Catching up on my TV watching

For the next forty eight hours my work schedule is going to be shifting slightly. Due to coverage needed at my place of employment i will work my normal schedule today, and then burn the midnight oil tonight and again tomorrow. Not a big deal, but it messes with your sleep schedule s last night my beloved encouraged me to stay up (much) later than usual so that when i get home this afternoon i can take a nap until i have to go back in. While it messes with my family time i was able to catch up on the TV shows i like to watch but never seem to have time for. So, after my beloved fell asleep i scooted back to the "computer room" (really just a converted "formal" dining room that is much to small to be formal for anything) to check up on how my last minute preparations for April Fool's day were going. All scans and updates were complete so i went over to CBS and Fox's websites to watch my shows. For whatever reason the past two weeks CBS has allowed their Sunday schedule to slide some - probably because of the NCAA tournament - and the last half of The Unit was cut off early. I didn't even bother to start watching the DVR session i have set up to record the shows. During the NFL season i got used to CBS doing this so i just recorded the shows after the time slot too. Anyway, with time to waste i watched both 'Flesh and Blood' and 'Best Laid Plans'. I have to say... i am not liking the newest member of the team: SSG Sam "Whiplash" McBride. He gives me the creeps. And then the little reveal i saw last night, his apparent infatuation with WO Bridgette "Red Cap" Sullivan. Not endearing himself to me. I think there's going to be something in the story line real soon about him. Look, i like this show... i know it's not in prime TV real estate being parked at 2200 on Sunday nights, but it has a good on-going story line and the characters are well along the path. CBS - in the unlikely event someone from your staff reads this - please keep this show going (I'll send along a more official plead later). I am curious as to how the new woman in SFC Charles "Betty Blue" Grey's life plays out... but i am more interested in watching how they get all of those "leaked" passports back. Then, once i was all caught up their i realized that i was not very tired, and just a little bit hungry. So after grabbing some animal crackers and some milk (that just sounds so odd in this context...) i pulled up the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This show really has been getting better and better every week. The episode starts with Cromartie playing with Savannah Weaver. An interesting display of the A.I. of what could become the future Skynet learning and adapting... a computer program learning that it does not have to "play by the rules". Then he gets hacked! Which terrifies poor Savannah. This little story line presents some interesting plot twists because of the influence James Ellison appears to be having on both Cromartie and maybe even Catherine Weaver as well. The writers did a good job when they split up the core of Sarah, John, Cameron, and Derek. It helped further the story lines regarding the tension and relationship between Derek and Cameron. In a way i think it helped deepen the trust - which is tenacious at best. I also enjoyed getting to see Sarah's relationship with John expand beyond the earlier series set up of primary protector. John is definitely getting beginning to stand on his own. This show has never skirted around the possibility of characters being killed off, and this week saw it executed (pardon the pun) very well. The trailer below elaborates how this show is using it and not in a gratuitous way. This show has only two new episodes left... and i am on the edge of my seat wanting to see where they all go from here. Fox, just like i pleaded with the other network above... keep this show! At least for one more season. Friday night is not the best night (IMO, and definitely not for me), but perhaps it is good for the demographic you are shooting for. I am encouraged by the number of post air night replays on-line i've heard about. This show is getting much better and needs at least another season to flesh out the story line. If you must... pick it up for a set number of shows and tell the writers that it needs to be wrapped up by such-n-such episode. Last but not least, i would like to congratulate Bethsoft's Fallout 3 for winning yet another game of the year award. In this case they've won the Game Critics Award for game of the year. This fills me with hope that they just might release a "game of the year" edition that will include all of the DLC - since i am not willing to use my laptop on the WWW i am unable to use Microsoft Live. But that's ok, even if Bethsoft does not release a special edition. I am enjoying the game so far as is.


Music Monday - 20090330

My choice for this weeks song was actually one a friend recommended to me several weeks, maybe even a couple of months, ago. It inspired me immediately, but it was not Monday - and i "can't" do another Music Monday entry on a day other than Monday! However, over time the song continued to keep its hooks in me. The "slow fade" is something we all need to guard against. People do conform to their environment. How many times have celebrities who identified themselves as 'Christian', only to have their testimony tainted by national headlines of infidelity or greed? No one is exempt from the world and its temptations.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You [1] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, [2] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6, ESV)
Adam and Eve spoke face to face to God, and yet when the tempter comes and says, "Did God actually say... ?" they succumbed. How much more susceptible are we today? The wiles of the enemy are vast. Our enemy will come to us clothed in light to deceive. We must immerse ourselves in God's Word daily if at all possible. We must become so familiar with God's Word that when the deceiver comes we can test what is said and if it does not line up with what God has revealed to us then we already have our answer. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he did not consult His own feelings on the matter, he did not take a poll, He answered, "it is written..." (Matthew 4).
Slow Fade Written by Mark Hall Special guest – Reagan Hall (Thank you, Princess, for your beautiful singing debut!) Be careful little eyes what you see It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings Be careful little feet where you go For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade Be careful little ears what you hear When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near Be careful little lips what you say For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day The journey from your mind to your hands Is shorter than you’re thinking Be careful if you think you stand You just might be sinking It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day Daddies never crumble in a day Families never crumble in a day Oh be careful little eyes what see Oh be careful little eyes what you see For the Father up above is looking down in love Oh be careful little eyes what you see © 2007 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music/SWECS Music (BMI) (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing) From Casting Crowns: This song was inspired by the spreading cancer of moral failure in the fathers of this generation. As believers, we must guard our hearts and understand the no one crashes and burns. They just slowly fade away one little compromise at a time. ~Psalm 1 / 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 / James 4:7-10 / Proverbs 4:23-27 / 1 John 2:15-17 / James 1:12-15 / Isaiah 59:2 / Matthew 13:16-23 / 1 John 2:3-6, 15-17 / Romans 12:1-3 / 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
Recently a friend of mine posted a video basically asking Christians to stop believing in Creationism and just accept Evolution. *Sigh* Why is it that i have to just shut up and accept an unproven theory? I will state here that i agree that i cannot prove creationism, or that the Earth is only six to ten thousand years old. Will evolutionists be willing to say such a thing? My friend is entitled to believe in evolution. It is not a basis for salvation. I also understand the intention was to try and smooth things out between both sides of this issue. In the end, i do not agree with the video. The part that does offend me however, is that it is presented in such a way that any who believe in creationism, or intelligent design, are the ones who are causing the problems. In the end i hope it gets people to think about the issue, but it would be better if it was presented in a less biased point of view. I would encourage people to read this article written by a mathematics professor, or Darwin's Blackbox by Michael J. Behe. The Video "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is also interesting in its depiction of just how open the scientific community is to intelligent design. Know what you believe, and why you believe it. Don't just look at the surface of things. Be willing to be wrong. In the end just know that you cannot convince someone of something they are not willing to consider. Immerse yourself in the Word of God so that when things come up that will tempt you to sin, you will be found grounded in the Word of God. The slow fade comes when you are willing to compromise what you know what God says, and choose to not follow it.


Ramblin' along

Today has been very crazy. So, since i am not able to come up with one continuous and concise train of thought i am going to ramble for today... these are in no particular order. Normally this time of year i get kind of overwhelmed. The school year is winding down, there are field trips, end of year testing, IEP's, soccer, gymnastics, social skills and Autism support group meetings. You get the idea... and i am sure many of you all out there in cyberville are in similar situations. Anyway, i am finding it helpful in that i am now getting a handful of hours to sit and write the story i've been working on. I have a starting paragraph for what i hope will become a novel... Well, i also have a short piece that i wrote up to help me "see" the main characters, and a decent outline written up. It's not a bad start really. I figure it will probably take me at least eighteen months, maybe more... assuming i can stay focused on one project long enough. I just read that Fallout 3 just won game of the year. Congratulations to them. Since i am not a really big video game player i could not give a fair comparison, but this award comes from the Game Developer's Choice awards, where they also won the award for writing - which is becoming a bigger deal in the gaming industry evidently. For my fellow Christian readers, Plugged In on-line has a review of the game. Their summarization quotes an IGN.com review, "...this is not a game for kids or anybody with a developing moral compass." While i am enjoying the game immensely, i am also using some of the examples to teach my oldest the consequences of making some moral choices. The game is designed as an "open world" system in that it does not dictate how you respond to situations, nor does it corral you through choices to move the game along. (It is finite, but it is much more "wide open" than most other games out there.) The world in which we live in, and the one in which our children live in, is much more wide open than this game - and yet as parents we are tasked to teach them and help them become ready to live in such a world. While i agree with the review i also want to say that we as parents, must be involved with every aspect of our children's lives to prepare them. It is impossible to shield our children from everything, and while overly exposing them to things can be bad, we should not expect to 'protect' them from everything. Each child is different, and we as parents must be 'different' to each of our children. Use any and all tools available as they come into your children's lives. No matter if it from a video game, the school, or the Bible. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is starting to get pretty good IMO. There have been a lot of internet speculation that this series is a long shot to be picked up for a 3rd season. To me that would be a shame since there is a lot of potential in regards to story telling left on the table, but then the entertainment industry is not so much about story telling as it is a business and they have to look at their "bottom line", and i understand that. There is just so much going on in regards to morals and robotics, how decisions we make affect both our future and those around us and their futures. It's not all about cyborgs running around killing humans and vice-versa, nor is about beautiful "babes" running around with guns. It would be a shame for this story to get canned before there is a chance to wrap some of it up. It has really whetted my appetite for Terminator: Salvation coming out on May 22. The NFL draft is right around the corner. While there is a lot of speculation as to what the Carolina Panthers will be doing with disgruntled Julius Peppers (see below) i am still trying to keep up with a man from last years draft. Caleb Campbell, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions, had reported to training camp before the United States Army did an about face and required him to return to active duty. Personally i think they blew an excellent recruiting opportunity with having (then) 2nd LT Campbell not being in the NFL and playing. I feel that they cowed to "peer" pressure from the Military Academies, when similar things already take place for sports such as basketball and baseball. To me that is a double standard. Well, as it stands there is a chance that this young man will be given the opportunity to play next season (2010 - Reference EPSN.com article). What i admire about this young man is he did not bad mouth the academy and he returned as ordered. Now, there is a chance he will not apply to be released which i would admire about him as well. It just gives me something to look forward to next season. If he does go to training camp in 2010... it is very possible that i will have two favorite teams. Recently the Carolina Panthers have sought to extend QB Jake Delhomme's contract in order to get some cap room. To me this is a great thing because i like this guy, but it also shows just how much the NFL is a business. There are a lot of people who are fans of College Football because of the business side of things with the NFL. I hope it gets worked out. Now, in regards to Julius Peppers this has the potential of becoming really ugly. If a man does not want to be on your team, is it really such a good idea to keep him around? I know that he is a good physically talented football player, and the Panthers have the chance to get something out of the whole deal... but he is still a human being. Having served in the Army National Guard i know what it feels like to be treated like a piece of equipment, but he is still a man. I respect Coach Fox and Jerry "Big Cat" Richardson, and i think they will do what is best for the team while not forgeting that Mr. Peppers is a fellow Carolinian and respected member of the Panthers. I think i agree with the "professional" sports writers in that this will probably not be done until close to, or in the middle of, this years draft. As i look forward to the 2009 NFL season, i am excited - as always. I am praying for Mr. Richardon's continued improvement after his recent heart transplant, but i am also hopeful for the first back-to-back winning season for my Panthers. All i ask for is 9-7. Another NFC South title would be nice, a second trip to the Super Bowl even better, but all it would take for me to be a very happy Panthers fan would be the first consecutive winning season record. For the first time since i retired i found myself missing the National Guard. Just a little. I got up a little bit earlier than usual this morning to help my son get out the door for school. As i watched him head out to the buss stop i took in the morning. It was foggy. Cool and damp. The son was just beginning to light up the world and air was fresh. It was the kind of morning that would make your joints ache and your body shiver to get enough warmth to keep the blood flowing, but it was also a morning that thrust fond memories of my guard experiences to fore. There was something about enjoying that time of day. Enjoying the camaraderie of my fellow soldiers as we mutually complained about... well, pretty much anything. Someone would heat up a small camp stove and get real coffee brewing, we'd crack open whatever "pogey bait" we had stashed around, and we'd "chew the fat". My beloved laughs at me and often says, "I thought you were a morning person", and i am. I just also like to take brief cat naps latter on in the day which is not normally possible in a civilian life style. Not that it was always possible in the military because we usually had somewhere to be and something to do... but soldiers learn that they need to take power naps and eat snacks whenever the opportunity presents itself. In the movie "Gettysburg" there is a scene where General Lee is talking with General Longstreet and he says, "I love this time of day, just before dawn. I will miss it after all this." That is where i am at now...


Water Wednesday

I have not been as diligent as i want in regards to going to the gym. I am still current on my membership, i am just not using the facility. Now Linda over at 2ndCup of Coffee has challenged and asked people to join her in a 30x5 challenge.
For my part i've gotten out the past two days (to get a jump start) and hope to again today. In the meantime... i have started "Water Wednesday" where i will not drink anything but water on Wednesdays. The rest of my menu will remain the same, but if my calculations are correct i will save over 500 calories a week. I am hoping to expand on it later... but you have to start somewhere... Anyway, i encourage everyone to get up and just walk. You don't have to walk fast or far, just move for 30 minutes a day.


When dreams go bad

The past two night have been miserable. It figures since my beloved and i wanted to get my lazy butt back to the gym again starting Monday. Sunday night DD3 woke up in the middle of the night (four times) with some kind of pain in her right foot. There was no swelling, nothing felt out of place, it was not tender to the touch, and she could move it... never did figure it out. Then last night i could not get to sleep until sometime after 12:30 am... but i kept waking up. I lost count after the seventh time. I think i brought this experience on myself. I recently heard how much "junk" there is in the human mouth, and that if proper oral hygiene is not kept up it can lead to a myriad of things. So, i took some dental floss from my beloved's medicine cabinet and flossed the teeth for the first time since before my last dental appointment. Let's just say it was not pretty... and i felt a little off even last night. I have rinsed with Listerine and kept up with the teeth brushing since then. Taken a little extra vitamin B, C, and E this morning, but last night... not sure this was the cause... but. One of the times... the 7th or so... i had a weird dream... It began with some kind of plane performing some kind of bombing run along a river. The visual was a lot like an old video game i used to plug quarters into way back when... just with a slightly different view perspective. I was seeing it all from a 3rd person point of view (like the game, but different). At some point (my memory of the dream is getting fuzzy the further away i get) i remember calling a bunch of military types around and delivering some kind of speech... i remember it being about something about this "attack" being only five missiles. That our grand parents had so much more to deal with. That is where i woke up. As i lay there, trying to go back to sleep (my mind was 'flooding' at point) i quickly jotted down some notes... what is presented here is pretty much all i got down. It occurred to me that we Americans are not used to sacrificing for the things that are important. We try and legislate morality. We try and order everything so safe that 'disasters' never happen. Neither of these things are possible. We want the school systems to teach our children right from wrong. But not discipline... we can't have little 'Johnny' or 'Suzie' feeling ashamed for their mistakes. When things go wrong we look to blame anyone or anything. When something needs to be done the most common outcry is "not in my backyard"! At church my beloved and i (well, mostly my beloved) head up the pre-school ministry. Each quarter my beloved takes the time to type up the schedule, taking special care to fulfill each request for special consideration, and mails them out to each volunteer who serves in pre-school. She also rotates those who serve on her team to be the "caller of the month" where they call each person to remind them that they are serving on an upcoming weekend. Do you know we still have people who routinely don't show up... who show up late... or do not take it upon themselves to try and switch others if something comes up. The result is that my beloved and i work between 9-11 weeks out of 13 filling in spots that have gone uncovered. Starting with the church in America we need to start preaching the gospel first and foremost. We need to teach people that there is personal accountability and responsibility. That the basic things like common sense and morals are hard some times, but that the hard things are worth doing. We need to stand up and say where can i stand in? Don't always wait to "have a passion" for something, don't wait to be invited, and don't presume to preselect where/how you will serve. As charecter and gifting becomes known adjustments can be made, but until then serve. Sin needs to be preached on. There are two things that are certain in this world. 1) We are all going to die some day. 2) We ALL sin! To sugar coat either fact of life is to do a dis-service to the community. How did this gumption of, "well, so-and-so lived a good life. Surely they are going to heaven. NO THEY ARE NOT UNLESS THEY ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR NEED FOR A SAVIOR! To have someone sit under you and not tell them about sin and that they are sinners is to do them a dis-service! Our grandparents (in some cases our great-grandparents) had to sacrifice mightly to over come a depression and fight a world war. They knew hunger, they knew sacrifice. Men and women rolled up their sleeves and went to work. The were rationed food, and material goods. Military units suffered terrible losses to achieve victory. I am not so sure such a victory could be had today. We do not have the stomach for it. I am not saying we need to throw men and women into situations they have no hope of winning, but i am saying that times will come when they will die, but you know what... more people are dying from cancer than the Iraq and Afganistan wars. America is in trouble people. We no longer teach our children the basics at home. We do not take the extra effort to teach - and enforce - right from wrong. We expect schools and legislators to set up laws and rules, and have other people enforce them. We do not teach our children common sense and that there are sometimes consequences when bad choices are made. Our governement is at its own throat. The far left, far right, and moderates are at each others throats. Even the ruling Democratic party is being divisive with itself (i mention them because they are the majority in our government currently). We as a church should be seperate from the government... but not in that we should never be heard in an offical forum or setting... but in that we should not stand by and wait for governemt to do our "job" as the body of Christ. The gospel is offensive to a dying world. Christ Himself told us that the world will hate those who love Him. Although we cannot, and should never again, act like the Inquisition, but we cannot afford to be silent anymore. We can not make people agree with, or believe in Christ, but we can proclaim the truth. Do not be afraid to offend some when presenting the truth. They may not believe you, they may not be hostile, they may never speak to you again, but if the opportunity presents itself... speak the truth in love and compassion. If the Word of God is rejected move on. But at least do the hard work and live out what He taught - at least within the body.


Music Monday 20090323

It was a fairly routine weekend around the 'dojo'. Friday night my two oldest had a sleepover at a friend's house, we had care group (small group, Bible study, Biblical Community) where i led the start of our "Love Dares" series. My beloved went to a going away party for a friend of hers who is moving away. Saturday i headed to a restaurant in Frederick, MD to meet up with some of my old National Guard buddies (some of the guys i had not seen since before they were deployed). After that, while i was heading to pick the boys up i heard my selection for this week on the radio. I could not tell you who the artist was that was singing it on the radio, and a subsequent search to find out who the original author was has been unsuccessful so far. I am counting on a more musically inclined blogging friend to fill me in because she has the really cool knack for knowing/finding this information. As i was listening to it i forgot all of the little trials i am going through. Thoughts of the odds and ends that usually fill my brain were temporarily pushed aside and i was able to just meditate on my Savior for those few brief moments. I often find it hard for me to do that. That is clear my head and just think about the things of God. During quiet times (which to be perfectly honest they are neither regular or long enough for my personal tastes), even while singing worship songs, my mind wanders. I am not sure how to take this (it's not just during times that i want to focus on God... i have similar difficulties when trying to read anything). Am i not disciplined enough? Is it that i don't take the time to train myself more, or is it something i should take medication for? Anyway, this song was a real blessing to me this weekend. For five minutes i was focused on my Savior, and i really felt refreshed.
The Wonderful Cross author: Isaac Watts (thanks Alise!) When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of Glory died My richest gain I count but loss And pour contempt on all my pride See from his head, his hands, his feet Sorrow and love flow mingled down Did ever such love and sorrow meet Or thorns compose so rich a crown O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name Were the whole realm of nature mine That were an offering far too small Love so amazing, so divine Demands my soul, my life, my all Musician performing in Video: Chris Tomlin
This song is one that stirs a wide range of emotions within me. Shame - because i know that it was my sin that brought Him to such a place. Sorrow that my Savior died to take my place. Joy that His death bought my peace and security. Contentment knowing that my eternity is secured. Frustration in my self that i continue to struggle over the sins that are nailed to that cross. Sometime back i had the privilege to listen to series of sermons by C.J. Mahaney titled, "The Main Thing" (i think that was the title). But in essence the heart of the message is that the cross is the center of what Christianity is all about. It does not matter what the denomination's traditions are, it does not matter what the beliefs are regarding baptism are - without the cross traditions and doctrines mean nothing. Our works and beliefs begin and end on what Christ accomplished on the cross. Our lives and messages need to be Christ and Cross centered.


Oh what a week

I have a blogging friend who has trouble sleeping. She struggles with chronic headaches and other things. I have an "Aunt" who is having to go through a second round of chemo in less than twelve months, an Uncle who had a stroke and passed away. I can go on and on, so when i mentioned that i feel under the weather i consider myself a complainer. I have been struggling to get "on top" of something my body has been fighting for about a week now. I am not running a fever, i am not sick to my stomach, i just feel run down. Like i could crawl into bed and take a day or two to thoroughly examine the inside of my eyelids. I have so many things to be thankful for... I still have a job, and although my income has been stagnant since 2004, i am still providing for my family and we are not sliding into debt. We have a wonderful home, we have plenty of food on the table, and we can still afford to take little trips together. I have three wonderful children. All three of them are very creative and artistic in their own way. DS1 enjoys writing and imagining up new video game ideas. He is thinking about being an entrepreneur when he grows up. DS2 is an amazing artist and just has an incredible heart for kids. DD3 enjoys reading and drawing and loves to sing songs and dance - oh how i wish i could afford to send her to ballet and dance classes. My beloved is also an amazing artist. Last year for her birthday i bought her a gift card at a nearby art supply store and she is finally using it. She bought an eisle and a new paint tray and some new brushes. She may not be another Monet, but i love seeing her works. I am also thankful to be able to explore writing interests of my own. We are for the most part healthy. I am most thankful for all that God has been doing in our lives of late. And in the end that is what matters most.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

I've never been one to 'imbibe'. Well, at least not in the traditional sense. Growing up, St. Patrick's Day was an excuse for my mother to leave me and my brother at home while she went out to her favorite local 'watering hole'. (We had a whole system worked out answering doors or telephones) Later on she would take us and i got to see what so many other people "saw" in the day. To be honest - i still don't "get it". Just like i don't "get" Mardi Gras. Over time though, i seem to have developed an appreciation for various cultural things that are from Ireland. I know that some of the things are probably commercialized and not true representations, but things like River Dance and the Irish Whistle captivate me. I really enjoy the rhythms of Celtic Music. I appreciate the art and symbolism incorporated into the Celtic Cross (just one example above). I am not Irish myself. I am an American mutt. I am part Native American, part English, part French, and who knows what else. Not enough of any one heritage to 'claim' as my own, but my beloved and her family are most definitely Irish, so we enjoy celebrating the day. Although there is not much known for certain concerning the man i took some time to research him on the internet. I will not go into detail, but he was thought highly enough of to be made a 'Saint' by the Catholic church. A funny story comes to mind - sort of related... When my mom passed away back in 2000 i spent a few weeks with my brother and his family. The second weekend i was there things were kind of wearing on both of our families. We were staying at his house, our mother's health, etc. was starting to take it's toll. I remembered that mom loved to go to Kevin Barry's Pub, and that we had all gone as a family the last time we were together and everyone was healthy. They served great food, and happened to have some great live music! We arranged for the kids to be watched while we all went out to eat and enjoy some music. My brother refrained from ordering beer because he thought we were "uptight" Christians. Well, eventually my beloved did order a Killian's Irish Red - her favorite. You would have thought that the flood gates were opened because my brother then began to order the same. Long story short, your author here was the designated driver and after enjoying a great meal, a full set of music, as well as who knows how many round we left. Now my brother lived on an Island in the middle of the Savannah River and the road was kind of 'twisty'. Not Alpine like, but you get the idea. Soon everyone was awake in the car (again), but the fog was thick and i was having trouble seeing where the driveway was. From the back seat i hear, "stop the car". I need to comment here that at that point in my life i had never experienced either the party scene of college nor the Army, so i did not understand the urgency. I was not parked, i was in the middle of a dark road on a foggy night. Not an ideal place to stop the car (despite the road being on a island of maybe 100 residents at 1:30 in the morning). Again, from the back seat, "stop the car". At this point my beloved bails out, opens the back door for my brother's wife, and flees to the side of the road. I think most, if not all, of my readers know what came next. My poor brother was not able to open the door or the window from the inside as they did not work for either door in the backseat. The poor guy was trapped. Fortunately, not five more meters up the road was the driveway. The next day my brother was shuffling around his house looking for his checkbook. I enjoyed telling him that i thought i saw it on the floor in the back of his car. Sick, i know. My beloved still enjoys telling that story. Despite how it ended that night is a very pleasant memory from an unhappy time in my life. Anyway... i am looking forward to my beloved's corn beef and cabbage dinner! My mouth actually just watered...


Music Monday 20090316

My selection for today will have to go without much fanfare i am afraid...
Step by Step/Forever we will sing by Micheal W. Smith Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You I will seek You in the morning And I will learn to walk in Your ways And Step by step You'll lead me And I will follow You all of my days Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You I will seek You in the morning And I will learn to walk in Your ways And Step by step You'll lead me And I will follow You all of my days And I will follow You all of my days Halleujah! Halleujah! We honor you Lord Jesus And forever we will sing Hallelujah! For you alone are worthy And forever we will sing Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Repeat X2
This is my desire - every day. Can there be a greater calling? Can there be a better need? Can there be a better desire?


It takes a little bit of blood, sweat, and tears people

I have only walked the Earth for a little over four decades now, and although i have traveled more than some, i can only speak for America - and not all of that. I am fairly confident that the following observations are pretty generic and could be applied many places. Man is inherently lazy. We are also inherently selfish, and not good.
"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." (Proverbs 24:30-34, ESV)
I am not saying that great feats of effort and care are not possible, nor am i saying that mankind does not do 'good' things. What i am saying is that we will, if left to ourselves for a protracted amount of time, we will not exert any more effort than is absolutely necessary. Much more than that takes effort. The more that needs to be done beyond the base, the more self disciplined effort it will take. Before anyone would try and burn me at the stake (unlikely with the number of readers i probably have), i am aware that there may be an exception out there, i am making broad/generic statements here - i am most definitely including myself in all this as well. Look along the sides of many of the roads in North America. You will almost invariably see trash. Why? Because people are too lazy to secure it until they reach a trash can to dispose of it properly. I have seen couples get divorced because one, or both, of them were more interested in playing video games than taking care of the basic chores around the house. I have witnessed people drive their cars to a neighbor's house that is only four doors away instead of walking. Things like this are not limited to physical exertion either. It is an epidemic in America where people would rather charge up credit cards, or take out bad loans, instead of working hard and saving for the things that want to buy. There are some areas in each of our lives where we do put forth that extra effort. Things that are near and dear to our hearts, but not in everything. It takes effort to raise children. Because you do not have to teach a child how to cheat, lie, be kind and courteous, a parent or guardian has to make that extra effort to teach, guide, and discipline when necessary. No two children are alike either. Parents must take the time to learn what each child responds to. All the while struggling with their own (the parent's) issues (i.e. sins). The same is true with our relationships with others. Friends, families, co-workers, fellow church members, etc. Now, multiply the efforts for special needs children and it can quickly seem/feel overwhelming. These examples are pretty limited as they are strictly from my own experiences and point of view. But this concept is accurate across most, if not all, areas of life. How many troubles in life come about because a little effort is not taken in the beginning. A false rumor that is started, but someone who knows the truth doesn't stand up and counter it. A small crack in a window is not taken care of before it completely breaks and someone gets hurt. There is no way to address every possible scenario, but if one has come to your mind while you were reading this - chances are it is something you have not done or need to take care of. The Panama canal was not completed with out blood, sweat, tears, suffering, and pain. Simple things do not become complex without intervention. It is a natural instinct to conserve energy - even when a little used now will save a lot later. Everything good is worth the effort. You cannot accomplish everything, especially on your own. Two oxen together can accomplish more than separately. Take the time to work on your self, to help your neighbor, etc. A few days ago an internet friend posted a really good entry on her blog concerning just starting out small in regards to things in your spiritual life. This was an area that i know i am weak in. To my discredit i do not put forth as much effort as i should - especially when it comes to my walk with Christ. The greatest thing is that His grace is so amazing that as we take efforts to draw close to Him... He rewards us with renewed strength and passion. What an awesome dynamic. A final comment on this... do not confuse effort with headlong, mindless, pushing forward. Effort is not just physical, but mental. There is a balance to all things, and there are various ways to deal with things and the type of effort needs to be adjusted for each situation and person.
"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [2] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."(1 Corinthians 9:19-27, ESV)


Wednesday ramblings

There was two changes that i made in my preferences during my twenty two year National Guard 'career'. One was i started using plain old soap to shave with. The unit i started out in did a lot of "flyaways" and i found out pretty quickly that shaving cream had two side effects. One was that the scent attracted bugs... lots, and lots of them. The other was that the contents were usually under pressure and after spending several hours in an unpressurized C-130 had a tendency to spray out its contents... the air pressure as well as the stacking of rucksacks on top of each other. Messy and a bug magnet. Not a good combination when you would get dropped off somewhere and have no repreive for several days or weeks. The other thing was i grew to really hate how my watch felt on my wrist. My ruck or web gear would snag on it, dirt would collect under it, and it could reflect light and draw attention to me when i was not wanting to be seen. As a result i began to wear and use a pocket watch. One thing about the American GI's uniform is that there are (usually) a lot of pockets to be had. Especially on the newer uniforms. My first pocket watch was not like the one pictured to the right, but you get the idea. I have a thing for watches and would love to collect them, but i don't really have the money or space to really do so. Which is a good thing. One type of watch i would love to someday get a hold of would be an old fashioned mechanical pocket watch. the kind you have to wind up. I currently own two watches. One is a Carolina Panthers watch, the other is a classic style that a dear friend gave me as a Groom's man's gift (i was his best man). He took the care to make sure my initials were engraved on it as well. It is currently in need of a battery, but that will be taken care of very soon. I HAVE to know what time it is pretty much regularly. When i was living with my dad in New York City, one of the things that used to do, and remember quite fondly, is when i took lessons to play the recorder. It didn't last very long but as i grew older i remember hearing a "penny whistle" (it has several names, but the latest i've heard is 'tin whistle') and i sort of fell in love with the sound. Eventually my fascination grew into a desire to learn how to play, but by then i was married, trying to go to school full time and working full time. I went so far as to purchase a tin whistle and song book at a "Country Store" near the Antietam Battle field. I practiced for a while on my own, but i never went far enough to find someone to help encourage it, so it eventually faded. I still own the instrument but i've long since lost the song book. But my children are getting a little older now and i am spending a couple of hours a week sitting somewhere while they are practicing, etc. I might look into picking it up again and practicing somewhere out of hearing range of others... at least until i can get to a reasonable proficiency. I have no clue as to how many people regularly read this blog. I doubt it's very many, but that's ok. I blog to ramble and work out my various thoughts. It's funny how the things come to mind that i blog about. The watch came to me by reading the recent article about the recent confirmation of an inscription within President Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch. It baffled my beloved that i was so interested in the story. The whistle come to mind as i watch catching up on my friend who gave me my favorite pocket watch (mentioned above - he recently took part in a cooking competition and i was trying to find out how he did), and i saw an ad on Facebook for Irish Tin Whistles. I think music is the most beautiful and universal language. My inspirations can come from anywhere.


Music Monday 20090309

Today has been a hectic day, but i've had a theme sort of going through my mind. I wanted a song to reflect my desire to be sold out to Christ. Well, entering the day today there was not any one song that stuck out to me, but then this song came to me as i was listening to Pandora.
Lifesong by Casting Crowns written by Mark Hall Empty hands held high Such small sacrifice If not joined with my life I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say And the things I do Make my lifesong sing Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You Let my lifesong sing to You I want to sign Your name to the end of this day Knowing that my heart was true Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord I give my life A living sacrifice To reach a world in need To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say And the things I do Make my lifesong sing Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah Hallelujah Let my lifesong sing to You

2005 Club Zoo Music (BMI) / SWECS Music (BMI) (adm. by EMI CMG Publishing)
As a 'samurai' in service to my Lord Jesus Christ... this is the only way to be. I have been waking up in the middle of the night... sort of like a friend of mine (Gunny), but different. Anyway... i think God is working on my heart in this area... being sold out mind, body, and soul, to Him... perhaps more to follow.


Writer's block

When i was in High School i hated my English class. I managed to fail every class since the 1st semester of the 9th grade. (It was one of the reasons i eventually dropped out.) One semester i realized that i had not been marked late once - despite being late numerous times (it was my first class of the day), so vowed to make a marked effort to be late. One day i even showed up five minutes before the end of class thinking, "there's no way he won't mark me late today"... there was a substitute who, wait for it... didn't mark me late! LOL I got to such a point that i would take dice into class, rolled them noisily on my desk, then took the results to answer the multiple choice questions. *sigh* I was far from a model student. This comes to mind because i was re-reading my blog from yesterday and i kept finding little mistakes. Ok, perhaps big ones. Ok, back to my original train of thought... I eventually went back and obtained my G.E.D. (i had to if i wanted to ever get promoted to Sergeant in the National Guard, or wanted to go to college - which the NG had encouraged me to do) and started college. Yet i avoided the core English requirements like the plague. Finally, after i got married and i found out that my beloved was good in English and was willing to tutor me, i finally took an English class. When i took the placement tests to see where i needed to start at the school - since i had never taken an S.A.T. i had apparently scored pretty well. Before i had received the results back from the placement tests i received a letter congratulating me, and inviting me to join the Honor's Society at the school. I had actually seriously considered it... right up until i found out that i was going to have to take English 010. That's right... it's not a typo. English 010... English Composition. What's worse... it took me four tries to finally get a "S" (satisfactory). not even a letter grade. That is a long story, but here is the kicker... it taught me to enjoy writing! I am still not very good when it comes to punctuation, or grammer, or spelling. I have always enjoyed reading, but writing is not something that comes easily. Well, publishable writing anyway. Re-reading yesterday's blog sort of reitterated that to me. It's hard to be taken seriously when you writing skills are so poor. And yet i hate to edit my own work. I have no qualms about having others mark it all up with a red pen and then combing back through it to make it work and correct, but it is like dragging my own nails across a chalk board (ah the days before white boards), and still not liking the sound. Well, i have the ideas in my head to continue my on-line story series as well as the "novel" i am writing, but i've not been able to get the words out. Mostly because of being in a constant state of something other than quiet, but also because i want it to be what i want it to be... and not some trailing thought that doesn't flow with the rest of the story. So... i spend my time re-reading my background material (previous stories i've writen as well as a plethora of old articles that describe the various aspects of the world i choose to write in). I will get back to it though. I just enjoy writing too much. Various tatics i use to get "pen to paper" - or more accurately "fingers to keyboard" because i can't write fast enough for my thoughts to flow, but i can type much faster than i can write... and yet that is still not fast enough at times. Anyway... my tactics include... outlining to give the story a framework... just diving in a typing from the beginning... and just random note taking of various ideas. For a person who has some "compulsive" tendencies in doing things certain ways... for me the writing process is rarely the same way twice. I think in the end i know my 'audience' is pretty small - but then i am not doing it for fame, fortune, or a paycheck.


Christian, Conservative, Republican - in that order

The Democrats are eating it up. This whole thing is reminding me of the Jerry Falwell and the Baker debacles. When i was a fairly "young" Christian i remember my boss listening to Rush Limbaugh while we were working (i was a carpenter's apprentice at the time), and i couldn't help but think, "why are we listening to this guy". I still think that about his audience in general. To be up front, i have not listened to him in a long time. Other than the news clips, that are pretty much everywhere right now, i cannot remember the last time i heard his voice. I am not sure what he has been saying of late, but i can almost feel the 'tone' of his message - whatever that message might be. I've said this before but it bears repeating here. Communication is a two party process. You have a sender, and a receiver. The sender has to take the message they want to share with the receiver and attempt to communicate it in such a way that the receiver understands the intended message. The sender then communicates that message across whatever medium they have to work with at hand. The receiver then has to receive said message from said medium, and then they have to translate the message and "filter it" through their own life experiences and learning. If the receiver does not understand the message the sender attempted to say, then communication has broken down - either in whole, or in part. Our lives are pretty much spent working off of partial information. Some more complete than others. If you spend your time insulting, or intentionally filtering through personal bias (everyone does the latter, just some more so than others) so that you don't hear what is being said... communication is not going to occur and things cannot get worked out. Yes, there are times when someone needs to raise an alarm. There are times when dirty laundry needs to be aired out so that a proper cleaning can take place. But when you no longer look upon another person as a peer or someone you can respect enough to enter in a dialog (meaning two-way form of communication), then you are not leading anyone. You are causing division - which is not helpful in my opinion. To be fair, Rush Limbaugh is not the only person out there that does this. I am only using his name because he is in the media of late - and boy is the media, and the Democrats, exploiting it. I know i have been considered a closed minded person because i refuse to see the 'Liberal' side of things (a very broad use of the word right now). I consider myself an Independent, but i most definitely lean to the 'right'. Just like i did not align myself my Jim and Tammy Baker, Jerry Falwell back when, i do not align myself with Rush Limbaugh. I know there is a general perception that since i am a Christian i must believe the same things as the Bakers and Falwell, i am sure that since i am a registered Republican i believe the same things as Rush. If that is how i am looked at... i don't care. I am pretty comfortable with who i am and if someone wants to make a snap judgment about me... i can't really stop them. While we are on the subjects of labels i thought i would "label" myself in regards to my Christian beliefs. This is how i would broadly label myself: "Fundamental, Pentecostal, Reformed, Charismatic, Christian Hedonist". There are many derogatory stereotypes of some of these labels, and that's ok. I can live with that. I consider myself a "Fundamentalist" because i believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ - i believe that before the world was formed Christ was and He choose to lay that down and become man. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture - across all available sources of text there is a greater than 95% agreement, better than the works of Plato or even Shakespeare. I believe that Christ was born of a virgin - and her name was Mary. I believe that Christ's death on the cross was a propitiation, or payment in full, for my sins past, present, and future. I also believe that He then rose from the dead on the third day and thus defeating death. I believe in the miracles of Christ - I believe he feed the 5,000 and walked on water and healed the Centurion's servant and raised Lazarus from the dead. I believe that Christ will someday return to the earth the same way (but in reverse obviously) he ascended. I consider myself "Pentecostal" in that i believe my life is transformed by the Holy Spirit. That i am not the same person i was before the day i accepted Christ into my heart and life, and although i continue to struggle with sin in my life, the Holy Spirit is here with me to help me continue to walk out my ongoing sanctification. I believe that the Bible is the deffinitive source of authority in my life concerning my faith. I consider myself "Reformed" in that how we should walk out our faith is akin to the early church. We need to live out our "church experience" as a dedicated body of believers, committed to the local church - whether that is the group of believers that meet at the church building on corner, or few families that meet in a basement of a house. We need to live lives that are intertwined with other believers where we can speak into each others lives and help share one another's burdens. I also do not believe that traditions can ever form a basis for my belief, instead the "Word of God" (aka The Bible) is my ultimate source. I consider myself "Charismatic" because i believe that my relationship with God can be experienced in my response to His Word. My emotions can be a valid part of my experience in the worship of Christ. I also believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today. I acknowledge my agreement with these statements with the following caveat: It must be tested by the Word of God. Finite man can't possible be the final authority in regards to the relationship with the Infinite. Even though we know our experiences better than any other our flesh is corrupted and we can feign an outward appearance in order to deceive the world... and a lie told often enough will eventually be believed by the liar. The same can be said of the gifts of the Spirit. I think this "label" is the most often rejected by others because it is so easily abused and misused. But how can my emotions not be affected as God reveals His glories to me? How cannot i despair and fear when i see the depravity of my soul without Christ? As for the gifts of the Spirit how can one deny the healing of the sick, or "words of wisdom" spoken by an unknowing commenter that say just the right thing? But, do not allow these things to be the final authority in your life. I am a Christian because i do believe in Christ and i am His disciple and follower. I consider myself a "Hedonist" because i feel that the ultimate goal of my life is to glorify Christ. For me John Piper is my hero in this regard. As a human being it is only natural to desire to seek out what is best for me. To seek out things for my best interest. I want comfort, peace, security. I want prosperity and i want what is what is best for me! As a Christian gets to know Christ you slowly begin to realize that all of these things are ultimately found in Him! If we live our lives for Christ he provides us with everything that is indeed best for us! Therefore it can be said that by dying to ourselves we live in Christ. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. He is our joy, our peace, our security, our prosperity (if you will). The best thing for us, the thing that is in our best interest, is to be found in Him. Overall i am very grateful for the teachings i have received from men like C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, Robin Boisvert, Bob Kauflin, Jeff Purswell, and many others... if it were not for these men and their desires to glorify God in all that they do i would not be the man i am today. I know that the day i stand before the Throne of Heaven there will be many things i am mistaken about, but God has used each of these men (both named and un-named) to produce a foundation of bedrock in my life. I encourage anyone who may stumble across this blog to delve into what you believe, and why you believe it. If you do not have a joy and a passion for what you believe - you need to revisit it.