own screw ups. We do not have some "heaven on earth" marriage, but it is also - by God's awesome grace and mercy - not some "pit of hell" situation either. I really believe God is the author of marriage (especially mine), and He uses them to help us see our blindspots - and with His grace and mercy - work through the sin He mercifully uncovers in our lives.
Verse for today:
Exodus 34:11-16, ESV
“Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
Alise: I have really come to appreciate this woman's desire to worship God. I have been blessed to read through her struggles as a SAHM, worship team member, worship team leader, and lay(wo)man within her church at "Big Mama's Blog". We have similar life struggles and her candor and heart for God have been a blessing to me.
Dave Cruver: Dave has been a blessing to me through his blog, "To Tell the Truth", by expounding upon a wide variety of topics, but I love his love for the gospel of Christ. His blogs are always insightful and helpful, and he does a wonderful job of explaining what he believes, and why he believes it. I often come away from reading his blog contemplating some "piece of the puzzle". His blog is also a wonderful resource for other websites.
Thabiti Anyabwile: Thabiti is the author of the blog "Pure Church". A former Muslim who has come to love the Savior Jesus Christ, I learned about him through the "Together for the Gospel" blog (a group of Pastors from a variety of denominations). He really has a way of unfolding what he believes, and why. He has also been very helpful to me by giving me a point of view on some topics that I might otherwise not have seen.
Eric "Gunny" Hartman: As the author of "Semper Reformunda" Eric has been a relatively new addition to my "frequent visit" list of blogs, but I have grown to appreciate his words of wisdom. He has encouraged me, by challanging me in what he has to say.
Amy: This woman has been an encouragement to me in my life, but not in typical ways one might expect to be. Her blog entries at "How Do I Find My Way", and through sharing prayer requests, have really helped me to see and understand some things in my own life. Her struggles with being a single mother, trying to make ends meet, successes, failures, and just where she is in life and society have really opened my eyes to more than a few things. She has been both a means of grace received in my life, and a means for me to exercise some gifts.
There are others, and it was very difficult to pick out a "top five". I really wanted to "tag back" Susan, but felt that would not be fair. :) Thank you Susan for the kind award, thank you Dan for creating it as a means to encourage others to both be discipled, and to disciple others. I am honored, and humbled, that my blog would have an impact on anyone. May God continue to use me as He sees fit, and may He continue to use both Susan's blog, the blogs that I have listed as a being a blessing to me, and all those who call Him Lord, to further His kingdom for His glory. amen
Verse for today:
Matthew 28:16-20, ESV
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There are times when we interact with one another, when a piece of this puzzle - maybe set aside sometime back - is seen in a new light, and we can then maybe place that piece in its proper place (or vice verse, we are helping them put a piece in place).
The puzzle of course is our understanding of God - the One true God. Romans 1 talks about how all of creation speaks of Him, and so we are all working on this same puzzle. That does not mean we all worship the same god though.
And this puzzle, is not some simple little Rubik's cube either. It is a multi-layered, three dimensional, infinite piece puzzle. It could be called the MoaP (Mother of all Puzzles ;) ). Some days God is working on us in the section of humility, another day it may be dying to yourself, another may be worship of Him. And these sections are interlinked and sometimes we learn something new about God that 'disturbs' another section - but, if we know the guidlines we can better understand how to place the puzzle pieces.
For instance, God is omnipresent, omniscient , omnipotent, His Love is perfect, his wrath is just. It is impossible to decieve Him. He cannot contradict Himself (this one is very important). These 'guidlines' help, because if we think we know how a particular piece is to be layed out - but it contradicts something else - perhaps we need to revisit that other piece or section.
I love puzzles. Suduko, crossword, Rubik's cube, etc. And this is one I get to work on for the rest of my life - and on through eternity.
Verse for today:
Jerimiah 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.”
Verse for today:
Exodus 4:10-12, ESV
But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
But once I finished it, it actually made me thirsty for more - reading that is. I have had "The Cross of Christ" by John Stott for what seems like forever, but I have never read it. I need to start that... but that was not enough. No. I have gone to the well known as Amazon.com and order yet three more books (which I am sure my beloved will laugh, and cry about).
I have ordered, "Living the Cross Centered Life" and "Humility: True Greatness", both by CJ Mahaney. The first one is a follow on to "The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing" and I am really looking forward to seeing what Mr Mahaney has followed up with. While I was looking at this book I saw the second book. Having been fed under Pastor Mahaney when he was the senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church I can honestly say that he, along with all those in leadership with him, lived out the principles of humility. Pride is a constant foe in my life and when I saw this title I immediately wanted to purchase, and then devour this book.
The last book I've ordered was "Seduce Me"by Darcy Cole. As a Christian husband I feel that it is my duty to make sure that my own "lawn" is well maintained and thus there will be no need to covet my neighbors lawn - if you know what I mean. There are some raised eyebrows - especially in my National Guard unit - when people learn that I am overtly interested in the pursuit of intimacy with my beloved. They chide me like I am doing something sinful, but then I am not ashamed to declare my love and "interest" in my wife. After all, marriage is ordained by God. He has used it to give an example of His relationship with his church, and there is an entire book in the Bible dedicated to such a relationship. But to be totally honest, I felt that I needed a fresh perspective on how I could pursue my beloved better.
Now, to get off my duff (so to speak), knuckle down, and actually read some books that make me think and can make a difference in my life.
Verse for today:
2 Timothy 2:14-19, ESV
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God  not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,  a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.I have subscribed to the "Tozer Daily Devotional" by Literature Ministries International, and it has been useful in pointing out things to think about. The quote above has been useful in my life of late. Especially in regards to my walk with the Lord. Although it is probably not directly recognized as such, it has really helped me re-evaluate my walk with the Lord - and my motivations. That and a few other things. :) Last night was pretty fun. "Transformers" was a fun popcorn munching, sci-fi, special affects, movie. It was pretty cheesy in place (ever hear a robot space alien 'preach' about the nobility of man...?), but over all it was fun to watch. Big Mama - to answer your question... I've only seen the 'Heroes' season premier, it was a lot like last years start. It was setting up the 'players' in their plot lines. Not much else going on. I have this weeks episode DVR'd and hope to get to that later this week. Between that show, 'The Unit', and any and all football I can watch, my TV time is pretty much taken. lol Verse for today: Psalm 94:10-15, ESV He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge— the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.  Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
I have started, and restarted this blog three times today. I'm just gonna go with this for today.