For better, for worse...

I'm sure the handful of readers will be familiar with these words:
I, (samurai), take you (my beloved), to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
How many of us actually paid attention when we said them ourselves (or some variation thereof)? Last week my beloved took very good care of me as i struggled with either some kind of food poisoning, or a variation of the "Mongolian Death Flu". This week has turned into it being my turn to help her... except for today, which i might get into later. A co-worker once told me that he was cured of his infatuation of a lovely young woman. When he was in his early twenties he was apparently head over heals in love with this gorgeous woman. A friend of his, who was concerned about his motivations, told him this very simple tale, "Right now you are smitten. She is beautiful and you have fallen hard for her. But you need to ask yourself this question... five years from now, the initial desire has worn off and you both get up, go to work, clean house, now picture her nine months pregnant he head hovering over the toilet while she is puking her guts out. No make-up, her hair matted down and unkempt ~ and not in a good way if you know what i mean. You two have not "connected" in over two months, and she has sworn the act off because of what you've done. Now, are you willing to go through all that?" That was enough for him and he cut ties with that woman. Later in life he met the woman to whom he is married to this day. He found that woman who he was willing to lay down his life for. It's a good thing too, because today he is his beloved's primary care giver. For reasons unknown to him and his wife, God has allowed her to become a quadriplegic. Her very life depends on him making sure she is fed, turned over in bed, everything. He goes to bed late getting her ready, gets up at least once a night to take care of her, then gets up early to get her ready for the day. There is much more, and in many ways he puts my past two days to shame. But it helps illustrate my point for today. On Wednesday my beloved called me at work to tell me that she was having waves of really intense pain. We spent the night at a local hospital as doctors tried to discover what's going on. We are still trying to figure it out. Over the past 36 hours i've not had much sleep and i've had to do a lot of the things she normally takes care of. But it is worth it, because she is the woman God has given me. The same co-worker has told me stories of spouses essentially abandoned as they tried to go through the recovery of becoming paralyzed. Many of them do not make as good a recovery as this man's wife has, many of them did not survive longer than a year or two. American's live in a "disposable" society and it has infiltrated even the relationships between husband and wife, and parents and children. We are so wrapped up in pursuing what we "deserve", what is best for us, what makes us happy. If that is your view point - that you must pursue whatever makes you happy at the exclusion of all else... don't get married. You are just going to get miserable, and make someone else unhappy as well. Marriage is not a 50:50 deal. You must give 100% to the best of your ability. No one is perfect, and when your spouse is not giving her full effort (which will happen by the way... and before you get smug, guess what... you won't either), you have to redouble your efforts to give to the relationship.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24, ESV)
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." (Psalm 18:22, ESV)
A lot of people quote:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
but they often neglect,
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [1]" (Epehsians 5:22-27, ESV)
Now that does not leave room for when you feel like it, or when you get something out of it. What did Christ get in return for his giving Himself? A lot of pain and suffering. Now, He receives eternal fellowship of those who walk in Him and are called according to His name, and have received Him. And we (husbands) are not Christ. We are co-heirs with our wives, so it is not that we really receive anything for it ~ except ~ we learn to change our view and learn how to serve others before ourselves. And that is a great reward. Can there be a better example than what Christ did on the eve of his crucifixion?
"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. " (John 13:3-5, ESV)


Ramblin' along

It has been a whole week since i updated this blog. For the most part it could not be helped. Last Wednesday night i began a really rough 24 hour period, and Friday i was still recovering from the Thursday. Yesterday i finished up a blog entry for one of my other secondary blogs and was trying to catch up from the over 200 e-mails i missed from last week, so... I still haven't heard back from my writing contest submission. Which is a bummer, but i have gotten a little bit more on my "novel" done. I am wondering if my personal deadline of next summer is actually going to happen. While i was sick i did get to play some more Fallout 3 (which i blogged about here). I am enjoying the short times i get to play this game. By God's grace it is not becoming all consuming. I believe i have already mentioned this, but i have learned about another game that is supposed to be coming out in June: Bloodbowl. I am really excited about that game as well. It is sort of a fantasy combat game based on American Football. I used to own two copies of this game, but i couldn't get my friends to play it consistently. They played it some, but eventually it sat on my shelf long enough i sold it (for practically nothing). I love American Football sims like Madden football. I just don't have the skills like most kids have these days with these kinds of games. I need the turn based system so i can keep up. While Fallout 3 is a long drawn out adventure, Bloodbowl will be one off games in a campaign like setting. I am going to wrap this up or else it will really ramble on. Music Monday should return 1-June... God willing.


Playing catch up

What a crazy weekend. We had the last game of the year for DS1's soccer team, saw a friend from DD3 school and ended up spending the day hanging out, then Sunday we were sort of saying our good-bye's even though we will attend through the end of the month, then we went out for lunch and sent headed out to the last Awana's for the summer. Then, i surprised my beloved by taking yesterday off as a personal day. Yesterday was nice. We spent the day going to three doctor's appointments (no, we are not THAT old) - one for allergy shots for my beloved, one for a re-evaluation of the Rx she has for her constant headaches, and the last one i went by myself to - the chiropractor. The Doc wants her to see a physical therapist who specializes in this sort of thing. *sigh* yet one more doctor for her to see. He also changed her pain medication - which we hope is a good thing. With me being out Music Monday is on hold for yet another week. Yesterday i also found out that my boss has taken a lateral position effective June 8th. Which means he will not be around for the transition, and it's possible i will have to fill in for him. I am not sure how much i would like trying to wear two hats ~ but i wouldn't mind considering a lateral myself. I am not sure i would like to move over to the Admin side of things. I like the technical side, but i know that some day i should probably consider the move. This might be a good time to make the switch. I know in the short term though... it will be a wearing of two hats... It became official yesterday... Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will not be renewed for another season. At least not on Fox, and most likely not on another channel either. While i am not happy about it, what can you do. Nothing lasts forever. Anyone remember Max Headroom? I still love that show. LOL For now i am still waiting to learn about the fate of my other favorite show, The Unit. I believe CBS is announcing their Fall line up tomorrow so... In the meantime i am looking forward to checking out Terminator: Salvation this weekend. Well, that's all i have for now...


Friday Ramblings

A few new, fun, things have been occupying my fleeting Facebook time of late. Aside from flair (which i've already talked about some) and keeping up with friends and family, i have two new interests there. One is Yoville, and the other is these personality tests. Yoville is sort of a Sims like application where you explore a really small town filled with other players from all around the world. Other than the socialization aspects (i am not going to debate virtual socialization here) the main objective seems to be to decorate your house/apartment and/or your self. This application is passively fun. I don't sweat worry having the latest or greatest rugs or whatnot, but i did recently "purchase" my first house - a tree house. It goes with my elvish tendencies. 8) I know the personality tests are subjective and only as accurate as the interpretations of the creators of the questionares ~ but they are still fun. Several have been kind of surprising. One was "What is the purpose in life?" - Healer. Really? I don't publish all of the results i take, just ones that are fun and i don't mind the results of... :) I was really happy with the result from one i took today: "What type of Warrior are you?" My result was Jonas Blane. I was pretty happy with that result because i have really enjoyed CBS's show, The Unit. I was devastated when Molly called in a debt by asking Jonas to make a choice between her and The Unit while he was in the middle of a very delicate mission. And then to see Jonas sitting alone at "Betty Blue's" wedding... it broke my heart. I am so hoping that there will be a season 5 for this show (i think i will know around 20-May), if for nothing else than to see this relationship restored! I have a couple Google alerts set up so that i get occasional e-mail updates on "important" news articles. You know, things about "The Hobbit" movie, "Tron 2.0", etc. Well, one item recently was a 'related' thing but it drew my attention to the new trailer for "The Road". At first i was really pumped about this movie because of my interest in 'post apocalyptic' genre. After i saw the trailer i am nervous that it will be more of a "Dawn of the Dead" type of deal. While i could live with that, i am thinking that my beloved may not want to go see it with me. As a matter of fact... i am positive this will be the case. Still... i have moved to a 'wait and see' mode. Speaking about the "Post Apocalyptic" genre... i have not even finished my first run through of Fallout 3 yet! I really do enjoy playing this game, i just don't have enough time to do it! After all, the game is NOT a priority in my life, and when i sit down to play i really want a minimum of two to three hours to dive into it, which as anyone who is married and/or has children is extremely hard to come by. That's ok though. Bethesda Softworks has released three aftermarket files (also known as DLC) to expand the game even more. Which of course has my curiosity peaked. So in the OCD part of my personality i amn reluctant to play and work towards finishing the game until i can have the complete game... Now, since the only way (until recently) to get this DLC has been through GamesforWindows (Microsoft)... and since i have made a consious choice to NOT connect my personal laptop to the internet for ANY reason... this has not been a viable option. However, i am told that Bethesda usually releases another copy of their games that include the DLC, or the DLC by itself... i just need to be patient... But in the meantime i have been considering starting over. Not because i don't like the file i have going currently, but because it is a file that is running on an incomplete version of the game. And now i am hearing of another computer game that i would really like to have... recently i learned of a French software company known as Cyanide Studio is making a game called "Bloodbowl". Now this is a computer version of a Games Workshop game that i LOVED to play way back when. It has several elements that i enjoy... 1) It was a table top miniature game, 2) You could play Elves in it, 3) it played a LOT like American Football. One problem i did run into though, despite a lot of my friends also owning the game - it was not the first thing they would want to play should the occasion come up. A few times they would humor me, but for the most part i was the only one with the desire to play. Well, now i will be able to play (probably just as often as i get to play Fallout 3 now) by myself! All of this rambling has brought to mind my favorite memory of when i did play AD&D. (Bear with me... this sort of ties some things together.) We had a favorite quote from a comic book series, "Rain was the healer, and he was the first to die". This was because the one person/character you always needed in tight situations was the one who was the healer type, and inevitably it would seem like this character was the first to go down. Well. i had often favored playing fighter types, but i wanted the challenge of playing a Paladin. This is a character that played by a very high moral code, and was generally considered a very tough one to role play. We were very early on in what is called a "campaign". We were all still very low level, but what we did have was numbers. I believe we had eight or more people playing (which was very rare for us). Anyway, we came into a small town that was being harassed by something up in the hills. You know the drill, running off with live stock, and recently one of the elders children had disappeared. My Paladin of course wanted to help... it was a moral obligation to help those poor people, and it took a long time for me to convince the others the back me up on this one. When we arrived at the beast's layer we learned that it was a young White Dragon (which was the weakest of such monsters in the game), and it was sleeping! The whole party was besides themselves on this opportunity, but my Paladin would have none of this. It is not fair to ambush a sleeping foe - no matter what they had done. I was alone on this one... finally i told the guy running the game, "I walk up to the sleeping dragon. draw my sword and tap it on the nose and declare, 'awake foul beast!'" The battle was over in two rounds. After it turned our thief and several others into Popsicles, it batted my Paladin across the cave leaving him barely consious. The only survivors were a mage who had refused to even enter the cave, and my Paladin. The pair sulked back to town licking their wounds. My friends absolutely refused to let me continue to play that character. So, despite my only playing that character in two adventure, he remains my all time favorite.


The longest journey begins with but a single step

The few regular people who stop by this little blog of mine probably know that my beloved and i have been prayerfully considering leaving the church we currently attend. We've been praying about it for over a year now. There have been things going on that just grate me spiritually. One problem has been that i have not witnessed the alleged incidents personally. But i have heard about them through what i would consider "quality" witnesses. People whom i would consider to be trust worthy in that they would not slander or seek to cause division. Yet still, i felt compelled to not act unless i could be certain.
Well, since last year i have continued to see things that caused me some concern spiritually. Not in a direct affront, but in evidences of "fruit" of others. I do not want to expound upon things here publicly. While i feel there are real issues within the church where we are now, i am not within the sphere of leadership within the church, and the areas of which i have concern are not a concern to the current leadership. Last year God brought a blog to my attention that "coincidentally" talked about this very issue. (You can read it here) Since then the items presented there have been a very big help. Despite efforts we have made (which i acknowledge here have not been perfect) we are at a point where we feel we need to move on. While praying about what to do i would on occasion look into some of the other churches in the area and i took the time to read each one's "Statement of Faith" (or mission statement, or purpose letter). Other than "intelligence gathering" i haven't acted on any visiting any of them. When my beloved and i came to where we are currently (realizing that we are indeed going to be leaving) i pulled out the information and have "narrowed" it down to three churches. Starting next month, after the kids get out of school and we get back from vacation, we will visit each of the churches one per week, and then revisit each of them. Unless God takes hold of us and let's us know otherwise. These things are hard! In my first church l learned about the importance of being a part of a local church. The importance of serving within a local body of believers. Church "hoping" was not encouraged, and while the leaders of that church encouraged each believer to be "plugged in" to a local body of believers - they also encouraged visitors that if they were not "comfortable" with that church to seek out the one where they could get involved and get settled in. It is not so much about which group as it is about being with a group. I am glad that this has been hard. I am grateful for all the friends we have made where we are. but i am also looking forward to seeing what God is doing - not just in our lives, but in where he takes the church we are leaving.


Happy Mother's Day - belated

Work has been "weird" lately. Insanely busy for a stretch, then slow for a bit - but usually off kilter just enough i have a hard time focusing on what my "to do" list is. Then, late last week, i was told i needed to get set up to work from home as a sort of "pandemic exercise". I am not a big fan of change (which i'm pretty sure i've mentioned before) so it took me a little while to get settled in, and then today one of my co-workers went home sick... so then i got yanked back into the office. I'm getting dizzy! Anyway, with Mother's Day this past weekend i had wanted to do an entry on my moms. My mom and dad divorced when i was very young. Off the top of my head i'd say i was less than 5. Anyway, she fought hard for my brother and i. She worked several jobs, and actually had to hire a nanny to watch us Monday through Friday. We would be dropped off at the woman and her family's house on Monday morning, and we would be picked up Friday night. Then came the custody battle. Buch each step of the way my mom fought to keep us. Although that may not have been the best thing for my brother and me, she loved us and fought for us. She had a lot of "blemishes", but wanting the best for us and wanting us to be with her was not one of them. One result of my parents getting divorced was that my father remarried in the early 70's (shame on me for not remember exactly when). There were two periods of time when my brother and i lived with them. The first time was just before the custody battle. We lived with my father in Brooklyn, NY for about 2 years after my mom had a serious car accident. My step-mom was thrust into the role of mother of two boys, who were not very mindful of her, all the while she was working on her Phd. And she put up with a LOT. When my father lost the custody battle (i found out later) it tore her up. It was deep a loss for her as it was my father (whom i later found out took the high road when it came to the court testimonies, etc. because there really was a lot of "dirt" he could have used and chose not to). In between the two times we lived with my dad and step-mother, we would visit on weekends, and when my dad took a job in San Francisco we would spend the summers there. Then, in the early 80's my mother had "mistakenly" taken an overdose of a Rx medicine (i don't really know what happened for sure, but it was questionable) i had to call my father late one night when my mom had not come home. He came out and picked up my brother and i. We both packed a single suitcase of clothes, maybe a toy or two, and we moved in with my dad again. When my mother got out of the hospital my dad had to tell my mother that unless she gave up custody she would have to take us back immediately. Now, on the surface that sounds really harsh, but i understand now... it would have put my dad and step mom through another season of getting really attached and then having to say goodbye again. My mother passed away in December of 2000, and although we were not as close as we should have been, she was my mother. I did not always "honor" my mother either, but i have grown to appreciate her intentions and gloss over her actions. Since my step-mother came into my life by marrying my father she has made every effort to reach out and care for me as if i were her own. And again - i have not always been the best behaved young man towards her - she has become in a very real sense my mother. Not a replacement, but second mother figure in my life. I truly appreciate all she has done, and continues to do, in my life.
Happy mothers day MOMS!


Ramblin' Man

I had to search a little bit to find this fine piece of flair. When i was younger i remember tagging along with my mom to her favorite "watering hole" - usually on a Saturday. My brother and i would be given one, maybe two, rolls of quarters for our entertainment that had to last all day. That was when i fell in love with the 'silverball'. Just out of necessity i became fairly decent. Although i probably would never have won any competitions, i was able to keep myself entertained with free games with high scores and matches. I was so into Pinball that the song "Pinball Wizard" felt like my theme song. One time, after i got home from school, i was a little bored so i walked to my mom's Pub of choice to play a couple of games. It was small "family-like" place, and the owner's knew me by name. When i got there i got change for a dollar (back then you could play a game for a quarter) and the owner gave me Coke on the house (yes, we were there that often). Just as a dropped a quarter in my favorite machine in walked a State Trooper. The whole place got quiet as the trooper walked right up to me to ask me a few questions. Long story short - he said i matched the description of a runaway and wanted to see if i was him. The past week or so my area has been getting rain everyday. Well, at least some rain every day. Enough to keep the grass wet and not "ideal" for cutting. To be honest i did have a window of opportunity on Saturday, but because my mind was elsewhere i really didn't take advantage of it. Although i did edge around the house. Well, yesterday the rain held off and the grass was pretty dry so i pulled out the walk-behind and went to work. Wouldn't you know, less than halfway through it started to rain pretty lightly. Not so much as to drive me inside so i plugged along. I finally got to the halfway point when the sky just opened up! That was enough for me to call it a night. It went against my sense of wanting to keep working until i was finished (i hate leaving things halfway done), but i really couldn't keep going at that point. I am hoping to finish tonight. I don't mind all the rain we are getting because i LOVE rain. I was actually enjoying myself while i was out there... it was just no longer practical to keep going. This morning i had a trouble come in from a remote site. I originally thought it was an issue that i've been working since last June, but it turned out to be a fresh report of a trouble from the same site. The problem is that a remote office has two even more remote locations that connect via two physical circuits that each have three "logical" circuits configured on them - each having the ability to use up the entire physical capacity of the links. So you have say a two gallon pipe, but it is possible to have six gallons worth of data trying to flow through it. And then we get complaints of slow response or unable to connect to whatever they need to connect to. I would really like to know who thought that was a good idea. I know there is usually a lot of "dead time" on circuits... but this is not trying to rent out a recording studio or something. Anyway... it is "interesting" to say the least. When i retired last July there were two other "old timers" who retired within 30 days of me. I had known both of them since i had joined Alpha Battery back in 1999, been deployed with them, and generally became pretty good friends with them. So one of them tells me, "we have got to keep in touch". Well, out of the three of us we started meeting together about every other month for breakfast. To talk shop, tell stories that we have all heard a hundred times - if not lived out in person, and just keep in touch. Well, somehow i have become the defacto organizer of these get togethers. I don't mind, but i am not sure i am the best one to dor it. Anyway, we were supposed to meet this month but life kept me busy and i had not set anything up, and then yesterday i get an e-mail from one of the guys asking me when the next one is. Doh! So i picked a day in June and sent out e-mails and messages from Facebook. Only after i sent out the notice did i realize that the day i had picked i will be away with my family on vacation. 8/ Oh well. I will organize this get together and begin preperations for August for the next one. The group has grown from the original 5 or so, to about 2 dozen worth of invitations now being sent out. I am bummed about missing this one, but at least the rest of them can get together. Last night, while i was mowing the lawn but before the rain really started coming down, i was listening to my MP3 player and a sermon from CJ Mahaney came on. Normally i will skip to the next random track on the player until a song comes on. Mostly because i have a hard enough time hearing the words over the mower, but this time i left it on. It was a sermon titled "Sovereign Grace". It was amazingly powerful - even over the distraction of the lawn mower and my meanderings around my yard. It has made me desire to be more broken hearted over my sins. Not to try and "own" them again - as a Christian i have entrusted my life to Christ - and He has paid for those sins in full. But it is so that i just appreciate more what it cost my Savior. That sin is not to be taken light hearted, or off-handed. There was a cost associated with that sin. And not just that "one", but all of them. If it were not for Jesus it would be me that would have to stand before God and ultimately be sent away. But it is because i do not see my own sin as severely as i should there are some sins i enter in almost with out thought. Sins that get repeated over and over because to some extent i have not truly repented of - and to me that is scary! Websters.com defines 'repent' as follows:
re⋅pent 1 [ri-pent] Show IPA
–verb (used without object)
1. to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often fol. by of): He repented after his thoughtless act.
2. to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.
–verb (used with object)
3. to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one's injustice to another.
4. to feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.
For the most part i don't feel that i regret my sins enough. Have i leaned on grace so heavily that i no longer feel the need to repent!?! Dear lord, please let it not be so.


Music Monday - 20090504

This weekend was a blur - which is normal - but it felt like i didn't really take the time to just sit at the Savior's feet to worship and listen. That made it hard for me to come up with a really good song so i started searching (kind of chaotically, and definitely randomly). I stuck with my top to two favorite Christian artists and just kind of touched on various songs. This song kind of stuck out and spoke to my weary soul...

Above All

Verse 1 Above all kingdoms Above all thrones Above all wonders The world has ever known Above all wealth And treasures of the earth There's no way to measure What You're worth Verse 2 Above all powers Above all kings Above all nature And all created things Above all wisdom And all the ways of man You were here Before the world began CHORUS Crucified Laid behind the stone You lived to die Rejected and alone Like a rose Trampled on the ground You took the fall And thought of me Above all (Chorus) (Chorus) Like the rose Trampled on the ground You took the fall And thought of me Above all

Before i forget... thanks to all of you guys who encouraged me about my writing contest entry. There were nine entries received, some quite long, but i am supposed to read the other eight and vote on which one i liked the most - but not my own. :) There are no prizes, and i am not really hopeful of winning. What i am hoping most to get out of it is some constructive criticism to learn from. According to the guidelines that were put out a winner will be announced sometime between now and 15-May.