Everyone's working for the weekend

Well, I don't know if that's 100% accurate. To me the weekends just blend right in with the rest of the week. This morning I had to ask my beloved what day of the week it was! And my work week still has two more days to go before my day off, but more importantly it is a mere two weeks until I take my beloved away for a weekend at Hershey with my "candy savings".
It has taken me almost two years to save up enough to take her away, but it will be nice to just have some one-on-one time. We've already decided what we are going to do to.... sleep! LOL

Well, I am looking at the calender... only 26 more day in uniform. Just under six months. It's kind of hard to maintain your focus when things are getting so short. I was thinking more about way-back-when this morning. Basic was a whirlwind for me. Thirteen straight weeks - OSUT (One station unit training). With the exception of the first two weeks, and the last week, we marched out Range Road Monday morning, and we marched back Friday night/Saturday morning. That gave us time to get our uniforms, and our bodies washed up to turn around and do it all over again. The order of chow was based on barracks inspection. Now, even though we didn't spend much time in them, we didn't do a real good job of cleaning them. We came in 3rd once, 3nd once, and dead last 11 other weeks. But we kicked butt on the field competitions. I guess what they say is true... no combat ready unit ever passed inspection. Well, we were a bunch of trainees... so, that probably doesn't apply. :-)
Verse for today:
Proverbs 29:1-4, ESV
He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts [1] tears it down.


The struggles of maintaining ones career

Well, I am struggling this year. I really cannot complain because God has been so incredibly faithful and generous in providing me with the job and career that I do have. But this year is a little harder than I expected and I am struggling with it.

By God's grace I managed to 'miss' three rounds of layoffs with my employer, one just before I was deployed, and two while I was on active duty and they couldn't lay me off. When I came back my position was moved to the swing shift. When I informed my supervisor that I didn't want to move I was basically told "too bad", and given 30 days to find another position/job, or move to the new schedule. Within a week the Lord provided me with a new position, with a great supervisor. The only catch was I had to take a 10% reduction in pay, and drop two pay-grades. I jumped at the new position and have been very glad I did. Because of this position I have survived two more rounds of layoffs.

Last year (four years after taking this position) I finally caught up to where my previous salary, and one of the pay grades. But with the price of gas and the rest of the inflation rate I am most assuredly farther behind. A new wrinkle... not only are there more layoffs (which I am going to survive again - thank You Lord), but there are no pay raises this year. No one in the entire company. But that is not all.

Some may know how much I struggle to study for, and then pass certain certification exams, but my CCNA is due to expire at the end of May. I've tried all of the in-house training materials, but I get lost. So I've looked outside for the materials but was told that no expenses will be approved. That all the training I require is in house. *sigh* I know I am safe, but I would like to get through this certification process once more...
Verse for today:
Proverbs 3:5-10, ESV
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 [2]
and refreshment [3] to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.


Wonderful Wednesday

Ok, it's not a great title, but I was stuck - and it came to mind. ;-)

Yesterday I was waxing nostalgic about when I first enlisted in the Guard in 1986. I actually had a little trouble enlisting. Right off the bat I had to get some medical information for a condition I had while growing up, actually from two doctors. At first I think the recruiter didn't take me seriously, but after I called him once a week for a month or so he began to work with me to get the info and the waivers. My first drill was in July, and I was sent to the Recruit Training school somewhere in MD.

At this training school we were basically grilled like the Drill Sergeants of old. We would be tossed out of the rack at O'dark hundred where we would be marched and PT'd (physical training) until breakfast, then some more till lunch, etc. till dinner. Sunday was not as bad, we usually did some classroom like instruction on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and then be sent home. I only had to go there twice, and for both times it was only for a weekend. One of the weekends I remember getting woken up at some point in the middle of the night. I was doing push-ups so long that my hands began slipping on the gym floor because I was sweating so much.

In the end it helped get me ready for basic training. When it came time I was able to do the minimum required number of push-ups to leave the reception station... a whole 10 pushups. ;-)
Verse for today:
1 John 4:7-12, ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.


All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth

When I was 13 I was running to go get my brother for dinner. You know, back in the day when you could roam a hundred miles from home with just an "I'm going out!" yell as you were leaving. Anyway, I missed a step and landed squarely on my chin. The impact sheered my two front teeth taking the bottom third, and most of the backside of both front teeth. The subsequent trip to the dentist got them fixed up, but the repair was only supposed to last until I was 18. Twenty some years later they finally got to the point I needed to get the original repair job replaced. Nice work for something that was only supposed to last five years.

I have a great dentist. He is nice to talk to, he knows how to give a shot into the mouth without me kicking and screaming (I actually barely feel it!), and his work is top notch. We got to talking about how everyone wants to find a good doctor and dentist. When you're younger you look for some one older with the idea that he/she is more experienced. As you get older, you get set in your ways, and you don't want your dentists or doctors to retire... ever! LOL You want to outlive them so that you know you got the best care your whole life. But alas, the sands of time stop for no mortal man.

I am looking at my calender and I see that I now have a mere 26 total days left in uniform. This includes drill weekends, annual training, and misc. additional "fun days" that I have left. I am remembering these things because Susan recently related in her blog on watching her oldest son reporting for his first drill weekend. Seasons of life. I do not remember my first drill weekend so much as I remember the experience. I was not with the unit I was assigned to, rather it was a training detachment given the task to whip is enlistees into shape and get us ready for boot camp. I remember my basic training experiences... and I remember my first drill with my unit. Maybe I will make a few entries of my experiences in the days to come... but now they are behind me... and I am looking forward to bringing this season of my life to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a National Guardsman, and I am very proud of my service, but it is time for me to bring it to a close... it will be twenty two years when all is said and done.
Verse for today:
Proverb 26:1-7, ESV
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
a curse that is causeless does not alight.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.


Musical Monday

Ok, over the weekend I had another attack of nostalgia and downloaded Pinball Wizard, by The Who. When I was a kid I played Pinball all the time. It was what kept me and my brother occupied while my mom had us at the bar she was at. I was never nearly as good as the guy in this song, but I really enjoyed playing. Even today i still will drop a quarter or two into pinball machine when I see one. If I ever win the lottery (which will be hard since I rarely ever buy a ticket) I want to buy a machine for the house.

Pinball Wizard
Ever since I was a young boy
I've played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
Plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

Since my childhood I've gotten into Sim Pinball games for the PC. Especially the older 'Pro Pinball' sims. Hmm... I think I will look around for some more up to date PC pinball games. LOL

I pray you all had a great weekend experiencing God's grace and mercy...
Verse for today:
Proverb 25:2-7, ESV
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence
or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.


Long time no blog

Wow, it has been a week since my last blog entry. Last weekend my beloved and I took the family up to Lancaster, PA to meet our sister-in-law and there two daughters. It was halfway between our places, and we stayed at the Howard Johnson's there. It was a blast because there was of the indoor water park they have on site. The park was great, and you could order from Quizno's or Domino's right there.

Unfortunately I came down with something. I don't think it was the flu because I don't think I've had a fever, but I have been very 'run down' and sluggish all week and have missed a couple of days from work. It's hard to keep motivated when all of your energy is being used just to keep the feet moving.

Well, I off again (already). I pray you all have a great weekend.
Verse for today:
Psalm 107:1-3, ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble [1]
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.


Well, take 2 on what bag to get...

It turns out there were not enough little nooks and crannies in it. HAHA - so, I sent it back to Ranger Joe's this afternoon. Instead I've ordered a 3-Day Pack from US Cav:

I know the ladies who sometimes visit are going to laugh, but I sent the bag back that I was talking about last week. And it is funny, but this bag will really serve me better than the other one. Although these pics show the 'ACU' pattern, but I ordered it in black. I'm going to be in the Guard too short to get the most out of the 'usual' color. So, instead of a military man I'll look more like a security/police officer. Well, that's neither here nor there, but it was part of my ramblings today.

And now I'm out of time... my mind just went blank. I hope you all have a grace filled weekend, enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit's presence.
Verse for today:
Revelation 18:1-10, ESV
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory And he called out with a mighty voice,

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk [1]
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.”


Sliding away on the ice of a new day

Before I do anything else I would like to say...


I need to confess that I do not have anything for my beloved. Although we are taking a small vacation this weekend, and I am still planning on our weekend getaway in March. I've also taken her out a lot lately... taken advantage of DS1 being of legal age to watch the other two. ;-) Still, I should (i.e. better) get her something...

And now for something completely different...

I have gotten hooked on The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox! It really fills my 'need' for sci-fi. In the past shows like Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future, and Space: Above and Beyond were good to give me a fix. Which is good, because the Sci-Fi shows that I feel I can watch only seem to come around once a decade or so. You really have to love cable and sattelite TV. LOL I've not seen Firefly - which I hear is very good - and I've avoided the Sci-Fi channel's Battlestar Galactica (mostly because it was a little too 'adult', and I need to flee from temptation in those kinds of areas). Anyway, back to what I was saying... I really like The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I know it's only been a hand full of shows, but I am hooked.

Well, I've got to run...
Verse for today:
1 Chronicles 13:1-3, ESV
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, [1] but have not love, I gain nothing.


Musical Monday

Ok, I know it's Tuesday... and last week I put this up on Tuesday... but, better late than never. This week I have an excuse (last week I was just lazy). I've started taking the Monday's after drill weekends off. It's just nice to have that break in between. Long ago I remember having to go weeks in between days off... and it wears on you. Especially us old people.

One thing I did try and do over the weekend was to go to an Irish pub to try and catch some live Irish music. Wouldn't you know that they had a duet singing classic rock songs! :P I was a little disappointed.

On to my song for this week...

Word of God Speak by Mercy Me

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

[Chorus 2x]

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

I find songs that draw attention to what I might call a 'silent awe', or introspection, really speak to my soul. There was a Petra song (the title escapes me right now) that was really good in this regard as well.

I don't mean this in a self-beating-down kind of way either. There are just times when I think it is good to reflect and meditate on who God is, and who we are in relation to Him. And then, when I think about all that He has done, it just fills me with wonder and awe.

Oh, a quick P.S. - I managed to sell off some old bags that I had laying around, so when I told my beloved about the new bag I was able to hand her the cash to offset the expense. :-) I really chuckled at the comments by Susan and Lisa. Thank you for that encouragement ladies. :-)
Verse for today:
1 Kings 19:11-12, ESV
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. [1]


I just need to figure out a way to tell the wife

Ok, it's a lame title, but I couldn't think of a better one. Recently (someone might remember) I purchased a day bag for the Guard - but I have found it to be inadequate. So, I went ahead and purchased another (pictured right). Not in ACU colors since I am going to be retiring here shortly. Instead I ordered it in black. The reason I need to figure out how to tell my beloved is that I still need to sell the old one. Well, not just the old one, but a Large G.I style Rucksack, and a black Helmet bag, (I like bags.) so if you're in the market for a couple of pretty durable bags comment here and I will see what I can do about getting one of them your way (assuming we can work out the details).

I don't know what it is. I like bags that I can organize things and sort of "live out of". I also have a things for watches. Not necessarily any clock, but watches specifically. Well, I really like Grandfather-style clocks too...

Lately I've been in the mood to listen to some folk music, preferably Irish or English. Something along the lines of Steeleye Span. Although the lyrics can be... well, a tad more 'mature' than I usually care for, I really like a good 'jig' or instrumental. The mixture of flutes, violins, etc. is really stirring. I have an old CD from when I visited Kevin Barry's down in Savannah back in 2000, but I've been itching to go listen to some live music lately. I dun know wha I'm, gunna do 'bout it neither!
Verse for today:
Psalm 68:19-20, ESV
Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.


Does anyone else get tired of hearing,...

... "Oh, I heard (s)he was a Christian".

Don't get me wrong. I want this more than most anything. I want as many to come to Christ as possible. His table, His provision, is more than big enough. It's not that I don't want to believe it, it's that I am reluctant to.

Don't get me wrong, I am not judging the person. I am not saying that it is impossible for so-and-so to become a Christian, but what I am saying is that I cannot see their heart. I do not see them in a day to day context. Especially since a lot of the people I hear this phrase about are celebrities. As a matter of fact, I hear this about most Americans.

When I first came to Christ I prayed a prayer something like this. "Dear God, I am a sinner and I am in need of You. I acknowledge that Christ died on the cross to pay my debt for my sins. Through His blood I am healed and forgiven. Through His resurrection I am assured of His victory over death and that I am raised with Him. Thank You for dying on the cross so that I can live again." But, and I know this may cause some to cringe, those are just words.

Words do not save us. Wearing a crucifix will not do it. Even actions are not what save us. It is the receipt of what we could never accomplish. It is the bending of the soul. The remorse of the heart for what we have done. The body can be made to weep on command. We can even discipline our bodies to behave in certain ways, but it is not the outward reflection that God sees - but our heart.

This is why it is possible for Christ to say on the last day to those who called Him Lord, "depart from me, I never knew you". These are words that should bring us to the most sober of thoughts.

When someone says to me, "I heard (s)he was a Christian" I find myself in prayer for that person. That no matter what, that God might send the Holy Spirit to be with them. That He might open their minds and hearts to Him. That He might draw them close to Him. That if they are indeed in His hand, that He would use them to reach others - and if not, that He may shower them with grace and mercy that would lead to a saving knowledge of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But I also pray for me. That I would never grow complacent, that I would bow my heart and not just my body (neither of which I do very well in my opinion).

On that last day not only will I find many of the things I believe shaken and turned to dust, but we will see many in places we did not expect to see them (both on the left and the right). But I shudder with fear (the respectful kind, I hope) and pray that I will find myself standing among those who can say "I know, and known by, the Father".
Verse for today:
Galatians 5:16-26, ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, [4] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


Musical Monday

Ok, before I lay out the song I wanted to for this weeks Musical Monday I just have to say...


That game was an NFL fan's desire for the championship. It was almost as good as when the Carolina Panthers lost to the Patriots. At least to me... ;-)

Ok, now on to the main purpose of my journal entry today...

The song I had for today is not really a Christian song, but sort of a love song...

When She Smiles
by Christopher Cross

When she smiles I forget my lines
When she smiles man I'm on cloud nine
When she smiles oh it's time out of mind
When she smiles

Then she smiled and said where you been all my life
And she smiled when he asked her to be his wife
And the future had never looked so bright
When she smiled

This song is being played over, and over in my house of late. A friend of a friend game my daughter this little Karaoke microphone, that has three songs in it, and DD3 goes around the house singing this song over and over and over... But it does bring a smile to my face when I hear her singing, and when I see her smile. Almost as much as her mother's smile.
Verse for today:
Proverbs 5:3-6, ESV
For the lips of a forbidden [1] woman drip honey,
and her speech [2] is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to [3] Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.


Freaky Friday

Ever have your hand slapped (I am speaking in a figurative way), and it smarted - but only because it hit a nerve that God was already working on? It kind of scares you straight if you know what I mean.

I sort of had that happen to me today and I am in the middle of figuring it all out.

I hope you all have a great weekend - resting in the grace of the Lord.
Verse for today:
Proverbs 1:2-7, ESV
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.