It was Tuesday and all through the house... wait...wrong holiday...

My beloved finds humor in a lot of things i do, and the way i think. To be honest here... this has led to no small amount of confusion and consternation over the years ~ on my part. When the latest Star Trek movie came out there was a scene where three crew members are heading out on a dangerous mission. The three people are Kirk, Sulu, and another crew member (the name escapes me). The requirements are people that are 'highly skilled' in hand to hand combat. On the shuttle trip out to where they were going to secretly deploy on an Airborne-like mission, Kirk turns to Sulu and asks him what he is skilled at. I feel the answer is priceless. Without batting an eye Sulu responds, "Fencing". I found this funny because i know of what most "westerners" are going to envision. Two men with Epees held lightly in hand, with their "off" hand held in a curve behind their head, saying En Garde! and touché! When i later told my beloved of my finding humor at this she looked at me quizzically, so i explained to her what it most likely meant in the context of the characters. Sulu is born to Japanese and Filipino parents. While Gene Roddenberry named the character Sulu in order to represented all Asian heritages, the man is still part Japanese. The Japanese sword fighting style is known as 'Kendo', and is often referred to as fencing. This immediately caused my beloved to begin laughing. You see, there was a back ground piece on something we were watching where a commentator referred to 'Kendo' as Japanese "stick fighting" and that had caused an immediate reaction on my part. It was not a grace-filled reaction, and let's leave it at that. Her finding humor in such things used to really go against my grain, but i have learned that she is not demeaning me personally. Such things are just so foreign from her experiences, the normal range of things she typically thinks about that they sometimes surprise her and to some extent baffle her. She finds humor/joy (well, at least i hope on the latter) in seeing just how different i am from her. I often catch her staring at me with a smile on her face... often when i am concentrating on something like how many more miles we have to go and if we have enough gas to get there and how much time it will be until both our arrival and/or when we need gas. So, when Sulu answered "fencing" i knew what he meant and i looked forward to his up coming encounter with the Romulans. I liked George Takei's interpretation of Sulu, but i am liking John Cho's version a little bit more. I am sure it has more to do with the more "modern" version of the movie, but i sure hope to see more of his character in any sequels. I have been with my beloved for over seventeen years now, and i am praying for at least three times that more. I hope i continue to entertain her with such idiosyncrasies for just as long. To my shame i am often not aware of the little things that make her up. I try and pick up on the clues, and sometime downright blaring lights, but i often miss them. This Thanksgiving i am thankful for her practicality, her enjoyment at my 'expense, her beautiful hair, her gorgeous deep eyes, the way she often just wants to be near me, and the fact that her feet get incredibly cold at night and she likes to stick them up against me. She is my biggest blessing on this Earth. She is the instrument in which God uses to make me a better Christian, a better man, a better husband, and a better father. She truly completes me. Thank you Father God for the gift of my beloved. You have indeed shown me favor.


Music Monday - 20091123

With Thanksgiving being this week i went in search of a song that expressed thanks to God for all He has done. When i tried to search my own "database" (i.e. my own memory) i came up with nothing. I did not give myself a lot of time, but i am not entirely sure it would have made much difference though. So, i began a search via Google. Although this is not a style of music i would listen to on my own normally, the lyrics are very good.
Thank You By 'The Katinas' Album: Timeless Just a little while longer I wanna pray Can't get You off my mind so I came to say Thank You Lord just for loving me Many times as I do forget Every need that You have met Oh thank You Lord, I know You're showing me You are there when I am down and out You're holding me, Your love is so amazing Oh it changed me Chorus: Here I am with all I am Raise my hands to worship You I wanna say thank you, oh thank you For everything, for who You are You cover me, You touch my heart I wanna say thank you I could have died in my sin but You saved me Didn't have any hope at all You gave me peace divine, strength to carry on I should have been the one to pay But instead You took my place My Jesus, words cannot explain Even though I don't deserve Your love for me You look beyond my fault and You showed mercy CHORUS I wanna say thank you for the sun I wanna say thank you for the rain Everything You do is beautiful I'm so grateful for Your love
This group is indeed worshiping God and giving praise to Him for what He has done and once i saw the video i knew i had to go with this one this week. Yesterday our Pastor talked about the importance of self discipline, especially when it comes to our relationship with Christ. This is an area that i find myself struggling in of late. It has not always been that way... I am praying for God to help me regain some of that, but i know it is like a muscle. it will only get stronger as i exercise it.


Ramblin' Fridays

Not sure if this is going to be a recurring theme like my Music Mondays or not, but i think i'd like to use Fridays as a catch all. The day i put out the thoughts i've been thinking all week, but just not posted yet. 8) Last night the Carolina Kittens made another appearance. Ricky Williams ran for over one hundred yards, had two rushing and one receiving touchdown, Jake Delhomme was sacked four (4!) times, and the special teams need to consider riding the short bus to/from games. Ok, that last line was derogatory and really not called for. I know the media is going to be stoking the fires to bench Delhomme and Coach Fox, but seriously this was not a QB issue IMO. Before i go any further... FULL credit needs to go to the Miami Dolphins. They played a great game and took care of the things they needed to, when they needed to. Things are not well in Carolina right now, but a cleaning house is a little much at this juncture. Jerry "Big Cat" Richardson has shown he is not shy about replacing personnel he feels need to be replaced. I only have to look as far as the resignation of not one, but both of his sons this past summer. I just wish the media (read: ESPN and the Charlotte Observer) would stop trying to 'encourage' such change, and let the owner make a clear headed decision. Anyone who knows very much about the corporate world knows that such resignations are more to save face of the outgoing than the company. My Panthers will most likely fail in their bid to have back to back winning seasons this year. C'est la vie - i am still thankful to be able to enjoy football, and last night was fun because i was able to enjoy it with a long time friend. I am officially on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon for this season. They are long over due for a great season. Geaux Saints! I am feeling a little vindicated... not sure if that is the right word or not... anyway, i have been having some discomfort in my right shoulder and arm lately. Stretching... ibuprofen... and alternating hot and cold has not seem to do anything other than provide temporary relief. It's not painful enough to be anything more than an irritant, but it has caused me to wake up a time or two. Anyway, in the past i've complained of such things like neck or knee pain, but so far "they" have never found anything and i've just forced myself to live with whatever it is i am not happy with. I went ahead and requested an MRI (after the insurance mandated x-rays) on it. Today i found out that i have a "slight tear" and some arthritis. The "slight tear" is unspecified so i have a follow up appointment on Monday. This has encouraged me to go ahead and pursue my knee pain more as well... but that will have to wait. Last weekend provided me with a brief window to get on my laptop and "veg" some. I brought up Fallout 3. Ah! Good times. Well, distracting and escapism type good times. A "Game of the Year" edition of the game is now out. I doubt i will buy it, but i found it interesting nonetheless. If i can find a way to download Mothership Zeta i will have the complete game anyway. I've tried to use the Games for Windows marketplace and get completely turned around. I think i've even lost some money by depositing some, but then not knowing how to spend the credits. The one thing that might really sway me... there is a samurai to be found on the mothership! And well... i think you all might be able to deduce my reasons. 8) DS1 and 2 have really gotten into the game as well. I monitor them and their actions as the game really is pretty open (i.e. you can do things that are not very 'moral' so to speak), and the game has given me the opportunity to discuss choices. Why they should do good things versus bad things. Just like the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6, ESV) The last part above reminded me of a conversation i was having with some co-workers the other day. Our job as parents are to train our children. It does not matter if you are a Christian or not, the role of parent is to prepare a child for being a responsible adult in society. Now, i will be presenting my ideas as a Christian of course. The role of being a parent is non-stop. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year - 366 on leap years. Kids are sponges and they learn without even trying. I confess - i am sometimes lazy, or selfish, and prime opportunities escape me. But we really need to keep our eyes open for those teachable moments. Not just 'this is what you do', but 'this is WHY you do'.


Miami Dolphins versus the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football!

Last Sunday i saw a commercial advertising tonight's game on the NFL channel and it kind of irritated me as a Panthers fan. It talks about the Dolphins' Wildcat offense, etc. and ends with "Here Kitty Kitty" !?! Now, i am just hopin' that the Panthers heard that commercial and are ticked off too!
I have a friend from High School who is a die hard Dolphins fan and we've not had much of a chance to hang out lately. Since i do not get the NFL Network on my TV he has kindly invited me over to watch the game with him tonight. Over the years we've gone back talking smack to each other on pretty much anything we've ever competed on. Even though neither of us are on the playing field he has already started... well, actually he started back in August. A funny thing though... any time i've opened my mouth to return the "volley" it never works out so well for my team. So, this time i've taken the tack of just letting him run with it. To be honest, when i enjoy playing games with him - especially the table top war games. He's better than me. Granted he plays more often than i do, but i like to play against him because i have to think harder, play smarter, and sometimes just plain hope for good dice rolls (which i often get, lending t0 the reason i have the nickname "elf buddy" whenever we do have a chance to play). But tonight neither of us can influence the outcome of the game. We get to just sit and watch while these two 4-5 teams fight it out. One team will go home, head held high for another week at 5-5 while the other team finds itself at 4-6 with only 6 games remaining in the regular season. For some reason all of this is reminding me of the friendly wagers i had once upon a time with a Lieutenant who was a Chicago Bears fan. I still have the nice sweatshirt and large Panther flag - thanks LT. No wager tonight. Just two old friends sitting together enjoying football, but rooting for different teams. I tried to find a link to the commercial i referenced above, the only one i found was silent and that would not do, so for my friend here is the preview for tonight's game.


Meaningless random things

Today is unusually hectic, but i was tagged at a friend's blog so i thought i would respond here for my blog today. 8)

1. Where is your cell phone? ~ Always in arms reach.

2. Your hair? ~ Short and mostly gray. If i can grab it in between my fingers, it is too long.

3. Your mother? ~ Deceased since December 2000.

5. Your favorite food? ~ Most anything my beloved makes for me. It really does vary depending on mood and appetite.

6. Your dream last night? ~ Umm... i rarely sleep long enough in one shot to dream, but if i am dreaming... i usually don't remember it.

7. Your favorite drink? ~ Liquid 'Crack' - also known as Soda Pop. Preferably Dr Pepper, but Coke or Mellow Yellow will also do the trick. I was once given a small glass of Sambuca... i imeediately decided that i was never allowed to have a full bottle near me as i absolutely LOVE black licorice.

8. Your dream/goal? ~ For my children to grow up happy and content, and to live my life in peace with my beloved.

9. What room are you in? ~ Um... cubical.

10. Your hobby? ~ Writing, but i also like to play adventure and table top war games. I just do not usually have time for any of the latter.

11. Your fear? ~ I would like to believe that i do not have any... the biggest right now would be to hear "depart from Me for I never knew you".

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? ~ Financially stable enough to begin to support DS2 through college (as well as DS1 who will be two years ahead of him).

13. Where were you last night? ~ Home, honest.

14. Something that you aren’t? ~ A good test taker.

15. Muffins? ~ Of course... Blueberry all the way... especially the ones from Dunkin! YUM!

16. Wish list item? ~ Whew... that's a good one. I will have to go check my Amazon.com list.

17. Where did you grow up? ~ Pretty much everywhere between Manasas, VA and New York City. But never in any one place for very long. The years i've lived in my current house is the longest i have lived anywhere in my entire life.

18. Last thing you did? ~ Hopefully solved a network problem for my customer.

19. What are you wearing? ~ Khaki slacks, Lands End loafers that desperately need to be replaced, and a denim long sleeve shirt - which is unusual for me. I much prefer to wear short sleeve polo's all year round. If i get cold i just slip on a t-shirt underneath.

20. Your TV? ~ Psych, Royal Pains, a lot of History Channel stuff. Watching 'The Unit', 'Psych', and 'Burn Notice' on DVD. When i have time (so that means, very slowly).

21. Your pets? ~ Nope

22. Friends? ~ Not as close and as often as i would prefer. We are all in the stage of life with kids and school and sports and...

23. Your life? ~ Overall good. I would like for it to slow down some. I would like to be more organized and productive around the house, but overall - i am doing better than i deserve and i am content.

24. Your mood? ~ Even keeled currently.

25. Missing someone? ~ My beloved.

26. Vehicle? ~ A 2000 Toyota Echo with 120k miles on it. It is the absolute sweetest thing on the road.

27. Something you’re not wearing? ~ My Tilley Hat... i am indoors after all.

28. Your favorite store? ~ Depends what i am looking for, and it will usually be off of the internet.

29. Your favorite color? ~ That's easy - Cobalt Blue.

30. When was the last time you laughed? ~ Sometime earlier today - but i couldn't tell you what it was over.

31. Last time you cried? ~ I honestly don't remember. Are you talking sobbing, or just a little wet around the edges?

32. Your best friend? ~ Female - my beloved. I am amazed at how much i like to just be in the same room with her. Male - RAM (not his real name). We have been friends since the 11th grade in High School. We've worked on cars, moved away from home at the same time, got married and live in the same region. Our kids and wives get along great.

33. One place that I go to over and over? ~ I don't know "you". That is too broad of a question.

34. One person who emails you regularly? ~ A coworker. And usually it's not just to chitchat. LOL If i want to communicate with some one i prefer to call, but an e-mail will suffice to initiate a call.

35. Favorite place to eat? ~ Depends... see #5 above.

36. Favorite activity? ~ I like to be outdoors, or working on something. But i am most happy when i have an inspiration to write.

I’m supposed to tag 6 people now. But since I don’t think that have 6 readers, I’ll tag anyone who wants to do it…..


Music Monday - 20091116

A few weeks back i did a "Trilogy" Music Monday post where i tried to find songs that spoke (to me) about our position before Christ's saving grace, during, and one post. Bear with me here... and while i liked the song i posted about how i feel we can celebrate what Christ has done on our behalf i felt that it fell short of what i ultimately wanted to convey.
In the words of John Piper: I am a Hedonist when it comes to my faith in Christ. Dictionary.com defines the word as follows:
he-don-ist [heed-n-ist] -noun : a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.
On the surface this does not sound like a very Biblical trait, but i would like to submit for your consideration the following. Where can the ultimate pleasure be found? Where there is no pain, no crying, no more death? (Hint, read Revelation 21). When the alternative is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" why wouldn't i pursue pleasure and self-gratification? Now, in regards to the former it is not i that accomplishes this, but Christ's substitutionary death on my behalf. I have but to receive it, and then spend a life pursuing Him. In many ways this goes back to my Charismatic roots in regards to my faith.
Don't get me wrong, i am fully aware of just how fickle my own emotions and desires can be. Just as in everything else i work constantly to try and make sure my pursuits and desires are "filtered" through the Word of God. But when my emotions are a reaction to something that is Holy, and of God, i have no desire to hold them back. I desire to cry and what i caused my Savior to go through, i rejoice at what He has accomplished, and when i am overcome with such joy i do want to dance and sing. Because ultimately Christ is my highest pleasure. I am most self-gratified in Him.
Well, yesterday the worship team at our "new" church played my song for this week and i said to my self "That's it!". 8) This song better expresses my reaction to what Christ has accomplished on my behalf.
I am Free Group: Desperation Band Written by John Egan Through You the blind will see Through You the mute will sing Through You the dead will rise Through You all hearts will praise Through You the darkness flees Through You my heart screams, I am free! I am free to run (I am free to run) I am free to dance (I am free to dance) I am free to live for you (I am free to live for you) I am free (I am free) Chorus: I am free I am free I am free to run (I am free to run) I am free to dance (I am free to dance) I am free to live for you (I am free to live for you I am free (I am free) Yes I am free
Yesterday my beloved and i attended a planning session for the 2010 Youth Ministry (at our new church) to see if we might be able to sit in and become a part of this ministry. (This is after i thought we were going to NOT get involved right away, but as usual my beloved has been instrumental in helping me do what i should be doing - being involved and serving.) While i felt like a fish out of water, it was also exciting. I am not sure how we are going to be incorporated, or if we are just going to be in the way. Especially in light of "old fogey-ness" i am detecting in my own mannerisms of late. 8( I am finding myself too critical in things - i don't like that about myself. Allowing my personal preference to shade the efforts of others. I need to focus more on the things of God, and marvel at how His grace works through me - despite me.


Friday the 13th - and other unlucky ramblings

I believe i have mentioned this before, but i don't take stock in a whole lot of superstitions. Breaking a mirror, picking up a tails-up penny, a black cat crossing my path, none of that means anything to me. (I wonder if that is why i am a fan of the Carolina Panthers... now that is a BIG Black Cat!) My mother was VERY superstitious. We once made it halfway back to our car when she walked all the way back to the store front and walked back around a pillar because i refused to say "bread and butter". If that was my only rebellion as a child i probably would not have dropped out of High School. For whatever reason though... i've never researched why people don't like Friday the 13th. DS1 has just completed a Social Studies Fair project where he discusses the Knights Templar. There is a train of thought linking the Friday the 13th superstition to them. Something about them being betrayed and killed or some such thing. I also read somewhere that it may be related to Christ being crucified on a Friday, and when you add in the twelve disciples it equals thirteen. Who knows. In any case it is nonsense. Ultimately the only one that controls our 'fate' is God. We liked to think that we do, i mean Science Fiction has many references (No fate but what we make - Sarah Connor), but even then we do not influence outside sources. While we can put our selves in a position to better, we do not control all of the factors - and to say that just because a cat happened to cross your path you are destined for bad luck... you are more likely to put yourself in a bad position because if a defeatist attitude. I have reached where the Author is talking about Thomas J Jackson's time at VMI in the book, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. I am eating this book up. Professor Robertson holds nothing back in filling in the details of the various periods of this man's life, blemishes and all. For example he describes on how fearless he was in battle, but how bad of a teacher he was. I am seeing things that help me understand why he did things like keep subordinates in the dark in regards to his intentions. Why he had a hard time making friends. Maybe it's because i am more sensitive to it, but i think it is possible that the man had Asperger's long before it even had a name. What i am admiring most about the man is his incredible dedication to the things of God. He did not rush to join any one denomination, but read the Bible with a completely open mind and then investigated the churches that he came in contact with to see if they were up to what he was reading about. His faith was very dear and important to him and it affected practically everything he did. As i've mentioned before, he was not a perfect man, nor a perfect Christian. But in regards to being a man of faith, in many ways he is one that can be looked up to. I am also enjoying the fact that he entered into the Army upon graduation from West Point as an Artilleryman. This weekend the Panthers host the Atlanta Falcons, and the Panthers are 2 point underdogs in their own house! Well, to be fair, the panthers have been playing very poorly the first six games this year. The last two i have been very happy with their performance. Very few turnovers, and a great ground game, not to mention the defense has been playing very well. They still haven't been able to get very much production out of the passing game, but that might be because they are a little gun shy of the 13 interceptions Jake has tossed this year. Still - i like Carolina's chances this Sunday. Geaux Panthers!


In honor of those who have served

I found this over at Monkeys Are Funny (aka My ADHD Me) and felt it appropriate. The splicing is not very good, but the imagery comes through enough. "All gave some, some gave all" is a relatively common saying, but i am not sure it is fully grasped by the public at large. How can it be unless it is experienced first hand? I speak for myself as well. Both of my Grandfathers served in WWII. My Paternal Grandfather served in the Navy and my Maternal Grandfather served in the Army Air Corp (the Air Force now). My father served in the Marines for a time, and my brother is serving in the National Guard currently after having served in the full time Army for fifteen years. Although i served for twenty two years in the National Guard, all but thirteen months of that time has been spent as an M-Day troop. With the possible exception of an annual training spent in Honduras, i have never been in harms way. I have never been under fire. I have never had to fire my weapon in either offensive operations or in self defense. While i am a Veteran, and proud to be one who has served, i do not consider my self as one who has done things like my brother has. He has been deployed four times (that i remember off the top of my head), and he has paid the price in what it has cost him in regards to his family, and to him personally. Thank you to all of the Veterans who have served my country, Men and women. Clerk and Infantryman. Private and General. From the French and Indian War through the current conflicts we are now engaged in. No role was too small.


Ramblings of the Tuesday nature

What a heart breaker for this Carolina Panther fan this past Sunday. I "watched" the game via NFL.com and my cell phone, while watching the games that were telecast in my area. My beloved was very accommodating in allowing me to sit and watch. It helped that i had broken one of my bog toes on Saturday while cleaning somethings out of our basement. She had heard a load "crack", i saw stars and i bit my tongue so that i would not burst forth in words i might later regret. After the initial shack wave had passed i kept on working in the yard, mowing the grass, pouring cement for the basketball hoop, and general lawn care. When i came in and took my shoes off, only then did i realize the extent of the injury. Doh! It is a nice shade of purple and red. I can walk ok as long as i shorten my stride, and DON'T bend it. Ok, back to football. I got my hopes up early when Carolina went up 14-0 over the Saints, but then reality brought me back to earth. The Panthers never got their passing game in sync and eventually the Saints shut down the running game, and the defense got tired. Drew Brees is an awesome field general and i am now officially rooting for the Saints to go all the way this season. I hope they go 15-1 (losing to the Panthers in week 17 of course), and on through the playoffs. The only. Gueax Saints! I just love the fall! I have several friends who go hunting this time of year. I've never really caught the "bug", but my mom once dated a hunter. He took me once, but it didn't stick. Part of me doesn't see the need. I currently live near six grocery stores, all less than seven miles from my front door. It's not that i don't like to go out in the woods... i actually love doing that. I also have a desire to get better at photography. (I think i am actually a little jealous of a friend who has recently started a college course on photography. I think what i would like to do, most likely not during hunting season, is go 'snapshot' hunting. Going out and hunting the animals to get their pictures. Maybe... someday. In recent years more and more "faith based" movies have been coming out. "Facing the Giants", "Fireproof", and "The Passion of the Christ" to name a few. On 20-November the movie "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, and Quinton Aaron is coming to theaters. My beloved and i are really looking forward to a date night to see this movie. It's not a love story, but it is - from what i can tell - a good example of how a Christian family reached out to a young man in need and made a huge difference in his life. As Christians we are all called to reach out, to evangelism if you will - and not because it might turn out like things have for Michael Oher. Matthew 25:31-40 says:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, [6] you did it to me.’" (ESV)
There is a woman who i consider a "blogging friend" who has recently done something similar. But we should not limit such things to just adopting. Now two Christians are alike. We each must seek out what God would have us do... something i need to work on myself. Here are two videos. the first one is the trailer for the movie. The second is a back ground piece i discovered while trying to learn more about the real life people behind the movie. May the Holy Spirit reach out to each of us. Help us to grow in reaching out. Showing us where to reach out. And giving us the courage to actually follow through.