As i start this i realize that i do not have a song picked out for my traditional Musical Monday fare... blame it on getting up early to go the gym... blame it on me not taking my Strattera this morning... but in the end the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero (0) meters. I was just not prepared for my traditional Monday offering. As i type this i am praying that God will open up the Heavens and shine a light down on me... and thus reveal THE song to use for today. Until then... enjoy some random Monday ramblings... Ok, i know i've mentioned this before... but unless the Panthers can get their starting 22 positions healthy in time for the regular season... it may be a looooonnngggg season for this Panthers fan. I am not talking 1-15 long, but perhaps 6-10 long... I have a ton of faith in Coach Fox, and i have seen him pull out victory from the jaws of defeat. I would not put it past him to have not really put his team into all that high of a game frenzy, but when the 1:00 PM comes on 13-September, i am going to be wearing my Panther Blue heart on my sleeve! Coach - i know i've said all i want for Christmas is a 9-7 season - but you do what you got to do to get this team into the playoffs! One thing i would like to point out... for at least the past 2 weeks Coach Fox has been working without of all of his starting running backs and wide receivers. It's hard to see if the offense is clicking when those key positions are out, and the offensive line has not taken all that many snaps together. My one real concern is at the Run defense side of things. Until Carolina picks up a DT to replace Kemoeatu they are going to be hard pressed to stop the run... and when teams can run on you it wears you down. Yesterday i went down to visit my co-worker, who is also a living example of what it means to be a husband who serves and takes care of his wife. A few years back his wife had a serious car accident that broke her neck and she became a quadriplegic. Since then this man has taken a very first hand track to her care. When i was interviewed for his clearance i was asked if the man had any hobbies and my answer to them sums it up. His wife IS his hobby. He has wired his house with an automatic generator so that if there is a commercial power outage he can run all of her medical equipment plus he can still heat the house and he still has a mostly functional kitchen. He went out and purchased an RV and then had it renovated so that they can still take vacations to visit their son and grand children. He not only has taken a first hand role in learning how to care for his wife, he has paid for a lot of the equipment and part time care givers out of his own pocket because his medical insurance, either does not - or will not, pay for it. This man is a modern day hero to me. I went to visit them because she is in the hospital. She has developed a very large kidney stone and it has become septic. It grew so large because she doesn't feel any pain and by the time there were any external signs it was so. I would ask for prayers from those who read this... she is in the critical cardiac unit of his local hospital. She has been fighting hard, and there are positive signs, but she is far from out of the woods yet. They still need to go and get the stone out... This man has been a source of encouragement in my walk with Christ... and he continues to fight alongside her bed. I miss our talks at work (even the times when it would appear i am not really listening), and i am praying for them to come again. Have you ever ordered tea at a restaurant and gotten that weird after taste? I LOVE iced tea and can pretty much drink it by the bucket load... but when you get a mouthful of tea that has been sitting at room temperature over night... wow. A coworker and i take turns making a 3qt pitcher of the stuff to share day in and day out... but i don't know what it is... the tea first thing Monday is nasty ~ if it's been left over from the previous Friday that is! Here at work i can understand how the tea got that way. There is no one to drink it over the weekend, but in a restaurant there is no excuse! Simply empty the container out at night, wash it out, and make a fresh batch first thing in the morning. Simple. On Saturday i took DS1 out to the Antietam National Battlefield to watch an artillery demonstration. Very nice! There is a group of volunteers who have been meeting once per month to practice and this was the first month the battlefield set up the demonstration. There are hopes to expand it to having two demonstration crews... one Union and one Confederate. There is a real part of me that wants to step up and volunteer out there for this, but for now i am enjoying my weekends just as they are. Maybe someday in the future. For me the highlight was learning about John Cook. He was a Bugler for Battery B, 2nd U.S. Artillery. During the battle Battery B suffered more than 40% casualties, and at one point this young man of 15 stepped up and manned the guns and performed valiantly - for which he was given the Congressional Medal of Honor. I am not good at telling stories, nor do i remember all that they shared with us, but this young man definitely earned it that day. Ok... i need to wrap this up, but i wanted to share that i am going to be a tennis widower once again. For the next two weeks the U.S. Open will be going on and my beloved LOVES tennis. Which i whole heatedly encourage her to pursue. I enjoy tennis too. But my 'passion' is the NFL... and the Carolina Panthers in particular (in case you had not gleaned that from my blog yet). I have an outstanding request for all birthday, anniversary, and Christmas presents... anything Panthers. LOL This morning i had an ad in my e-mail in-box advertising personalized Panthers Jerseys - even pink ones this year (pictured right). My beloved would never wear such a thing because my passion is not her passion. I have a friend who's wife is as big a football fan (she the Washington Redskins, he the Pittsburgh Steelers) so i have to confess there are times i am jealous that they share such interests. Even though my beloved does not share my passion for football, we do share one passion though ~ food. She loves to make it... and i love to eat it! In closing... God has been working on my heart and ears of late. Trying to relearn how to listen and hear His promptings... to discern His voice over the din of the world... and that one cannot pilot a ship through the ocean alone.
Therefore, brothers,  since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:19-39, ESV)